Perspective and the Camerman

So you know, people have to process the pandemic and the ups and downs of life in their own way and I realize sometimes it’s good to vent for the sake of it, as well. But for me, it helps to have perspective.

I’m reading this new Buster Keaton biography “Camera Man” by Dana Stevens right now. It’s a great book (see below) I’ve always loved Buster, but she also does a good job of putting his life in historical context. Some of the following bullets come from her book, but some are mine. 100 years ago life was like this:

—Alcohol had just been made illegal and as a result, organized crime boon
—We just came out of a pandemic (Spanish Flu, worst in history – 50 million dead)
—On the heels of World War I (arguably the worst re; warfare – 20 million dead)
—Life expectancy was about 55 years (men and women)
—Average education was only 8 years of school!
—Harding was president and there was the Teapot Scandal (accepting bribes from oil industry)
—Professional baseball and most of American life was completely segregated (It would take another list to unpack all the examples of injustice re; African Americans, immigrants, Native Americans, in this period tho, this is of course, ongoing)
—There were no environmental laws – in fact, in a key case of 1920, the US Supreme court allowed New Jersey to dump sewage into NY Harbor.
—The five day work week was only just beginning to be phased in
—The National Park Service had only been created, meaning most public lands were either inaccessible or vulnerable to corporate exploitation
—There was no rock and roll! Hell, there was barely jazz!

I could go on and also make a list of all the good things happening then (like Buster’s films!) and now, as well. But – the overarching point is that while we might be in a rough patch right now, it’s always a process, or as MLK said, “the arc of moral justice is long, but it bends toward justice.” The best time to live is right now, because we have made progress for one – and because we have no other choice. We are here now. We are in this thing together and as Patti Smith said – “people have the power.” So, all we can do is enjoy the good things we have, take care of each other and press on to right the wrongs, as we can. Thank you for this bloggy public service announcement inspired by a Buster Keaton bio. Doug

Published by Doug Hoekstra

Father, wordsmith, musician, creative.

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