Sunday, July 8, 2012

And When I Die

In 1969 (will I ever drag myself out of the 60s?) the jazz/rock fusion band Blood Sweat And Tears,_Sweat_%26_Tears released "And When I Die". It reached #2 on the Top 40, and was, quite possibly, the last time death was rationally mentioned on primetime media in the United States of America.

It strikes me that the Americans (and we're catching this particular disease) have a really odd attitude toward death. I am not convinced that people - particularly Americans -  actually "believe" in death. Vast numbers believe in some sort of Sky God who speaks to them personally, and who maintains some sort of home for them to go to when their material body dies, so they don't actually die. It's seems to me that there are major delusional factors involved in this belief system, but wjhat do I know?

But it goes beyond that. There's a number of movies that come out every year that shows the transubstantial belief goes beyond organised regions. The Christ, Jahweh, Mohammed, Krishna, and Buddha followers aren't mentioned in films in which an adult swaps bodies with a teenager (and vice versa, of course), and everyone enjoys learning a jolly good lesson. Or the films in which preople are miraculously saved from some tragedy, but are later harvested by a vengeful personified Death, wyho seems to enjoy coming up with quite novel and spectacular ways of doingn away with people. Now, even irrational people understand that movies ain't real. But even the suspension of disbelief allows the making and popularity of movies that easily insist on the reality of "souls", "spirits", and (more sinisterly) the personification of a being that takes your spirit from you.

Then there's the language. I've notived American movies, books, TV programmes, websites, and magazines almost never use the "D" word. People don't die, and they're not dead. They pass, or have passed.

Oh, well - that's them.

I noticed this the other, and couldn't believe it. The quote comes from the story in the link, which tells of a chap who was called in to investigate a "sacred" statue that was producing holy water. Unfortunately for the goddists, it was actually sewage water, leaking from a busted pipe. But here's the quote:

You now face possible arrest. Why?Leaders of two Catholic laity organizations have launched charges against me under Section 295A of the Indian penal code. This charges a person with "deliberately hurting religious feelings and attempting malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class or community.”

Yeah - an actual law that protects the feelings of the religious. Sigh. If their god ain't powerful enough to protect their feelings, then what the dickens does that law have to do with it?

Reading: Potsdam Station, by David Downing. The last of a series about Berlin during WWII. Better than Le Carre at his best.

Watched: "Strange Exports: A Christmas Tale". A Finnish movie about the real Santa. Deliciously funny.

Listening to: Lana del Ray "Born To Die". Well, at least she didn't call it "Born to pass..."

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