Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Big Daddy

Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?
--Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
, Tennessee Williams

There's so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones
--Bothers in Arms, Dire Straits

A recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal allowed, "Iraq will never approximate the expectations we projected onto it in more innocent times." In the finish to an amazing concluding paragraph:
"...we now fight not to lose, and to keep our larger position in the oil lands of the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf. This may not be the stuff of glory, but it has power and legitimacy all its own."
So we're back at the beginning, where we never really left. Except now, after the expense of so much, this economic objective has somehow has gained an aura of legitimacy. Amazing.

For those who truly were innocent and had no financial interests in the matter, how did
they come to believe that this escapade was somehow a good thing? The January 2007 Issue of 'The Washington Spectator" stated the problem simply: "The presence of non-Muslim forces in a Muslim country inevitably engenders a jihadist movement among the occupied Muslims and their co-religionists abroad" due to the "rage and abasement" felt at their occupation by "foreign, infidel troops."
"The alienation between the occupier and the occupied extends not only to race, religion, language, and social and tribal mores, but also to such basic political values as a real commitment to democracy."
So obvious. So aside from the craven mendacity of this administration, what was it in our culture that would have allowed the occupation as a good?

Perhaps we've been sold a bill of goods by all sides who have introduced the idea of One World to advance their own particular agendas.

The iconic Coke commercial from 1971 expresses this false construct well, with added commercial overlay:
"I'd like to teach the world to sing/In perfect harmony/ I'd like to buy the world a Coke/And keep it company." The camera pans over a seemingly endless ridge, peopled with representatives of all races, all smiling, all peaceful, all handing off Cokes as if in some meditative relay race at an ashram.

We may want to buy the world a Coke, but just one, like a drug pusher. Then they can go to work for more, and for the medical care that will be attendant upon then blight of diabetes which shall descend upon the land, and any of the other niceties that come along with integration of our Western consumer model. Maybe they don't want our Coke, and view us as the inner city dwellers view the pushers, as something to be expelled.

The high-concept solidarity was carried through even the rapacious 80's, with Farm Aid, Band Aid, Live Aid, and other concerts that gave the idea of unity across racial and economic lines. The likes of Willie Nelson with Bono with farmhands, with Rock Stars who want to look like farmhands, like Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp.

"We Are the World" may play well on a Western stage, and makes us feel good in the way that wearing World Wildlife Fund T-shirts makes us feel like we're getting our hands dirty. But it's just not the nitty gritty of the world, and truth be told, it's not the nitty gritty of even life in America. We largely prefer to hew to our own, thanks. We know how to navigate those waters, if just barely.

The reality of One World stands, far as environmental degradation goes. What happens on one side of the world bleeds over to the other, so for that purpose, there should be unity, a lesson the current U.S. administration has not learned.

But far as being united in cause or affiliation otherwise...we're a long way from that sort of unity. Perhaps it never was. Just asks the Baptists on one side of town how they feel about the congregation down the road. It will not be a pretty dialog.

--by Lisa


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