Yes, I'm in that kind of a radical mood tonight, after a day of striving against ignorance. The Democrats are about to turn our country over to the Ratfuckers (who, as Yeats warned, are filled with a passionate intensity)... and worst of all, the Democrats deserve to lose. They spent two years trying to accommodate people who want to see us dead, somehow believing that right-wingers will one day compromise. The Obama administration tried to please everyone and ended by pleasing no one.
A wise punk rocker once said, "The Nazis used to say 'when I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun.' The trouble with a liberal is that when someone mentions guns, he reaches for his culture." Let us call ourselves radicals, let us pick up the mantle of the great Progressives, let us be petit-bourgeois anarchists, but please let us not be "liberals" any longer, who have confirmed themselves as callow wankers who cringe and waffle if only the bullies will leave them alone. We do not abandon this word to the dust-bin of history because of its debasement by the right, but we scorn the word 'liberal' because of it's debasement by the left. Imagine Harry Truman or Harvey Milk or Tony Benn in the same situations as Reid and Pelosi and you'll see what I mean.
I have spent almost 20 years in an incremental effort to make children a little less mean, a little more curious, a little less bullying, cannier about con-men, broader-minded, more willing to be themselves and allow others to do the same, less willing to settle for the world as it is-- and if right wingers do everything they can to drag us back to 1905*, well, that's to be expected-- but it's been 20 years without any help from "liberal" academics. They are mostly accomplished at "deploring conditions", something done from a distance and at a higher salary.
* [ 1905 is an arbitrary point chosen as the year before the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed, child labor was still en vogue, Plessy v. Ferguson was de rigeur, Harper's Weekly was calling Governor Altgeld a Communist and apparently, Reagan Republicans think they would have been as happy as pigs in shit.]
Attached please find (again) my favorite monologues from Alan Moore's V for Vendetta. The second monologue, in which he warns the human race that if their performance doesn't improve, he's going to have to let them go...
"It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses and apologized to no one."
The character of Valerie answers the question "Why we fight" in Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta, dramatized here:
If Valerie is the heart of the thing, my other favorite scene never appeared in the film -- a film Alan Moore sniffed at as "a thwarted and frustrated and largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values standing up against a state run by neoconservatives— which is not what the comic V for Vendetta was about."
My other favorite is a sequence showing V speaking over a pirate broadcast to the audience of a fascist "news" program. As he speaks, the screen shows scenes of human misbehavior, some straight to the point, some ironic. It's more Jonathon Swift than Orwell-- it's Alan Moore, actually, and it might be the kind of literature you can only pull off in a comic, giving you time to consider the justapostion of word and image. It's the kind of dark laughter Twain used to pull off in The War Prayer and Letters from the Earth, and the kind of thing I don't ask anyone but myself to laugh at, but you might:
Good evening, London. I thought it time we had a little talk. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin... I suppose you're wondering why I've called you here this evening. Well, you see, I'm not entirely satisfied with your performance lately... I'm afraid your work's been slipping and... and well, I'm afraid we've been thinking about letting you go.
Oh, I know, I know. You've been with the company a long time now. Almost... let me see. Almost ten thousand years! My word, doesn't time fly? It seems like only yesterday... I remember the day you commenced your employment, swinging down from the trees, fresh-faced and nervous, a bone clasped in your bristling fist... "Where do I start, sir?", you asked, plaintively. I recalled my exact words: "There's a pile of dinosaur eggs over there, youngster", I said, smiling paternally all the while. "Get sucking".
Well, we've certainly come a long way since then, haven't we? And yes, yes, you're right, in all that time you haven't missed a day. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.
Also, please don't think I've forgotten about your outstanding service record, or about all of the invaluable contributions that you've made to the company... Fire, the wheel, agriculture... It's an impressive list, old-timer. A jolly impressive list. Don't get me wrong. But... well, to be frank, we've had our problems too.
There's no getting away from it. Do you know what I think a lot of it stems from? I'll tell you... It's your basic unwillingness to get on in the company. You don't seem to want to face up to any real responibility. To be your own boss.
Lord knows you've been given plenty of opportunities... We've offered you promotion time and time again, and each time you've turned us down. "I couldn't handle the work, Guv'Nor", you wheedled. "I know my place".
To be frank, you're not trying, are you? You see, you've been standing still for far too long, and its starting to show in your work... And, I might add, in your general standard of behavior. The constant bickering on the factory floor has not escaped my attention... nor the recent bouts of rowdiness in the staff canteen.
Then of course there's... Hmm. Well, I didn't really want to have to bring this up, but... Well, you see, I've been hearing some disturbing rumors about your personal life. No, never you mind who told me. No names, no pack drill... I understand you are unable to get on with your spouse. I hear that you argue. I am told that you shout. Violence has been mentioned. I am reliably informed that you always hurt the one your love... the one you shouldn't hurt at all.
And what about the children, its always the children who suffer, as you're well aware. Poor little mites. What are they to make of it? What are they to make of all your bullying, your despair, your cowardice and all your fondly nurtured bigotries? Really, its not good enough, is it?
And its no good blaming the drop in work standards on and management either... though to be sure, the management is very bad. In fact, let us not mince words... The Management is terrible!
We've had a string of embezzelers, frauds, liars and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is plain fact. But who elected them?
It was you! You who elected these people! You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you! While I'll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate.
You have encouraged these malicious incompetents, who have made your working life a shambles. You have accepted without question their senseless orders. You have allowed them to fill your workspace with dangerous and unproven machines.
You could have stopped them. All you had to say was "No". You have no spine. You have no pride. You are no longer an asset to the company.
I will, however, be generous. You will be granted two years to show me some improvement in your work. If at the end of that time you are still unwilling to make a go of it... you're fired.
That will be all. You may return to your labors.
(Alan Moore, V for Vendetta)
"It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." (Twain)