June 12, 2009 was the date of the latest Iranian political crisis, a coup. This coup was special, however. Not only was this coup a military act to seize power, but it is also an act that completes the Iranian revolution in a very ironic fashion. The last remains of those who began the revolution and developed its ideology have been wiped out. Thirty years after the revolution's victory, the revolution finally ate all its first children.
Was it really one giant leap for mankind? Conspiracy theorists deny it. GenXers couch it in Cold War nostalgia. Millennials shrug their shoulders. The 40th anniversary of the lunar landing presents NASA with both an opportunity and a need to reframe the cultural past. As American exceptionalism fades, the moon landing can be repositioned as a scientific marvel, rather than a one-up victory over the Soviet Union, the Cold War foe of another era. NASA can focus on its long history of technological triumph to regain some of its lost cultural capital. Reframing the Mercury and Apollo programs can make these narratives relevant to a younger generation, and potentially make the space program meaningful in new ways. Doing so, however, will take some work.
Given all this, what then is the utility of an anniversary? Why are anniversaries still important, even after their rampant commercialization, indiscriminate application, and often specious interpretation?
If Taylor has done nothing else, and in my opinion, by and large he hasn't, he has nevertheless succeeded in launching an opening salvo for a broader conversation as to what the university endeavors to be. How and toward what end should our institutions of higher education operate?
When I was a small child relishing the miracle of my family's brand new VCR, we would all pile into the car and go to the video rental place. I learned the pleasures of browsing the shelves, looking at titles and poster art, debating whether we should get a comedy or action movie based on what we felt like watching at the time. It was a social activity. As an adult, I still enjoyed roaming from one genre section to another thinking about what kind of mood I was in and whether it was more conducive to an indie thriller that I'd heard was really good or the romantic comedy that I already knew I liked. Or maybe something else entirely would catch my eye and be the perfect choice even though I hadn't known it existed before. Or feeling indecisive, I could just ask the film geek at the desk for a recommendation. The options were endless.
In the most populous state of California, Filipinos have enough of a population presence that they are counted as a separate ethnic demographic from Asians and Pacific Islanders since the 2000 census. Yet Filipino cultural visibility and societal participation remains frustratingly minimal given the lack of Filipino restaurants, lack of Filipino celebrities and politicians, and minimal knowledge of crucial historical relationships between the Philippines and the United States. Filipinos truly are what the Wikipedia entry on "Filipino American" labels as the "invisible minority."
If they wish to survive, the Republicans must confront five major issues: (1) they must re-think religion as it relates to politics and the social sphere; (2) they must re-think race and ethnicity in the context of traditional conservatism; (3) they must broaden the term "life," as in pro-life, so that "life" is not reduced to an ideological debate about merely conception and fetuses; (4) they must come to grips with the fact that gay people are not a threat to their lives; and (5) they must see that guns, in fact, are a threat to their lives (this is, ironically, the easiest claim for a liberal to make, and the hardest for a conservative to accept).