Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Can We Make It Less Bitter?
When I was a child, I got my dad's Time magazine taken away from me, the one with all the pictures of the dead bodies at Jonestown. He had a subscription from work to Time and Newsweek and one of my big joys at the end of the week was rifling through his briefcase and hoarding these treasures. I learned a lot about the issues of the day and spent many hours clipping articles about women being beaten and torture victims. It passed, as they say, the violet hours. But at five years old, the aerial views of the bodies were a bit too much, and I started to have bad dreams about that distant jungle. Thirty years later, it seems like yesterday, and I spent a lot of my youth researching the People's Temple and other cults. What caused people to put so much faith in a preacher who started out selling pet monkeys door to door is hard to fathom. But like so many shitty situations in life -- families and marriages and jobs that we are born into, have to take, doomed to repeat -- it's like one big roach motel; you come in, but hell if you can find your way out.
I have a copy of the last tapes of that fateful day in Guyana, one of the more unusual gifts I have ever received. There's a lot of crying once people realize that some nut was going to take them out, a lot of "Can't we call Russia for help?" and so forth. One woman, resigned to drink the Flavor Aid, asked if there was a way to make it less bitter. But alas, all the sugar was gone. I think of that question a lot, about so many sadnesses in this life, but usually the answer is no, try as we might with all the potions we can force down our throats.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?" Friedrich Nietzsche
Drinking religious book suggestion: Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers Of The Religious Right Mel White (He's the father of one of my favorite filmmakers of all-time, Mike White!)
Benedictions and Maledictions