Monday, May 26, 2014

Escapism Of The Better Sort

    Believe it or not, I like to avoid overloading this site with political commentary (I prefer larger perspectives), and when I read this a few minutes ago, I saw my chance.

     Call it a guest post, if you like.  Aurini has written a brief item at this link.

     Brief?  Well, it is longer than the Gettysburg Address.  And it is more relevant, in my opinion, in that it is less political.  That is to say, more honest, and more fully human.

     I think that Ed Abbey, Henry David Thoreau, and John Muir would find something to like in this piece, so that is a good enough reason to post the link.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

When The Dollar Rules The Pulpit

     Here's a link to a song by the Dixie Hummingbirds.  Says it all, I don't need to add a single thing.  Except that -- it hasn't gone viral, for some reason.

     If that link should be broken for some reason, try this second one.

*       *       *

Thanks to Doc Future for this link.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Emperor's New Clothes

     You remember the old fairy tale about the Emperor and his New Clothes.  The one where some con-men, posing as tailors, take advantage of the Emperor's wealth, vanity, and gullibility, selling him on the idea that the magical fabric that they are using is visible when worn by the worthy, and only invisible to the unworthy.  Through an elaborate bit of play-acting, they manufacture the purportedly visible clothing, and persuade him to parade himself, wearing only his magical garments, through the streets of the imperial city.  Not only the emperor, but all his courtiers, and the population as well, must buy into the pretense, for fear of revealing himself, or themselves, to be "unworthy."  The parade commences.  An untutored boy in the crowd, observing only the plain facts of the matter, blurts out that the Emperor is naked, and the universal pretense is exposed.  In this short story the only hero, if we may use that word, is the truth-telling child.

     In my opinion, this fairy-tale is more than a fairly tale, and even more than a morality tale.  It has, quite deservedly, attained the status of a myth.  If not quite on a par with the metaphysical insights of some other old myths, it is at least an historical or worldly-wise myth.  Adapted and re-figured from a story that dates back about seven hundred years to medieval Spain, the Hans Christian Andersen version  from Denmark has been translated into many languages, and has been well understood by many cultures.

     If the fairy-tale were to be retold today, we should have to change its ending.  The child would be immediately seized by uniformed and armed special agents, promptly charged with domestic terrorism, further accused (upon mature reflection) of hate speech, called out as a truther, and dismissed by the public as another conspiracy theorist.

     Credentialed spokespersons of the purportedly Free-Speech-Loving-Left and the Defend-Our-Freedoms-Right would argue lengthily and vigorously about whose patsy he was, but would nevertheless be mutually glad that he had been sent to Gitmo prison to live out his days with Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden.  After a few weeks of head-shaking and head-nodding, and milking the story for media-advertising revenue, it could be forgotten in favor of some newer and better manufactured "outrage."

     Fortunately, we do not have Emperors today.  Especially we do not have naked ones.

     We only have fairy tales.