Have the feeling the rest of my life will be a series of moments when I think to myself, "I'd love to talk to Bill about this." It's happened a dozen times in the past three weeks since his passing, but never as strongly as when I was watching Netflix's spellbinding biopic about Madalyn Murray O'Hair the other night. With an all-star and all-shining cast -- above all Melissa Leo in a must-go-home-with-Emmy performance -- and a script that gets every verifiable detail about the life and times of the founder of the American Atheists right, "The Most Hated Woman in America" is the latest case in point why I don't go to the movies anymore. But getting back to the Bill connection. If my memory serves me right, he was mortified to discover when we moved in 1979 to Mesa, Ariz., which had an overwhelmingly Mormon population at the time, that school prayer was still in effect in our new hometown despite the fact that the Supreme Court had outlawed the practice in public schools in 1962 (Engel v. Vitale) and reiterated its stance on Bible-reading in schools with Murray O'Hair's combined lawsuit the following year. Outraged, Bill did what any civil-rights-minded teenager would do -- he refused to participate in the rituals and began subscribing to the American Atheists newsletter. Suffice to say that despite rarely setting foot in a church since her 1959 shotgun wedding, our mother wasn't particularly thrilled with having our home associated with this hot-button issue -- the mailman might talk! -- then stunned us by telling us her own mother had butted heads with Murray O'Hair when the two worked together at the Social Security office in Baltimore in the late(r) 1950s and early '60s. The film portrayed Murray O'Hair an abrasive and unapologetic woman -- how else could someone brave enough to tackle this topic have been? -- who wouldn't be bullied or threatened into backing down from her beliefs. Bill would have loved it, although I'm still not sure if I should mention it to Molly!
Meanwhile over on TBS, Damian and I were thoroughly impressed by "Search Party," which stars ever-adorable "Arrested Development" alumn Alia Shawkat as a 20something New Yorker whose life is turned upside down when she discovers a girl she went to college with (but barely knew) has gone missing and she decides she must find her. (Would kill to talk to Bill about the vigil scene!)
P.S. Last Friday my sister-in-law posted this sweet photo from her wedding to my brother. I had never seen this one before, and it made me smile because all my siblings are together as they should be. Last Sunday would have been their 17th anniversary.
A more polite way of putting it?
As I added this photo of Ron Reagan Jr. from an ad I saw for the Freedom From Religion Foundation on television last night I realized it had one follower I know on Twitter. :-(