I watched “Mad Max: Fury Road” over the weekend. Action-packed and visually amazing, but oh, the humanity. It’s a bleak view of a post-apocalyptic world. And a not-so subtle message to us to be careful about the future we’re creating for ourselves.
It made me think more about two news stories happening in the US recently and the “humanity” involved. What does it mean to be human? The word “humanity” can mean just kindness, but I think it also means to treat people as equally human as you are. It’s about showing compassion to your fellow humans.
The Supreme Court of the US had a busy week, finally legalizing same-sex marriage by a 5-4 vote.
You can read about it in detail here: “Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide” (from the New York Times). Facebook immediately set up a way to rainbow-filter your profile picture, although some are warning that this is just another way for FB to gather information about you (“Were All Those Rainbow Profile Photos Another Facebook Experiment?” from the Atlantic) and others are suggesting that FB needs to do a lot more than pay lip service to the cause; they need to change their policy about adopted names (“Hold the applause for Facebook’s rainbow-colored profiles, activists say” from The Guardian).
A related story combines this historic decision with the problems the US is having dealing with its racist past (and present): “Long Before Same-Sex Marriage, ‘Adopted Son’ Could Mean ‘Life Partner'” (from NPR). And Der Spiegel has some harsh words for the country’s “Confronting the Past: America Finally Turns Its Attention to Rampant Racism”. Democracy is at work here, too, with one of the first steps a decision (coming soon, perhaps) to remove the Confederate flag — which represents racism to many — from the South Carolina courthouse and many other places: “Cummings: “Not enough” to take down Confederate flag” (from CBS News).
It’s a lot to think about on a Monday morning, but think and act we must. Or sing. President Obama was moved to do just that in his eulogy for one of the victims of the shooting of 9 people by a racist in a church a couple of weeks ago. Below is just the song, but you can watch the whole eulogy here.
By the way, the phrase “Oh, the humanity!” was first said by a news reporter when witnessing the tragic deflagration of the Hindenburg.