|The All-Seeing Eye|
This is why we say "hindsight's 20/20," right? It's a commonly held belief that we can discern the full import or the true nature of a word, act, character, event, circumstance, etc. when we know what will become of it; when we have the cumulative knowledge of a historian.
There is some truth to this, but the historian (including lay historians like ourselves) is always in danger of conflating who a person became with who he was, of creating a caricature wrapped around the most prominent moment, achievement, or failure of his life...
|EagleBones summons The Dude|
His name was Dustinn Michael Jackson. Yes, that’s Dustinn with a double “N,” and no, his parents weren’t unusually fond of the King of Pop. He has a sweet wife and two kids and a resume featuring experience at American Express, American Airlines and IBM. I didn't see him when he bit me at that concert, but if I had, I might not have entirely recognized him at the time. He was a teenaged beanpole with a pair of black-rimmed, second-hand glasses and a snarled heap of curly black hair; the tallest tuba player in his high school marching band, and the bass player in the garage band I joined when I first moved to Texas. He listened to death metal on Saturday night for a good laugh, and combed his black hair down (mostly) every Sunday for church.
It wasn't until our ride home when we were swapping stories that I found out he had bit me. In fact, he had no idea it was me that he bit. He said being the tallest in a crowd means getting thumped in the head by crowd surfers. He had grown tired of ducking and started biting. True story.
Of course, this all happened before EagleBones Falconhawk joined The Aquabats. When he gave me the shirt of his back, he was still just Ian Fowles.
Also, I won't go into the details, but some time between getting bit by Dustinn and receiving a shirt from Ian, I gave Christian Jacobs, co-creator of the internationally acclaimed Nick Jr. show Yo Gabba Gabba!, a purple-nurple. No, I didn't do it because Christian created the show. In fact, he hadn't even shot the Yo Gabba Gabba! pilot yet. I did it because Christian Jacobs is MC Bat Commander's mild-mannered alter-ego; vengeance compelled me.
Anyway, the point is, people are, do, and become complex things for complex reasons. I thought it was interesting and effective that Milton chose to use false gods for his various devils. It gave those characters more depth and expanded the implications we could draw from their speeches, but it also reminded me of a habit in history and personal reflection that might actually distort our vision.