(reprinted from the most beautiful woman in the world‘s blog – me)
>> MONDAY, AUGUST 30, 2010
“Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
In 2006, I went on a Civil Rights quest with Lila Cabbil, the President of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. As we traveled along the path once carved by the dedicated effort of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we stopped at historic locations across multiple states in the Deep South including the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where we heard the story of Joanne Bland who had watched her young sister get beaten by cops during the peaceful protest. You can watch this yourself, if you don’t believe Joanne. The beating was documented in Eyes on the Prize.
Sure, I’d grown up hearing about the civil rights movement, but the concentration of so much information during the quest taught me that I didn’t really understand, at all, the nuances connecting the murder of Emmitt Till to Rosa Parks’ quiet courage, or the murder of Viola Luizzo to the circular sawblades painted with KKK logos to welcome visitors to Alabama towns. This (white) mother of five was murdered by the KKK at the age of 39 after the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches in Alabama.
Her face, and the face of Emmitt Till and the countless other people who have been murdered out of fear, racism and ignorance hovered over Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington DC, also known as the “I Have a Scheme” rally.
The Washington Post reported on the rally in “Civil Rights’ New ‘Owner’ Glenn Beck,” and there’s a passage in the article that is required reading for proponents of The Imagination Age:
There is a telling anecdote in Glenn Beck’s 2003 memoir about how the cable news host was influenced by the great fantasist Orson Welles. To travel between performances in Manhattan, Beck recounts, Welles hired an ambulance, sirens blaring, to ferry him around town — not because Welles was ill but because he wanted to avoid traffic.
Most of us would regard this as dishonest, a ploy by the self-confessed charlatan that Welles was. Beck saw it as a model to be emulated. “Welles,” he writes, “inspired me to believe that I can create anything that I can see or imagine.”
This is a fact. What Beck realizes is that reality is very easy to hack. It is. The irony is that his ability to hack reality requires the construction of a mirage that his followers can latch onto as reality while his opponents mostly rely on publicizing his effort through the prism of criticism, a completely fruitless and self-defeating endeavor.
The trick to hacking reality and creating something real from one’s visions is not just the purview of the world’s Glenn Becks, but those who are unwilling to use those powers to foment evil, the kind of misguided rage that results in the murders of children, women and innocent men, like the NYC cab driver, Ahmed Sharif, who was just stabbed by a passenger. (The New York City Taxi Workers Alliance is accepting donations for the uninsured driver).
My personal philosophy is that every situation carries with it something that can illuminate a new facet of understanding and human evolution. Glenn Beck, with his comment about creating reality, should serve as the beacon he so desperately wants to be. If he can create reality and get tens of thousands of people to drive through the night with their children to hear him speak about hate, then we need to realize that some of us have yet to tap into our reality-hacking superpowers for the greater good. Beck is proof that anyone can do it.
These words, hopefully, will come back to haunt me. The thing is you can also do this for positive change.