Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Gone with the Wind

HBO Max pulled "Gone with the Wind" from its lineup because of its racial depictions.  Sure, we all get it.  That movie was never a guide to good social behavior.  You are not supposed to take your moral values from any of the characters except, of course, Mammy.  But we all know the past was bad and we should probably do away with it.  If we can wipe it from our collective consciousness, the world will never make those mistakes again.

I don't really care.  I've never enjoyed the movie.

Nor could I watch "The Sound of Music."  And that horrible student film that made more money than any movie before it. . . what was it called. . . a monster movie made in black and white, won something at Sundance. . . ?  Q will know.  He was in film school with the fellows who made it.  I never watched it.

Rather than doing away with the past, though, some find it better to rewrite it.  History, I mean, our only tangible connection to it.  That's what winners do.  They get to tell the story.

I have lived through my own personal history being rewritten for me.  Once, I told my story proudly, but I learned that my story was bad, and I became ashamed of it.  Almost all of it at one time or another.  That self I had created had to be destroyed, burned into ashes and thrown to the wind.  If ever the things I had thought or done re-emerged. . . well, I knew there would be hell to pay.

In this long, intensive isolation I've endured, I've had a lot of time to think about that.  I've thought about the predicament I find myself in, having, of course, created my condition through past decisions and actions, and for a long while now, it seems, I have been depressed.  My thoughts have been, by and large, negative and despairing.  A day ago, I read an article about a new study that shows definite links between negative attitudes in older people and the onset of dementia.  Alzheimers.  They have studied the physiology of brains, seen which parts are activated, what chemicals are produced, etc.  Man, I thought after reading that, I don't want to think my way to madness.  So, I've been meditating on embracing myself and honoring myself and becoming happy again.

It is difficult, for, you see, I had so much help in that other direction.  Conditional love, etc.

In thinking about myself, I've wondered if America, too, isn't thinking its way to dementia.  It cannot embrace itself any longer.  It cannot accept itself.  There can only be a conditional love.

Imperfect people creating a perfect world.  I don't know.  In public, it seems, we spend more time thinking and talking about choosing our gender or going genderless than we do about saving a dying planet.  People just seem to hate science and would prefer to eschew it for socially constructed narratives.  THIS, they say, is what we are talking about NOW.

I've lived through that sort of personal restructuring.  It didn't cheer me.  But we are living through an era of shame, and all popular forms of mid-cult art must reflect that now.  The past, you know, was bad.  All of it.  Hell, the Bible tells us so.  There was really never any doubt.  And so, like all religious pilgrims, we must repent.  Like Lot and Lot's wife, we must never look back to those twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, those cities of the plain where past evils dwell.  We will look to a better and brighter future.

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

I hated all for which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who comes after me.

Indeed, all man's days are filled with grief, and his task is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.

Vanity of vanities. All is vanity and chasing after the wind.

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