Monday, September 12, 2011

have you ever been drunk beyond memory?

one of my most embarrassing: friends set up a date for me with a junior at the university of wisconsin, me a freshman in indiana. they lied about my age. i think i held up the image pretty damn well, until i drank one too many beers and dropped over the edge into limbo. next day, i learned what a fool i'd been.

and what do you do the day after? blush and leave town if you can, which i did, relieved to take the option. and what do you do if you can't leave for a new country? in other situations i've blustered, hidden my tracks, pretended it never happened, got drunk again. and that's the way i feel after the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

how do you make the obvious visible? it's the toughest thing in the world. what we see everyday certainly looks like a chair, but is it? isn't it, as plato maintained, merely an idea? and once we've come to picture an historical event as we've been trained to see it, can we really unravel it into it's component pieces and perhaps recover a bit of memory?
no, one person's memory of an event can't clear away the dust thrown in our eyes. 

collectively, we do not learn from history and repeat it every day. pardon me for my brashness, yet it was henry ford who said, 'history is bunk.' and i'm afraid he's right, much as i've always loved the study of history, it's full of good fairy tales. no, we copy the way our parents walk and talk. i catch myself making a statement like my dad or using a lovely sarcasm of my mother: if you don't like this hotel, you can go to another! yes, shame is a great way to keep your children under control, and a country.

what am i getting at? with the collapse of the communist threat, the people who had used it to maintain political control in the united states were at a loss. they'd a president who'd stolen the position, the laughing-stock of the population who avoided responsibility by going fishing. UNTIL...the momentous visual event of planes crashing into two tall buildings, the towers crashing and burning, provided a new enemy THE ARAB WORLD to replace the old. 

i  in my tower on that day didn't watch the news, rather listened on the radio. i knew if i watched the tv footage over and over it would plant a searing image into my brain. the voices in the street much more real and individual. i called my friend randy, who lived in greenwich village. he'd walked toward the smoke with thousands of others until the first tower collapsed. everyone turned tail, and looked back to see the second go down.

in such circumstances it's hard to know what you saw. evidently we don't contain memories, we reconstruct them every time and they degrade. in terms of political events they get re-written. like have a huge hang-over, we can't think straight the day after, not to mention ten years later after having taken our personal tragedy and making it a world one. 

i did run across one short talk that clarifies the present situation:

however after so much patriotism, jingoism, and loss, a man of common sense can't make much headway until the fires die down. and they can't, being constantly stoked to scare the population into submission.