Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Day 11 on IWTV: Slavery

So I did watch 12 Years A Slave, which apparently was based on a true to life account of Solomon Northup. I found his life story riveting and disturbing, and I couldn't keep out thoughts of Ferguson, MO out of my head as I watched this searing film. I saw through the film a sugar plantation and cotton fields. Watching the movie I understood what Louis meant when he told Lestat to "use all his power as a white master over them." Back then, the slaves were not treated as human beings, but worse than animals.

Slavery was a fact of life in the South during the late 18th Century in the United States, and I am not sure if they are proud of that. Louis kept slaves and called them exotic. It seemed that the slaves in the Pointe du Lac plantation were indeed of a different sort, not at all subservient and obsequious, but fully African and foreign. (Easter egg! "Daniel" was the name of Louis's trusted slave. Daniel was also the name of the young boy who interviewed him.)

Our nation is not a stranger to slavery. We have been enslaved for over three hundred years by the Spaniards who stole our lands, our gods and imposed Catholicism and feudal rule. The Spaniards sold us to the Americans, who established colonial rule. And then the Japanese came. And after the World Wars, when we were granted Independence as a nation, we were enslaved by greed (by corrupt governments), poverty, superstition, religion, and lack of education.

Today I signed a job offer contract. I will be a full-time employee to a large corporation. I am looking forward to getting paid and buying more books, but not to the time I will have to invest in the new job. Half of the twenty-four hours each day I receive will be devoted to work, five days each week. Eight hours for work, one hour for lunch (at the office), three hours travel time to and from work. I'll be a paid slave in the twenty-first century, although my local church admonishes us that work is good. Naturally, they say work is good. We get paid, and then we pay our tithes to the church. I start on the fifteenth of this month.

I still long to be a published novelist, and to continue acting on the stage. On these dreams I will not give up.

 At this point in the story the slaves were rising up against Louis and Lestat, and Lestat's father was dying. Lestat couldn't bear to end the old man's life because he was, after all, his father. This is our first pure glimpse of Lestat's heart. Yes, he is reckless, yes, he is a true predator. But he's not a heartless monster after all. In mercy Louis killed Lestat's father, but this is Merciful Death, Sweet Death, and there is no horror to it. I do not understand why our minds accept this kind of death for the old and suffering. Do we really subconsciously believe we go to a better place of eternal youth and bliss and health after we die?

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