Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Lileks on Naming the Enemy

Naming the Enemy Great minds think alike, part X. [link to my post on Putin just after Beslan]. James Lileks writing for Newhouse:
Here at home, some still fail to see the shape of the new century, stuck as they are in the comfy delusions reinforced by the periodicals and cocktail party chatter.
That's the theme of "The Dangling Conversation", in case you don't recall your Simon & Garfunkle lyrics. [link to lyrics] James continues:
As American playwright and actor Wallace Shawn, quoted in the National Review online, recently said: "Part of the problem presented by Bush and his gang is that they are so crude. ... These people believe in cruelty, vengeance and brutality. The American government in my lifetime has never been in the hands of people so unbelievably unqualified to run a large country. These guys are out of touch with reality. The most shocking thing about them is that they have only a contempt for the law. That means that they could -- and probably will -- do anything. "This is the scariest I've known it. Part of the problem with these men is that their sensitivities have never been shaped by any civilization, of East or West -- or even the wisdom of primitive cultures." Ah, the wisdom of primitive cultures. If Condi Rice played a log drum instead of a piano, if Bush worshipped the Sun and fed it fresh hearts every eclipse; if Don Rumsfeld did his press conferences slathered with blue mud and demanding that everyone bow to the Tree Sprites. "The wisdom of primitive cultures." It truly takes the product of an advanced culture to utter such drivel. If these are the words Shawn has for the administration, what words are left for the men who smile as they gun down the children? Or autocrats who truly want to turn the state into a private gang? Think of Shawn's words after the next Belsan. It'll be in Jakarta. Or in some small community outside of London unheralded until its name joins the list of places known only for their pain. Or in Des Moines. When it happens in America we might consult again the thinkers and artists and legions of leisured chin-pullers, and ask how they spent the days after Sept. 11. What they wrote. Whom they opposed. Why they could not name the enemy, when the enemy had so clearly named them.

1 comment:

Wally said...

The easiest way to contextualize Shawn's nonsense is to interject the word "Inconceivable!!!" after each progressively less intelligent utterance.

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."