The denial of clemency for Leonard Peltier — courtesy of Obama — inspired me to write this piece, along with the denial of Climate Change on the part of the new U.S. Administration.
But the Big Denial not talked about much is the one which is embraced by well-meaning, highly educated and deeply experienced activists and concerned citizens, along with members of the general public. It’s the refusal to acknowledge the abominations we all contribute to vis-a-vis our denial of how each and every one of us is going to have to radically transform ourselves if we’re going to deal the death blow to Dark Capitalism.
I’m addressing our consumerism, for one. Specifically, we can’t — none of us — keep thinking that we can support bands or ball teams flying all around the country, the world routinely. And the products that they hawk — from recordings to clothing — must be looked at anew. I’ve got much more to spotlight here, of course, but I think this more than enough to consider, for starters.
In Apocalypse Now there’s the famous sequence which plays Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries; most people I cross paths with seem to know it well. Few, however, know that Jimmy Dean, in the opening sequence of Rebel Without A Cause hums a bit of the same. I run across sweet souls routinely who absolutely love cinema. And if I told them that — all of their fighting the good fight notwithstanding — they were going to have to reconsider their attachment to celluloid, they’d dismiss me out of hand. What?! Give up films?! What are you out of your mind?!
Well, I’m not advocating doing away with cinematic art. I’m a former professor of Cinema History, for one, and I absolutely love movies. But that doesn’t mean that all of us aren’t going to have to radically review our uncritical acceptance of the dynamics inherent in today’s film industry, record industry, travel industry, etc.
What exactly must be done? What can be done?
Let the discussion begin, please. No one’s talking about this. Certainly, we can’t expect any documentaries to come down the line respecting this challenge.
There are far more than three denials in our collective life. And like the Valkyries we must commence our battle cry.
Richard Martin Oxman was a professor and worldwide educator on all levels for half-a-century; he’s been an activist for longer than that, and he can be reached at email@example.com.