News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Fri. April 6, 2018: Is this all there is …. The Donald Trump brain DEAD vision.
A world of fear and loathing that is HIS world. A President who appeals to the lowest instincts. We need inspiration to survive this “stranger” in The White House. Count the days when he is gone, gone, gone forever!
Here is real inspiration – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week and the 50th anniversary of his tragic painful assassination. And another important, be it less so, 50th anniversary this same week of a very different sort.
It was on April 3, 1968 that Dr. King gave his final very famous speech in Memphis the night before his murder in which King said he might not get there but we were headed for The Promised Land he had envisioned.
The very same day April 3, 1968, Stanley Kubrick’s film epic “2001: A Space Odyssey” was released that also envisioned The Promised Land.
First let me answer the question why don’t I spend more time focusing on Trump’s many, many failings? Because it is largely a waste of my time. It is the same increasingly BORING story day after day Trump out of control tweeting away while making stupid decisions.
With President Barack Obama, there was something worthwhile to criticize him for almost every week in my weekly series “Obama’s America.” Obama so often fell short of his potential to create REAL change and his bold campaign promise unrealized. He was just another standard issue Democratic Party President pretending to be more.
With Trump its a different story. He is the Loser we all knew he would be. So “Trump’s America” is a commentary on larger themes that surround the FAILED Presidency of Donald Trump to keep us locked in the past.
So back to those two 50th anniversaries this first week of April which appear so very different but are they really. Both speak to …
The Promised Land we crave for so alien to President Donald Trump. Both speak to a Promised Lands we have yet to achieve and with Dr. King cut down by hatred the other in the movie “2001” by lack of vision.
This same week that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered the most significant movie about our life beyond Earth premiered. The finest of its genre by far. Star Wars and the others are so far behind it …
Stanley Kubrick’s epic “2001: A Space Odyssey.” A film for the ages based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke titled “The Sentinel.”
How can Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and “2001” possibly be related? In the most basic and significant way possible and imaginable. Both showed us a path far beyond what we have achieved and the mundane.
There is no need to retell the life or the accomplishments or the meaning of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life here. You each know it as well as I do. No mystery to be uncovered there by me.
His Truly Great American story but …
You are probably less familiar with “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Some have probably never seen it maybe just heard about it. Well here is the deal. The theme of both King and the movie “2001” is The Promised Land.
Not different Promised Lands the same one seen in different ways. The fact is neither has been achieved. Both seem either far away or might they both be close at hand our collective imagination the difference.
Time I recap 2001 to make the meaning clear.
First we enter a world of long ago where pre-human primates discover the power in their minds when one of them sees the game changing potential in a bleached long death animal’s bone lying on the ground in an epic moment of history changing insight he or she understands it is a tool of unlimited power for them to slay other animals that are their food or as much new weapons to confront and destroy other primates.
In both cases Stanley Kubrick presents it as the symbolic moment when the human race was born and the future was born that led to our today many thousands of years later and a tomorrow not yet achieved.
This pre-human in its exhilaration at its discovery tosses one of these animal bones high in the sky where it is transformed in the movie many millennia later to a space station and a transport to the Moon where human settlements are well underway and a mysterious discovery of a BLACK monolith results in a space voyage of ultimate meaning.
No need to detail it here or the important sub-plot of automation out of control in fear of its own “life” the real theme is the re-birth of human life to the next stage if evolution grasping the Wonder at the heart of the universe we inhabit and the sacredness of all life and freed of our basest instincts that thrived along with our advancements that both date from that symbolic moment at the beginning of Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” when primate realize the power of good and evil they possess.
Obviously, Dr. King murdered the very next day April 4, 1968, never saw “2001: A Space Odyssey” and no way to know if he ever would had he lived. I am going to suggest he would have had he learned of it. That King would have been intrigued to find out if he might have found a useful message in it as he did in so many other sources and that found their way into his many speeches as did the reference to The Promised Land.
Allow me to project the conjecture on to Dr. King here in my words had he lived speaking sometime later in another church somewhere:
I know this may shock some of you that I might occasionally take a break from my life’s work and yes even go to a movie theatre but I do. Tonight, let me tell you about one new movie I recently had the pleasure to see. Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
I was more impressed than I had any reason to expect I would. It turned out to be a story of Biblical quality and meaning that takes place on ancient Earth then shifts to outer space into the future of 2001.
In many ways the central character is a magical black monolith that is the source of knowledge and wonder that transforms a world filled with pre-human primates into thinking creatures who made our world we live in today and will tomorrow. This Black monolith then reappears guiding a 21st century white spaceman to the next stage of human evolution.
We Black men and women can see ourselves in that black presence in this movie. We too have a pivotal role to play to advance all of humanity of every color. That our intelligence and our struggle to be free of radical injustice must and will take everyone beyond hatred and oppression that has prevented our human race from reaching its potential.
The movie 2001 ends on a glorious note when this American astronaut turns into a star child and is consumed by the wonder of life and become a messenger for all humankind of the glories that await us if we believe.
Now I know I may never get to that Promised Land with you but many of you can and will if you only believe it and will not be deterred.
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the 50th anniversary of his murder.
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(This entire series is dedicated in honor of the late Liu Xiaobo)