Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Been There, Done That

Today is a special day.

Numerous individuals will be adding their voices and opinions, joining or attempting to join a conversation about directions taken during the past five years by individuals who purport to be our leaders, individuals who are surrounded by cadres of support groups, each with an agenda.

One of the propaganda spins set in motion during presidential elections has to do with the present moment, the now, containing the most vital issues ever. Even though originated in spin and agenda, the propaganda transcends language and becomes true. With each successive day, current issues become more crucial.

We are concerned now about the cost in lives and focus occasioned by the American misadventure in Iraq, concerned also about those Americans who see the cost in lives, turmoil, degradation of human standards, and positive effects of the war to have somehow been worth the price. Many of these same individuals, because of their political stances and visions of the human condition, would have been appalled to see the money, lives, and political efforts expended in service of this war shunted to more humanitarian purposes.

Many of the rest of us approach this day with the same kind of apprehension we felt when we became aware of the outpouring of sentiment and response to the news of 9/11, the apprehension coming from our fear that we will be listening to the same voices, heard by the same listeners, or to put it in a less secular manner, preaching to the choir.

The current American venture into war is the dumbest war yet, although given some of the responses to it, we can proceed in the ironic hope of achieving a yet dumber war in our very lifetime.

Throughout history, all wars are dumb. I am currently reading about the results of a war that was so dumb it became a cultural icon of the Western world. Who has not heard or read of The Iliad? Will this war or some account of it become the new Iliad? It boggles the mind that there are still those, including persons with aspirations of leading this country, who actually see it as a positive thing, worth the cost in life, time, reputation, and money.

Writers are about boggling the mind, and so we try to understand those who disagree with us, just as we try to understand those who in all ways differ from us, looking instead of at disagreement and difference rather at common linkage, hopeful of finding more in common than a morbid propensity to dumb wars.

There is some satisfaction that ten months hence, we shall have cause for a celebration commemorating the end of a disastrous regime and the beginning of another shot at getting things right.


More about writing tomorrow, particularly how the novel began its journey into being by dispensing with gods, focusing instead on mere mortals. The mere fact of there being a time in which there were no gods in fiction may have given birth to the genre we think of as fantasy.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Beautifully written, Shelly. I agree absolutely.