Monday, March 22, 2004

... Deaf people as a nation

And if we follow the line of argument of our previous post, then we extend that responsibility and sense of responsibility to whatever nations we choose to belong to, or are born into, or fight our way to get into. The Deaf nation, the Nation of Islam, the American Nation, the word must change and adapt to mean "those who take care of each other."

Pat the man on the head....

Pat Buchanan stated that questioning whether something is our responsibility is an unpatriotic action. How is it unpatriotic to assume responsibility for one's actions? Is it different on an individual than a national level? If someone hits me, the first question I ask is "why" - and if the answer is, "You hit me first," I apologize. Should it be any different on the national level? Perhaps an argument might be made that since we are many rather than one, the rules should be different; I can't follow that argument though. As members of this nation, our most patriotic duty is to each act as the conscience of the other, and the guarantor of that other's liberty, in order to ensure our own. It is not to pretend that we did not do what we know very well we did, or present the best face to the world, or be perfectly preachingly innocent. Pride's nothing but a harbinger of downfall.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

landscaping america

in other lands they make an art of love;
here love is art, and art is idleness,
a wasted function, for the wastrels.

the bare can sometimes be beautiful.
weeds can be mistaken for gardens. with luck.
nature has its own patterns, subject to decay
and accidential beauty. but we are gardeners,
carers for the earth; enhancers of patterns.
we see what is there and make it more there.
so it is with love. we can see what is there, make it more real.
this is art's heart.

idle? perhaps. the lazy accuse others of being lazy
to hide their own laziness: the map of misdirection has no goal
but to hide the treasure, truth. but who
accuses gardeners of being lazy? and dirt that cannot be seen
encrusts the hands of lovers.

(copyright 2004, Joseph Santini)

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Terrorism: The Straw Man

Slowly I'm coming to realize the dialetical inappropriateness of even the concept of "terrorism." It has come to contain, not only the abhorrent actions of violence against the innocent, but also the concept of dissent and protest. For this reason certain parties have chosen to push and pursue the use of this term in the mainstream media, in order to preserve and protect its own goals. If, after all, you are in power, and you create a semantic field in which there is no ideological distinction between an activist and a terrorist, a dissenter and a destroyer, then you effectively remove the concept of dissent from mainstream thought and place it outside of the realm of that other dialectically complicated concept, the Nation.

This may be evident. What is not is the reinforcement of heterogeneity, and the inherent self-destructiveness of this straw man. Without enough legs, the animal can't walk. By removing dissent, or rather placing different thought outside of the realm of the good, we remove our own legs. We can get by with a stick for a while - to mix metaphors, one can learn to ride a unicycle. But the stick is no replacement for legs, and the unicycle is perpetually unstable.

What is terrorism? It is an extremist outcome of dissent. Other outcomes are change, growth, development, progress, understanding, diversity. Remove the root - dissent - to get rid of one bad outcome, and you get rid of them all. As a democracy, we have the responsibility to bear the risk of terrorism in order to access those other outcomes. In history, we have flip-flopped on this responsibility; we fear/ed Communists, Socialists, other Ists, studiously avoiding the fact that none of these could ever topple a true democracy. The concept is as silly as a fish defeating water. And a War on Terrorism equally silly. Rather, we should work on developing a plan to deal with all the outcomes of democracy, including, yes, terror. Of course, a government which was large enough to think of and deal with things in this manner would not be an invitation for terror in the first place...

Mmmm. Thoughts.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Jesus Please Us

Was anyone reminded of Bread and Circuses by Gibson's "Passion of Christ"? Oh, the filmography wasn't bad, and the acting was pretty good. But the pointless violence failed to give me any sort of religious feeling, largely because of the lack of justification of that violence at any point in the film.

What do I mean by justification? Certainly not a "justification" for his killers and murders. I mean a justification for Christ himself. His life was that justification. Some Christians murmur that he died for us. Cardinal Egan phrased it better. He gave his life for us. And what was Christ's life? A life of fighting for the poor, the needy, the lower class, the destitute. He fought the fight that Mother Jones fought, that John Brown fought, and he fought it every step of the way, and like Mother Jones and John Brown he died for it. Without seeing this, without having a hint of it, his death is meaningless, and the film is just a voyeuristic glare at the pitiful death of a man, and we no better than the Romans. It left a bitter taste in my mouth, and the bitterness is, I suspect, visible in this blog. To focus on pain at the expense of joy - to focus on death and the negative aspects of humanity, without seeing the balance - goes against everything Christ teaches. He taught us how to live, and what to live for, and instead we focus on his dead body, his dead body, his dead body, and then a little glow and a holy light on Christ's clean face, as if any resurrection could be more meaningful than the blood and sweat and toil and thought of decades! Flog his dead body if you will, Gibson: I am an artist and I know that the work one creates in life is more representative of one's soul than the wreckage of one's corpse. Christ deserved far better than that. Non-Christian as I am, I still hold him in greater respect than you have shown.
I really don't understand the September 11th advertisements Bush is sending out. All it does is remind me that we suffered a tremendous terrorist attack, under his watch, with his awareness that such an attack was going to happen. It reminds me he did nothing to prevent it, and instead - forgive the pun - capitalized on it for his own profit and the profit of his compatriots. Instead of focusing on this issue, people have chosen to focus on the "insensitivity" of the advertisements. Where are good spin doctors when you need them? All Bush needs to say in response to "insensitivity" is "Are terrorists sensitive?" He gets to be portrayed as a tough-talkin' Texan, ready to fight to good fight, and everyone else gets painted as smarmy terrorist-lovin' libbywulls. Why leave yourself so open for attack? Especially when it's the sort of attack you can't fight back against? Stupid stupid stupid STUPID.