Dark Cloud logo

 

Home

Columns

Commentary

Dark Endeavors

Not So Long Ago

the failure of American arts to participate in our affairs

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, December 02, 2009.

It’s difficult to realize now that fiction moved nations and policy once, and not so long ago. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Riddle in the Sands, The Waste Land, The Sun Also Rises, To Kill A Mockingbird. In the age of the Internet, modern day Uncle Tom’s Cabins could find an international audience almost immediately, quite probably to effect. The world worries about how to control the blooming Islamic thugocracies who may soon have nuclear weapons. Yet, our strongest weapon, art, we refuse to use.

What would happen if an internet fiction serial appeared about the adventures of a skillful assassin of the religious Islamic thugs who pour acid over sisters, mothers, and wives because they merely went to school as happens often enough. A Robin Hood of the desert, a thoroughly secular but necessarily respectful Muslim assassin who terrorizes the Islamic thugs as they terrorize their own women. A ridiculously romantic novel about a night stalker of rapists and brutal husbands shielded by religion and state. I suspect such would play a constructive role in the Islamic world, as it would terrorize Islamic thugs and entrance the young and female, spur debate and, yes, some repression, but inspire the masses as almost, but not quite, what happened when that lovely young Iranian woman was cruelly shot last summer. Think of how popular the graphic novels are in the near literate sections of Latin America and comic books here. What would change the world for the better than offering oppressed women a plausible hero or heroine till they are inspired to provide their own? Perhaps it’s a team of men and women, funded by some rich, guilt ridden Saudi. Remember: when Jack the Ripper in reality terrorized London, the then world’s capital, Sherlock Holmes in fiction revived and became the most famous character of the century. Still is.

Well, so much for commercial art. Just thinking. And I think of it because it looks like Afghanistan is going to be home for a lot of our military for the next couple of years. Obama’s speech before West Point last night – and I’d here like to damn the camera people for vectoring in on obviously exhausted cadets falling asleep so they’ll be surely punished - was precise and accurate as to reason and history, imprecise as to specific moves that we’ll be making. Obama mentioned Pakistan as much as Afghanistan, a clue that the mountain hideouts in both nations might well now be subject to the visits of smart bombs and Special Forces. It’s going to be bloody and brutal and possibly effective.

The thing is, the major goal of the US is not just al Quada but propping up nuclear Pakistan which, obviously, as a near failed Muslim state is the most likely conduit between al Quada and nuclear weapons. Our presence on one border, three former Soviet republics, India and China on others, might aid this goal. The western border, alas, is with nuclear hopeful Iran. Some say North Korea, which always needs cash for food, is more likely to force feed al Quada nukes, but China fears nuclear arms in the hands of religious dimwits with grievances against them far more than we do. Western China has many Muslims and many military targets for the courageous suicide bombers of idiot Islam. Even North Korea wouldn’t want to answer for that to China, its northern neighbor.

So while nothing Obama said last night is untrue, it was a very superficial covering of a very complicated issue. You wouldn’t know that by the reactions of Boulder’s so called Peace Community. Yesterday, even before the speech was delivered, this entirely predictable group announced their peace vigils both in Boulder and in Nederland. That’s all they can think of that won’t burden them too much, and despite the fact that the Vietnam analogy was blown out of the water by Obama. A gathering of the physically and mentally inert is about as meaningful and courageous as announcing a parade in favor of the Blessed Virgin in Vatican City. Yet, our newspaper runs it on the front page of their website as breaking news. If staying in Afghanistan precludes or delays Iran and/or al Quada getting a bomb, would it be worth it to our peace lovers and anti-nuke activists? So complicated.

Although Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do during his presidential run, Progressives, among whom many are proclaimed artists, feign shock. It’s their template for meaning, making it difficult to realize now that art and fiction moved nations and policy once, and not so long ago.