this post is a day late and as always a dollar short, but i got sidetracked yesterday. eat me.
generally i view martin luther king day as more of a day to recognize all current and historical figures who surrendered their lives in furtherance of societal good. who can say who the earliest of these people were. they're often referred to as "christ-like" figures, although jesus christ certainly wasn't the first persecuted for their beliefs. i'm a big fan of socrates (and plato, who was his student), who opted for death over exile in 399 b.c.
i love this painting ("the death of socrates" by jacques-louis david). i like to think of socrates, finger pointed in the air, shouting "shove it up your puckered assholes!"
martin luther king jr. of course fits the mold of a martyr. i'm not a great fan of u2, but there's a version of "pride" where quotes from martin luther king are overlayed sporadically and it honestly gets me emotional.
i also think of john and bobby kennedy, thomas more, abraham lincoln, and to a much lesser extent kurt cobain. there's something intangibly awe-inspiring about those who put principle above their own lives and that's the ideal we should all endeavour for.
if doubt exists that racism is alive and well here in 2006, yesterday during a meeting one of the other guys (the boss's son, actually) who works here said something to the effect that he was surprised that all schools in louisiana were off for a day recognizing martin luther king. i find it abhorrent, but i can't really say fie in front of the boss, his son, or his son-in-law (also working here). as soon as i find another job i'm going to encorporate "fucking ignorant racist" into my workplace vocabulary.