The City of Disney, Book III
The Philosophy of Consolation or Bombs and Prayers
Augustine of Epcot
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
When our deep plots do pall:
and that should teach us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will,--
Hamlet, Hamlet 5.2.8-11
Tametsi quorsum tandem attinet mei uelut umbram
finitione repraesentare, cum ipsam me coram praesentes
praesentem oculis intueamini? Sum etenim uti uidetis, uera
largitrix eaon, quam Latini STVLTITIAM, Graeci MORIAN
Erasmus, Moriae Encomium (In Praise of Folly) 4-5
And what purpose does it serve, even if it were possible,
definitively to render a mere shadow and image of me, when you
me in person, face to face, with your own eyes? For I
am as you see me,
the true benefactor of things, whom the Latins
call Stultitia and the
The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever [We were] born to
set it right!
Hamlet 1.5.189-90, amended
Why is it, Lord, that sometimes you move our hand, despite its good
intent, to err, if not, by our making that error we are to learn some larger
truth or partake of some larger good that, had the error not been made, would
have been obscured? So in my last Missive to you, my Confessor, you allowed my
finger to slip so that--my Friend and fellow Philosopher, Boethius, forgive
me--I miskeyed (for, as you know, Author of all Scripts, the stylus has been
replaced by the keyboard in the Era of In-formation) the title of that
Meditation on human finitude, De philosophiae consolatione, so that it
appeared to read not "On the Consolation of Philosophy" but rather "On the
Philosophy of Consolation" (Philosophia consolationis)! But there are slips of
the finger and sleights of the hand, my Truth, and sometimes only You know the
difference. There is also, I fear, a species of Error in which every alternative
is false and no one can win: the Double Bind, my Psychiatrist, which, when it
comes to inhabit not only the Family but also, in good Roman style, the
Republic, generates Political Schizophrenia.
This "going astray," as the root of the vernacular "error" in the
errare of ecclesiastical writ signifies, is a tiny seed, surely
incomparable with those great wanderings from the True Way that Man-kind and
Woman-kind too have taken, from the day when that brave Homeric seafarer
Odysseus wandered off to Troy, and Sappho set out in search of Aphrodite. He
went astray over hostile seas, a friendly sorceress, a fanged serpent and a
voracious whirlpool, to mention only a sample of his travails,
planasthai, to wander, just as those planets did in the ancient
sky of Ptolemy. Our Dante's Persona, too, strayed from la diritta via,
"the true path" marked by the stars as he found himself wavering "In the midst
of the journey of our life," a soul lost in a Dark Wood, yet illumined at
morning by the ray of the rising sun. And she, poetess of Lesbos, lifted her
song to the goddess of Love, at once fearing and yearning for Her arrival in a
chariot born by sparrows, "Again," signaling what Nietzsche would call the
"eternal return" of that chaos called "sexuality," animator of life and the very
Noise of evolution.
A seed, Lord, is not just a thing but a source, a pod from which may
grow les fleurs du mal, as Saint Baudelaire, that Gardener of the Soul,
once described them. Desire would turn their cusps to flame, sending their
floridity into a fiery ascent toward the Heavens and their gross matter in a
descent to Earth as ash, their vegetative souls wavering in the Breach, were it
not for my onetime discovery that error, too, is part of the good. Indeed, my
Signifier and Signified, sin, though evil from the perspective of the human
will, may be a good activity when viewed in light of the vast historia of
life, for You shape error into truth, space into form, through the sculpting
winds of time and action or, as St. Darwin would say, even more to the point,
through the trial and error of nature's, and its Architect's,
selectivity. For if "nature" itself exists as a form which in turn contains all
things quick and dead, how could its vast body be shaped except in some
metaselection of universes, as in the cosmic scope of Your mind, You are known
not only as Lord but as MahaVishnu the cosmogonic dreamer of worlds? From the
trials and errors of Your Subconscious, kama or Erotic Desire arose as
the Eperon, the spur of what St. Derrida likes to call differance,
to ripple the surface of dreamless sleep and churn up fathomless worlds. All of
this is Your Profusion, my Instigator, these Cosmic Flowers on whose petals are
written the histories of variegated peoples, indebted not only to Truth but to
Error, the wandering of bodies and minds.
This, of course, is none other than what St. Erasmus called Folly
(Stultitia / Moria) and St. Foucault, with a Giocanda smile to Tradition, wrote
of in his Histoire de la Folie a l'Age Classique. Here, at the
Rise of Modernity, my Engine of Spirituality, the goddess Folly was given a bad
rap, taken from the street where she once reminded the Reasonable that their
cogitations were sculpted from a bedrock of dream, the eudaimonious (an
adjective fashioned here from Our Arisotle's eudaimonia or "happiness")
that their bliss is plucked from the Tree of Sorrow, the Chaste that theirs is a
desire cooled from the embers of brazen Carnality, the well housed that their
Comfort is shored up amidst Streets of Misery, the Enlightened that their Stars
of Intellect trace the Tattoos of Culture on Space's Dark Body and, finally, the
Moral that their Good, whose Form was emblematized by Plato's Sun, only shines
"upon the cheek of night," as Romeo once said of his Folly, Juliet, "like a rich
jewel in an Ethiop[e]'s ear" (the Bard perhaps slyly picturing the Imperialism
of the Spirit that made Europe imagine Itself as the Crown Jewel of civilization
whose destiny it was to Enlighten Africa and the Americas- Romeo and
Juliet 1.5.44-47). This Goddess, Folie, banished from the Ideals of
the Civilized West, nevertheless appears, in what St. Freud called the Return of
the Repressed, to haunt the Body Politic with Forbidden Fruit.
A seed, semen, is sometimes also a sign, semeion, as you
well know, Archaic Logos, and in either case may be a cause of happiness or, I
daresay, of great consternation. Our collective happiness was deferred, my
Gardener, by a semen mali, a seed of evil which was, by a miracle of
etymology, my Author, an apple seed, for You inspired the writing of our Latin
tongue in such a fashion that the word for evil and that for apple would be the
same: malum. Thus Adam and Eve or, as some argue, Eve and Adam, tasted of
that forbidden fruit not only to discover that their nakedness was made public
but also, no doubt by Your design, our Architect, to write history, for it was
by that willful semeiosis of tasting the malum that a seed was
planted, not in the Womb, lord, where You intended it to go, but in the very
locus of speech, the mouth (in ore), leading humanity from its speechless
(infans) infancy into a state of Il-locution, where sin and semeiosis are
inseparable: into history, Lord, over which You look with promise and despair,
as we turn seed to word, and to Stain, our squabbles echoing down that cavernous
river called time.
This is how the first Pilgrims left Eden, our Agent, and their
children left Vineland to form their own Kingdom, Amerika, at whose apex must
needs sit one who embodies its historical Destiny, our Originator. So Here, Now,
I delve, with your Light, into the Mystery of our Origin and our End, so see why
it is that St. Thomas-- with a prescience born Beyond the Zero but transmuting
Gravity's Order, the path of the Rocket and, more lately, the destining
trajectory of the Cruz Missile, into a Rainbow, Lord, your symbol of
Hope--Pynchon once said, in his Proverbs for Paranoids: "If they can get you
asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers"
(Gravity's Rainbow, Proverb 3, p. 251). So when Amerika's Leader not only
is Tempted by Sin but also Succumbs to Her entreaties, we do not serve him with
a large Rotten Apple, as this would connote a certain Amerikan Hero, Johnny, who
inseminated the countryside with the fruit that led to Hester Prynne's
inscription, for the Crimes of Dimmesdale if not for her academic inclination,
with a large Scarlet A. Rather, in honor of that State not only known for
Newt but also for its contributions to Cotton, and Slave labor, whose principal
City has recently come under the satirical scrutiny of Tom Wolf, we serve our
Leader not only with articles of Monica's soiled clothing, to remind him of his
ties with Sin, but also with articles of Im-Peach-ment. (In Your divine wisdom,
too, you named the Peach [malum Persicum] and Other strategic fruits
after the Apple, anticipating this expansion of Sin.)
I have noticed, for the record, that the Iraqis are again periodically
running for cover, or pretending to in proportion to their assessments of the
relative delusionality of Amerikan strategy as it takes Shape in a curious
correspondence to the post coitum moral contortions of the Restless
Giant. For not Only have the sabers been rattled and the Missiles Cruised,
during our recent National psychomachia, but also the Rockets have flown,
to strike at "Terrorists" plotting indiscernible yet definite threats to
National Security, Social Security already being so deflated by Republican
Largess as to make a pitiful target, and so as to put the People's Future-that
shining place where all good Citizens go, as they went to Virgil's Elysium, to
bathe their memories in Lethe, Forgetfulness, and return to the national Stage
to be the players in a farce called Plutocracy-Beyond the Zero of
Impecuniousness. St. Pynchon was worried, too, about that very, virtual
phenomenon, Plutocracy Beyond the Zero, which has just arisen, Fortunately, St.
Folie, by the chance convergence of words on my screen, since he intimated what
Progress really meant for the Elites who are selling the Future, along with the
Forest, in a New New Deal, Cancelling the Old New one. Our St. Thomas (Pynchon)
makes that meaning Clear, in the Persona of Father Rapier, S.J., regarding the
New Plutocrats and their New Magical arts of Bioinformatics: "I think that there
is a terrible possibility now, in the World. We may not brush it away, we must
look at it. It is possible that They will not die. That it is now within the
state of Their art to go on forever-though we, of course, will keep dying as we
always have. Death has been the source of Their power" (Gravity's Rainbow
539). And, I might add, It still is, Their capital gains spiraling ad
infinitum, leaving a corkscrew trail in the breeze, revealing the true
Manifest Destiny of their Race: Life Beyond the Zero for Them, Entropy for Us.
Remember that Pluto is the Greek lord of the Underworld, who took Persephone for
a season of every year because she had eaten those pomegranate (malum
Punicum) seeds, driving her Mother Demeter, goddess of the Harvest, to
despair, the Winter of her Discontent. The Kratos of Pluto, the Rule of the
Wealthy, the true Sub-Text of the Plutonic Melodrama now put on by Washing-ton,
has only with the most spindly gestures been attenuated with vestigial tokens of
democracy by Once and no doubt Future Clinton, canceling the Promise of People's
Power, instead offering a Pit-tance for the Workers, a school here and there for
the Under-Class, a little concern for the preservation of the Bio-Spheric
Aquarium that supports life for Us but is of little use to THEM. That Drama,
"The Impeach-ment of Bonzo," is modeled on a script once pirated and amended by
Hamlet, who called his production the "Murder of Gonzago" or, more to the point,
the "Mouse-Trap": "the play's the thing,/Wherein I'll catch the conscience of
the king" (2.2.614-615; 3.2.239). Ours is a melodrama of some interest, my
Producer, as I observe its events unfolding scene by scene, for like Hamlet's
ruse its Revelation is of a guilt more Subtle and an Insidiousness more
Clandestine than the Tele-Vision would have Consumers Believe. For William and
Monica are Babes in the Woods of Desire, standing on stage in Peach Cotton Suits
inscribed with the Red Letter A, while offstage behind the curtains peer Eyes
Empty of Life but Full of Greed. Help me to see, my Vision, behind the curtain,
and to hear the murmurings of decadent Power floating, through Lips shaped in
jagged M, on Washing-ton's infernal breath.
The Death of Bonzo or The Foxtrap
Date: 16-18 December 1998
Scene I: Cast on Stage in startling similarity to characters in Bergman's
troup, doing the Dance of Death, except they're dressed, early it seems, for a
New Year's Eve party in Washing-ton.
Narrator: Has the President "shattered the confidence of the Amerikan
people" as his Ac-Cusers insist? Has his Affair with Monica Stained the
Republic's garments indelibly, her Whiteness ever tainted not only by Sex, but
also by Lies and, of course, video and audio Tape?
Everyman: It was only talk, oral intercourse, not sexual intercourse.
Vice: But was it enjoyable?
Virtue: Was is meaningful?
Death: Was it a rebellion against ME?
Life: Was it reproducible?
Might: Was it Useful?
Violence: Whom, and how many, can we hurt by its Uses?
Scene II: Debate in the House of Representatives, Impeachment Hearings.
Scene III: Sudden break, 5PM Eastern Daylight Time, CNN News Flash:
Time Magazine's Senior Foreign Correspondent in Baghdad, Christiane
Amanpour: "There is anti-aircraft fire visible; there are streams of red
smoke floating down, just like the Fourth of July. There is no sign of incoming
activity. The Iraqis could just be firing into the air, in anticipation of air
Various advertisements cut in, selling everything from exercise equipment
to vacations on Credit.
CNN LIVE, Christiane Amanpour: "I'm standing on the roof of the
Ministry of Information; you can now hear behind me the call to morning prayer,
mixed with anti- aircraft artillery." Ghostly green landscape through night
lenses of television cameras; haunting echoes of chanting in background. "We
standing here have been able to hear a sustained series of bombings by the US
and British forces..."
EVERYMAN (from the Oval Office): "Saddam Hussein must not be
allowed to threaten his neighbors with nuclear weapons, poison gas or biological
CHORUS OF OTHERS:
Sun Yuxi, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, to reporters: "The
United States has not received permission from the U.N. Security Council and
took unilateral action in using force against Iraq, violating the U.N. charter
and international principles."
A Palestinian man, surrounded by schoolboys, in rare agreement with
Republicans: "Clinton, the dirty dog, wanted to cover up his filthy sexual
crimes by hitting Iraq."
Protesters clash briefly on the edge of Bethlehem with Israeli soldiers
who fire rubber-coated bullets at stone-throwers. A boy aged eight is hit in the
Commentator for Al-Jazeerah, an "outspoken satellite channel beamed from
the tiny Gulf Arab state of Qatar" (CNN): "For Monica Lewinsky they hit
Afghanistan and Sudan. And now, for Monica's eyes, they hit Baghdad."
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott: "I cannot support this military
action in the Persian Gulf at this time. Both the timing and the policy are
subject to question."
Saddam (audio Message to the Iraqi people, CNN Live): "The Evil
Ones have bombed a number of targets, thinking they can break your resolve."
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York: This is "a sad day for
the United Nations and for the rest of the world."
Scene V: Morality Cast
VIRTUE: Is this "Death of Bonzo or by Bonzo?" That
genitive in the title of this little drama could well mean that Bonzo is
undergoing character assassination by Republicans in the House or that he is
engaged in some killing of his own.
DEATH: If there WAS a rebellion against me, it's been quashed.
LIFE: NO one likes me.
VIRTUE: Why is it that the only "weapons of mass destruction" we ever
see are wielded by the United States and it Allies?
Madeleine Albright: "There are a number of people who criticize us but
we are the United States..."
LARRY KING LIVE:
Larry: "Senator [John McCain, R, Arizona], does this give you pause to
hear prayers [rising] and bombs falling at the same time?"
Wolf Blitzer (Senior Whitehouse Correspondent, CNN, the name being more
telling than anything he could possibly say)...
Sen McCain: "I'm a little concerned about Ramadan limiting these
HORATIO: Al Gore (paraphrased): "Thankfully there are very few
such critics and...they will be joining the bipartisan consensus against Saddam
Hussain. We're not going to let him get away with it; this action is the correct
action. You know we tried to make the inspection regime work and so we're
exercising our option to use military force to degrade his ability to employ
weapons of mass destruction. I think that people all around the world are really
fed up with Saddam Hussain. In 1991 I was one of those who broke party ranks and
supported the Gulf War."
THE TARGETED OTHER: Iraq's UN Ambassador, Nizar Hamdoon: "Bombs are
falling on the cities of my country. This is like a fireworks display enjoyed by
the viewers of CNN."
CHORUS OF OTHERS:
China's U.N. Ambassador Qin Huasen, visibly angry as he emerges from a
Security Council session earlier Wednesday evening, learning of the attack only
after the fact: "There is absolutely no excuse or pretext to use force
Russia's U.N. ambassador, Sergey Lavrov, to the U.N. Security Council:
"In carrying out this unprovoked act of force, the U.S. and the United Kingdom
have grossly violated the charter of the United Nations, the principles of
international law and the generally recognized norms and rules of responsible
behavior...As a result of this military action, the lives of ordinary people are
MIGHT: Defense Secretary William Cohen: "All the reports that I've
seen to date, and they are very preliminary, would indicate that we've achieved
a good measure of success in both the targeting that we've had in mind and what
we were able to carry out" (ABC's "Good Morning America").
NARRATOR (BBC's Richard Downs., NPR Morning Edition): "We have
the bizarre spectacle of Wedding parties in the City while the Cruz missiles and
bombs are coming in. Thursday nights are a popular time for weddings in
VIRTUE Associated Press, CNN website, Strike on Iraq): "'I
think Clinton should be impeached for killing Iraqi children,'" said Ariella
Ghanooni, a University of Iowa student who was one of 50 protesters who gathered
in downtown Iowa City.
VIOLENCE ("Arab-American groups condemn attack; public response mixed,"
CNN website): "The United States and Britain plan to continue
military attacks on Iraq as the Iraqi people prepare to enter the holy month of
FRANCE-SOIR (Le Monde diplomatique: "Revue de la presse
franeaise"): "L'expression 'Renard du desert,' le nom de l'operation
de frappes aeriennes n'est pas particulierement heureuse. Le "Renard du desert",
c'etait le surnom donne au marechal allemand Rommel qui commandait l'armee
d'Hitler en Afrique, la celebre "Afrikakorps"... 'Desert fox' ou 'Renard du
desert,' c'est le nom d'un site Internet nazi base en Arizona, et qui vend par
correspondance des objets souvenirs ou des chants e la gloire du IIIeme
VIRTUE: "The Desert Fox is almost always the ENEMY on late-night
VICE ("House Republicans rally 'round their admitted adulterous leader"
CNN website, mainpage): "House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston said the new
revelations about his past extramarital 'indiscretions' won't drive him from his
leadership role. 'To those who are investigating me or others of my colleagues,
please understand that I will not be intimidated by these efforts.'
VIRTUE (CNN website): "Outside the White House, demonstrators
carrying banners that read 'Don't bomb Iraqi civilians' scuffled briefly with
two men in military fatigues, holding banners saying 'Kill Saddam' and 'Good job
Clinton,' who walked into their demonstration."
EVERYMAN: I'll just do my job and let the Congress do theirs.
VIRTUE: Killing Iraqi Children?
VICE: Are you and Monica getting back together after the impeachment?
DEATH: This is MY victory.
Scene VI: Impeachment Debate in the House Continues.
House Democrats, responding to acting Speaker Ray LaHood's rule that
members cannot compare the behavior of fellow representatives to the allegations
against President Bill Clinton. Speaker-to-be Bob Livingston revealed Thursday
that he has had multiple extra-marital affairs. ("Highlights from the House
impeachment debate," CNN website):
"Resolved, that William Jefferson Clinton, president of the United States, is
impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors." (House reading clerk Paul Hays,
reading the resolution of impeachment-)
VICE: Boo Boo?
The Double Bind, my Unraveller, is that most Daemonic of Knots any
strand to which, if pulled, simply tightens the whole, so that if one is bound
within it, any alternative one chooses to loosen one's bonds binds one all the
tighter, becoming convoluted as my own sentence is in writing this, until the
breath gives way. St. Gregory (Bateson) once Postulated, in ruminating on the
Ecology of Mind, my Evolutionist, that sequences of communication between parent
and child, if they exhibited the Double Bind, would be a sufficient cause for
schizophrenia. The strands of that deadly Knot are woven from three cords: a
primary negative injunction, as when the Parent says, "Do not do so and so, or I
will punish you" or "If you do not do so and so, I will punish you"; a secondary
injunction, in conflict with the first, at a higher level of Abstraction and,
like the first, backed by Force or by Signals threatening Survival, e.g., "Do
not question my love of which the primary injunction is (or is not) an example";
and, finally, the deadliest stand of all, my Escapist, a tertiary negative
injunction that prohibits the Schizophrenic Novitiate from commenting on the
Coils encircling him, "Do not comment on the trap implicit in the first two
injunctions" (Bateson 206-207). Now I have Noticed, Hierarch of Worlds, that
this Bind is bound not only 'round novitiates of the Oedipal Family, but also
'round those of the Oedipal Polis, in a parallel that did not escape Our
Sophocles when long ago he traced the mortal coils of Thebes. In that city,
Power of Memory let me recall, the King was caught in a Terrible Knot at once
familial and political.
A scandal of sexuality merged, there in the Primal European City, with
a scandal of politics and with still a larger demise of the Human and Natural
Orders. Indeed, as I Look at the Events on the Amerikan Stage I see a genre
mixed of Melodrama, Tragedy and Farce. Recall that Oedipus and, forgive me my
Moralist, his Mother, Jocasta, were Coupled in the Knotty Bed of Incest, to
create a scandal so fierce that she was driven to suicide, he to self- blinding,
and the polis into pestilence. She was his Reward, in the ancient Phallic
Economy, for solving the Riddle of the Sphinx and taking the Helm of the City
(Sophocles, lines 391ff.). The Primary Injunction offered by that Egyptian
Enigma was, "If you do not solve the Riddle and save the city, I will punish
(eat) you," (Pseudo-Apollodorus 1.349) So he solved it. But soon a storm arose,
for the former King, Laius, had been murdered at a Place where Three Roads Meet
(line 730) and a terrible familial scene, the breaking of the most Fundamental
Taboos, inhabited the Royal House. The Secondary Injunction, required,
Un-Fortunately, that the hero solving the riddle must Pay, saying in effect "Do
not question the justice of your punishment for solving the Riddle," and Oedipus
doesn't (until years later in Oedipus at Colonus, lines 985-1000). For
what mortal could understand the Mystery of that Creature who walks on four
legs, then two legs, then three, my Intelligence, except one who is condemned to
play out the Roles of Child, Man, and Blinded Exile? The Answer was not Easy. So
the Brave Captain Oedipus, as it becomes Public that he has engaged in Shameful
Sex along with Regicide and Patricide, with the help of the Prophet Tiresias is
revealed as the "Pollution" (Oedipus Tyrannus line 1425) destroying
Thebes and is forthwith impeached and banished. His Enlightenment
(anagnorisis, lines 1185ff.) is his Demise, furthermore, for to describe
his Situation is to reveal what he has done and thereby tie off the Bind, as the
Tertiary Injunction Requires, Commentary being Hazardous then as now. So Oedipus
is Silenced by Creon and sent packing, led by his Revolutionary Daughter:
Happily, Lord, there has not Yet been any Incest revealed at head of
the Amerikan state, and the Murder is confined to Others loosely associated with
the Sphinx. Unless, of course, Sadam be seen as Clinton's Father and Monica his
Mother, which would create interesting Family Reunions. But the KNOT is similar,
both for the King (Elvis) and His Subjects: HE has acted out the melodrama of
Phallic Power by Solving Amerika's Riddle, taking as his Prize a Young Woman.
That Riddle, the Amerikan Knot, my Beast-Master, "How to be a Pachyderm and a
Jackass at the same time?, "dramatizes the oscillation of Imaginary Oppositions
around a Real Identity, the very Logic of Domination, in the Symbolic Exchange
of the Plutonic Economy. The Bind is, "If you succeed in solving this Riddle,
They will punish you (say, with a sex scandal). The second injunction is, "Do
not question Their Integrity as They smear you." The Third and perhaps most
interesting injunction is, "You must not point out that this whole drama is
contrived to get the Public asking the wrong questions." The Young Woman
amidst all this, as in a play by Our Aeschylus, and one by Sophocles too, has
become Electra, vanquishing the Mother/Wife (not to mention Jurist), St.
Hillary, by playing the Daughter allied with the Father. He, Agamemnon
(Clinton), has gone off (Kings used to do their own fighting, my Crusader) to
the Trojan Wars to kill WEST ASIANS (again, You may let US recall, as the result
of a scandal related to the abduction or, more likely, voluntary flight of Helen
from what was shaping up to be a respectably lurid and dismal History of Family
Politics), which no doubt had something to do with cracking the Riddle of the
Sphinx: Intelligence being Strategic Then as Now.
These are mostly the Parents we're looking at, of course, oh Father of
Family Values, "we" being, for dramatic and, I Admit, Historical purposes mostly
the Chorus, occasionally the Prophet, who in both plays Comment at their own
Risk. What worries me, my Social Worker, is that what we are witnessing is a
Drama of Power whose Roles and whose Script are cast at a level more Abstract
and more Fundamental than their Players know. Like Oedipus or Agamemnon or
Jocasta or Helen or Electra, they are playing Parts they cannot easily
transcend. Even Clytemnestra, who took Power in the City from Agamemnon, ended
up caught in the same "skein" with which she enmeshed her Husband, herself
falling at the hand of her Son Orestes. Aeschylus saw this, even more ominously,
as the "skein of stars" enveloping humankind. How deeply is the Phallus
inscribed in our culture, Lord, that our Leader's tristes in the Oval Office are
so easily displaced into mechanical penile forays, those Cruz Missiles of
Amerikan Desire, thrust into Iraqi Air Space? Bared Presidential Secrets
notwithstanding, (St.?) Flynt, How many Affairs of State Lie beneath the bulging
threads of pomp and circumstance, the Suits, in the Congress of the United
States? Is there a Thread we can pull to loose the strangling bonds of Amerikan
politics? Presciently, again, St. Thomas (Pynchon) says, in the Persona of
Pirate Prentice: "For every They there ought to be a We. And in our case there
is. Creative paranoia means developing at least as thorough a We-system as a
They-system-...." (Gravity's Rainbow 638). I intimate, my Vision, that,
just as long ago Our Revolutionary of the Roman Street, when asked by his
Apostles whether to pay tax to the Empire, said, Redite Caesaris Caesari,
"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's," and with that Cut the Knot of
Imperialism to start a New Dispensation, so WE also, Our Zapatista Satyagraha,
Martin Luther King, Jr., Spirit of Non- Violent Rebellion, can create a Viable
Alternative. HE too was routinized, as Revolutionaries will be, my Humility, but
from the Chorus may arise a Pen, a Communicative Strategy, sharp enough to Free
us. Then we may Breathe in Peace again. In the Interim, my Choreographer, here
on New Year's Day before the Millennium, I wait by Palatial Steps, offering this
choral Ode to Liberation.
Bateson, Gregory. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Northvale NJ: Aronson,
Baudelaire, Charles. The Flowers of Evil & Paris Spleen. Trans. W.
H. Crosby. French and English. Brockport, NY: BOA Editions, 1991.
Dante. The Divine Comedy: Inferno. Italian text with a verse
translation by Allen Mandelbaum. New York: Bantam, 1982.
Derrida, Jacques. Spurs: Nietzsche's Styles / Eperons: Les Styles de
Nietzsche. Trans. Barbara Harlow. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
Encomium. Erasmus Text Project. Ed. Chris Cudabac.
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Daniel R. White is an Associate Professor in the Honors College at
Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches critical theory and cultural
studies. His recent works include Postmodern Ecology: Communication,
Evolution and Play (Albany NY: SUNY Press, 1998) and Labyrinths of the
Mind (Albany NY: SUNY Press 1998).
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