How strange it must have been during the time of Prohibition. Tonight I (whiskey) had my monthly Silent Film event called Silent Music Revival. Before the feature film, I projected a cartoon short comedy about then-current events, as was done almost one hundred year ago, today.

The film was Breath of a Nation (1919), an obvious pun on the 1915 classic Birth of a Nation, and although this film had nothing to do with what it pays homage, it still, similarly, offers commentary on the social situation of its time.

Breath of a Nation
is a more lighthearted Prohibition-mocking film that shows the openly-underground use of alcohol during a time that it was illegal.

While watching this film I couldn’t help but hysterically wonder whether films like Half Baked or Dazed and Confused would find itself in the same strange category with substances that were “at one point illegal, openly used until the government gave up and made them legal” category. I am not just saying this because I am an advocate for the legalization of marijuana (now conservative relatives don’t be upset, your party is headed this direction as well, just check the conservative opinion on the matter). I say this as a silent film enthusiast, who wonders, “what about our society will change?”

Silent Films are wonderful because they allow you to view a culture from the past that you are completely disconnected from. You can see how we have stayed the same and how we have changed. Call me an old fashioned progressive, but we can’t go forward without getting a glimpse of the past.
the glimpse


  1. Maybe we're not so detached from this past culture. The culture that fails to learn from its past is doomed to fail. I wonder what "silent films" our children will be watching about us!

  2. I sometimes wonder what things in our society will make our future children say, "Wow, I can't believe they didn't allow that!" or to what things will they say, "How could we have done that?" It so easy to be appalled at history when you're looking at it objectively. Interesante! I want to come to another one of your silent movies!

  3. I bet we would be amazed at some of the laws still left on the books in our state. Maybe stuff like: "A chicken must not cross the road between the hours of 4 and 6 in the afternoon." It's crazy how we micromanage society while missing the main points. We're all guilty at some point. Won't future generations get a hoot out of reading our management style someday?

  4. Just one more thing. The main points. Regardless of religion or creed, if we would adopt these two laws ONLY, the voluminous libraries of law would virtually disappear:

    1) Love your neighbor as yourself.

    2) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    But wait! Then we'd have no lawyers. No court. No court judges. No jails. No detention centers. No probation officers. The list could be endless. Talk about a high unemployment rate!!!

  5. I generally agree with you mom. But my only argument is that most people who are committing crimes that are directly effecting someone else’s wellbeing probably do not really love themselves and would in effect kill themselves if they got to a convincing enough mirror.

    I would say human’s real problem is the super ego.

    But yes, we agree that we must look back to go forward. I just wish we wouldn't waste our time filling jails with people who had marijuana charges. Just like Prohibition, it got to a point where our government realized we were wasting money instead of actually helping society. We just repeat our what we are against in different forms.