Memory, whether you want to slice and dice it as “individual” or “collective” is about power and belonging.
If you want to belong, you’ll remember it (where “it” is something that “we did to the tribe over the hill”/”they did to us”) the way WE want you to, ‘kay? If you want to be a member of our gang, you remember like this or we will dismember you like that. Capisce?
Kundera: ‘The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting’
Always having to remind ourselves of “the past” (the subalterns less so, of course. )
Chris Rock nails it on this, in this interview.
So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.
It’s about white people adjusting to a new reality?
Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for.
And that “past” is fed back to us in ways that dis-empower us. We wait around for magical leaders. But they never existed.
Why do we love spy novels – the snitch jackets, the legends, the counter legends. They speak to identity, dilemmas of loyalty and interpretation. The all-too-human condition…
Things to read:
Onion: Repressed Memory Therapist recovers entire Rockford Files episode
Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States
Hidden from History: 300 years of women’s oppression and the fight against it by Sheila Rowbotham
Things to think about:
The History Wars in Australia – what we do when we refuse to admit what we did. What we do to OURSELVES but more importantly what we do to the people we’ve been shitting on. Hegel-schmegel, (but not Schlegel). There might need to be some re-cognition of this…
The whole thing about Alzheimers and identity – we are what we remember. And when we can’t, we aren’t that person any more?
And so on to Korsakoff’s
Things to (re)watch:
The Entire History of You– “Set in an alternative reality where most people have a ‘grain’ implanted behind their ear which records everything they do, see or hear. This allows memories to be played back either in front of the person’s eyes or on a screen, a process known as a ‘re-do’.”
The Nasty Girl – when a Bavarian activist asks awkward questions about her village’s elder statesmen and what they got up to 1933-1945.
“Men in Black” and the memory wand thing
“Memento” – Christopher Nolan
The “Bourne” Films – but not the Jeremy Renner atrocity
“Blade Runner” – the replicants want to be human, and fall in love with memories they know are fake. (Including, perhaps, Deckard himself.)
“Total Recall” (both the above, of course, are Philip K. Dick novels)
Things to read more about
Saffer Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Thinkers I’ve not encountered and may read if I win the lottery and never have to work again
Michael Rothberg and his Multidirectional Memory