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Monday, July 4, 2011

THOUGHTS ON FOURTHAJULY

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It's been a day of rest. Watched a 2.5 hour movie and took a 3 hour nap. Listened to the radio, David McCullough, the historian, talked for an hour on the Diane Rehm show. Interesting talker. Excellent writer and an equally good talker. He tells stories of American historical characters that bring them to life as living human beings. I find it funny in this time of investigative historical writing that the early Presidents, the composers of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers, had slaves, caroused, drank liquor, one of them with a black mistress and some mixed breed younguns, at least one had a cannabis (hemp) plantation, mistresses galore, cussed when they talked. They committed all the politically incorrect acts. In our time of denial as the rule, institutions of teaching don't quite know what to do. The Founding Fathers are no longer porcelain dolls on the mantle, but real live nasty people who probably smelled fairly rank, had sexual appetites, liked to get drunk, lost their tempers. They were political incorrectness its very self.



How the American people have changed! At the same time, remaining the same. Money has been the only motivation in America from the beginning. We used to ride in wagons, now we ride in cars. Animals used to work for us, now machines work for us. We used to kill everything that moved. We continue to kill everything that moves. We used to be racists and up front about it, now we're racists and deny it. The American indifference to the poor is fueled largely by racism as a lot of poor people are black. What a shock it was to American denial when Thomas Jefferson turned up with a slave mistress mother of his children. A lot of books, talk shows -- What's Your Opinion? Opinion radio all the way from fairly rational talk shows to Limbaugh rant, and everything between. These subjects get aired with every kind of opinion voiced, and like chaos, it does whatever it does, then it settles down and no one remembers any of it. The next opinion query is circulated.



For at least half a century, school kids have been debating and writing essays on capital punishment. None of it has come to anything. Capital punishment continues without question. A few people actively oppose, but for the most part it's just one more thing not to have to think about. It's taken care of. Good is good and bad is bad. No two ways about it. Over and over this FourthaJuly long weekend I hear on the radio people talking about democracy, everybody stressing it requires an active citizenry that pays attention. And what do we get in this time? Alice's Tea Party political rant, Sarah Palin cloned infinitely. I saw something on the cover of I think the Globe, the scandal sheet featured in the grocery store line. The headlines are hilarious. This one had something about a Sarah Palin sex scandal that I figured if there was anything to it, I'll hear about it soon enough, and didn't pick the paper up to look. It's like Mattel Corporation breathed life into a Barbie doll and Sarah Palin in a ponytail happened. Barbie for President. Might as well. We thought once we had Reagan, we had the worst and we wouldn't have that bad again. Then we had Bush Sr, then Bush Jr, a downward spiral, and now Palin being dressed up to take the spiral further downward.



FourthaJuly I stayed home all day, didn't even go out to the mailbox. Amused today mostly by changing American history. Embarrassing stuff for teachers with their degree in Education. The dilemma in a society of denial is how do you deal with it? Deny it. Skip it. Let somebody else deal with it. I don't see what the problem is. I like to read about Benjamin Franklin's debauchery in London. It tells me he was a real human being, not a fake. Thomas Jefferson's black common law wife and mother of his kids, tells me he was a real human being, another one not a fake. These are the kind of people I want writing my nation's founding documents. We get people now like John Edwards playing Ken doll squeaky clean corporate suburban man and doing the nasty off camera. Then he's denying this and denying that. Even when it was over, he acted like he never got it.



Watched the movie Blood Diamond the second time today. First time yesterday I was seeing it as the story of the Leonardo diCaprio character, then saw at the end it was the black man's story. Today I went into it seeing it the story of the black man. The white man's story supported the black man's story, even made it possible. The black man was played by Djimon Hounsou, the Nubian gladiator in Russell Crowe's movie The Gladiator. Very well made movie. As good a film as Gladiator, though not as charismatic. Nonetheless, it's a beautifully made film. Good acting, good writing, good photography, good directing. I get the impression the story was fiction, though it suggests that it was made from a book the black man might have written of his adventures getting out of Africa. It made a good story of black man and white man bound together as with shackles over a hundred carat pink diamond. Lotsa money for the white man. The key to getting his family back for the black man, resources to leave Africa and live in London. Other black men and other white men were wanting it too.



I think I preferred it the second time, seeing it the black man's story. It's both, really. White man needed black man to help him find the diamond. Black man needed white man to help him translate the diamond to money. It seemed to me the story was symbolic of the white men exploiting Africa's minerals and being the cause of rebel armies killing and burning villages of people. Following the money trail. It turned out to be a moral tale where the man motivated by self didn't make it. The man motivated by love for family made it. Like in Steven Seagal movies where he's always saving his daughter, in this one the black man is saving his son, as well as daughter and wife. The rebels had kidnapped his son and made a killer of him. Black man took care of business and helped his son escape. It made a good story of white man and black man running parallel in an adventure where they are both the lead roles. Very well made picture.



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