By David Glenn Cox
Jesus allegedly told Pilate that we both have truths. Pilate is thought to have answered, “Yes, but mine are going to hurt.” The search for truth, Justice and the American way and when we find that guy, we’re going to beat him up. The idea that a nation with a genocidal past will attempt to dig a hole and bury it. Is like a cat trying to bury a turd on a marble floor, it ain’t gonna happen. History and literature are overburdened by attempts at the “Official” truth. It even has its own name “Orwellian.”
There is an episode from “The Gulag Archipelago,” A Soviet citizen reads in the newspaper the party announces a new temperance drive! To combat drunkenness and absenteeism, state stores will now limit purchases of Vodka. He looks up and says to himself, “Oh shit, the potato crop failed.” Once they know everything you say is a lie. They will automatically assume the opposite to be true. “We want to strengthen election laws to protect the integrity of the voting system,” eye Comrade?
Afraid to face the ghosts of our past, too afraid to know the truth. Slavery had been a way of the world for thousands of years. That doesn’t make it right but that doesn’t make it not so. It’s easy to sit back with Caterpillar tractors and pneumatic hammers pushing buttons on our computers but the Pyramids didn’t build themselves. I’m not saying it was right, I’m say that’s the way things were done. They weren’t evil as much as they were ignorant. “When you’re sick, you put a knife under your bed to cut the pain.” They thought mercury was a great gift to medicine. Quick. Get the leeches and my blood letting kit!
Doctors would not perform surgery on the human heart, “It was against god’s plan. The heart is a holy organ.” The devil is hiding behind the barn, say your prayers. These people thought witches and Vampires were real. And if you got them stirred up about it, they’d kill you over it. Kill you and be proud of themselves for making the world a better place. (Smoke gets in your eyes.) Every generation believes themselves enlightened and it is only in retrospect we see the folly of our backwardness. This inability to see where we are going. But believe, we are wise to go there, forcing us to repeat our follies over and over. Unable to see where we are going, we only see going where we have already been.
Darwin set them in a tizzy; state legislators jumped onboard the outlaw the teaching of Evolution movement bandwagon! Passed laws making it a crime to teach it to the state’s children. Just as they had laws against teaching slaves to read. And poll taxes, to protect the official truth. The official truth was in the holy Bible and the holy Bible said, nothin wrong with slavery, teach that otherwise you’re fired.
It was against the law to mail any drawn representation of human genitals. To stamp out filth being sent through the mail but mainly to stamp out birth control advice being sent through the mail to women locked away across America. “But these things are against our teachings, it’s god’s will you have eleven children and die at forty-six. She’s with all the saints in heaven now kids!” In Virginia, Mary Custis was the richest widow in the state until she married George Washington. After that she was his penniless wife, George owned everything. Why sure, that was the way it was always done. It had better be true love sister. No do overs and all sales are final.
Kinsey set them on fire. A book about sex! They published a book about sex, we need to ban it! The natural curiosity combined with the fury of the critics sent sales through the roof. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, official truth. The book is about sex; where can I get a copy? Because for many of us that was a verboten subject because of the official truth. You must only have sex for procreation. Sex outside of marriage is wrong. Sex outside of your race is wrong. Masturbation is wrong. Sex outside your gender is wrong. Birth control is wrong, questioning you gender is wrong and most of all, (test question, write this down.) Talking about sex is wrong.
Lenny Bruce was arrested for saying “Blow Job” on stage. The next night, Bruce asked individuals in the audience. “Do you like to get your blah, blahed? Don’t you love it when someone blahs your blah?” Bruce pointed out if you can’t say Fuck you on stage, you can’t say fuck you to the government. The structure that prevented dirty books and dirty ideas slowly crumbled. Washed away by a new enlightened generation that feared comic books and drive-in movies were destroying America’s youth.
The sins have been committed and all participants are dead. Teaching what has happened is the only path forward because that is what happened. African Americans have been treated shamefully right up to the current day. Denying it doesn’t make it any less so. But like an intervention, we don’t want to hear about the time we got drunk at the wedding and fell into the cake. We don’t want to hear anything negative about ourselves. Let me tell you about Johnny Appleseed, he went through the country planting apple trees because he was a nice man had nothing better to do. Abner Doubleday popularized baseball and Pat Boone sang for Chevrolet.
The forbidden truth becomes the subversive truth. The subversive truth becomes the seductive truth. The truths of Kerouac or Ginsberg, the stuff all the cool kids read. Turn on tune in drop out, burn your draft card or burn your bra. Far out man! Are you holding? I said, baby are you holding? She said, I can’t hear you, let me turn down the Electric Prunes on the phonograph. The truth rolls on undaunted, the deniers of truth pass away like their times.
“Keep the company of those who seek the truth- run from those who have found it”
― Vaclav Havel
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