My journey to the Montreal World Film Festival has become an annual spiritual retreat. Here citizens stand in long lines to pick up tickets to a sold-out Chinese film at 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Critics, flashing their media passes, know to arrive early and head for the balcony at the Cinema Imperial because ticket-holders quickly fill up the main floor.
Media, religion and politics have a way of smashing into one another in rich and sometimes perverse ways. This story about one of those encounters involves three men: Harvard professor Richard Marius, New Republic editor/publisher Martin Peretz and Vice President Al Gore. It deals with the ugly subject of anti-Semitism, or more accurately, a false charge of anti-Semitism.
When a friend of mine was invited to a retirement party, he responded, “Sorry, can’t make it. I am going to be climbing a mountain in Kenya. Besides, I prefer to live in the future, not the past.” There is nothing inherently wrong with retirement parties, but my friend has a point. Living in the future should take preference over living in the past.
It was the winter of 1967, and Jesse Jackson was completing his master’s degree at Chicago Theological Seminary. The young Baptist minister had left his native North Carolina to attend a northern United Church of Christ school, in part, he recalls, so that he could concentrate on his studies away from his civil rights activities.
Family members gather in a Liverpool hotel ballroom to learn the fate of loved ones who were traveling on the Titanic. Everyone is frantically seeking information on survivors. Suddenly an old polar bear walks into the room. He looks sad, and there is a tear in his eye as he asks, “Have you got any news of the iceberg? My family were on it. Have you got any news of the iceberg?