More on Forgetting

I saw an amazing image on the news tonight. There was a story on a building where swastikas had been painted on its walls. A blotter had been used in the video to “erase” the symbol from the field of view. What was the digital blotter supposed to be hiding? Something, apparently, too horrible to show. Something the news can no longer stand to reveal.

This blotter is a metaphor for a subtle discovery, the kind that slowly creeps up on you and you realize not that something has changed but that change happened long ago.

Not just memory as an external impulse, but forgetting also.

The news says, “You must not see this.” Another rule of imminent forgetting: offense cannot be tolerated.

8 thoughts on “More on Forgetting

  1. Guilt Ridden Citizen

    We pay for the Holocaust everyday, our tax dollars blot out the swastika. I am implored to know what news cast you were watching. Forgive and forget? My family had nothing to do with the Holocaust, although many reference the idea that standing by and letting it happen is just as bad as participating in it- does that really make any sense? I am sick of feeling guilty for a group of people that had no homeland. Why is that my fault? We need to learn and move on, which I feel is almost an impossibility at this point. The League of Nations and the United Nations had no right dividing Palestine to create Israel in 1947 why does the United States of America, a non-theocratic nation, support a theocratic nation? Why do my tax dollars defend a country of chosen people? I am not anti-semitic, but I am a pragmatist and I feel as a US citizen our alliance with Israel is wrong. They chose to leave their “holy land” thousands of years ago- why is it my responsibility to make sure they get it back? I am not suggesting we “forget” the Holocaust, that is literally impossible as long as people are practicing Judaism- but the Holocaust ended over 60 years ago, why is it our responsibility to feel guilty for a nation of now deceased people (i.e. the Nazi’s)? Didn’t the USA go in and win the war? Didn’t our soldiers pay with their lives? Weren’t we the ones to liberate the Jews?

  2. Steve Post author


    “although many reference the idea that standing by and letting it happen is just as bad as participating in it- does that really make any sense?”

    I think it does make sense. The news report blotted out the image: the question is why. As intolerable actions happen day to day and they co-mingle with the trivial the definition of “intolerable” changes with it. Read my essay for more context on this.

    Why do you feel responsible? I think this is a better question: how can we promote human dignity?

  3. Padilla

    Steve: I’m sorry for intruding on your blog. I am planning a trip to Connecticut. eamil me when you can. Hector in El Paso.

  4. Mary Ellen

    Swastikas are intolerable, but photos of a dog who had a 3/16″ drill bit shoved repeatedly through his skull are okay?

    Everyone has a different perspective on what makes a horror.

  5. gibb

    I’m not going to even whisper my thoughts on the newscast, though I would suggest someone contact the station to get their specific reason for the censoring. While it is likely based on not wishing to perpetuate a symbol offensive to so many, it’s more likely rooted in fear of reprisal than honest empathy.

    Hector–I believe you got me the Willie mag so I welcome you to CT!

  6. Mary Ellen

    Is this the same forgetting that has corralled our language into homogenized many-prefixed terms that are clinically correct and bleached of offense?

    And welcome, Hector! Bring some El Paso warmth with you ;-)

  7. Guilt Ridden Citizen

    “although many reference the idea that standing by and letting it happen is just as bad as participating in it- does that really make any sense?” I stated this because it is one of the many politically correct ideas that surround any country or situation that involves oppression, in order to make those unaffected (Americans) feel as though they are in some way responsible or should act on the situation. This bothers me because I feel modern day America needs to learn to draw the line somewhere, we need to start helping fellow Americans. I am still wondering who aired the news cast.

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