". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, December 29, 2014

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (2013)

May I suggest, highly recommend, the 89 minute documentary, Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (2013)?

A trailer can be seen here:

He was already noticing the all surveillance police state back in the days of the Truman administration, in which he thinks it really began.

This fits into the trilogy of works that this month have boomeranged my sense of history back to the Civil Rights and Vietnam era: Katharine Graham's Personal History, the 1988 - 1991 China Beach from ABC,

and Selma, about Martin Luther King, the march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights.  They've hit me hard, because of the contemporary escalating police violence and white supremacy and racism.  The scenes in The United States of Amnesia of the Chicago cops rioting at the Democratic Convention back in 1968.

Would that we still had Vidal speaking and writing today, and many many more like him.  For what he did see and understand and warn us of, I forgive him his scurrilous mendacities about General and President Grant.

How beautiful he was as a boy, youth and young man, and how elegant and handsome he was in his middle age and early old age.  And always, sharp and well-informed.

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, is available streaming from Netflix.

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