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Monday, October 31, 2005

Rosa Parks and Ronald Reagan

Posted by on October 31 at 15:40 PM

From the cover of today’s Seattle Times: “Nation pays tribute to the ‘mother of the America we grew to be’”

From Associated Press: “Parks honored at Capitol tribute fit for presidents”

We must not separate the current media spectacle of the death of Rosa Parks (who, to be honest, was a symbol of the civil rights movement and not much else) from the spectacle the was generated on the death of Ronald Reagan (he died a month after the New Yorker exposed Abu Ghraib). The nation is looking to the past because the present is so unbearable.

(Two quick notes on the headlines: One, the media has transformed dead Rosa Parks into the kind of black woman the nation can love and understand, a mother—meaning, a mammy. Two, the grandeur of Rosa Parks viewing and funeral has much in common with the funeral at the end of Sirk’s film Imitation of Life.)