Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Remember 1989

[Posted by reader_iam]

Yeah, that was the year when I acquired personal copies of both Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses and Martin Scorcese's The Last Temptation of Christ, deliberately, in response to all the waves of controversy in the wake of their respective releases the previous year.

Helluva time, from which it appears we simply cannot become unstuck. I mean, I feel like I'm livin' in some sort of absurdist Groundhog Day, but without the humor, or the brilliance, or the convenience of a genre which, for the most part, manages to wrap it up in a couple of hours. Or even the G-d'd or A-d'd popcorn, jujubes and over-priced, over-diluted soda pop.

Relatively recently, somewhere, to whomever(s), I made mention of toying with a personal theory that we, in this country (but meaning it more generally) are paying the price of an incomplete transition dating back to a period of years encompassing the later '80s and earlier '90s.

I realize that it is exceptionally and immensely difficult to get over and beyond grievances and incidents rooted in the ancient, or in times dating from more than a millennium ago, or even a century, give or take. But for the sake of any hope at all, can we at least strive to get beyond piling up the opportunistic political crap and pandering from the less than a flick of the eyelashes involved in a single wink which, relatively speaking, constitutes the past 20 years?

Knock it off, already. We have enough to do with resolving that older stuff, more deeply imbedded and with larger implications. Stop cynically using the more recent stuff. Stop tolerating those who do that. Quit enabling it. Muslims don't like The Satanic Verses or Salman Rushdie? Or cartoons, for that matter? Tough. There are bigger issues--more important, root issues, and even grievances--to be confronting. Christians don't like the Chocolate Jesus, or The Da Vinci Code, or want to keep bringing up Serrano's Piss Christ (circa 1989--well, fancy that!) and so forth? Tough. There are bigger issues--more important, root issues, and even grievances--to be confronting. Stop empowering those who keep dumping more--and ever more less critical--stuff onto the historical pile so that they can avoid looking at what's closer to the bottom. Much less at ground level.

Eh, enough.