It had been nineteen-sixty and I was nine years old when I had been taken along with my parents to the Cinerama movie spectacular of Spartacus. At that time, we had our own house in Skokie some twenty-five miles north of the United Artist movie theater in the midst of downtown Chicago. I can still feel the sigh of the massed strings at the end of the credits. Their cloying simplicity a form of eternal melancholy threatening to summon tears while wringing out my soul. Now, something else more significant of a much happier era of my childhood forever lost in time and beyond reaching out to ever again. The shade of my dead parent’s faces when they were young hovering about the clarity of same now barely recognizable. Sixty years past and the world that I once knew seems erased by so many unexpected developments. Movie theaters now suddenly seeming to be something out of the past. Great flagship shopping malls have been abandoned in lieu of false convenience of having merchandise delivered to one’s doorstep. A new epoch of politics based upon division and fear have destroyed the notion of ever visiting existing centers of commerce and entertainment again under a lasting tyranny of a semi-mythical excuse trumpeting a modern plague. And I like so many other millions, I am sequestered alone at home incarcerated within a semi-voluntary lock down as a faceless prisoner under the terms of a fiction by the new incoming regime who seems to want to restrict all citizens even more! With much irony I have to wonder if we are all as these new slaves no different than the ones celebrated in that old movie spectacular of six decades previous?
The shipping center I walked towards in the darkness of a cold inhospitable Winter evening seems cold and empty now. A few of the last few employees are leaving a major storefront far in the distance ahead as I approach warily from an equally abandoned small village intersection. However inviting such a commercial center may be when its doors are open, consider how doubly unfriendly it becomes when it has been shut down for the night. Especially in this late blustery November where at this time of year the sun dips below the horizon before five o’clock in the afternoon! I continue my approach treading over wind withered Autumn patches of dead weeds and other undergrowth towards an empty parking lot. A slim hope of finding that my impressions from afar were not wholly off the money. So starved am I now for attention of any human kind I sally forth even if I must find an excuse to buy. A young blonde haired lassie enters a smaller shop and I am drawn to it like a magnet. To my surprise the front entrance is still unlocked and the office stationary store within is so jam packed with unsold goods that it glowers under its unpleasant modern variety of fluorescent light. A young Asian man is hunched over at the counter ahead. He is too engrossed in either boredom or store’s inventory report to note the fact of my presence. That tow haired young maiden is now further back quickly disappearing into the small maze of aisles. Prosperity had suddenly left this tiny place months in mid-step as if an earthquake had figuratively leveled it. Freezing it in that former moment in time as if akin to some ancient lava encrusted Pompei long lost to the ages.
I have been delivered up, like so many others of my kind, to a desert wilderness bereft of all those long familiar mental conveniences that I up to recently took for granted. And all for what? The mass hysterical fiction that this government imposed abstinence decreed from on high will somehow save a few of those proverbial all too precious lives? The most dominant party with its reckless aspirations to rule certainly has not shown that it values my existence! From the slow squeeze of measures advanced and now threatening to be enacted at lightening speed, I might say that it has declared war upon me as its mortal enemy! Declaring without shame or hesitation that it wishes to replace me with others who are not of my kind and hostile to my existence. Something in a manner too close to the enduring plot of that old movie spectacular buzzing about in my head. The empire whose heel now threatens to bring me to task is a lifeless thing. A fiction of a sort publicly represented it seems by vague human presences who pretend empathy within environments that seem more similar to those one might find in real estate open houses rather than actual life. Professional mannequins brought to life as highly realistic computer avatar NPC’s. All of them replete with the same universal death grin denoting servile self-satisfactions locked deep in the never never land of a corporate congealed Utopia. Someplace, somewhere out of current reach where one’s happiness in the moment depends upon the medication that you are prescribed being required to consult with your doctor to barter the last embers of personal freedom for. Self-sanctimonious Jewish descended cynics posing under the title of late night comedian ever present like ruthless demons to disparage if one dares to flick the switch on of the family’s electronic Lowest Common Denominator display so as to hear their nightly hateful rants. Entertainment rigorously limited to vacuous technological sword and sandal white uber-femme dominated space operas. A demented psychological fairy land where it is inferred millions will die. But in the end everyone is ecstatic to be safe for another cinematic moment underachieving moment in universal time. Noting living can survive in this new prison for long. The strains of that long lost melody tear at my ears. “Please die my love!” “Please die quickly!“, the sonorous voice of the film’s starring actress Jean Simmons coos passionately to the feet of a crucified Kirk Douglas who in turn silently contemplates her from above as the film’s last reel succumbs to a tear jerking finale! Somehow now I feel that doleful same message is now meant for me!
(exit music please)