If you’ve studied your history or maybe even lived in the certain eras, today’s headlines might seem a bit “plus ça change,’” as the French say. That’s Jean-Baptist Karr’s Alphonse’s famous quote, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” or “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
A deadly pandemic raging around the globe. Worldwide protests over the mistreatment of people of color. A president talking about the support of the Silent Majority. The only trick is figuring when: 1918? 1958? 1968? Good luck. The decades tend to run together.
Or, as Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Whoops! Twain didn’t say that, just like he didn’t say a lot of things. That was Canadian poet John Robert Colombo who said Twain said that, so in a bit of metaquotation, does that mean the quote should go to Colombo?
So here we are in the 21st century, rhyming away. It’s almost like we’ve ignored history, or think we create a new history that improves on the past. For example, while the mistreatment of African Americans goes back 400 years, this time people refuse to turn away. They’re standing up for justice. In the past when protesters might have screamed at cops — well, some still do — police and protesters alike are coming together to work out solutions. Here in Homer protesters held signs that said “Thank you, HPD” and “We love our po po.”
These times test us, but they also bring out the best in us. The news might shower despair, but it also brings rainbows. Look for the rainbows. Look for neighbors and friends caring for each other and who refuse to be divided. That’s how we will get through. It’s how we always have.
So do a good deed, plant a seed, read a good book, open your minds and focus not on what makes this world bad, but what makes it better — and treat yourself, perhaps with these Best Bets:
BEST MOTHER ART BET: On Saturday we celebrate the patron saint of Homer’s art scene, the marvelous Mary Epperson. June 6 is her birthday, and though there won’t be a big in-person bash, the Homer Council on the Arts has virtual or low-contact events planned. Don’t miss KBBI’s broadcast at 11 a.m. Saturday of musicians who contributed videos and tapes for the celebration.
BEST ART ENDURES BET: You can’t keep good art down. Though there won’t be a big art crawl from gallery to gallery on First Friday, some venues are opening for limited visits. Grace Ridge Brewery has a reception for Lydia Johnston — but wear your face mask. Bunnell Street Arts Center has a virtual Zoom artist’s talk with Peter Williams. The Homer Council on the Arts has limited visits, with artist Jay Wright attending from 1-5 p.m. Friday.
BEST NEXT FALL BET: What’s in store for Kenai Peninsula College and the Kachemak Bay Campus next fall? Join for a Q&A with KPC Director Gary J. Turner and KBC Director Dr. Reid Brewer via Zoom at 2 p.m. June 10. They’ll answer questions and tell you what we know so far. Sign up at https://alaska.zoom.us/j/96404577039. You may submit questions online at https://kpc.alaska.edu/about/events/details/qandawithkpc.cshtml or call 235-1674 for more information.