September 4, 2012
Heat waves for me equate to hibernation. I stock up on staples, have a long soak, get into a gauze gown, turn on the AC and go to Hollywood via Turner Classic Movies or Netflix.
My usual fare is something frothy and escapist like “Gigi” or “My Fair Lady” so don’t ask why I recently watched “Alexander the Great” and “The Tudors.”
Unless – unless – present day politics are so derivative of past scenarios of greed, betrayal and destruction that I needed somehow to exorcise both past and present catastrophes in order to position our current crisis in context as part of a familiar cavalcade.
ALEXANDERS’ MOTHER SAW HIM AS A GIFT FROM MT. OLYMPUS, A GOD UNLIMITED BY HUMAN FOIBLES. AS PLAYED BY AN AS YET UNRAVISHED RICHARD BURTON, THIS WAS BELIEVABLE. IT WAS SIMILAR TO HOW WE SAW JOHN KENNEDY – LARGER THAN LIFE.
JONATHON RHYS MEYERS, PLAYING KING HENRY III, CARRIED THE SAME CHARISMA AS ELVIS PRESLEY, AN AMERICAN ICON WHOM MEYERS PLAYED TO PERFECTION IN THE MINI-SERIES “ELVIS”.
EXALTED LEADERS REQUIRE FLAWED FOLLOWERS TO SUSTAIN THE ILLUSION OF HOPE IN THEIR WORLDS OF HYPE AND HYPOCRACY.
Having lived through the holocaust as an American child born into a small town Jewish family, the massacre taking place in Europe had little if any direct reality in my experience – beyond a smidge of anti-Semitism which, not “looking” Jewish, I largely escaped.
My own religious interests were non-existent until as a young adult new to New York City, with its multitude of intellectual and cultural possibilities, I gravitated toward alternative spiritual teachings.
So what else is new?
Well, for one thing, living in my privileged cocoon, I had closed my mind and heart in denial of much of mankind’s unfortunate history. Only gradually did my judgments diminish in the realization that if others could do better, they would not remain frozen in subconscious self destructive lifestyles and programmed behavior.
A FRIEND OF MINE, ALSO A MOVIE BUFF AND SPIRITUAL EXPLORER, SUGGESTED A DOCUMENTARY AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX THAT SHE THOUGHT WOULD BE OF INTEREST.
THE FILM, CALLED “PAPER CLIPS”, POWERFULLY PRESENTS A PROJECT UNDERTAKEN BY TEACHERS IN A SMALL BLUE COLLAR COMMUNITY IN RURAL TENNESSEE, TO DEMONSTRATE THE MEANING OF THE HOLOCAUST TO MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS.
AS A GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION, THEIR INTENTION WAS TO COLLECT SIX MILLION PAPER CLIPS, EACH TO REPRESENT THE SOUL OF AN INDIVIDUAL VICTIM. THE PROJECT GROWS FAR BEYOND ITS’ BOUNDARIES, BRINGING UNDERSTANDING AND BONDING, TRANSCENDING PREJUDICE AND BRINGING LOVE AND TOLERANCE TO THIS UNLIKELY COMMUNITY.
IT IS A TRUISM THAT WHATEVER IS RESISTED PERSISTS AND PROBABLY INTENSIFIES AS WELL.
SO HISTORY’S HORRORS, FAR FROM PASSING INTO OBLIVION, INCREASE IN BITTERNESS AND HATRED, UNLESS OCCASIONALLY REASON IS REACHED. ONE ONLY HAS TO LOOK TO IRELAND AND ENGLAND TO BE GRATEFUL FOR THE EVENTUAL END TO DECADES OF HOSTILITY AND FINALLY PEACEFUL RESOLUTION.
IN A RECENT BLOG, “A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE”, I DESCRIBED THE FUTILITY OF FORCE AS A VALID NEGOTIATING TOOL. IT IS THE UNFORGIVING HEART OF MAN WHICH MUST YIELD OF ITS OWN ACCORD TO THE HEALING POWER OF COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS.
IF SUCH DISPARATE GROUPS AS ELDERLY JEWISH SURVIVORS OF ONE OF THE CRUELEST EVENTS IN THE CIVILIZED WORLD CAN TRAVEL TO AMERICAN REDNECK COUNTRY, REACH OUT AND HUG KIDS WHO COULD BE THEIR GRANDCHILDREN IN RESPONSE TO A PAPER CLIP PROGRAM, THEN - JUST MAYBE –
THERE MAY BE FORGIVENESS AND SALVATION FOR US ALL.