Thursday, December 31, 2009

Moving On?

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose? Can't be.

A "low dishonest decade" on multiple levels.

"September 1, 1939"

W. H. Auden


Retriever said...

Have always loved the poem.

I tend to think that it was the hardships post WWI (partially the vindictiveness of the Brits, French and US towards Germany, which hurt ordinary people there more than the fat cats) more than Lutheranism that tilled the soil in which Nazism could grow. When you turn over the ground (as war and famine do), horrible grubs emerge, and long-buried weed seeds sprout.

I do envy you the opportunity to do something in your work to fight the barbarism and cruelty and callousness of our age, tho. Not to sound like a lecturing Great Aunt, but if you can help even one person, your life has not been in vain...

However, the poem expresses that sense that we are waiting helplessly for some widespread horror to begin. That I have felt myself. A kind of OMG, all we have tried to do may be superseded by bigger, worse events. Similar to Yeats on how "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of murderous intensity.."

My two great fears are a "successful" terror attack on American soil, and even more encroachments on our civil liberties and freedom of speech in this country. And I am not talking about the side issues that the ACLU attacks religion with. But, rather, about our right to dissent from government policies, blow the whistle on corrupt practices, and for the press to report on conflicts of interest and betrayals by our political leaders. Not to mention those annoyances that remind me of living in the police states of Latin America or visiting Franco's Spain as a kid: like being viewed with suspicion every time I take a photograph in a city or told I can't by some thuggish cop or National Guardsman (when in a public place).

Anonymous said...

New year hope...where does it come from? Ashes, graves, sewers, garbage dumps of last year's new year hopes. Existential recycling.

Novalis said...

Thanks for your thoughts, and sorry for the delay in posting your comments--I had a cable modem breakdown that couldn't be remedied over the holiday.