Captain’s Log 4,460
We aren’t the only ones doing an edgy exhibit in the park this summer. The Museum of Man has opened Instruments of Torture. The exhibit is from a museum in Italy, but it is so much more than creepy devices that slowly kill people. It’s an exhibit that makes you think about where you stand on the spectrum of abuse and intolerance.
There are over 11,000 victims of torture living in San Diego County alone. That is an astonishing number. And to think that torture is still happening is a truly horrendous thought. The exhibit not only shows the devices, it also talks about the psychology of torture – how it happens and why it happens. And how close we are to edge at all times. It’s a small exhibit, but it took us an hour to go through. I simply had to read everything. I wanted to understand.
Each piece is accompanied by a narrative and graphics. It was amazing to see a member of the Catholic clergy present in every image. Torture was a fine way for the church to keep people ignorant and afraid. And the church is still trying to hold on to that kind of control even now.
And so is our military. I have to give the museum credit for taking on the truth about such things. The docent even said people have been upset when seeing Americans included in this despicable treatment of others. But it’s true. And just like the Sandusky/Paterno crap at Penn State, our military tries to keep it all silent. But sometimes, it doesn’t work. Sometimes, those involved make a mistake and the entire world learns about what really goes on. These are not isolated incidents. Let’s not even talk about what we did to the Native Americans right here on our own soil. Or slavery. Right here on our own soil. Then and now.
A military jury recommended a reprimand for the only officer court-martialed in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, sparing him any prison time for disobeying an order to keep silent about the abuse investigation. His mistake was failing to keep silent – not for ordering the abuse. Interesting, eh? Lynndie England, on the other hand, became the world’s poster child for those crimes.
Doing what she was told. A typical response when those in power abuse their authority. This is how hatred of the masses happens. We convince ourselves that these people aren’t real – that they deserve it. This story and photo are included in the exhibit.
Lynndie today. Unable to find a job or make a life for herself. When people find out what she did, the refuse to hire her. Treating her like this is also wrong. There has to be a better way.
I don’t have an answer – just questions. Interesting that I was discussing Fifty Shades of Grey with a co-worker while we were walking to the exhibit. That book is filled with “pretend torture” that is supposed to be fun. Personally, I don’t see how any of that can be considered fun. Am I prudish? Do I not understand that they are only kidding? Yes, I am somewhat prudish. I believe in the sanctity of my body and my personal space. Do I understand that they are kidding? Yes, I do. Do they have the right to do that? Yes, they do. Do I have to like it? No, I don’t.
Seeing this exhibit has bathed that book in a whole new light for me. The psychology of wanting someone to punish you and control you is fascinating. The rules of bondage games (safe words, etc.) really don’t make any of it more palatable for me. This is WAY to close to the truth of what really happens. It is not a game.
And getting back to the exhibit, death by Roman crucifixion was walk in the park compared to the things the followers of Jesus cooked up in the Middle Ages. At least Jesus died within hours. And there was enough of him left to inter. Bloody fucking amazing what they did. And to think of all the people who were employed in the torture industry. Designers, makers, and then….the marketing piece. Rich people kept a good executioner on retainer so when it was time for them to die, they were guaranteed one swift and accurate blow with the axe. Can you even imagine that mindset?
I need to go about this day. I work short hours and then take Big Sister Mia to Coronado for an appointment. And then out for dinner. Hope I can shake the images of what I saw yesterday.