I keep running into things, these past few weeks, which make me feel guilty to be an American. There was that book about Zimbabwe, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun. And, I mean, imagine living in a country like that, where everything disintegrates around you into corruption and violence and death, everywhere. And last night we watched Defiance, about the Bielski partisans in the Belorussian forest during WWII. It isn’t perhaps the best movie in the world (a little melodramatic and slightly cheesy in parts with the slow panning and scoring) but as anything to do with Jews in Europe during a certain patch of the 20th Century, it’s, well, incredible, the things we’re capable of doing to each other. And last night this stupid incident on the flotilla, and the usual international condemnation for Israel. Then just general crap and crime and violence and cruelty that’s always going on in the world. And me with my adorable baby cruising around the living room with a big smile on her face and two cars downstairs and the supermarket up the road and flowers in everyone’s gardens, and it all seems so very far away.
Last night I went out to play wingman for a friend who was at a bar nearby with his crush and her girlfriend, and I ended up getting in a fight with his crush. I was talking about something I’d once planned on writing about Scotland and being Canadian and ninmate Rueful Red came up as a journalist living in Edinburgh but he’s from Yorkshire originally, and this stupid girl says that she thinks that’s funny because writing about a place where you’ve never been is very American to her. And I was, honestly, confused as f---, and asked her to repeat what she’d just said, and she suddenly didn’t want to talk about it, then she said something about how she has a huge problem with this country and then we got in an argument. She had this attitude where she didn’t actually have any reasons for her viewpoint which she’d want to share with us, she just expected us to marvel at her bon mots and courage, but it pissed me off so I challenged her on it. Then called for my cab during the awkward silence that followed.
So those are my musings on this Memorial Day. Watching movies and reading the news on the internet in my comfy protected condo, trying to do justice by the comprehension that my freedom wasn’t free, and only able to contribute so far as getting into a terse argument with a spoilt self-styled “artist” in a hipster bar trying desperately to be postmodern in lower Queen Anne.
Happy Memorial Day. I hope you all keep in mind those who have contributed more than we ever could honestly comprehend.