Saturday, April 2, 2016

An Era doesn't die when a US President say so, but only when a humble janitor does so

Nobody, not even the historians and archivists of the US National Park Service know exactly when, by whom and or even why, the tiny plaque bearing Emma Lazarus's now famous poem "The New Colossus" about the Mother of Exiles, was itself moved out of internal exile in some dusty backwater of the Statue of Liberty to the pride of place at the front of the whole ball of wax.

Two caretakers ushered in the age of Postmodernity

Supposedly it happened in 1945, although even normally fastidious professional historians are unwilling to footnote exactly how they know that "fact" to be true.

(How can you tell when a historian is lying or 'winging it' ? When you can't see their footnotes move.)

I think it all came down to a couple of low level caretaker janitor grunts, busy tidying up the monument (closed all through WWII) so it could be re-opened.

They, and they alone, decided that Emma Lazarus's words now really spoke to them, particularly after the recent horrible revelations at Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald.

With an unspoken mixture of pride and shame and guilt motivating them, they quickly and quietly unscrewed the little plaque and screwed it back up again just as quickly and quietly at the main entrance.

That is how, with a quiet whimper of a janitor bemoaning a too small screwdriver (and not with the loud bang of an A-Bomb) an Age and an Era really dies.....

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