Matter can be neither created nor destroyed, only change form. The molecules of air you are about to inhale have made the rounds. Have you considered this? Some of those molecules were once breathed by a slaveholder.
By pointing this out, I'm just helping to prepare you for the future, perhaps the very near future, when every product and action will come with a reminder of your guilt (if you are white, especially a white male). You can expect to see countless Diversity General's warnings to tell you that the item you are about to partake of is ideologically impure, right above the Surgeon General's warning to assure you that it will kill you -- not that you don't deserve it, you exploitative swine.
We are becoming, as Vanishing American notes, a modern analogue of the flagellants of the Middle Ages, who wandered from town to town treating themselves to expiatory glee via the lash.
These sour thoughts are prompted by, of all things, a compact disc of flamenco guitar music played by Tao Ruspoli on Mapleshade's Wildchild label. I ordered it because I'm keen on flamenco, and because Mapleshade -- one of the few remaining independent American labels not owned by a large corporation -- boasts of the audiophile-quality sound of its CDs.
The recording is well engineered, the disc enjoyable. Ruspoli has a formidable technique, although to my ears it's somewhat careful and studied. He's not yet a major league flamenco artist (shoot, I've known guys in Santa Fe who could play rings around him). Anyway, in his self-written insert notes, he wants to make sure we understand the political dimension of flamenco:
Like jazz or blues, it's improvised music, an oral tradition created by people who'd been forced to the bottom of society: poor, oppressed, marginalized. Flamenco was born 150 years ago in the melting pot of Andalusia. It was born among poor people of diverse Mediterranean backgrounds, back then -- and now -- the victims of prejudice and exclusion, much like blacks in America.Thank you, Tao; I'll listen much more reverently now that I know I'm hearing the authentic voice of the World Grievance Society. Next time I run into a Gypsy pickpocket on the no. 64 bus from Stazione Termini in Rome, I'll wish him a nice day. I'd give him a chocolate bar, too, except that I would be deterred from purchasing one by the EU warning label informing me that chocolate owed its origins to the Amazon Rain Forest, rapidly being decimated by corporate greed, and that the original European stash of cacao beans was brought back to Europe by Hernando Cortez, stolen from the gentle, peace loving Aztecs.