below, came across this wonderfully erotic, sensual, loving image. All mysterious and enchanting because you cannot quite make it out in much detail. Love the passion here.
Saw 12 years a slave last night. Theatre almost full, so good to see that. It was excellent. THE word for me to describe it would be ‘searing’. Wow. It simply imprints itself upon you, the violence, the treatment of the blacks slaves by the white overlords. Check it out. The incredible disdain that too many whites had for the slaves reminded me a great deal of the callous disregard the Nazi soldiers often had in the camps for the prisoners. That was a parallel I was able to come up with. So today, feel the strong need and desire to post something positive after being subjected to hatred and violence in the cinema yesterday evening. In fairness the violence was mainly emotional-psychological as opposed to scenes of physical maltreatment. No gratuitous violence either.
Below, really Herr Doktorvater? Hmph.
If there was some alien race or higher power observing the human condition, the species it would say something to us, along the lines of the father-son talk in the movie
“Boyz in the hood” when Laurence Fishburne sits his son Trey (Cuba Gooding Jr) down for a talk and says “I don’t know why you insist on learning things the hard way Trey, but one day you’re gonna learn them. ” Yesterday’s post was about time, psychological distance traveled but by me, my own journey, the laboratory experiment of one (1).
Today we go big, that journey writ large. How far have we gone as a species in terms of acceptance (sexual and otherwise)? This is open to debate. I guess it depends upon your point of view, what timeline you are using, what scale you feel comfortable with. Believe we are down to our final billion years on earth, as after that the sun will no longer be able to support terrestrial life. I debate, wrangle constantly with a friend over how far we have come. He is very optimistic constantly invoking the moral arc of history from Martin Luther King Jr, that it is long but bends towards justice. Since I have only one life to live and to give I am rather impatient to see things happen while I am still living, breathing, observing. A wag once said compared to other fights for “rights” (e.g. the black civil rights movement, women’s fight for equality) the LGBT struggle has been much shorter and seen a lot of advancement. Hard to disagree there.
One thing that was portrayed very well in the film 12 years was the sense of being caught up in the violence, brutality of the moment. As if the perpetrators are caught up in the ecstasy of sheer hatred for “the other”, that they are taking their frustrations out on an inanimate punching bag in a gymnasium as opposed to the real flesh and blood that bleeds. Shylock’s words come back to haunt me here, ‘if you cut us/ do we not bleed?’ A true counterpoint to being caught up in the heat of passion, lust, love.
I could write an entire post (and I will one day) about labels, naming, words and how important they are. How harmful or helpful. Early on in the film when our hero finds himself manacled, in a prison-dungeon of sorts and his captors have a kind of mock interrogation they ask him who he is. He states he’s a free man and they laugh and say “no boy you are a runaway slave from Georgia”. So being labelled, they are at peace and beat him severely.
For me, what was I from one day, week month to the next before and after coming out? So much changed. So little changed. I put it to my sister “I am the same person, only better.”
The above image is delicious in its innocence I think. A kind of playful, joie di vivre. I like the ambiguity in how the characters are drawn up. Plus, the words are so charming. War, Slavery, The Holocaust, yes it’s all catnip to me because I am a student of history, with a memory, interested in our past. When Gore Vidal rants about the United States of Amnesiacs he is onto something. Everything down the memory hole in that idiot culture. I never walk around with my head in the clouds (the way Aristophanes portrays Socrates in his play “The Clouds” just loving smash and grab capitalism, U.S. hegemonic Imperialism, wildfire consumerism, thinking this is the best of all possible worlds a la Candide by Voltaire. It is one world. A world. And we can do a lot better pal. Although once when running I was not paying sufficient attention but instead looking at a pretty girl on the other side of the street and ran smack into a stopped car about to pull out of a driveway. Somehow I was not injured, although surprised. I don’t think the girl in question noticed. It would have been an unusual way to make a first impression upon someone.
Remember reading in a theology course about the verse “God is light”. Pretty simple right? The exegesis went on about what the verse does Not say. That is, god is Not one light among many. Nor is god is THE light either. Rather how it uses the verb ‘to be’, = “is”. I don’t care if you hate God, religion, spirituality, your own personal higher power. There’s about a septillion reasons to be pretty anti-religious given how much mischief organized spirituality has made of things for several thousand years. All I want from you gentle reader is to go towards the light, love, and away from darkness, hatred. You know what is right and wrong. Do really big ginormous decisions land people in a jackpot on earth or is it the accretion over time of small little almost insignificant actions that add up? When Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy, in the opening canto talks about losing the true way because he was asleep, to me he so perfectly captures what happens to us so often. This imperceptible (almost) straying from what we know is right and just. We take a path of least resistance. And then eventually it is too late. This sense is wonderfully conveyed by Burt Lancaster in “Judgment at Nuremburg” when he states how the German people felt they could use-control Hitler but then one day woke up to find themselves in a much worse situation under him.
Do you know someone, whose life is a slow motion train wreck, a self destructive journey of 1,000 cuts? Isn’t that opposite of going towards life-love-the positive and it’s a virtuous upward spiral staircase you are on. A mantra I have is to “choose Life”. I could just as easily say “Choose light” The Nazis were so confident, in their policies but at the end of the day, the whole final solution was wrapped in secrecy because they knew it was evil, wrong, Consider how the zyklon-b gas chambers worked in terms of an instrument of mass death, because the shooting of people was too hard on the Nazi soldiers, indoctrinated as they were. The large scale fake “shower” gas chambers were more “clean”, could be done faster and not involve German soldiers in quite the same way. I think Camus and the existentialists would agree with me, that it is positive that as malleable and fungible as humans are in terms of morality-ethics, that they simply cannot gun down people en masse and throw them into a pit repeatedly. That they rebel. And yes I know about the Stanley Milgram Stanford experiments of decades ago.
OK enough sermonizing for one post.