Skip to main content

Outrage and Civilisation

The West has no monopoly on civilised behaviour, as the new shocking report into the Hillsborough tragedy reveals - where police officers colluded to demean the reputations of the dead (including children) with multiple false allegations; and worse.  However, at least the British PM has made a statement to clear the air, and there have been apologies from newspapers and the police - and criminal charges may still be laid.  On the other hand, the events in Libya on 9/11 the other night are revelatory of a problem that, frankly, liberals in the West usually shy away from - that of barbaric, endemic "street" outrage, usually triggered by "blasphemy".

Again, the West has fundamentalist lunacy at its core - one thinks of Mitt Romney's running mate; or those who burned Beatles albums years ago.  One thinks of the KKK and John Birch Society.  One shudders at intolerance.  Still, there is something deeply wrong with a culture that can encourage, or at least turn a blind eye to, murder of so-called blasphemers.  Blasphemy is a very porous thing.  It is easy to accuse someone of, hard to disprove.  Add to this the fact it seems a trigger for mass rioting and killing, and one faces a social mess.  Nations who continue to allow their citizens to literally run riot, enraged by - sometimes admittedly upsetting behaviour - need to be roundly condemned.  In this context, the idea that Iran is a "rational actor" seems questionable, when religion in the Middle East and Asia is too often a pretext for bloodshed and madness.

The West murdered and pillaged under the banner of Christendom for centuries - it is not spotless.  However, the Enlightenment, and then the post-structural linguistic turn, as well as modernism in the arts, mean that Western society is more ruled by science, reason, and a sense of multiple and provisional "truths"; art is welcome as one part of this story, not as a threat - and, most vitally, freedom of speech is at the heart of our democracies, fragile, suspect and riddled with elitism as they may be.  The death of the US ambassador in Libya is a sad moment.

We must temper our outrage.  We must count to ten, before retaliating.  To this degree, the use of drone attacks by the American army (and the President Obama) are part of the bloody cycle.  It is not that atheists are totally correct, but they hold a grain of truth - religion needs to be constrained by reason - reason that is, arguably, God-given.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!