17 March 2003.
He said: “What will you have to say to our children about this war?” What, in the future, will we with any certainty be able to say? (Regardless of any outcome.) What can we hear ourselves say? How, explain? How explain this particular and niggling feeling that although it stirs up so much passion, so many passions, deep, shallow, conflicting, it simultaneously feels so far away?
Feeling that “we” are not at war, in the sense of wars gone by.
You watch “it” on TV, tire of it, do not know what you are watching, or why, vast gulf between muted & cut & censored sense of TV strip, and all the things you know are not being seen, not being aired, run through your head.
‘What did you do, if you felt so angry about it?’ We walked. ‘You walked – that’s it?’ It’s symbolic – of democracy. ‘What’s democracy?’ Ah, well, now… and theree’s a beginning to precisely why we felt so angry. Harboring the shameful suspicion that this much vaunted and trumpeted and valued Western notion of ‘democracy’ is perhaps a cleverly engineered mirage, or funhouse mirror…
He talked of “those great hulking obstinate perennially unanswerable questions”…
Such as: Why do people NOT revolt? Why do MORE people not go crazy, choose terror, go lone marksmen mad, and so on?
Item, from last few days: Steel company. Terrible year. 1,000s of layoffs. Billions in debt. But the man who helmed this fall, the head of Management, leaves with a pay-off in the half billions. Unbelievable, we think, and all these “unbelievable” things seep daily weekly yearly in: drip drip drip. A certain generalised (spectral, diffuse, low-level, shadow) anger I’m sure, comes from things like this… which mount up daily weekly yearly… drip drip, day by day, neutrally presented news item by neutrally presented news item… until a gasket blows. Maybe.
Do we still say ‘collective unconscious’?
The whole notion of ‘radical’ politics having been clearly & cleverly marginalised in the past 20 odd years (and sadly, sometimes, yes, by its own hand), so that even to hint you might go in that direction stamps you as some kind of outcast. (He mentioned the sight of Fassbinder, naked & coked up and raging, in 1978’s Germany In Autumn as a pivotal moment, for him.)
Terrible feeling of being lied to. Two types – clever lying, which may take years to see through, and even though it leaves you angry, you almost respect it; or the current kind, where half your anger comes from the fact that it’s done so badly and flagrantly – that it seems to assume complete apathy on all our parts.
This results in the kind of pure subjective unfocussed RAGE where you just sit and watch yourself sitting shouting obscenities at the TV set night after 6 0 clock new night. Pure expenditure of pointless rage. A corrupt regime, a smiling conman as President – and he uses language like “moment of Truth.” You cant fnd the words to express how purely angry this makes you.
And that is perhaps why people do MIND –because of Bush. If it was anyone else… Anyone you could even HALF look up to or believe. Believe they had even a germ of thought or ethics in them.
Today’s lunchtime reports. “Moment of truth…” - over and over. On the news this lunchtime also: more fatalities in Israel/Palestine last night. Children, young girls, babies amongst those killed by Israel. But this is not headline news. There is no expression of disgust. There is NO reaction. More “mistakes”, as they always say.
(He said this made him angriest of all. For all those of us who grew up with Jewish culture, in the widest possible sense, and Jewish writers especially, as their ethical touchstone, beacon, light: double rage. Because now, if you voice the least doubt or protest about Israel’s policies and actions, they play the immutable ‘anti Semitism’ card. Which perhaps is the most anger making, morally unforgivable manouevre of all?
(Visiting Pague last year, he said, he spent most of his time visiting Jewish graves. Rabbis, writers, all the others. “And now my role model… ‘Who’ll be my role model now that my role model is testing nerve gas on unarmed civilians and matching snipers to children and killing machinery against unarmed pece protestors?’)
posted by Ian 4/18/2003 12:29:00 PM