Happy birthday, Charlie Chaplin

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.”

The opening of the final speech in Chaplin’s first talkie, The Great Dictator. Released as the nations of the Earth fell into the horror of the Second World War, it remains a stirring oration, full of optimism, that the tyranny of the greedy and selfish shall pass, that people can be better than we have been. Reposting today to mark Chaplin’s birthday and also because, dammit, we need optimism and hope right now.

Poetry: Lies I’ve Told My 3 Year Old Recently

This is just a lovely, although quite bittersweet piece of poetry by a father of a young child, Raul Gutierrez, the final line is especially moving:

Trees talk to each other at night.

All fish are named either Lorna or Jack.

Before your eyeballs fall out from watching too much TV, they get very loose.

Tiny bears live in drain pipes.

If you are very very quiet you can hear the clouds rub against the sky.

The moon and the sun had a fight a long time ago.

Everyone knows at least one secret language.

When nobody is looking, I can fly.

We are all held together by invisible threads.

Books get lonely too.

Sadness can be eaten.

I will always be there.”

We tell children wonderful fibs to help make their childhood a magical space, and so we should, because when they grow up and have to face the bitter winds of later life that magical, glowing time when the world was full of mysterious enchantment and your mum and dad could answer you about it all and there was no problem so big they couldn’t take care of it and you, will still be in them, when they need it. Especially when that last line in the poem proves to be a desperate lie, that they can’t be there for us forever, that one day we lose them and it will hurt so much more than any pain we’ve ever known, and they know that, chance are they have been through that pain themselves earlier in life and they so desperately want to protect their child from it as they want to protect them from everything else bad in the world. And they know they can’t, worse still they know when that pain of loss comes the person they most need in the world to comfort and support them is the very person they have lost. So we tell them we’ll be here forever, because what else can we tell them? And because we so wish we could be. (via BoingBoing)