December 10, 2012

a past remade

In the movie Magnolia, Tom Cruise portrays a showman, a very popular public figure. Sorry for not providing more details because it has already been more than a decade since I watched the movie and it has been even longer than that, that my memory started to betray me.

But, in one of the most significant scenes which I happen to remember somehow, a woman interviews with Tom Cruise's character, and he talks about his past. Then, the woman says that she had made her homework, and everything he said about his past was a lie.

Then, Tom Cruise says, "No, it is true. It is my truth."

Don't expect me to remember the exact words, but this was the bottom line.

So I wonder: is it possible for a man to remake his past? Not really, if you are not totally schizoid or something like that. Because no matter how hard you try to reject this fact, you are always what you are, including your past -even if you hate it in the utmost level and and wish to change it completely. That's one of the reasons why you should be very careful about making choices in life, because you can't take back what you did, and they will haunt you forever.

If you think about it, a person has the potential to change his mind about things 180 degrees in a life time. That's quite possible. And as a a matter of fact, assuming a liberal environment where kids are encouraged to investigate as deep as they can,  people  probably change their minds about things in every 6 months or so, until their mid 20s. That's quite normal, too.

So what makes a man who he is if you know that he has changed his mind about many things,  in a sense, if he is not the same person anymore? Well, he is the same person.  Nobody sees him as a different character. So what is the binding force that binds our past and future which makes us the same person? The flesh? Well, maybe. You can't deny the power of this cage of meat which confines our souls. But there's something else, too. It is the power of deed and consequences. For example, you can't kill a man and get away with it by simply claiming that you are a different person now, someone who understands that killing is bad. You did something, you caused consequences and now you have to accept those consequences for better or for worse.

So, unless you are schizoid or something like that, you can't remake your past. It is what it is, and you are what your past made you.

And do you wonder why I talked about this stuff? Because the Turkish Nation reminds me that guy portrayed by Tom Cruise, and naturally, I don't like it.

Our history, especially the Ottoman era is becoming a taboo, with a completely made up sense of perception. First of all, the entire 600 something years are considered to be unique. And the Ottoman Empire is considered to be the most glorious, most fair, most... best of everything you can think of state in the world. Anyone with a little common sense can see that this is impossible by definition, but nobody cares.

There is a very silly debate going on nowadays in Turkey: The TV show "Muhteşem Yüzyıl - "The Magnificent Century"  is about to be banned. It is a silly TV show, a soap opera that takes place in the Ottoman era, the Suleiman-the-Magnificent era in particular. It is actually far from appealing me, however, my tastes don't count in that because the show is undeniably a rating machine. And now the show is under fire: Some people believe that it should be banned   because it doesn't reflect the era correctly.

Now, the show never claims that it is their duty to reflect the past in the correct way. But more importantly, what is a correct way to reflect the past? It turns out that, those people who want to ban the show don't really know about that period of time, and as a matter of fact, they don't care. All they know is, our past is glamorous and the Ottomans were the greatest Empire of all and they were the best of everything you can think of. They don't care the facts. Even when you show them proof that it was  not exactly how they imagine it was, they don't care.

You see, they are exactly like that character in the movie Magnolia. They remade their past and consider it to be the truth and don't care the rest.

You know what is really  pathetic about all this? It is our prime minister who initiated the whole thing. He actually said "This is not how we know our forefathers. Suleiman The Magnificent had been on horse back for 30 years, not in the harem." You show him that his numbers are wrong, but he doesn't care.

And a man opens a file suit against the show, asking it to be banned, because he doesn't like how the show portrays our past. And I challenge him to tell us our past. If he can come up with two original sentences which  is different than his typical routine "Ottomans were so great." I will sign that petition with him. But unfortunately, I doubt that he will accept it when an interviewer tells him the opposite.

You can click here for more information about the movie Magnolia, and here for more information about the show Magnificent Century


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