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Tue

24

Mar

2009

The Blood of Satire
Tuesday, 24 March 2009 17:59
by James L. Secor

I have been reading too much news lately, too many opinions and dire predictions, for my perspective has been ripped away like the atmosphere of a planet by a massive passing comet and the blood of satire is drained out of my fingers. I see the silliness, I see the utter dumb-ass stupidity that is driving my country and the world to ruin and yet I can't any more satirize mankind's foolishness. But then I cry in my beer — which I'm not drinking any more, preferring Pastis apéritif anisé — that, well, nobody publishes me or produces my plays or even listens to me anyway — as evidenced by the homework I gathered from my students and the women who have left me. Ah! — woe is me! See me beat my breast, fall to my knees and cry out to the heavens, from which position I will need help to rise, the knees were bad enough before falling upon them.

And then I turn around, literally, and ask myself, as I do with my students' work: why do I bother to get upset? Why do I get upset at incompetence and crookedness and thoughtlessness? Why can't the one or two worthwhile people satisfy me? I mean, here I am in a world that rewards incompetence and foolishness and corruption, what else should I expect? Who the hell am I to think that I know better! So, what difference does it make? How utterly stupid I am. Stupid and banal and — worst of all — boring.

I read heart-rending outcries from Richard Kastelein that resound with the pain that made me pen the satires over my country to the south of his. . .and I wonder where the insight has gone and why I can't do it any more. And then I remember the censorship because of one word, never mind the content of the writing. I remember the censorship again because an editor disagreed with one sentiment (word) in one clause of one sentence of an article over which he found no problem but wouldn't print anyway. I remember losing my job as a disability benefits advocate/activist over corruption and finding myself blacklisted despite my work being picked up by the feds. And I stare down the maw of slander by incompetents so afeared of their being tagged for what they are they actually expend amazing amounts of energy to destroy their delusion of being shown up and deplaced. Still, I can't find a way to put this into the only workable form — satire — that I know, that I used to be good at.

Gao Wenping 膏紊平 was a successful salesman, a garrulous merchant with a knack for making a good deal out of nothing. He dealt in whole cloth. His loud voice and boisterous laughter could be heard throughout the marketplace. Everyone wished to set up their stalls near Gao Wenping's in order to wreak profit from the fallout from his dealings, for he drove a hard bargain and when customers left his stall, they were fair game for a soft sell.

After a rather immoderately long stay in one particular town, he decided to take his newfound fortune and return home. If he started early enough in the morning, he could be home by supper time. So, he packed up his bags, mounted his horse and was off, immensely satisfied with himself.

Around mid-morning, Gao Wenping decided he'd stop for some tea and put up at a tree-shaded roadside teahouse. While he was drinking his tea and snacking on some delicacy or other, he harangued the innkeeper with delightful tales of his exploits. The other guests were listening in as well, which only served to swell Gao Wenping's story telling the more.

A leather-clad man filled the doorway and shouted in a rich, booming voice, "Who's grey mare is that outside?"

"She is mine," answered Gao Wenping.

"She's a loose nail in her left hind shoe should be seen to."

"It is of no consequence. I've only a few hours more on the road."

"I'm a blacksmith on my way to Anxing town. I'll fix it for you."

"No bother. No bother," said Gao Wenping, who then got up, paid his bill and went on his way. Gao Wenping was a thrifty man.

Around noon, Gao Wenping stopped for a bite to eat and his mid-day rest. The inn was very crowded but being bellicose and free with his money, he managed a comfortable table and room. Before he went inside, while he was tying up his horse, a farmer noted, indicating with his chin, "Your old mare has lost a shoe. Better take her to the smithy."


"No problem. I've only a short way to go," replied Gao Wenping. "There's no reason to do anything."

So it was that, after his nap, Gao Wenping loaded up his horse and went on his way with nary a thought to the horse's hoof. There were no other towns or villages or inns on this stretch of road, so when the old grey mare took lame and then stumbled to the ground, Gao Wenping found himself in the middle of nowhere. He cursed and kicked the beast but to no avail — she'd broken her leg. Slandering her under his breath, he hoisted his bags onto his back and walked the rest of the way home.

He was late for dinner, expostulating all the while, "That damned nail has caused all this inconvenience!"

And then I remember: nobody wants my plays, nobody wants my books, nobody wants my stories.

I guess I ought to be satisfied but I'm afraid I'm not. I tell myself that the way things are going, all of my work will be passé by the time it's discovered. Aiya! Ahhh — woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!

It's time now to stick your finger down your throat and make yourself vomit. Melodrama. Bad melodrama. Even cabbages and tomatoes are not enough. It's just me on stage, centre stage. Toss away. Cookies even.

I stand to be bereft of any country, anywhere to lay my white-haired old head, and I'm self-centred enough to cry over. . .nothing. I mean, after all, what can you expect in this world? For Christ's sake, I grew up in it! I never had a home — can't I adjust to dying on the run?

The People's Republic of China, the Western world's bad guy, the Western world's fall guy, has published my poetry — in Chinese. I produced Lysistrata here, a government cameraman filming the production: I haven't gotten into trouble. The Lysistrata Project, however, still prides itself on holding secret readings, I suppose to feed its collective ego that it's managed something in a closed society. I've been commissioned for a play — at the translator's — and a TV drama, which I suffer over as I think I've glossed over things, taken the easy way out. The play is satire, albeit with a very cynical ending. Will it play? Probably, in this land that doesn't see that it's major realist masterpiece, Hong lou meng (Dream of Red Mansions), is a brilliant satire. I think the title would be better translated as (A) Dream of the Red Mansion or (The) Red Mansion Dream (a literal translation, filled with ambiguous overtones). But, again, who am I?

After all, perhaps the society is into denial in a big way, much as supporters of the Dalai Lama, who left most of his (?) people to suffer and yet gain a little something, are in denial. This man, a Nobel Peace Laureate, was afraid to name names when several other Nobel Peace Laureates got together to rail about the sad state of the world (and Bush-Cheney): they named names. Ever read any of his books? He never says anything. Platitudes and generalities and tired Buddhist dogma that sounds alot like yadda-yadda-yadda.

As I approached the northern border, I came upon a great river. There was no bridge over it that I could see but there was a sign that named it: The Great Divide River. It was quite broad and, though the water along the shore pooled and eddied playfully, out in the middle the water streamed by, occasionally splashing dirty sudsy-looking water over submerged rocks. On the far side of The Great Divide there was a group of people with placards. "CRISIS" and "HELP" and "SAVE OUR SOULS" and "DEATH STALKS US" and "SURCEASE PLEASE" and "BUDDY CAN YOU SPARE A DIME." They were shouting and chanting but no one on my side of the river could hear over the rush of river water and distance. It was maybe a kilometre across. On this side of the river there was only me and a man in a hair shirt type of robe. A washed-out saffron sash sagged over one shoulder and wound its way around his body. He was bald. His arms were folded over his knees but every once in awhile he raised a hand and waved at the people on the other side. A gold ring glistened in the diffuse sun light.

"Hey!" I shouted. "What's going on?"

The becassocked man stood up and turned toward me. He was wearing thick leather sandals. They looked new. Hanging from his neck was a large round medallion on what looked like a spun-gold brocade ribbon. Perched on his small button nose sat a pair of enormous glasses, encasing eyebrows, eyes and cheeks. He was smiling, a kind of benign, meant-generally-for-everybody smile. He waved at me — or at least, he raised his hand on high, revealing a gold watch on his fat wrist. From the way his gown hung, he was well-fed. What was he doing out here in the rocky wasteland of the northern border?

"They got problems!" he shouted back.

So I surmised.

"Are you doing anything about it?"

He cupped a hand around a large ear and cocked his head to one side. I obliged him by clambering over and around the rock-strewn riverside til I stood at the base of his stone pedestal. He smiled down at me, a silver tooth with a diamond in it gleaming. His glasses were Armani and his watch Rolex. He held out a well-manicured hand, pink and soft in my grip.

"I'm the Great Doylee the Lame." I looked down at his clean feet. "It's just a title. Don't worry about it. What was that you said?"

"I just asked if you were helping in any way."

"Well, yes. Of course I am. What do you think I’m doing out here?"

I looked over at the crowd across the way and back to him. Here he was, one man across a great expanse of hustling water — what is it he could do? One man and so very far removed from the action.

"Ah. I see. Have a seat, I'll explain everything to you. I've got all day."

The great gold-bedecked Doylee the Lame squatted on his haunches. I sat on the edge of the smooth boulder. It was warm despite the overcast, grey sky. It looked like rain.

Doylee the Lame raised both hands to the throng on the other side of The Great Divide and then crossed his arms over his knees.

"It's a sad thing over there in West Rising Branch of Life. They are fighting for their lives, for their sovereign right to life. Everyone has a right to life, even a life filled with illusions and attachment."

"Is their problem an illusory one?" I knew that people did get upset over perceived wrongs, striking out haphazardly in their delusion. Could it be that these people were, basically, protesting nothing?

"Oh, no. Their brutal domination is real enough," he answered.

"Surely they did not bring it upon themselves."

"No. No. For a fact I know no. Though it is true that people can bring down the wrath of the gods on their heads seemingly out of nowhere but in reality due to their own dirty souls though they are unaware of their sin, maybe." He spoke in a soft, compassionate, sing-song counter-tenor. "Maybe there are some there clinging to illusion but in general not."

"You certainly know a lot about those people."

"Yes. Yes. I do. They are my people. I know they are kind, decent, obedient, respectful people who know their place. Their place in the great scheme of things. They are good people, my people. Though, of course, there are always a few bad apples. No one knows where evil comes from but anyway it is an illusion as so much of life is you know. My people are trained to look deep into themselves to see their weaknesses and attachments, their faults, for if there were no faults in them they would have no problems in the world."

"Why do you call them my people?"

"Because that is what they are. My people. I am their leader."

"But you are here and they are there!"

"Yes. So it seems. But you see I escaped the evil empire. Those who in their mad illusion spread lies and deceit and mete out death as if they were emissaries of the gods. I escaped. They helped me to run away so that I could continue to lead them and be an inspiration from a distance. A dead leader is no leader at all."

"You can't kill a martyr," I countered.

"Seeking after martyrdom is earthly attachment. That kind of renown and hubris is a passing fancy, an illusion. To die by the sword runs counter to the doctrine of peace."

"You believe in peace."

"Why, yes. I have a medal to prove it." He held up his gold heraldic device.

He placed the heavy ornament in my hand. It was a mighty chevron with a man-cameo and bend sinister and around the edge was engraved Pris de noblesse oblige de pièce de résistance. I turned it over. Emblème carte blanche was beveled into the gold.

"You must be proud," I said, handing it back to him.

"Quite the contrary. I am humbled by the honor."

"I have heard of this honor before. It comes with a bequest, does it not?"

"Yes indeed it does. I dedicate the money to the life of peace."

"You are truly amazing."

"Thank you. Glad you enjoy me."

I looked over at the horde on the other side of The Great Divide River. They were becoming more animated, jerking their signs up and down. Still, they could not be heard.

"What are you doing for them?"

"I told them to protest non-violently but of course they didn't."

"Why not?"

The Great Doylee the Lame shrugged his shoulders. "You know people."

"I cannot believe that you believe you are helping them — your people — sitting over here on a rock waving at them."

"I'm not waving at them. I'm blessing them. The more blessing the better. And I am giving them moral support."

"What?!"

"Yes. Moral support. The bulwark of the hope of the people." He sighed. "And. . .I sent a statue of the Great God of Mercy, Abera Khardomumma Shaktiputakaka to them."

"That will help?"

"Worshiping his likeness will bring the miracle of mercy, peace to the people."

"How did you send it to them?" No one was powerful enough to throw anything one kilometre.

"I threw the clay idol into the river to let the water of life carry it to them."

Just then there was a hullabaloo on the road. We turned. A large ox-cart with a roof and red interior stood in the middle of the road. Three men in robes were shouting at us.

"Ah. There is my ride. I must leave you now."

And off he went. I followed him to the roadside. He mounted the cart and sat in the plush velvet interior and waved good-bye to me, the ever-present dazzling benign smile still on his face.

"Peace be with you."

He did not offer me a ride. I was left, instead, to continue on my way in his dusty wake. More than once I choked and had to stop for coughing. It irked me that, to get out of the Country of Waiting I had to follow in the tracks of a self-proclaimed hero and leader of people.

Finally, I could take no more and stopped, moving off the road and onto the golden sands of the riverbank. The water rippled over rapids here, filling the air with a cool mist and peace settled around me.

But. . .who cares, right? It's the thought that counts, the intent. And, of course, there's two sides to every coin, the Chinese student's favorite cliché, perhaps a little harsh considering their penchant for clichés and platitudes and the plethora of choices available. Still, few have looked to the beer drinking Texas fisherman in any way but a bad one.

Mr. President George W. Bush is an icon to be bashed mercilessly by social malcontents who see him as having no redeeming personality characteristics at all and has proffered no socially edifying programs during his tenure as president. But this is not true. I am writing to offer up a good word for George W. Bush. If he is not simply misunderstood, he is at least — like all of us — not all bad. Indeed, by way of his social legislation, he exhibits unsurpassable redeeming qualities.

He has successfully managed to raise up the embattled aristocracy to virtually untouchable heights — and he did it without a bloody revolution, coup or regime change. He managed this by returning to the blue bloods what sets them apart and had been taken from them: their hard earned money. To be simplistic: George W. Bush has managed to return the aristocracy to their rightful place. Legally. Their rightful place is a Darwinian fact. The stronger, i.e. better, survive. They are on top because they are better and stronger. Further, their rightful pre-eminence is guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence by their sanguinity, i.e. high born blood. The Jeffersonian line has languished because he mixed his seed with the lower sort. George W. Bush's policies are assuring that such pollution will not happen again. Thus, he preserves the Darwinian principle — and the right of intelligent design: are not he and the other highborn of the (second) Chosen People? There are no better leaders than leaders who are chosen by God. As these leaders, these better sort know more (and better), it stands to reason, then, that they would now better what is good for their underlings and so it is only right and meet that their aristocratic privilege be protected.

Let us see how he has done this. . .

With his compassionate "no child left behind" educational policy, George W. Bush has made it nigh unto impossible for the non-aristocrat to manage to infiltrate the colleges and universities of America while at the same time there will be a minimum of despoiling of knowledge. By revamping the examination system, George W. Bush has judiciously relegated to secondary status all inferior races. The new examination criteria are exact measurements of knowledge, for science and math are exact sciences: thee is only one right answer. Tests that test literature are history are inexact and arbitrary. There are so many possibilities that it is nigh unto impossible to discern the right answer — more properly, the particular answer being sought by any particular test. This of course, increases the possibility of failure. failure leaves children behind. With the exact measurements that math and science testing provides, George W. bush's policies are insuring that everyone will know the same thing. What could be more fair? Of course, one must understand that "child" refers to only the off-spring of the aristocracy; all the other off-spring are waifs living on hand-outs and hand-me-downs.

As the working class and lower downs often enlist in the Armed Forces in an attempt to raise themselves up above their proper level, George W. Bush's programs for streamlining the economics of the Armed Forces is another positive move to insure the untouchableness of the nobility while protecting the nation from foreign incursions and attempts at regime change (overthrowing the government) similar to the 9-11 attacks. No benefits, especially college, creates a situation in which no one can advance who is a member of the lower classes. And this is good. Very good. By sending them abroad to fight wars, George W. Bush has further advanced the status of the socially more fit by eliminating the unfit, a Darwinian principle if ever there were one. If these people were of the better sort, they would be more successful. Thus, again, there is no way to sully those necessarily at the top by too great a build-up of the lesser, weaker population. There can be no higher form of martyrdom than dying for the defense of the betterment of the nation. Everyone wants to be a hero. The economic benefits of such a sacrifice cannot be calculated. By enriching those at the top, these working class soldiers are ensuring that their betters remain at the top of the heap where they belong; for, by way of their being better (superior), they know best what is best for The People. At the same time, with so many giving their lives for the perpetuation of the species, there is a reduced possibility of revolution, a pernicious form of regime change hat puts the lesser on top and ensures final extermination. And we can't have that.

Eliminating Social Security will further encapsulate the aristocrats of the American world, for only the lesser kind of individual is in need of a government hand-out. As the elimination of Social Security will also affect the pity-ist doling out to the disabled community of funds for support — the cripples and cuckoos — the government will not only be saving a considerable amount, that it could better use elsewhere, but it will be eliminating the detritus of society, the truly Darwinian unfittest for they are not even whole and thus know no quality of life, as aristocrats do. The country neither needs nor wants slackers, people who do not pull their own weight. They are a blight to the work ethic that has been a stand-by of American society since the Puritans. Eliminating such a social and ecological burden can only be in the best interests of the aristocracy and therefore in the best interests of everybody. All the people. For with the elimination of the invalid, the slackers, the useless and the least of the least there will be more for the whole, for the betterment of society. The better sort, the aristocracy, don't need a political hand-out. Nor does any responsible individual. That people do is a sign not only of their irresponsibility but of their being lesser. Keeping them alive only sullies the superiority of the nation.

Closing the borders to unwanted riff-raff (immigrants) closes off, again, distasteful, destructive and dirtying elements from further perverting the goodness of America. It is quite obvious that immigrants have caused this country to sink even lower on the scale of survival success. It is time they were reinserted into their former dark holes of countries. Besides, these kinds of people take jobs away from good citizens, citizens who know their place and are, perforce, happy with their lot. It is only in this way, in the realization of one's place and ability, that society will run smoothly and for the benefit of all. . .after the aristocracy are properly satisfied. To the best goes the best; to the best goes the most, for they are more deserving. So it is written. Thus, it is only proper that we further discourage immigration before these foreigners take it into their heads to even consider becoming immigrants. This is known as deterrence. The situation needs, upon occasion, to be forcefully made in order to maintain purity and the proper order. And here the Armed Forces are put to the utmost good use.

By limiting this horror that has been imposed on genteel society called Free Speech, George W. Bush has effectively put a stop to aural pollution. No more bad words. No more profanity. No more criticisms that are hurtful and inhumane. Free Speech is a Romantic ideal that results in abuse and violence. No one should be forced to listen to it. And, of course, it is only shouted about and practiced by the lesser sort, the sort who want to displace their betters. Such destroyers of the natural order need to be silenced and a return to a more prosaic, utilitarian, ontological world established, for we do not live on dreams. With the sacking of Free Speech, the aristocracy will no longer be the victim of bad press. Pollution of the airwaves equal pollution of the species, the nation. If we are ever to reach the heights to which we are destined, we must act and speak in solidarity, in unison. One voice is the voice of the many. Undermining authority by saying whatever you want whenever you want without any sense of decorum or propriety is rude. It is hurtful. It is wrong to hurt others, especially your betters. Therefore so-called Free Speech is rightfully eliminated in the name of humanity.

Of course, this is only a short listing of the good work George W. Bush has done to benefit the aristocracy, the people who are born to rule, born to be on top. And this cannot be a bad thing, for so many of the lesser sort don't know how to rule, much less think. It becomes tiring to make excuses for the lesser sorts, so it pays to exclude them from the benefits to which they are not suited in the first place. The national security ID plan is the last and best way to keep track of who's who.

So. . .George W. Bush has done this country a great service and should be rewarded, not damned.



So, y'know, what's my problem? Not spilt milk: I'm lactose intolerant. Am I really only second-rate after all? I mean, I'm not able to pen the distanced moralistic satires, the mirrors to society, any more. I'm washed up. My vision has lost its future. Could it be because I let my personal involvement get in the way? That is, I care too much? Nah. I think it's that I read too much. I must cut down on this reading bit: there's a limit to intellectualism, to how much the brain can suck up.

Or, yet, I could be ingesting and making my own the general paranoia of the powers that be: Gipfesoli reports that NATO is going to protect the EU and The World — the East being the enemy does not count — from threats that don't exist (https://gipfelsoli.org/Home/5575.html or info.interactivist.net/node/11436). But, then, I read once that if everyone's paranoid, then paranoia's not a disease as it's the normal state of existence. Perhaps I need to think about happy things instead. Make myself feel better about myself.



Why do people need to kill each other to be happy? Everybody in the world is trying to kill everybody else. Especially in America. America must be filled with happy people, right? They are doing so much killing around the world they must be delirious. Add to this that they are also killing their own. It is quite possible with this track record that America may succumb to extreme happiness, that is, die of ecstasy. Yet when one wins his way past the happiness guardians one discovers that Americans must not be trying hard enough: there are a whole lot of unhappy people there.

This unhappiness is, of course, difficult to explain; but perhaps the problem is that there are too many people. As killing will help solve this problem it stands to reason that more killing will hasten happiness. If there are too many people, then what better place to up the ante than on the home front? Surely ingenious ways can be found, for sense-gratification cannot be postponed too long or people become unhappy. Unhappier. Or, worse, the idea of happiness palls and we give it up. How awful! Killing now is working for the happiness of the future generation, their children — and your children. Those who die in this endeavor become heroes, martyrs for the cause. What selfless people! What soullessness! Truly, killers are an example for us all. So remember the exhortations of The Great Guthrie II: "Kill. Kill! Kill!" And be happy. Don't worry. For what is better than working for the happiness of all, yes? After all, it is God's way: he killed — or had killed, it's the same thing — his son for the happiness of all, not to mention the great slaughters he brought down on others. So, pray that you might kill or be killed in selfless self-sacrifice to the wellbeing of your neighbors.

Perhaps, though, the reason for the unhappiness in America is that so many people go out of their way to stay stupid and misguided. They do this in the name of comfort and security; that is, in their own homes. If high technology in the form of computers for playing games or watching banned movies is not present in the home, more than likely there is a television set. Televisions have become as necessary as indoor plumbing to early 20th century urban dwellers. Unlike disposing of the outhouse, TV has brought the shit inside. Mindless passive entertainment that, like killing, Americans seem to be ever in more want of. Thirteen channels were not enough, so they paid for 10 more. That was not enough and it became 50 — at added expense. For yet more money, 300 channels of shit can be piped into the home. Mindnumbing it is, the variations of stupidity that will be bought by the great multitude of TV viewers. And it is true that they view: no thought required. Hell — no thought wanted! Dumb and dumber. So enthused about the shit on the tube have grown-ups become that they've had it put into the classrooms of the nation's schools so that their children can be educated to the benefits of mindnumbing shit. Popular demand has forced stores, buses, transportation terminals, offices — you name it — to have TVs installed so their customers can be entertained by costumed stupidity and guided misinformation. It is hoped, we suppose, that by barraging the populace with so much — nay, an overwhelming amount of stupid shit that Americans will not know they are unhappy. And if they are not unhappy, they must be happy.

But this only accounts for a certain percentage of the populace. The poor working class and the victims of poverty and the homeless and the marginalized, because they are aimless or puritanically focused on their Moebius strip lives, are unhappy. This is where the killing comes in. First by gangs; then planned abject neglect. This is called, we believe, killing yourself to save yourself. Truly an earth-shattering concept.

Yet I think that if America is unhappy, how much worse must be those places people emigrate from? They are, of course, immigrating to America, the Land of Opportunity, and creating more unhappiness. You know how people carry their old baggage with them. Realizing this, the government has accordingly limited immigration and is working hard to dispel other already landed yet unhappy immigrants from within their happy hunting ground. This sell job is done by way of keeping the stock pure. Pure happiness is hard to come by. Tarnishment is a no-no.

Yet I wonder. . .what will we do when we're all happy? Consider: since all the unhappy world needs to start the killing is one person realizing his unhappiness and that only by killing the unhappiness around him can he create happiness, how can we ever achieve our goal of happiness? What's left when you've killed off everybody? Perhaps we should make sure people stay unhappy. Then there'd be no reason to kill — and become happy. Isn't that self-defeatist?

Who wants to give up happiness? Y'know?

So, you see? Anti-war people are happiness killers. Paradoxically, they are happiness enablers as they are happy about what it is they are doing. They are aiding and abetting misery and poverty. How perverse. Such perversity must cease. They must all be killed in order that we may continue with the business at hand: creating happiness. AKA killing. This shouldn't be too difficult for the killers, who are unhappy about these anti-war harlots. This creates a paradox I really do not wish to plumb — though there is something about entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and chance-and-necessity about it. I mean, if they are bringing happiness by way of killing, how can they be unhappy killing anti-war freaks when anti-war freaks — unhappiness givers? — are killing them with happiness? It is difficult to see where happiness and unhappiness end.

This brings us to the present situation: development and deployment of Happiness Machines. As powerful an agent for happiness as nuclear weapons are, they take too long — after the initial outburst of glee. The Neutrino Happiness Machine, however, is another matter. It is a 3-yr old's delight. Instant gratification. All sorts of killing. No more unhappy people. Inestimable happiness. Nirvana. What could be better!?



Satire. . .sometimes I don't think it expresses the depth of my feelings, the horror that besets me when I read the happenings (not news any more) in the Western world, the extreme, soul-wrenching sadness for what's happening to the human condition — particularly my country, the Good Old US of A. People in power knowing, in some kind of ennui fashion — knowing without knowing just what it is that's upsetting for frightening — that they are losing their grip on things, losing their position atop the hill, and they are hysterically doing everything in order to hang onto their position, even though the world they've created is a ruined thing, a boneless carcass. Like the Amerindians staring out over the prairie at the rotting carcasses of buffalo, the rotting of food and livelihood: how could people do such a thing? Henrik Ibsen's closing line to Hedda Gabler echoes in my head: "People don't do such things." Maybe that's it. Maybe these people aren't people at all but little devils in people's clothing. After all, the Devil appears in many guises — including god's. And, it the truth be known, there are tons of Elmer Gantrys and Matthew's false prophets on television, some in the Congress, a Pope, all calling for blood and hate and destruction. . .and all out of touch with reality, like the insane.

I wrote a play way back in the 1970's about this; it's been rewritten and re-titled since then (Dissent and Order). I don't think it's so good, though; kind of misses, to my mind. When another directed it, it did not work; when I directed it, it was eerie and frightening, as intended — despite the lurid humor via the peasant characters (it is set in the 12th century). No one wishes to produce it. And it is this inability to access theatre that I bemoan/regret about opting out for a doctorate (in theatre): I lost touch not only with the real thing but with the people. Now, I face arrogant ignorant students who tell me, a 40-yr veteran of the theatre, what I ought to do and that, quite frankly, I don't know what I'm doing; they know better (and then comes the racism). Very much like the powers that be who (that?) are ruining the world for everyone — including themselves, though they are blind to their behavior's consequences: irresponsible.

What am I saying?

Oh. Yes. Where is the future?

How long did the Dark Ages last? An apt question as the US (and Europe, to some extent) fashions itself after — or at least holds up as its ideal — the Roman Empire. After, came the Catholic-Christian Empire. And before: the Greeks. Was there a Dark Ages before the Greeks conquered the "world"? After Alexander came the Romans. Hmm. . . perhaps I'm delving into unknown realms, for I read in the news phrases like, "as far back as 2007." Two years ago is so long a time, then?

Maybe I've lost the blood of satire because reporting, journalism as it's called, is, in and of itself anymore, satire of a decidedly garish hue, kind of like black comedy. And I've forgotten how to laugh.

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