Monday, March 24, 2003

moral ambivalence will solve nothing

At work tonight, watching the Oscars, during that In Memorium part where they flash images of all the film people who have died within the last year, I thought about those that died today. The sixteen or twenty or whatever the number is of US soldiers who were killed today in combat. It seemed to be about twenty people that were showcased in the In Memorium segment, black and white clips from old movies that these people either were in or helped to make, and I can not help but wonder about those other twenty and the creative potentials that will now never be utilized from them. We'll never see their movies. Twenty or so Americans and all they could have offered us died today somewhere in Iraq. Tragedy seems to be uniquely marked by a sense of loss concerning potentials and what might have beens. For this reason, the death of an old person is rarely refered to as a tragedy. Rather it is the young, those still in their prime, those who still have the capactiy to build amazing things that could change us, that could inspire us to build our own amazing things - it is the death of these young that usually qualifies as tragic. And so it is the case today, and sadly it has taken the deaths of these Americans to make me realize the tragic sadness of Iraqi deaths, of more unharnessed potentials.

Yesterday at work, an old man looked at the newspaper that was sitting out on the counter by me and said something along the lines of an astounded Wow. There was a huge photo on the front page of fireballs over Baghdad. Definitely worth a Wow. Because Wow that is astounding that things like that still occur, that people live somewhere in this photo. And then he said something along the lines of: "Just be glad you are working behind that desk and aren't over there." An off-the-cuff remark that really hit home for me. I am glad how lucky I am that whatever circumstances have enabled me the luxury to work part-time at some Florida hotel. And there are people whose circumstances led them into the armed services. It all is so random. And all so tragic. Some American youth died today and I watched the Oscars. Michael Moore, Adrien Brody, and Chicago won. It seems like bullshit, my part in it. But it also seems tragic to live and not harness your creative potentials, to let them lie asleep while you watch self-congratulatory televison. There are Americans out there and I am going to find them, I want to be one of them, join their secret club and do public things, build bright, big, shining things that will make you say Wow in a good way.

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