Micah, a young man I've known from when he was a wee little lad, is home from Iraq. He is now back with his wife and children and that is a very good thing.
Another young man is facing prison time for sexual misconduct involving some mentally challenged residents of a nursing home. It is right that he face the legal consequences of his choices, but some of the readers' comments on the local news blog go far beyond justice, and beyond the known public facts of the case. It is not a good omen for society when the public is ready to jump to conclusions when not all the facts of a case are publicly known. Why is it not possible to choose to suspend personal judgement on such cases? And by the way, I'm speaking of the same kind of suspension of personal judgement that many of us avoided when we jumped to conclusions about O. J. Simpson's murder trial a number of years ago. Guilt or innocence is not determined by a news poll and neither is such a news poll real "news".
For the last sixty years the world has avoided a major war; a war of such magnitude that it would rank as World War III. Given the proliferation of nuclear technology in places like North Korea and Iran, one wonders how long such a war can be avoided. With the debate over the American use of atomic bombs on Japan in World War II, one thing gets overlooked. If the US had not dropped those bombs, the world would not have been so vividly aware that we now had the power to destroy ourselves. I am pessimistic and not just because of any particular view of eschatology. I personally think there is a very good probability and it is just a matter of time when we will again see the mushroom cloud unleashed over some city some place on this earth. I sincerely hope I am wrong, and would love to be proven wrong.
My daughter and I watched Easy Rider a few nights ago; Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper riding into oblivion on their choppers. It reminded me of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises; a lost generation wandering aimlessly through life without purpose or any real hope except the next high.
The apex of that anomie comes in the scenes in the cemetery when Wyatt and Bill, in the company a couple of prostitutes, are tripping out on acid. In the background of the hallucination scenes we hear recitations of the Apostles Creed and other liturgical recitations. Amidst all of that, in one scene Wyatt holds his fist to the sky, a post-modern Nimrod asserting his freedom from all but self. Then when it's all over and Wyatt and Bill are on the road again, Wyatt tells Bill, "We blew it!"
The ending with the "rednecks" in the pickup truck is tragic and you are not sure who is more tragic, Wyatt and Bill, or the redneck murderers whose miss-placed "purpose" is just as morally empty as Wyatt and Bill's purposelessness. Easy Rider is considered a landmark movie, and insofar as it portrayed the popular cultural angst of the late 1960's and early 1970's, it indeed is.
~ The Billy Goat ~