On my way to the Annual Conference of the Society of Biblical Literature in Boston, I stopped in Baltimore. Today’s Washington Post carries stories about tomorrow’s opening of the new Museum of the Bible located not far from the Washington Mall. Its location alone near the heart of political and military power is enough to justify a dismissal of its claim to biblical inerrancy. What museum would Jesus have advised the Green family to build with their Hobby Lobby money? Would he have said something like: “Invite politicians and wealthy people at 2,500$ a pop and have a party tonight, do this in my memory?” The inerrancy the museum claims for the Bible is code for the exercise of power over minds and bodies, a nostalgic, rearguard action that actually reinforces the view that the modern American world has of Christianity as one of its cultures. By making a claim on US minds at the center of its political world, its effort to repeat and entrench a master narrative becomes a sorry demonstration of scientific and modern impotence. The reasoning behind the museum is entirely based on the notion of origin and priority of a certain kind of “antiquity” instead of on principle in its logical, critical, scientific sense. By dint of location and timing, it is trapped into a modern version of the Exodus story. In this story, it is not Moses who leads the people into a risky acceptance of a covenant without kings. On the contrary, it is the self-promoting Trump who acts like a pharaoh and calls for a return to the mythic golden age of divinized kingship. Do the supporters of this new museum realize what they are doing? Don’t they see that they are parting the Red Sea on their way back to the country of flesh pots and its gilded pharaohs?
Today, I walked to the Town Clock, downtown Santa Cruz, to add a soul to those from UCSC and town who live in hope of a better, richer, shareable existence, not in fear of one’s neighbor as our governing kleptocracy would wish us to have it. When I got there a little past noon, there were two or three hundred people gathered around the clock. Some old friends, lots of young people. We were waiting for the UCSC students to join us. All looked full of joy and hope.
I was moved at times. The first was at the sight of the marching UCSC students coming down Water Street. There were many more of them than I anticipated, given the threatening weather and more importantly the insidious separation and individuation that capital, management, and education have long been encouraging.
A second moving moment was to see people sit or kneel on the pavement at the intersection of Front, Water, and Pacific, to listen to the first speaker.
While we were listening, voices of another march approaching from the other end of Water became stronger and stronger. Heads began to turn towards the noise. The whole sitting crowd surged in a large wave as they realized it was school children and their teachers come to join us, before sitting again to listen to the speaker.
After a second speaker spoke briefly, the march started down Pacific Avenue. I joined teacher friends behind their sign, “teachers for thought”. The crowd continued to Laurel and looped back to the Clock via Front. Many people at office windows and doors. Much patience or even expressions of support on the part of many drivers blocked for something like half an hour to an hour. Longish video of marching along Pacific.
Tomorrow, Saturday Jan 21, 2017, a women’s march open to everyone is planned in Santa Cruz to coincide with the Women’s March on Washington, DC. It starts at 1:30pm at Santa Cruz City Hall, continues with a march on Pacific Avenue, leading to the main event at Louden Nelson Center. See Indymedia.
Meeting of minds next week on the anthropocene. We’ll have to stand in line at the Rio Theater because all tickets have been sold out. Prep with Ursula LeGuin’s A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be.
The Stuart Hall Project: Revolution, politics, culture and the New Left experience: a new film by John Akomfrah. A major success in Britain last Fall, “The Stuart Hall Project” is now being distributed in the USA.
It will be screened at UCSC on Tuesday evening, February 25th. 7:30 PM, Studio C. (Communications 150)
The film, 102 minutes, will be followed by an informal panel and general discussion animated by James Clifford (History of Consciousness), Jennifer Gonzalez (HAVC), and Herman Gray (Sociology).
See also the interview of filmmaker John Akomfrah by Jonathan Derbyshire in the Prospect Magazine.
Generously funded by the Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence. Co-sponsored by The Center for Cultural Studies and the Department of Film and Digital Media.
Just got this announcement for what promises to be a fun show at the UCSC Stevenson Event Center, Feb 16, 2014.
More detail for those interested: most of the pieces in the show (a staged reading) were suggested by Tom Lehrer. You’ll see some of the sources and authors listed at the bottom of the poster. The A Team that will present: Mickey McGushin is musical director, he and Irene Herrmann accompany the musical portions, and Susan Morgenstern directs. The actors are stars of Cabrillo musicals (Ceglio, Parker, Michaud, Boardman), with a few ringers from UCSC and Shakespeare Santa Cruz (Willey, Warren, Stanley, Torfeh).
The UCSC Library has just acquired a facsimile of a very important Mediaeval Hebrew illuminated manuscript (British Library Add. 11639). This ms was made between 1277 and 1286 in northern France, though the commentary that is part of the facsimile edition indicates some of its illumination was done in Paris. Explore its vivid illustrations via the British Library site. Scroll to the bottom for access to various folios.