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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tapestry Thread: Rebellion Renewed

The Order of the Curve believed that all right angles were evil. Ariel barely made it out of their territory with his life. This series of events might have answered all his many questions: why he could never settle down comfortably, why he had found perfection, maybe even why I had invented such a strange little character. It might have, if he hadn't just then run into more people.
(Everything's so much more sensible without other people.)
And these people were all crying out in unison: "Appease! Appease!" So Ariel's theoretical moment of clarity was just barely out of reach, no closer than the thought of not being a character any more. None of these other nameless people ever had problems like he had. They didn't have to wander around forever serving others. What's so great about this name "Ariel" that he wouldn't rather not even be mentioned in these stories? "The people wanted this.", "The people worked for that.", "The people were happy.". Short stories which didn't single him out as a notable entity- how much easier that would be!

This is how I see the world: as a bunch of stories. I'm blind to details, but I find ideas knocking into each other and say: "This is the big picture!". I say it quite convinced that I know what I'm talking about. In writing the words "Tapestry Thread", I declare that if I were to just fit together enough ideas, I'd see what's real. It's just a matter of fitting everything together. But the perception of ideas is subjective. So maybe these posts say less about the world than they say about me. Maybe I can't know what happens next, because what I'd do in God's place isn't of much interest to God.

At the seder last week, my father asked why God had to bring the Jews to Egypt. And I answered (while struggling to find the words, as my conviction was stronger than my argument) that otherwise we wouldn't have the story to tell. Without Pessakh telling us where we'd been, we couldn't know who we were and where we were trying to get to. And if we hadn't been there, then we would be no one and we wouldn't be trying to get anywhere. We were slaves. That's our story. One of us thought he could fit into the Egyptian hierarchy, and we ended up doing their work for them. We're not supposed to fit in. We tell the story every year, and we're supposed to believe as we say it that we ourselves got out of Egypt. Because for the rest of the year, we're still there.

We were in a land that wasn't ours. Well, we still are. Just, the concept of "land" is totally different now. Israel is ours, sure. But we only got Israel when the world was starting to become one land, when globalization was starting to make the actual borders a moot point. In this new age, we're all living in the same gray "land", with the same laws and ideas. And that's not ours. So each year, we need to remind ourselves what our place is. We're not nameless members of the human race, we're a character in our own right. We're Jews! We have the right and the obligation to be Jews!

Now, take Lieberman. I'm really glad I voted for him. Fifteen minutes after he was officially declared our foreign minister, he was already standing up to the world. Our policy of appeasement is only going to lead to our own destruction, and he knows it, and he doesn't care if the entire world hates him for it! So I don't care if he is a scumbag politician- that's the kind of Jew I can root for.

I don't know if I can be so proud of myself, though. As an actor, suddenly I'm doing what I'm told. The reason I can find for those oppressive rehearsals is that I can direct that frustration toward being more rebellious in other areas. An identity is something I'm going to have to continually find in myself, it's not something that's otherwise there.



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