04 August 2008

Patriots

The great unpacking of books has begun (and if I ever get around to it, I'll post pictures of the completed bookshelves). Many volumes are coming to light with bookmarks and post-its and tape flags sticking out of their tops or sides, and of course, I can't help but indulge in some aimless archeology. If there's something sticking out, I open the book. One such book was Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford. I know the "Patriot Act" is old hat and all that, but this passage* from one of Mitford's letters had struck me when I read it last year:

Oh yes another nice thing about F. Lawn. Among the multiplicity of final resting places (all named things like Brotherly Love, Garden of Memories, etc) is one called Patriots’ Hall. I asked the man if one had to be a citizen to finally rest there, he said oh no, not a bit necessary. (I mean the Final Resting Place salesman said all this.) So I said, Well, I should think you’d at least ask for some sort of loyalty oath, after all it’s supposed to be for Patriots? He said absolutely not, as long as you’ve got the money to pay for the site, all would be OK. Don’t you think that’s really pretty crumby? Who should we protest to?

She wrote that in 1961. Somehow, I find an eerie synchronicity between the 1961 cynicism of Forest Lawn (and Decca has her tongue squarely in her cheek, in case it's not clear) and today's post-9/11 Bush administration flagrant disregard for rules, laws, and rights (the partisan hiring at the Justice department comes to mind).




* p. 271, a passage about Forest Lawn, the California cemetery.

6 comments:

Julia said...

See, things were much less strict back then. Now, if the Bush administration had its way, I am sure you would have to prove that the money you have to pay for the site is good Republican money, not some of that terrible pinko greeno left-wing cash.

"What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?" Hurl.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

True Story: I had a dream last night that W. knocked on my door and I was so glad when I saw who was at the door that I had my Obama button on.

noble pig said...

I can't wait to see your full shelves. I am completely jealous about your new book-home.

Deb said...

Who should we protest to, indeed!

What an awesome way to make unpacking fun.

womaninawindow said...

I wonder what the U.S. would be without 9/11. The world for that matter. Really. Very. Careful. Wondering.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Wow - doesn't it feel like home once the books are unpacked? Wishing you every happiness.