Gore Vidal who died a couple months ago wrote a memoir back in 1995 titled Palimpsest. No, I didn't read it. I wasn't that interested at the time and I had my hands full running a cafeteria. But I took notice for two reasons. First the name -- Palimpsest was a new word for me. It refers to one of mankind's oldest recycling practices, scraping the writing off parchment or wax tablets, replacing it with new writing (now called content) in the same way a blackboard is used. Second, I read somewhere that he explained the title by saying nobody does anything original after the age of thirty. After that everything we do is a repeat of something done in our past, updated and recycled in a way appropriate to new environments and maturity, but looked at closely it's the same activities, thoughts, themes and conclusions again and again. Whether he said exactly that I'm not sure. But I've thought about it as the years passed and realize that was one of life's little aha! moments.
All this is an attempt to put fresh paint on a couple of old readings to persuade new readers to discover them. In Mohammad Cartoon Madness and Understanding Abbas Raza was responding in 2006 to a global Muslim response to some Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammad, which in turn triggered a reactionary uproar, the same kinds of arguments and discussions we see playing out again in today's news in the aftermath of yet another provocative event, a shitty amateur film ridiculing Mohammad, deliberately produced as a cinematic insult to Islam.
Even in 2006 Abbas' message seems to have a note of tiredness, the weariness that comes from repeating the same message for the umpteenth time when so many people still don't get it. It is clear why he simply posted it again as written. He wrote it perfectly the first time, suspecting by then that it would, like a palimpsest, need to be recycled, again and again. I know that feeling well. I've experienced it most of my adult life, from my teen years as a civil rights rookie with stars in my eyes to where I am now, having accepted that when I pass away the progress mankind made during my lifetime will be measured more in millimeters than miles.
As I read his words again they seemed strangely familiar. The theme is as familiar as an old shoe. Not until I got to the comments did I realize that the post was a repost. The number of comments seemed excessive for a new post, but when I came to the one I had left there myself six years ago the penny dropped and I knew I had to do it again. So Abbas, here it is. Again. And thanks for an outstanding post. Again. And consider yourself blogged. Again.