Yeah I know, it got stuck in my head. Avett Brothers are some really interesting stuff. Such positive negativity. Jim here, on the other hand, is just high.
I decided to write something down again because I recently finished the book Constantine's Sword
. Even then it took me a week or so to gather some thoughts and make it here. The reason for that isn't actually apathy or indifference, though that may be the impression. The fact is after reading a book so dense it's hard to come right out and say what you thought of it. A book like that can't be melted down to a simple "I liked it" because I didn't really like it, but it was thought-provoking.
I suppose to really be honest to the book though I have to pay attention to my own life and perspective in reading it. I was raised in a Christian church that was, doctrinally speaking, pro-Jewish. In fact the leaders held the Jews up on a pedestal, something to do with Revelations prophecy, the witness, etc.. Carroll mentions a similar phenomenon several times in reference to Catholics, sans the reverence. My biblical channeling is a little fuzzy but I think it was something to do with a special place reserved in heaven for the "chosen" people, that being those true Jewish followers who believed in God without fail. Now naively when I was a kid I believed that Jews were more a race than a religion, which also ties into this book a little, but based on that I thought that the reverence my church held for Jews was almost a sort of envy because they couldn't be
Jews. Now I understand that you can simply convert to Judaism, which muddles the whole thing a bit.
I could continue on about strange hybrid-religions that I've had altogether too much experience of, but the point is that I came from the place of a Christian who held no animosity for Jews. If anything it's my political experience, rather than religious, that taught me any sort of negativity towards the Jewish religion, but that's a side-track as well.
Now on the other side of this, because
I was mostly emotionally detached from the Jewish condition, I also had no feelings of guilt or shame in regards to the holocaust (or the Shoah I suppose, if I want to try to be culturally sensitive). In fact in reading that book I learned more about the context of the holocaust then I'd ever known. In my head the Nazi treatment of Jews was more an isolated event, surprising and in dramatic shift from the normal thought-patterns of the time. Now of course I can see that logically that makes no sense, the Nazi party was made up of real people who had thoughts and opinions, the hatred of Jews couldn't possibly have been magicked into existence.
At the same time, by the time I was socially conscious I saw no evidence of this antisemitism that plagued the world for hundreds of years. I was a child of the 80s-90s, significantly one of my earliest memories of society was the Berlin Wall being torn down. The world to me as a kid was in this sort of pleasant pre-utopian state where things weren't perfect but all the most disagreeable stuff about the past had been resolved. Of course 2001 was a rude awakening in more than one way. Not only showing that the United States wasn't above the past, but also that the world was probably even more dangerous than it ever had been. I mean, who's idea was it ever to stick thousands of people into tall precariously built structures anyway? More than anything though it showed that racism wasn't dead. Not just the generalized racism that was scripted to "southerners" but the society-infecting panicked racism of the 1930s-40s. It was still very much alive. Also the ability to lump a religion in with a race was back, without even blinking America as a society generalized all Arabs as Muslims, then at that point Arabs were dangerous, or Muslims, or who cared they were basically the same thing.
I don't believe those things, but my point is that until I read James Carroll's book I never made the comparison, never examined how alive hatred and xenophobia still are in society, and was never truly worried about how that could effect our future. Now I can see that dystopian future that we lumber into, the heavy steps of the unwitting public trekking further into the inexcusable.