I was struck by a couple of seemingly unrelated news and commentary pieces lately that converged to bring my attention to the concept of “closure”. One item was on the conviction of Bobby Frank Cherry in the 1963 bombing that killed four young Birmingham girls. Another was the report that there are about twenty thousand body parts of 9-11 victims being stored pending identification in refrigeration units on the Staten Island land fill site. And in an op/ed piece, Diane McWhorter sees parallels between the Cherry crime and the terrorist attack on the U. S. last September, in the sense that both acts were considered “unthinkable” at the time. Both news items and the related commentary are manifestations of our postmodern hunger for closure, as though we can close and seal the book on racism and evil, here or anywhere. The world is littered with the graves, marked and unmarked, of those who died as a result of the “unthinkable”. To expect closure is a construct of the postmodern mind that has been cleared of the mystery of life and seeks a rational conclusion to, and psychological compensation for, every terrible event. We are periodically reminded that evil is real, it exists to some degree in every human heart, that the battle with it is never over, and that there is no closure in this world, only in the next one.
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