Thursday, September 6, 2012


Bluecoats is an organization that strives to take care of our emergency first responders who are injured in the line of duty.  I am lucky enough to be one of their chaplains.  Last night they had their annual banquet and yearly meeting.  They always have a great speaker and last night was no exception.
The speaker Mr. Joseph D. Pistone who served in the FBI for 27 years, 6 of which were spent undercover as a member of the Mafia.  His work led to hundreds of convictions the story of which is told in the critically acclaimed major motion picture, "Donnie Brasco" featuring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp.  Below is some outtakes from that movie.  You need not watch it but I wanted to make a comment about something that happens about 28 seconds into the clip.  He is shown slapping his wife.

During his talk last night he called special attention to this moment in the movie.  He desired to make absolutely clear that at no time in his life did he ever lay a hand on his wife.  The slap was completely fictional.  This was stressed in the most earnest of ways.
A little later someone asked how much of the movie did he have control over.  He responded that he was pretty lucky and that he had a bit of say so over the movie.  Joe was gone, however, the day that they shot the slap.  Becoming rather upset he shut down production for half a day.  "Eventually the director won out.  He was the "captain" of the ship as it were.  But I cost them about a quarter of a million shutting down the film for half a day."
Now as you can imagine, spending six years with the Mafia, Mr. Pistone probably did not lead a saintly life.  But what is it that led him to say, "This far and no further."  The attack on marriage, on his manhood, on his role as husband was more than he was willing to let go without challenge.  There is a lesson in there somewhere for all of our men.  How far are we willing to go.  I would personally be very flattered if anyone would want to make a movie of my life, pay me lots of money, and have Johnny Depp play me.  Would that trump my beliefs enough that I would bow easily to something that went against my core beliefs?  I desperately hope not.

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