Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The date March 4th has become a personal holiday for me, a day devoted to progress, to progression.
I'd been wondering what moment would bring in the 21st century.
I had been thinking movement-wise, through the arts, what would be that cultural moment that would define the genuine beginning of our century, would launch the beginning of this millennium. The 50's ended when Kennedy was shot. The 60's started with the Vietnam war. The 70's with disco. The 80's with shoulder pads and greed. 9/11 shocked us into the 21st century, but Obama, no matter which side you're on, has rung us in.
That strange effect of reading Zinn's People's History of the United States, when the result of the presidential election somehow, somehow made the words on the page resonate differently, track forward, literally making history history and not still a present reality.
I've also been wondering how the United States can solely claim the name of two continents as its own national adjective: American.
Being that the 21st century has a whole new set of complexities of its own, not quite able to be articulated with 20th century worlds, out times allow the chance to afford new labels.
Having taken the Implicit Association Test and seeing how loaded yet limited the term American can mean (it can do the dirty work of defining lots of super-mega-mentality dynamics mixed in with self, freedom, will and cash), I 'd like to try out a new word:
It takes a while to get used to anything new. Words need to be used to gather meaning, just like a language needs to be spoken to develop a personality.
My hope is that this is an alternate adjective for the United States, one that does not hog the name of two continents and starts there, onto a new trajectory of thought as to what it is to be usian.