RANGER AGAINST WAR: Truth or Fiction? <

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Truth or Fiction?

Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures
--Jessamyn West

Politics is the art of preventing people from

taking part in affairs which properly concern them

-- Paul Valery

It is curious that physical courage should be so common

in the world and moral courage so rare

--Mark Twain


Ranger is a reader of detective and police procedural novels. The British do it well, but so do authors from other gloomy climes like Iceland and Sweden, and of course, Americans. It struck him recently that the protagonists have one thing in common: He or she suffers some severe psychological glitch. Many are borderlines, or at least, highly neurotic.

So, why do we need and sympathize with these flawed characters who cannot navigate the waters of a healthy relationship? People who suffer severe personality issues beyond their comprehension, or their ability to remediate?
Perhaps we are voyeurs, and enjoy that these characters flaunt their flaws, whereas most of us strive mightily to hide ours.

A strictly rational reading might say that their problems allow them entree into the lives of their damaged criminal prey, but probably more to the point is their familiarity. They are us, but since their flaws are on public display, we feel safe and perhaps less exposed. If these detectives can be the star of a novel and catch their man (or woman), then perhaps we are not that bad off after all.

Can our fictional hero's flaws be extrapolated to our political heroes?
Richard Blumenthal is a liar who has been downgraded to to a "mis-speaker". Florida governor-elect Rick Scott is accused of fraudulent business practices, yet both win their respective elections, and a liar and a thief earn sobriety by virtue of their wins. We give them a pass because we know our own flaws.

Should elected officials be held to a higher standard of behavior? Will they rise to the occasion by virtue of being selected to speak for the people? Have we just gotten fiction and reality confused?

Have we become so dissipated that we lionize inadequacy and call it leadership? Are we so conditioned to dysfunction in our entertainment that we vote for it in the political arena? Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges wrote an inquiry into this state of conflation -- American Psychosis: What Happens to a Society that cannot Distinguish Reality and Illusion (thanks to reader tw.)

The detectives written into the novel may not develop, unless their authors allow them, but we can. Will we?

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Blogger Brooklyn Red Leg said...

Off topic, but someone at the Ron Paul forums posted the link to this and I think people should read it.


Hell is for Children

Friday, November 19, 2010 at 11:01:00 AM GMT-5  

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