Welcome to my asylum for ideas and thoughts on movies, politics, culture, and all things Bruce Springsteen.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Backstreets, or Life Itself

Every day, I tell myself I need to release the thoughts that rattle around my brain and every night close to midnight, my head slams against my pillow and I pass out from near-exhaustion. School needs to change, or something about it, but I'm growing tired of some of my classes. I'm not stressing nor am I letting my failures as a teacher eat at me any more. Life's too short for that.

After seeing the Sean Penn film, Milk, I was touched to the core from Harvey Milk's story. I re-watched portions of the Times of H.M. on hulu.com and then purchased Randy Shilt's biography, The Mayor of Castro Street. Anyone even slightly interested in this man's life and energy needs to read this great book. Harvey Milk's personal story is placed within the context of the evolving American culture from the end of World War II though the early 1980s after Harvey's assassination. If one doubts much of the film's dialogue as too good to be true, read the book and learn that much of the figures' words were what was recorded. After finishing the book, I youtubed archival footage and modern day interviews regarding the events of 1978 and its thirtieth anniversary. Weird, in a sense, the feeling for me that by reading the stories, watching the videos and listening to his words, I could bring Harvey Milk back to life. In that, I believe that my love for history has distorted my sense of the present; whatever I'm reading about, whatever I'm teaching my students, in a way, I'm living. My present is the past of our nation. I'm not sure that's healthy for my own personality but there's a comfort, even in the tragic events such as the Moscone-Milk murders, the collective experience that is history. Maybe a projection of my own personal idiosynchrocies into the "story" of our country. Maybe a bit ego-centric, but the study of history is "I is us". I kind of like that, though.