Friday, May 2, 2008

Legacies to Look For

May 2nd:

Today is rather weird for me because almost nothing seems to link up. I mean, look at the section for This Day in History. There are some incredibly great themes here: McCarthy, da Vinci, Good Housekeeping, Loch Ness Monster and J. Edgar Hoover and the KJV Bible! Any one of these inspires me to write volumes on it. But nothing really seems to match up with today's headlines.

McCarthy: a senator who went crazy about Communism. He was almost unstoppable! Fame and power seemed to swell him to unreal proportions. He only had to point a finger at someone, say "Communist!" and that person's life was effectively over. He was reminiscent of Chicago's Mayor Richard J. Daly Sr. in the 1950s. If a Chicago alderman was saying something Daly didn't like, he merely flicked a small switch underneath his voluminous desk and that person's microphone was shut off. Very subtle.

And who could forget the rumors about J. Edgar "Mary" Hoover? Here was another demigod who used the FBI to catch the people he didn't like in compromising situations.

The Loch Ness Monster? You've got to give it credit for keeping tabloids in the black for over 75 years. It's been one monster we've wanted to see for a very long time.

And what's the scene with the Yelwa massacre? Christians took their revenge upon Muslims in an unprecedented way:

Two months after the churches were razed (in numerous attacks by Muslims), Christian men and boys surrounded Yelwa. Many were bare-chested; others wore shirts on which they’d reportedly pinned white name tags identifying them as members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, an umbrella organization founded in the 1970s to give Christians a collective and unified voice as strong as that of Muslims. Each tag had a number instead of a name: a code, it seemed, for identification. They attacked the town. According to Human Rights Watch, 660 Muslims were massacred over the course of the next two days, including the patients in the Al-Amin clinic. Twelve mosques and 300 houses went up in flames. Young girls were marched to a nearby Christian town and forced to eat pork and drink alcohol. Many were raped, and 50 were killed.

Maybe it's because the above-mentioned themes are too obvious or too popular, all "larger-than-life" to compare to today's headliners. The Obama/Clinton race is getting tedious. Bashing Rev. Jeremiah Wright has gotten to be so lopsided with everyone jumping on the proverbial bandwagon that you sense the American public isn't being as entertained as they want to be out of this conflict. The Fundamentalist Mormon "scandal" (what should we call it?) seems to be something everyone should have known about much sooner - was there a conspiracy to cover up what was going on in El Dorado? Only one "escapee" got to tell her story (in the form of a book), but relatively few people paid any attention. What got the public's attention were the videos showing the Fundamentalist Mormon take on "Stepford Wives," and how the mothers feel their children were stolen from them. (Makes no difference, of course, that even the older children have difficulty in pointing out their mothers and fathers with any certainty. Oh, and it's the greatest dream of every 13 year-old girl to be married to a man old enough to be her grandfather (and have as many babies as she can!)

Is today's ennui the cause of the media? Perhaps some of it, but will any of today's headlines have any "legacy" at all? I doubt it.

Maybe tomorrow will bring us something with more depth.

In the meantime, allow me to share with you a provocative picture, one evoking individuality, loneliness or serenity. It's titled: "Who Will Sit There?"

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