Back to Black
Fears of microwave rays and sonic weapons have rekindled cold-war rhetoric in the US.
Anew twist in the strange case of the US diplomats who may have sustained brain injuries while working in their embassy in Cuba is bound to fuel further paranoia among some Americans.
The US has an embassy in Havana, and diplomats work in it. Beyond that, nothing else in this story is agreed upon. In late 2016, after US diplomats reported hearing odd noises and experiencing strange symptoms, the FBI searched but found no evidence of sonic weapons being used in or around the embassy. But more than 20 diplomats, reporting headaches, vertigo and sleeplessness, were withdrawn and underwent testing at the University of Pennsylvania. A report published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, without having had any knocks to the head, the diplomats “appeared to have sustained injury to widespread brain networks”. However, that study has been rubbished by different medical experts who said there could have been other causes such as inner-ear problems or “mass psychogenic illness”.
The whole saga remains a mystery, which only deepens with news that microwaves – emitted by weapons rather than ovens – are now considered a possible cause of the diplomats’ injuries. Even the idea that microwaves may be being used as weapons is bound to increase sales of tinfoil in the US. Amazon already sells, for US$14.99, ready-made tinfoil hats, “designed with the shiny side facing out for maximum reflection/deflection”. A simple detector and repellent for fake news seems harder to come by.
Learning that the late Aretha Franklin was dressed in a different outfit every day that she was on view made me hope this idea does not catch on. Imagine the end approaching and saying, “More morphine, please, and on second thoughts, do you think my navy shoes might go better than the red ones?”
Franklin wore a sparkling gold, full-length dress and matching shoes for her grand exit. She had started out the week, post-death, in a glittering red dress and red, patent-leather Christian Louboutin stilettos. Imagine being all day in stilettos. Thank God she was lying down. During her stellar career, she would have accumulated plenty of show-stopping outfits from which to choose, or for someone else to choose from on her behalf after her death.
On her second day on show, she wore powder blue, again with matching heels, and, on the day before her funeral, it was rose-gold with pink beaded lace and rose-gold Louboutins. A friend of the famous footwear designer reportedly sent him a photo of Franklin in the shoes with the message: “Lots of people die for them, she decided to die with them.”
Despite her outfits being fit for the “Queen of Soul”, I could not help but wonder why the change of clothes each day. Perhaps she had issued instructions that she was to be glamorous to the literal end. I hope that is all it was – a performer giving to her audience until she could give no more.
However, part of me feels uneasy that any woman feels that, even in death, she will be judged by her outfits and appearance. Perhaps that explains the changes of clothes, to prevent anyone saying, “Aretha’s not wearing that sparkling red number again, is she?” I may be over-thinking this but I have not heard of a deceased man having his suit changed each day.
It is said that each of us dies as we lived. Franklin went out with showbiz flair, surrounded by admirers taking one last look. When my time comes, the casket will be firmly closed so no one sees that I went in to that good night probably wearing one of my husband’s old t-shirts.
Part of me feels uneasy that any woman feels that, even in death, she will be judged by her appearance.
“My one regret is not napping more.”