“The taxpayers are putting up the money and absorbing the losses, but the shareholders are making out like bandits. Bloomberg recently reported that in fiscal year 2009, the University of Phoenix reaped nearly $3.8 billion in revenue, and 86% of it came from the U.S. Department of Education.”

Real Equality At the end of the discussion, after the moderator has announced that the evening has concluded, Godard takes the microphone again and makes one final statement. He talks about a scene that he wanted to put in Film Socialisme, but eventually left out. He wanted the little boy to say, “Why do ‘equality’ and ‘shit’ rhyme?” But this would have gone too far, he thought. Too bad. Godard goes on to explain, “Whether you are Nicolas Sarkozy or Madame Bettencourt, rich or poor, there is one unique moment in people’s lives that serves as a great equalizer. It’s not when we talk or hear or eat or love. It’s when we have a bowel movement. It’s the moment when we are all sitting on a throne. Equality is right then and there. And we find something that is tragedy and democracy. Real equality. But if that’s the only place where it happens, it’s quite tragic.” (via In the Presence of Jean-Luc Godard (part 2) | Woman with a Movie Camera)

King weeps from his grave. He never confused substance with symbolism. He never conflated a flesh and blood sacrifice with a stone and mortar edifice. We rightly celebrate his substance and sacrifice because he loved us all so deeply. Let us not remain satisfied with symbolism because we too often fear the challenge he embraced. Our greatest writer, Herman Melville, who spent his life in love with America even as he was our most fierce critic of the myth of American exceptionalism, noted, “Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges; hence the conclusion of such a narration is apt to be less finished than an architectural finial.”