We were watching the No Direction Home documentary that Martin Scorcese made about Bob Dylan. There was only time for the first 20 minutes before bed, but, since it began at the beginning, we got a great laugh out of the ever-pained Dylan’s comments about the Minnesota of his childhood where the winters were “rightly cold”, too cold for politics or protest because it took all your energy just to fight the cold. And there was plenty of the massive influence on Dylan that was Woody Guthrie.
Has anyone revived his guitar sticker? It seems it’s time.
This list of the “Early Warning Signs of Fascism” has been doing the rounds on Twitter. It’s purportedly from the Holocaust Museum. I see plenty of these warning signs. It’s hard to know where to start protesting and fighting back first.
I’ve been enjoying the bonkers history book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. (The Guardian review called it ‘swashbuckling’.) Since he starts 2.4 million years ago, the author has to go at quite a clip. I’m getting near the end and it’s touching nerves He talks throughout the book about gossip and stories and how “fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively. We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story…and the nationalist myths of modern states.” He goes on “[Two countrymen] who have never met might risk their lives to save one another because both believe in the existence of the [nation], the homeland and the flag. Judicial systems are rooted in common legal myths…laws, justice, human rights, money…none of these things exist outside the stories that people invent and tell one another.”
Sapiens was written in 2014. Phew! Talk about reading history to get a perspective on our times. To paraphrase: Guys! It’s all fake news. Everything.
We’re happy to accept that far-off exotic others believe in ghosts, magic, spirits and we note that that’s partly what glues their primitive society together, without seeing what’s right under our noses: we do it too. We’re making it all up all day every day.
Now the question of the moment is: Which legend do you wish to dismantle first? Happy to begin with laws, justice and human rights? …
…or are you more the kind of person who prefers to take a magnifying glass to religion, nationalism and money for starters?
“There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings.”