AN AFTERNOON IN THE PARK WITH STUDS TERKEL / NOSTALGIA
Studs was there in 1968 when the Democratic Convention was a happenin'! Somehow the conclusion to this tiny passage of writing forced me to break out in a loud laugh. Studs caught something here.
[Open quote] The humiliating attributes of tear gas are astonishing. During the Grant Park fracas, one day later, the gas floated across the boulevard and affected casual passersby. Among them were two Chicago industrialists, one of whom I recognized as an admirer of Richard J. Daley. From inside the bar at the Conrad Hilton, I saw him coughing, crying, and angrily waving away his companion, who sought to comfort him. It was a remarkable dumb show: a powerful man, powerless and humiliated by something he could not quite put his hand on.
We are stumbling, helter-skelter, across the park, toward Clark Street. It is a retreat of stumblebums. James Cameron and I, among others whose presence we hardly sense, are two characters out of Samuel Beckett. We are Estragon and Vladimir. We are Hamm and Clov. We are Krapp. We cling to one another. We cough, we spit, we hawk, we curse. Like blind Pozzo, we stumble on.
A canister falls at our feet. A tall young man, of flowing blond beard (I note, tearfully), immediately behind us, kicks the canister away, toward himself. "Are you all right? Are you all right?" he coughs at us, solicitously. "Grrrhhgg," we reply. "Are you sure?" "Grrrhhgg," we insist. [Close quote]
I've only experience tear gas, myself, in boot camp when we had to don masks and stand in a shed to be gassed. Then we were told to remove our masks and to experience the gas firsthand. It became a test of wills between some of us to see who could withstand the pain longest. My memory tells me I won, but who can trust his memory? Anyway, the drill instructor made some of us come out before we harmed ourselves.
GOD LIES! WHAT?!
"It would seem that God lied and the serpent told the truth. Initially, God ordered Adam not to eat from The Tree of Knowledge, telling him that he would die on the very day that he did so. Yet, later, after eating from the fruit of this tree, Adam not only lived (for about nine hundred years), but God feared that he would obtain eternal life if he ate from the Tree of Life and it became necessary to expel him from the Garden." —Gary Greenberg, p. 51, 101 MYTHS OF THE BIBLE
Here's another consideration. Why did God need a "Tree of Life"? Did he have to eat from it in order to get his own eternal life? Were there greater beings than God who gave him the tree so that he could be eternal? Or was the tree a lie he made up to tease Adam? Why keep the tree in the Garden where Adam could get at it? Was God some sort of tempter, worse than the snake? In fact was God the snake all along who created God as a cover? I hate to say this, but only someone who is stupid as a brick or unhinged could believe any of this nonsense. Does it scare you to think that more than fifty percent of Americans believe Genesis to be true stuff?
THIS MAKES CREATIONISM A MENTAL FOSSIL
"In spite of the fascination of fossils, it is surprising how much we would still know about our evolutionary past without them. If every fossil were magicked away, the comparative study of modern organisms, of how their patterns of resemblances, especially of their genetic sequences, are distributed among species, and of how species are distributed among continents and islands, would still demonstrate, beyond all sane doubt, that our history is evolutionary, and that all living creatures are cousins. Fossils are a bonus. A welcome bonus, to be sure, but not an essential one. It is worth remembering this when creationists go on (as they tediously do) about 'gaps' in the fossil record. The fossil record could be one big gap, and the evidence for evolution would still be overwhelmingly strong. At the same time, if we had only fossils and no other evidence, the fact of evolution would again be overwhelmingly supported. As things stand, we are blessed with both." —Richard Dawkins, THE ANCESTOR'S TALE, p. 13
I'm just beginning this book and set two others aside in mid-read so that I could run to this one. It was burning a hole on my shelf. I'm so excited!