“Bring out your dead! ”
We all laughed at Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but I wonder if anyone laughed at the Black Death back then, back when so many were dying? And isn’t it odd that some of the lightest moments in the Les Miserables musical are when the Thénardiers are robbing the dead?
I wonder, too, about September 11. Moments of silence. Front page stories. “We’ll all remember where we were…” It’s Pearl Harbor all over again. And yet, how many people outside the U.S. think of 9/11 as special?
How many people around the world find Boxing Day difficult, remembering the Tsunami of 2004?
And then there is the Holocaust. It had no particular day. That death went on and on.
And what about the milllions orphaned by AIDS in Africa, even today? So many people, the numbers are beyond what we can take in.
Death can be so overwhelming. Perhaps that is the genius of the Holy Grail and Les Mis: by bringing humor together with death, we can face and remember a horror that we might otherwise avoid and forget.
Helping us remember horrific death is a good thing — not to champion revenge, but to empathize with tragedy all over the world.