Saturday, April 22, 2017

Science March Saturday: Open the Door

Leaving to take the bus/light rail to the Capitol in an hour.
You've seen my Spock & Dalek poster. Marz came over last night to work on hers:

Scully from the X-Files. You know, "The truth is out there."

I'm taking my camera, hoping to see lots of pop-culture references. 


So--I ingested another weird cultural product this week. I decided by "weird" I mean human behavior I don't recognize.

After watching Sweet Smell of Success, I read The Reader (I've never seen the movie), by Bernhard Schlink, 1995, a novel about a German teenage boy in the 1950s who  has an affair, reads aloud to, and falls in love with a woman in her thirties. 


Later, as a law student, he attends a trial of concentration camp guards---she is one of them.

Turns out she's illiterate, and her efforts to hide it out of shame has shaped her life--including taking the guard job because she was about to get promoted at a factory into a management position where her illiteracy would be exposed.

OK. Fine. 
Great point that our private motivations drive us sometimes way more than larger political ones.
(Am I going to the Science March because I want to make a political point, or because I really wanted to paint a poster of Spock?)

But she also ends up letting a group of Jewish women burn in a locked church when she could have unlocked the doors---and I don't see how being ashamed of illiteracy in any way justifies or even explains that, as the book sort of implies it does.
Or, at any rate, the boy/man seems to think it somehow makes her forgivable, because he reads and mails books on tape to her after she's imprisoned.

I just don't recognize this.

I recently got an email from a former friend in CA---I'd ended the friendship a couple years ago because she was so rude to her step-daughter.  I'd called her on it, as have others, and she wouldn't even see it.  It doesn't help the step-daughter, but I couldn't continue to be friends with this person.

She wrote a chatty note at Easter, saying she'd love to hear from me, but I just couldn't stomach it.
And I can't see how this fictional man could stomach intense contact (when you read aloud, don't you have the listener in mind?) with a woman who burned people alive. 

There's this Big Question the woman asks the judge at her trial:
"What would you have done?"

And that's a great & important question to ask ourselves before we judge anyone in history, even Nazi prison guards.
Aren't there circumstances when we would have done the same, slipped into moral numbness, etc?

I can see taking a nasty job to hide a personal shame; I can see doing all sorts of murky moral things; but imagining standing outside a building on fire full of girls and women screaming as they burn, it seems really bloody easy to answer that question:

And if I didn't, I wouldn't think I was innocent.

And if you didn't, I wouldn't send you presents in the mail.

So, the book fails, though I don't condemn it for trying to grapple with the moral burdens the post-Nazi generation bears.

In fact, that's part of my motivation for going to the Science March:
I often think, with Sappho, that people in some future time will think of us.

How will I look?
I figure the least I can do is once in a while stand up and say,

I mean, geez, I don't even have any personal shame to protect.


I'd hoped to take paper copies of the ABC zine to the march, in case I ran into people I know, to give to them. Yesterday bink spent all afternoon carefully laying out the pages on the computer and printing master copies.

This is the end-page---with my bug-mice versions of me & bink:
We were so happy...
but when we Xeroxed the masters at FedEx, they didn't align, front to back.

A patient staff member spent an hour helping us--frustrated, we ended up saying we'd come back with a flash drive, but in fact we both felt we'd rather just forget it, plunk the whole thing online, let it be. Easier... and free.
We'll see. (I do like it better as a zine you can hold.)

OK, off I go! Happy day to you!

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