John Marks: Let them eat purple cake
Below is a clip of John’s essay on what, exactly, a “Purple State of Mind” means. It doesn’t begin to do the entirety of “Let them eat purple cake” justice, so do yourself a favor and skip my version and read the whole thing HERE. John and his friend Craig of Purple State of Mind will join us in April for dinner. It might be one of your worst mistakes if you miss it.
… Itâ€™s about taking ourselves and our concerns seriously enough to demand the utmost of ourselves and our political and cultural opponents, the utmost in moral and intellectual rigor, the utmost in compassion and decency. Part of the problem for the last two decades has been a curious tendency to treat our great national debates as a cross between a game and a comedy routine. Oh, we insisted that our issues were matters of life and death, whether abortion or gay marriage, whether freedom of speech or the right to bear arms, but we hired huge numbers of professionals to fight those battles for us, our proxies, our mercenaries, our lobbyists, our activists, and their handiwork often enough turned the entire public discourse into a freak show fueled by the rage virus.
Our national conversation became a version of American Idol, the emphasis on empty gestures of cruelty, vapid sentiment and specious notions of achievement. We allowed ourselves to see this massively complex and mysteriousness country in the broadest of show biz clichÃ©s. Whether gay or straight, Christian or skeptic, black or white, we were either going to Hollywood or going home. As we now know, there is a price to be paid for triviality in bitterness, frustration and self-disgust.
Our sham dialogues on cable news network, the Hannity and Colmes effect, were as deceptive in their own way as Wall Street practices that hid the truth about the markets. Now that our eyes are open, it is time to walk away from the game. It is time to despise the trivialization of those who have different worldviews, time to stop believing that reality has anything to do with television, and time to entertain the possibility that our divisions can take us to some very dark places, even Gaza and Mumbai, if we donâ€™t wake up.