Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Forbidden is a Dirty Word


This is the time of year when Americans are supposed to think about independence and freedom. A few may take time out from barbecuing and watching fireworks to actually do so. When the mood strikes I always think of one word: verboten.
As a young man I was taught that life in Nazi Germany was not exactly a stroll in the park. There were certain things a person needed to do, others that better not be done if plans had been made to go on living. Soon after my nineteenth birthday I found myself in Germany and was amazed. Not by the destruction, although there was plenty of that, but by the number of signs warning against doing just about everything except breathing. That word verboten - forbidden, not permissible - was everywhere.
A year later after being transferred to the military police I was living in a slave labor barrack complete with a high fence topped by barbed wire. The war was over, I wasn't a slave, but it was hard to turn around without seeing that word verboten. Sometimes I even heard it spoken or actually said it myself: "Das ist verboten."
When I returned to the States, life was much different. Aside from murder and armed robbery, not many things were forbidden. It was a live-and-let-live society so only now and then did you see a sign telling you something was verboten.
Over the years that has changed considerably. First you no longer could do one thing and then another thing and if they didn't come right out and say you couldn't there was always someone to warn that you shouldn't. Fortunately there still are few signs saying something is verboten and life isn't as grim as it was in Nazi Germany, but we're getting there. It would not come as a shock if someone were to tell me that even writing these words is verboten, or should be.
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I have written about the few months in 1966 when I decided to get rich by peddling drugs. Legal drugs, of course, although a short time later the company's two leading products were outlawed because their main ingredient was methamphetamine. Soon after taking the job I spent a week at the firm's plant where the joys of meth were highly praised. The company made another product we were told not to push because it could harm a person's inner workings. After more than forty years the government made it official a few days ago. Acetaminophen can do bad things to the liver. No big deal for me because I have always looked upon it as verboten.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Life isn't as grim as it was in Nazi Germany, but we're getting there."

I call B.S. We are no nowhere close to being anything like Nazi Germany. Last I checked, we were still a democracy and we weren't driving Jews to gas chambers.

Such comparisons are fear mongering, the kind of fear mongering you see on right wind "news" channels like Fox.

The kind of fear mongering that leads to bombing in Oklahoma City.

Just stop. The comparison is utterly false.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

You're wrong, whoever you are. Have you forgotten Guantanamo - holding people captive without charging them? Have you forgotten Rendition - shipping people to foreign countries for imprisonment and torture.
Have you forgotten wire taps without a warrant and the many provisions of the so-called Patriot Act?
Have you forgotten the invasion of Iraq without cause?
This is not the America of 1946 and failing to protest that fact means it will only get worse. You are saying much the same thing people in Germany were saying after the Nazis assumed power but before the worst of their acts began.
It isn't as different as you think so people should become aware of the fact and make their opposition known.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Chet Headley said...

Tuesday – 07 Jul 09

Hi Dick,

I love it when the gutless hide behind a pseudonym or post anonymously while criticizing the opinions of others. These are the same individuals that would prohibit anyone from publishing anything they disagree with, if they could. Such is the world we live in.

Your article on Sophie was meaningful and timely. Will explain in an Email.

Take care and keep up the great work. Will drop you an Email shortly.

Best,

Chet

2:42 AM  
Blogger STAG said...

Tylenol is bad for me but it is useful, very hard on the liver. Same as single malt scotch.

5:57 PM  

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