Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bush's Brain--The Frozen One

A couple of years ago, an NPR commentator named Jay Keyser said that Wallace Stevens’ "The Snow Man" is “the best short poem in the English language.” While I think it unproductive to call any work of art “best” in any category, I won’t say that Keyser is wrong.

These days, for me, “The Snow Man” is an extremely sad poem, for it brings to me the idea of a particular person so frozen that he can no longer (if he ever could) “think of any misery in the sound of the wind,” who contemplates the world only in terms of an imagination that is so meager that it contains nothing and sees nothing—and not just nothing, but “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” The seasons the rest of us know are completely separate from his paltry perception and different from his lacking imagination.

The “listener, who listens in the snow,” but who doesn’t hear, for he is “nothing himself” sounds to me, today, like our president (of course), to whom the voice and vision of the world really does mean nothing, and so he will not (adamantly) learn from it. Like our president who, with nothing inside, tries to imagine himself into being—but still is nothing.

“One must have a mind of winter” to be so frozen into place and idea that the sublimity of “the pine-trees crusted with snow” move one not. The world we live in isn’t even worth considering, let alone worthy of protection. The sparkles of “the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter” do nothing for one who, unlike these evergreens, has no life himself in the winter (or in any other time).

Certainly, one must be attuned to nothing in America today not to hear “the sound of the land.” The people and the world have spoken, but the sounds are meaningless to him.

My sadness, though, is not for the Snow Man. After all, he never was real, being simply the playful creation of others for their own purposes, others who are now moving on, leaving him to melt as the sun finally starts to shine on him.

As shine it will, and always was bound to do.

No, my sadness is not for him, who will drip slowly into the stream of history and be forgotten (aside from the damage he has done), but for the future he has so callously debased, and for the spring that will no longer come so brightly as once it did.

He may seem to cry, as his ice turns to water. But it is we who cry the genuine, salty tears; we look out over the horizon, one increasingly barren, and see what his frozen mind has condemned us to.

2 comments:

jobar said...

Excepting our Past?

Some commentators have been saying Geo W Bush is destroying the image and popularity of a once-great culture which championed freedom, fair-play and democracy. That he and his give Christianity a bad name.
Why, I must wonder? This itself is not fair! For what’s happened of recent is merely direct continuation of a long tradition, and no change of course at all. Remember the Maine? The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution? Who did Crusaders first, and quite frequently, kill, but other Christians? How was Christianity introduced in the “New World” but at the point of a sword? When the English-speaking world decided high-culture involved high-tea, from ancient, civilized China, but found also the had nothing the Chinese wanted to trade for it but silver and gold, did they reasonably acquiesce to pay? Of course not! With their bigger guns, they forced Indian opium on them, ruthlessly, mercilessly, unrepentedly and inexcusably. The US in the Philippines about a century ago, like the CIA in Indochina more recently and Belgium in the Congo, were part of this pattern. So too, British genocide on native Australians, French armaments merchants about wherever and whenever (and Us, British and Dutch etc too), willful destruction of native cultures in the Americas and many another place, the tricking, in the ‘70s, of Haitians out of their sole source for sufficient protein, their pigs, and the repeated, persistent use of violence in the name of God and good, since the time of the Romans, are the legacy we have inherited. This behavior is the way we’ve always done things, brooking no dissent against the dissemination of the freedom to do exactly as told. The noble exhibition of strength, determination, and knowledge of what is right!
No worries that the Word of God, as we’ve been given to learn it, was developed by committees, under Pagan rulers (Roman emperor Constantine, for whom Constantinople was named), in other languages often incorrectly translated, or that the teachings attributed to all that’s Holy’s most manifest and physical representation on Earth (supposedly) might occasionally be a bit tricky to reconcile with all this – for weakness is Death, and only the confident and uncompromising, uncomplaining and unshakably earnest in assertion of right will win, and gain God’s favor as manifest in material plenty and the freedom to uninhibitedly, selfishly select what is most desirable, and purely choose, order and acquire.
It ain’t about leadership or a decider-er, it’s about what we accept as acceptable!

jobar said...

Excepting our Past?

Some commentators have been saying Geo W Bush is destroying the image and popularity of a once-great culture which championed freedom, fair-play and democracy. That he and his give Christianity a bad name.
Why, I must wonder? This itself is not fair! For what’s happened of recent is merely direct continuation of a long tradition, and no change of course at all. Remember the Maine? The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution? Who did Crusaders first, and quite frequently, kill, but other Christians? How was Christianity introduced in the “New World” but at the point of a sword? When the English-speaking world decided high-culture involved high-tea, from ancient, civilized China, but found also the had nothing the Chinese wanted to trade for it but silver and gold, did they reasonably acquiesce to pay? Of course not! With their bigger guns, they forced Indian opium on them, ruthlessly, mercilessly, unrepentedly and inexcusably. The US in the Philippines about a century ago, like the CIA in Indochina more recently and Belgium in the Congo, were part of this pattern. So too, British genocide on native Australians, French armaments merchants about wherever and whenever (and Us, British and Dutch etc too), willful destruction of native cultures in the Americas and many another place, the tricking, in the ‘70s, of Haitians out of their sole source for sufficient protein, their pigs, and the repeated, persistent use of violence in the name of God and good, since the time of the Romans, are the legacy we have inherited. This behavior is the way we’ve always done things, brooking no dissent against the dissemination of the freedom to do exactly as told. The noble exhibition of strength, determination, and knowledge of what is right!
No worries that the Word of God, as we’ve been given to learn it, was developed by committees, under Pagan rulers (Roman emperor Constantine, for whom Constantinople was named), in other languages often incorrectly translated, or that the teachings attributed to all that’s Holy’s most manifest and physical representation on Earth (supposedly) might occasionally be a bit tricky to reconcile with all this – for weakness is Death, and only the confident and uncompromising, uncomplaining and unshakably earnest in assertion of right will win, and gain God’s favor as manifest in material plenty and the freedom to uninhibitedly, selfishly select what is most desirable, and purely choose, order and acquire.
It ain’t about leadership or a decider-er, it’s about what we accept as acceptable!