*Where are we going? I’ve been asking that question ever since I heard the song by Donald Byrd on his “Flight Time” album back in 1973. The other night I had a weird dream…no it was a nightmare! I woke up with a start at 1:30AM, and as I lay there going over the dream I recalled people debating whether we should continue to use contractions, or should we start breaking the words up for political correctness. I got up and wrote it down.
I think this whole equality issue is making me paranoid. Equality is good in the basic natural order of things, but opinions – not standards and absolutes like the sun rises and the sun sets – are seemingly making us a fair-weather society. In other words what is the latest popular opinion derived from someone’s deregulated personal life experience? What’s the latest fad…the “pet rock” of the day?
As silly as this may sound, in my dream one group decided instead of using the contraction “it’s” that we should break it up and say “it is” because it’s (oops!) discriminatory for the word “is” to be overshadowed by the word “it”. To not give the word “is” its full recognition would be literary bigotry. Because of opinion, this group wanted to abandon the etymological standard just so it may progress its own agenda and perhaps make its mark on the world just as the scientist character in the original movie “The Invisible Man” played by actor Claude Rains. With no regard to consequence and the ramifications, the character was enamored of his condition and played out his paranormal power and privilege with misdeed until he was finally destroyed.
Also in the dream “Bill” was holding a heavy box while talking to “Jim” and “Sue”. When Bill asked Jim to hold the box for him, a whistle-blower witness claimed that Bill was discriminating against Sue because he was assuming Sue did not have the strength to hold the box. Like I said, it was a weird dream. Then there was a third part.
There was a certain holiday on every continent where for a period of time, all the people were required to hold their hands out palms down. While the people were in observance, someone asked “Why are we doing this?” And the question echoed around the world puzzling people for no one knew the answer. The generation which had declared the holiday had been long gone and there was no reasonable or natural explanation to answer the question. So one man said, “In my opinion, I think we should stop this tradition”, and his opinion echoed around the world until all the people began to agree just because everybody else was doing it. Books had become obsolete and no one was reading for themselves anymore, and no one could remember who started the blog in the first place. Another song comes to mind as I think about the scenario: “Will It Go ‘Round In Circles” by Billy Preston. A line in the songs says “I got a song ain’t got no melody, I’m gonna sing it to my friends”. It seems we’re passing along just anything to one another – “Talkin’ Loud And Sayin’ Nothin’” as James Brown once sang. Why must we complicate things so? Keep it simple – you know…the acronym KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid! Where are we going? It looks like we’re going nowhere fast! Following is one of my favorite poems written by Stephen Crane:
ONCE THERE CAME A MAN
By Stephen Crane
Once there came a man who said,
“Range me all the men in the world in rows”
And instantly there was terrific clamor among the people
against being ranged in rows.
There was a loud quarrel world-wide.
It endured for ages; and blood was shed
by those who would not stand in rows,
and by those who pined to stay in rows.
Eventually, the man went to death, weeping.
And those who stayed in bloody scuffle
knew not the great simplicity.
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” www.larrybuford.com (213) 220-8101