Before he fought in the galactic battles of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Adam Driver was a United States Marine with 1/1 Weapons Company. He tells the story of how and why he became a Marine, the complex transition from soldier to civilian -- and Arts in the Armed Forces, his nonprofit that brings theater to the military. Because, as he says: "Self-expression is just as valuable a tool as a rifle on your shoulder." Followed by a spirited performance of Marco Ramirez's "I am not Batman" by Jesse J. Perez and Matt Johnson. (Adult language)
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
With Christmas being so close you can almost taste the egg nog, I thought I’d better step up my Yuletide game here at MessyNessyChic. So let’s hop on our slay and travel back in time to 1961 Albion, New York and take a tour inside Santa School … (it’s basically better than Lapland).
Established in 1937, the Charles Howard’s Santa Claus School actually still exists today, now operating out of Michigan and proudly claiming the title of the world’s oldest Santa School. Candidates pictured here in 1961 by LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt have signed up for a 5-day, $75 course in the hopes of receiving a Santa certificate that will enable them to get Yuletide jobs at local department stores.
Above, a Santa Clauses is put through his paces during a practice session with child volunteers (it is unclear whether these children have previously caught their parents putting presents under the tree and are therefore now non-believers, suitable for Santa training).
Demonstrating how to wear the Santa suit.
Six of the 15 men enrolled in Santa Claus School learning how to render a jolly belly laugh.
Two men in Santa gear learning how to do a spritely soft-shoe dance.
Learning how wear wigs and whiskers.
Founder Charles Howard showing students how much of Santa’s face should show between wig and beard.
This certifies that …. has honorably and diligently completed the course in the study and art of Santa Claus, and is now ready to carry on as a Helper of Santa Claus.
As holder of this diploma, I fully realize the responsibility and privilege that is mine in spreading joy and happiness to the children of this world through their beloved friend and servant, Santa Claus.
I hereby sincerely and solemnly promise to give my best, my all to carry out the principles Santa Claus stands for.
All images (c) Life Archives
From The First Presidential Contest by Jeffrey Pasley. The Electoral College was perhaps the least successful element of the U.S. Constitution. (And not unexpectedly, modifications to the Electoral College process came quickly.) The Framers did not want the public to directly elect the president, since previous experiments in direct elections at the state level had reinforced the conclusion that pure democracy was too dangerous. But the framers didn't want Congress to elect the president either, because that would lead to "cabal faction & violence." So the idea was adopted of having influential or "notable" community leaders who were not in Congress as electors, with the people voting for these electors because they believed they had good judgment. And these electors were expected to use that good judgment to cast their votes rather than simply reflect the choice of the people:
"We must [now] delve into the workings of America's murkiest political institution, the indirect system of presidential elections now known as the Electoral College. If ever there were a constitutionally defined role for America's local 'notables,' the Electoral College was it.
"The national 'college' never met, acting instead as a filtering mechanism to concentrate the large pool of names that bubbled up from below. The guiding logic was that the country was too big, and even most of its locally prominent men too parochial, to ever coalesce around a single candidate other than General George Washington. Most would vote for someone from their own state or region, argued Connecticut's Roger Sherman, generating a list too large and miscellaneous to be useful. At the same time, it was considered too dangerous to have a single body like Congress choose the chief magistrate all on its own: that could lead to 'cabal faction & violence' as in the elective monarchy of Poland, where nobles and foreign governments battled it out to name a new king. So Article II, Section I of the Constitution provided for each state legislature to designate, by whatever method it chose, a number of electors equal to the size of its congressional delegation (the number of House members plus two for each state's equal number of senators). Each state's electors were then to gather simultaneously, in their own state, to prevent said cabals. Each elector would then vote for two men, including at least one man who was not from the elector's home state. Next the electors were to send their certified lists to Congress, where the votes would be compiled and the two top vote getters named president and vice president if they were selected by a majority of the electors. If not, then Congress would make the decision, according to complex rules that need not detain us here, choosing from the top five candidates the electors had voted for. At no point in any step of the process was anyone bound to vote a certain way (except for Congress choosing from the top five), and no provision was made, as we have seen, for running mates or party tickets. Instead, individual electors were to exercise their independent judgment of individual candidates.
"The format was a compromise hammered out in the last weeks of the Federal Convention in 1787 by the Committee on Postponed Parts, a working group made up of one member from each state delegation. The major issue the Electoral College settled was the summer-long dispute over how and by whom the new office of president would be filled. Given that one of the chief impulses behind the movement for a new Constitution was the creation of a government insulated from the excessive democracy and localism of the state governments, popular election of the president was a nonstarter at the Convention. A few of the large-state delegates made self-interested pitches for it, but most rejected the idea as impractical if not downright dangerous. George Mason of Virginia argued that 'it would be as unnatural to refer the choice of a proper character for chief Magistrate to the people, as it would, to refer a trial of colours to a blind man. The extent of the Country renders it impossible that the people can have the requisite capacity to judge of the respective pretensions of the Candidates.' The other major option, selection of the president by Congress, had more proponents than nationwide democracy, but it reminded too many of what Americans considered the corrupt British parliamentary system with its unseparated powers (the prime minister controlling Parliament and the executive functions of government). A legislative election would also be a playground for conspirators and party-builders. Said Gouverneur Morris, 'It will be the work of intrigue, of cabal, and of faction: it will be like the election of a pope by a conclave of cardinals.'
"The idea of a secondary popular election, with the people choosing the choosers, was originally suggested by nationalist James Wilson of Pennsylvania, who was trying to preserve some advantage for the large states but also some element of democracy in the presidential selection process. Wilson did not do this because he was any great lover of the common man -- common Philadelphians had tried to kill him in the 'Fort Wilson' riots in 1779 because of his alleged softness toward Loyalists. Wilson's attitude was more of a healthy fear; he had learned the hard way that in a free country, the common people needed to at least feel that their views were respected. Wilson's suggestion was ignored until John Dickinson of Delaware, arriving late to the deliberations of the Committee on Postponed Parts, challenged his colleagues over the legitimacy problems that a completely unelected president would face. Shocked that the Convention was still leaning toward a president selected by Congress, Dickinson wrote, 'I observed, that the Powers which we had agreed to vest in the President, were so many and so great, that I did not think, the people would be willing to deposit them with him, unless they themselves would be more immediately concerned in his Election.' In response, James Madison immediately sketched out a version of Wilson's idea on a piece of paper, and the Electoral College was born.
"On paper, the Electoral College served well as a way to steer theoretically between the large and small states and between oligarchy and democracy. What the Framers never discussed was how the thing was supposed to work in practice, or why it would be effective in meeting their goal of a chief magistrate who felt like the people's choice without being beholden to parties, parochial interests, or popular opinion. Excesses of democracy were still a far bigger worry for most of the Framers, who filled the Constitution with firebreaks against the potential depredations of the mob."