I’m reading Lies My Teacher Told Me, and one of the latter chapters is called “Down the Memory Hole” (a reference to Orwell’s 1984), which was an interesting coincidence for me because I’ve been listening to Kevin Moore’s Memory Hole, a very, very interesting pastiche of found-audio that I highly recommend. It hovers somewhere between music and sample collage. It’s a meditation on politics, religion, and humanity. You can listen to it for free at ChromaKey.com (click on “Audio” and then on “Memory Hole.”
The first paragraph of that chapter in the book is the same paragraph that starts Kevin Brockmeier’s The Brief History of the Dead. So I was twice struck. Here’s the passage in question, which sparked Brockmeier’s novel:
“Many African societies divide humans into three categories: those still alive on the earth, the sasha, and the zamani. The recently departed whose time on earth overlapped with people still here are the sasha, the living-dead. They are not wholly dead, for they still live in the memories of the living, who can call them to mind, create their likeness in art, and bring them to life in anecdote. When the last person to know an ancestor dies, that ancestor leaves the sasha for the zamani, the dead. As generalized ancestors, the zamani are not forgotten but revered. Many…can be recalled by name. But they are not living dead. There is a difference.”
-James Loewen. Lies My Teacher Told Me
In other news, I just got back from seeing Resident Evil 3, and while I lament the relegation of Milla Jovovich to the land of post-apocalyptic zombie movies, I have to say I completely understand the appeal of her status as an icon of bad-assery. I may even go see the inevitable part 4. But I won’t rush to see parts 1 or 2. Once upon a time she was a really good singer and musician. I also came to realize the appeal of zombie movies: they are the best excuse to see excessive violence without remorse. After all, they’re just zombies. They are the last frontier of justifiable slaughter.