Monday November 16th 2015: Reflections on Paris
Today is a very somber Entertainment Monday as the World tries to come to grips with how best to counter the terrorists attacks suffered by the people of Paris, France this past week. It's in reflecting on the terrorist attacks and the mind-numbingly horrific loss of those most closely affected by those acts of terrorism that I wished to somehow try and share some of the sadness and grief as well as the hope and strength I have felt in watching and listening to the media coverage of the violence in Paris, here in the United States of America. I also wanted to try and stay true to our Entertainment Monday theme in discussing popular culture, so hopefully I am able to do that somewhat effectively.
I can be a bit critical of how our public officials sometimes express sympathies and even unity at times like these, here and now. For one, it's gets my hair up a bit when someone throws out how "France is our oldest Ally". I know that the meaning is well and good, but it comes off as overly prideful and boastful in the way some people have said it... almost as if the reason we need to stand by France now is because of that link to the origins of our country. The reason it gets to me a bit is because the way I feel is old friend, new friend or no friend at all, should not make a difference and not have to be announced one way or another. What happened to the people of Paris, France is so awful on the level of bad things that could be suffered in this day and age that reasons to support people at this time are not necessary. Our history should not qualify that support.
That is not the case for most people whom are expressing their support for the people of France and Paris especially at this time, but it rankles me a bit when it's being trumpeted each and every time I turn the t.v. on by certain personalities.
There is no adequate way to qualify the heartache and grief those who have lost loved ones are feeling. The lost sense of safety in doing daily activities like going to a bar or restaurant with friends, or going to a concert, or going to the grocery store, while not equally as horrible, is, none the less, still devastating on an emotional and mental level to so many people.
Here in the United States some media outlets have mentioned that the song Imagine by John Lennon has become something of an anthem for many of those people in Paris who are grieving. While I do not know exactly how pedantic that media depiction is I do know that Lennon's song has such a moving and appropriate message in light of the conflicts our World has faced in it's past and is facing in it's present.
As a child I do not remember when I first heard Lennon's song. The first time I really remember it though was during the television series Quantum Leap in the early 1990s. It was a time when as a young teenager I was first beginning to gain a sense for all that is bad in the world and not merely sheltered or naive about everything being good, which can sometimes be the trappings of youth.
Quantum Leap was a Science Fiction series where Dr. Samuel Beckett, the main character in the Quantum Leap Series, jumps or leaps backwards in time from life to life (most often other people's lives) with the mission of "putting right what once went wrong". In one episode he leaps into his teenage self (which is not supposed to be possible, but happens) and returns home giving him the chance to try and warn his older brother who dies in Vietnam to watch out and be safe on the particular day he dies in the future. He also warns his little sister not to marry the man who he knows in the future will abuse her. None of his family members take his warnings seriously and they think he is crazy. Which frustrates Sam because he knows what is going to happen in the future and wants to prevent it from happening. It's only when talking to his little sister and singing John Lennon's Imagine to her and telling her that Lennon will be shot and killed in December of 1980 that she believes him (which in turn makes her very upset because now she knows that Sam is not lying about their older brother dying in Vietnam). Ultimately Sam's parents make him apologize to his little sister and tell her that he made everything up (even though he did not).
Sam does not save his brother or change his sister's fate at all in that episode but eventually later on in the final season of the series he gets to save his brother.
It's a very emotional episode in the series and probably the most memorable for me. I wish it were that life were like that Science Fiction television series and there were someway that someone could leap back in time and put right what went wrong and ultimately save the lives of all those people in Paris who lost their lives this week. And much like Dr. Beckett in the Quantum Leap television series did, I wish it were that we could live in that World that John Lennon so beautifully Imagined.
Another video that has received a lot of publicity here in the United States and is very moving is Placido Domingo's leading of the Metropolitan Opera in the singing of the French National Anthem. Which can be viewed here at the New York Times website...
French National Anthem
May the Unity and Blessings and Love of countless people world wide be at least a small comfort to the families of the Paris Terror Attack Victims and somehow, someway may our World find a way to effectively get rid of the violent and destructive heretics who act in the manner such as members of Isis and other Terror Organizations do.