A Favorite Soliloquy

As soon as I saw that patina was the word for today, I instantly thought of this classic soliloquy From the movie, Michael Clayton…

“Michael. Dear Michael. Of course it’s you, who else could they send, who else could be trusted? I… I know it’s a long way and you’re ready to go to work… all I’m saying is wait, just wait, just-just-just… please hear me out because this is not an episode, relapse, fuck-up, it’s… I’m begging you Michael. I’m begging you. Try and make believe this is not just madness because this is not just madness. Two weeks ago I came out of the building, okay, I’m running across Sixth Avenue, there’s a car waiting, I got exactly 38 minutes to get to the airport and I’m dictating. There’s this, this panicked associate sprinting along beside me, scribbling in a notepad, and suddenly she starts screaming, and I realize we’re standing in the middle of the street, the light’s changed, there’s this wall of traffic, serious traffic speeding towards us, and I… I-I freeze, I can’t move, and I’m suddenly consumed with the overwhelming sensation that I’m covered with some sort of film. It’s in my hair, my face… it’s like a glaze… like a… a coating, and… at first I thought, oh my god, I know what this is, this is some sort of amniotic – embryonic – fluid. I’m drenched in afterbirth, I’ve-I’ve breached the chrysalis, I’ve been reborn. But then the traffic, the stampede, the cars, the trucks, the horns, the screaming and I’m thinking no-no-no-no, reset, this is not rebirth, this is some kind of giddy illusion of renewal that happens in the final moment before death. And then I realize no-no-no, this is completely wrong because I look back at the building and I had the most stunning moment of clarity. I… I… I… I realized Michael, that I had emerged not from the doors of Kenner, Bach, and Ledeen, not through the portals of our vast and powerful law firm, but from the asshole of an organism whose sole function is to excrete the… the-the-the poison, the ammo, the defoliant necessary for other, larger, more powerful organisms to destroy the miracle of humanity. And that I had been coated in this patina of shit for the best part of my life. The stench of it and the stain of it would in all likelihood take the rest of my life to undo. And you know what I did? I took a deep cleansing breath and I set that notion aside. I tabled it. I said to myself as clear as this may be, as potent a feeling as this is, as true a thing as I believe that I have witnessed today, it must wait. It must stand the test of time. And Michael, the time is now.”

-Arthur Edens, “Michael Clayton, 2007”

 

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Synchronicity Happens

So, this morning I was reading, Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance by Nguji wa Thiong’o … It is a refreshingly blunt and concise articulation of the role that imposing one’s language on people one wants to control and hold dominion over, plays in engineering brutalized nations into docile colonized subjects. Something the English started in Ireland and then spread across the globe – that  whole, mapping-naming-owning method. And of course, the whole point of even writing about it in a book is to communicate the necessity for Africans of both the continent and the diaspora, to re-member our natural languages in order to come back into our natural minds.

Later, when I took a break to see what the daily word was, I instantly saw the connection to what I had just been reading. It is clear to see that English is used as a tether to keep colonized peoples subjugated, and out of their natural minds. Doing so has given rise to modernity. It’s one method, albeit a devilish one. Quite literally.

The degree to which the subject makes one uncomfortable, is the degree to which one either identifies with the pathological arrogance of the colonizer, or the humiliation of the colonized. I think that, what underlies the discomfort is the inherent understanding that, if through brutality, peoples were brought to their knees and empires built upon their backs, eventually, the weight of that becomes too much to continue to bear and so, those people will begin to stand up. The irony is that the very gospels the colonizer used to bring the subjects to their knees in the first place, are the same gospels that caution that a house built upon shifting sand, will fall.

Nature Herself demands it … So let it be done.