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Saturday, January 4, 2014


Earlier, I set out to watch Kurosawa's 1961 film, Sanjuro, his take on a samurai slasher film. It started putting me to sleep. Took a nap. Watched an hour of it and couldn't handle it anymore. For one thing, maybe I've seen too many samurai slasher films, but that's not it. That just increases my appreciation for a really good one like 13 Assassins by Takashi Miike. I'd seen Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, the films of Kurosawa's samurai series before Sanjuro. This one just didn't click with me. I felt like it would have made a comic stage play with stylized pretend slashing with Star Wars light sabers. I'd like to see that. Sanjuro had too much running and hiding, a bozo bunch of sidekicks with the bold samurai that might have worked in 1961, but it doesn't hold my attention now. I turned it off and went back to bed to get out of the cold. I have heat, but the floor is cold and sometimes I feel like a barefoot Sherpa climbing a Himalayan mountain. I have on some warm sox and some warm houseboots that make a difference. I lay in the warm bed listening to an NPR hour-long show of three people telling experiential stories before audiences. It was an attention-holding hour of three people talking what we call some real shit. Wrapped up in my favorite blanket I thought of a few of my friends I saw earlier in the day, stories they could tell, stories I could tell, everyday life moments that matter for one or several of an infinite number of reasons.
I see trends in our television society that I often find heartening in that they acknowledge our humanity. We have well-intended political correctness as a regimen, the ABCs of popular self-censoring. I've realized the republican strategy of using people like Cruz, Palin, Bachman, and a host of others like them, worms that crawled out of the pit of ignorance to infect others with their disease, is based in the predictable rule of thumb that people of lower intelligence levels vote republican. Their appeal is  their ignorance. They appeal to the people of below average intelligence. It's sad to see, but it's always been that way. It's just that Karl Rove brought it to the surface and used it politically. Of course, Ted Cruz does not appeal to anyone with any sense. It's not what his role is about. He stirs up ignorance. So much activity is from the dark side in the capital of the nation and every state, it gives evidence that the only purpose is money, Mammon is worshipped. The new pope nailed it when he called wealth the new golden calf. He has spoken to the world that American fundamentalism is an illness. It is funny in a time when the police state of the world destroys governments and infrastructures of Latin American countries, impoverishing their people, to keep them under control. It was known at the time, and in all time since, that American's bombed Allende, the popularly elected president of Chile, in his office in Santiago, a bomb from a plane aimed at his office. The world looked the other way. USA put fascist Pinochet in power and destroyed Chile such that it will take decades to a century for it to come back, and killed Nobel Prize poet Pablo Neruda. For corporate interests.
Reading the public words spoken by the new pope, Francis, is so refreshing they make tears run down my face, tears of joy. The contrast with the force that has power over the American people is such that it shows our entire way of life, the American belief system, the American Dream, to be from the dark side, Mammon. The pope has even brought up Mammon. Our American government and media are coming so much from the dark side in this time that speaking the views of Jesus publicly has rich catholics threatening him with leaving the church out of their tax-deductible charitable giving. This pope might say something like, Get behind me Satan,  if pushed to it with such threats. He said that the people who call themselves Christians and accumulate wealth are "ugly pagans." He's sweeping out the trash. I never imagined in my lifetime seeing a pope as anything other than the top dog in the worlds original and greatest bureaucratic hierarchy. This one appears to have read the gospels. He's a pope who inspires with his truth. Whoever heard of such a thing? Every time I see a new quotation from him it takes my breath that someone in a position of international authority is talking anti-fascism. I don't even need to question what American fundamentalists are going through being called by the pope on the evening news an illness. The funny part is that from their point of view, he's the devil himself. For their sakes, would that he were.
Now he's saying that hell is a concept of the past, that a loving God would not have such a place. He's speaking from papal infallibility, which he actually may be instrumental in changing. It seems like something he'd do. I won't even let my mother talk to me about it. Hearing it would be a repeat of what I already know. It's Satan, himself, talking. That's all. I don't see the American fundamentalists being moved very much by what the pope said about them. They will wear it with pride and  become even more so, because the devil called them an illness. I don't know and don't want to know, but I see them in my mind's eye making this pope out to be the anti-Christ. I don't want to hear the preaching on the subject, because I already can. He says they can't call themselves Christians and continue to refuse to help the poor. He points out that helping the poor is what Christian is about. Not this side of the Atlantic. I don't think it is that side of the Atlantic either. Won't it be fun to see helping the poor American style. Corporate logos everywhere. This box of instant oatmeal brought to you by Calvary Bible Church in association with Exxon, sign here that you've never had an abortion. I've never held the pope up high, as I did not grow up Catholic, but I've paid attention to the papacy because it was so visible and so in free fall in this time. Pope Francis is something like a parachute opening. I'd like to see a world-wide grassroots trend creep into action everywhere of Catholics reaching out to the poor. I would never anticipate American fundamentalists  doing something the pope said is the Christian thing to do. 

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