I really respect Jerry Peace Activist Rubin. He’s a tireless worker for the peace movement and whatever his cause du jour may be. (I think it’s still the Paul Conrad sculpture and it seems like he’s winning.) He is extremely admirable and rare in today’s world.
He’s a bright spot of light in a world that both loves and abhors war.
This was the weekend of war for me. Not personally so much as through the medium of the big screen. I saw two movies, both about war. Both had carnage, lies, appalling abuse of individuals, character assassination and beheadings (literally and figuratively). Within them both were moments of humanity that the filmmakers used to counterbalance the often bone crushing abuse that was being played out on screen.
The two movies were from opposite ends of the spectrum of the Hollywood production machine. One was a low- to mid-budget documentary that had cutesy computer graphics to illustrate points, a celebrity narrator and a few moments that evoked a dewiness in the characters’ eyes, but little real pathos.
The other was a big-budget war movie with loads of amazing computer graphics, brilliant cinematography and stunt work that brought immediate visceral reactions to my body. As I was watching the movie I would flinch and look right at my friend, who was curling in sympathetic agony to the action on the screen. The acting was superb and believable.
“Divorce Corp” is a documentary about the $50 billion family law industry. I had to see this movie that was narrated by Dr. Drew Pinsky. He’s the big name that draws people in to see it. There were several lawyers interviewed who are rock stars in the family law world, most of whom no one outside of our industry would know. And then there was Gloria Allred. Of course. There’s always Gloria. It took me a moment to figure out why she was in this movie, since her firm is a civil rights firm not a family law firm. Then it hit me — celebrity. She’s a celebrity with name recognition and they needed it for marketing. OK, my hurt feelings were assuaged.
The film uses a few sad stories, a couple of corrupt judges and therapists to condemn an entire body of mostly honorable, hard-working people trying to do the right thing. I get it, that’s what puts butts in the seats. And they have some valid points. Of course seeing the father-daughter duo comment on how expensive divorce is, when they charge $1,100/$750 an hour, respectively, seemed a bit hypocritical to me.
As a condemnation of the court system in America, it hit home. We definitely have a lot of room for improvement, first and foremost should be an automatic presumption of a 50/50 custody schedule for children with both parents, which would do away with much of the time and expense we battle over. The filmmakers used the Scandinavian model of limited spousal and child support as a rational example of how to do divorce correctly. It would put 95 percent of the divorce lawyers out of business, I think.
“Lone Survivor” is the story of four Navy officers in Afghanistan and the fire fight that cost three of them their lives. Based on true events, it stars Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor. It painted a brutal picture of the carnage that the American forces are capable of. The sheer strength and power of the American military being used against a country that is mostly single-story homes was quite striking to me. On the one hand it is impressive when you think about how much sheer firepower we have at our disposal, and simultaneously insanely stupid that we are wasting men’s lives and our equipment destroying a country that is made up mostly of desert and mud homes.
In both movies the “victims,” the “weaker parties,” were vanquished due to the oppressive boot of authority. In both movies it was clear to me that yes, there is a tremendous amount of money involved in all aspects of the battles. In court, money does seem to bring victory, if not justice, and on the battle field it seems to bring momentary wins.
Peace is preferable to war, but it’s not nearly as profitable. Hence war, no matter the battlefield, shall prevail, no matter the cost.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in father’s and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra