Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Our circuses come on Tuesday

the eye of 

I live in a country, agrarian, where, every day, men and women past the age of childhood get up in the morning and go to bed in the evening with the clearest expectation that tomorrow must be like today. I am a stranger where I live, and keep a dog who knows with me, and voices under Context, that this simply will not be. We have spoken enough of this place, but must again of course as the great political menace of its despair leaps headlong upon its trust, and uses it to savage you and I. In any eleven months of satire there will be opportunities not taken, to celebrate a common likeness. In the aggregate, it emerges on its own.

But we haven't cited Heraclitus to justify ourselves; or Howells, Horace, Virgil, James, Woolf and Joseph Addison, except to show the obvious. They gird us all against a common menace, coming now again to give us fear, rage, and self-destructive pleasure. That's right. Pleasure. They are the galloping perversion of our like-ness, incarnate. 

I have listened to their foppish ornament, Eric Cantor, rant against the dissipation of equality, the malignancy of justice as I've stood in line to shake the loather's hand, a guest of friends who do what they are told. But these aren't soft targets; the power behind them is prodigious and it's won our Court's approval to outvote us with our own money. If they carry the next cycle in our States and in the nation, the orgy that they plan will drown us all - and not in shame alone. A culture that could give us George Bush a second time can and will do anything, properly fellated. I speak of their behaviour, to honour limits they don't know.

A friend of mine, a third my age, with whom I used to talk about the classics, is creating a poster on Seamus Heaney's version of Antigone. A despot brought down his whole house for security's sake. Let's start the week with gratitude for poison, and serve it in our saucer of the week. The thing that will save us is the thing they mock the loudest. Whose will it be; and where were we, when our debt to it was distributed? The tocsin of their outrage, the example of humanity, is the toxin they can't bear. I can't wait to see that poster. That's the kind of show and tell a boy can gain respect for, and justify society for all.

Bruce Barone
  Field Work, 2010©

Supreme Court
  of the United States
Citizens United v. FEC
558 U.S. 08, 2010

Seamus Heaney
The Burial at Thebes
  A Version of Sophocles' Antigone
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004©

ca 450 BC
David Franklin and
  John Harrison, translation
Cambridge University Press, 2003©


  1. yes, it is a spreading tainted pool.I expect to see the poster-Antigone. Gaye

  2. Dear Bruce, you've been behind our poetic borrowings so unstintingly, I'm sorry to have resorted to an image of yours for one of our polemics, of lesser mutual interest and aspiration. But it's one of my favourite pictures, and I had to use it to site Laurent's perspective. I thank you for the sharing.

  3. Dear PGT, I have been offered that glance, and that use; and it may welll appear. HIs work has already been shown at rmbl, but for now I want there to be no rush, not that you imply one. A poster, obviously, can be absorptive or it can be a semaphore, and he is a New Yorker now, so he may well wish to say something for Sophocles to a passing glance from a rushing subway car. And that would be as fine, as if it were set out as a dust jacket, for someone to admire at a party. If I had that gift, and could suggest "Antigone," it would be for a very fast glimpse, given the horror underlying it. We'll just have to see. :)