Black Discus

Black Discus Fish Room

It is amazing how a color—black in this case—can bring out so many emotions in the hearts of men and women. As a kid, growing up in the 60’s and 70’s there was Black Power. I remember when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.  I was only 10 years old way back then but Dad made me watch the Games.

Watching was mandatory for my two brothers and me, mostly because in high school Dad was a star running back on an undefeated football team in New Jersey.  And he believed sports, like the military, made you a real man.  A symbol of the human rights movement, Smith and Carlos did something I had never seen before, and certainly never on television.  It was not the first time I had seen something utterly fascinating on television. When I was only five Dad had the TV on when Lee Harvey Oswald marched into our living rooms as the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, only to have his own life taken before our very eyes by Jack Ruby.  That remains the only murder on live television. However, I do not want to digress too much…black can mean a lot of things other than Black Power of course. 

Dylan wrote in A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall… “where hunger is ugly, where the souls are forgotten, where black is the color and none is the number.”  The song is often linked to the Cuban Missile Crisis. On the brink of nuclear war… yes black can mean the darkness we all face when we exit this spinning blue planet but it can also mean something entirely different, even joyful. For example… take Black Friday.  This day is indeed a rush of positive excitement for shop-till-you drop shoppers looking for good bargains.  Some actually call it “retail therapy” implying that buying stuff helps them feel better.  Hey… we are here NOW… why not live? It’s all good….maybe that’s why a lot of artists wear black. Who knew?

By Robert Gluck

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