Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Loomings ii

I offer this posting with regard
for a direct inquiry I received.
Most of us who blog, I'd wager, 
have our private correspondents,
who trade ideas and feelings out-
side of the repartée of the pub-
lic page. And I interpret the
character of the private corres-
pondent also to include the lit-
erary resource and the diaries
which interact with us in per-
mission and resiliency, uninter-
rupted by postal vicissitudes -
dynamic waveforms of memory, by
content less infused than style,
ing resources of our passage
Have you ever been asked, what
need there is for a masterpiece? 

Of course, one is always delighted
to find another person who under-
stands, say, that the right against
self-incrimination is the absolute
core of human rights; but one can
get along pretty well, simply to
allow it to shape one's judgment 
of pretty new suggestions, such as
enhanced interrogation.

Those who know their Peter Grimes
will know what I mean, when they
call to mind Britten's sea inter-
ludes, which I warmly believe un-
derstand Melville as well as Crabbe,
the naïve as well as the mad, and
speak to us undyingly of their
quest for reconciliation. The sea
interludes are suspiciously akin
to acoustic production design, 
but work as internal soliloquy.

Politics in America cast us back 
on that sea, to which we are not 
called by any inner voice or na-
tural, Parliamentary timing, but 
by a Constitutional calendar com-
manding us to stamp government's 
ticket of legitimacy. The artifi-
ciality of the occasion undoubt-
edly lends that quality to its
enactment - inducing, it seems
very likely to me - a chronic
and distracting resort to reli-
gion, where the ingredients for 
a spirited secular dispute were
not mature enough in their clar-
ity to generate the savagery of
partisan vituperation. This is 
the natural space of the naïve 
as well as the mad. 

Now we are at it, again - as
the chorus has it in Britten,
Grimes is at his business -
and tomorrow night, the two
principal parties will put
forth their arguments to hold
the Executive sinecure in our
government - the submerged, 
regulation-writing, fate-dic-
tating borough of that showy
surface of name-calling tirade
which passes for an election in
this country. As in most such
diversions in the past, we are
to be fed a religious quarrel -
who detests Marxism more, who
apologises for slavery less -
to drive us toward a monument-
al financial consequence, of
often mortal dimensions.

Who knew, Ishmael? This year, the
great whale looms frenetically, as
the question of white, male rule,
its grazings out of sight, the on-
ly explanation for the morbidity,
hysteria, and birther refusal to
navigate the current with us all.
At the same time, the threadbare
Manichaean Heresy of revanchist
reasoning in our politics has
gained personification in a cham-
pion of absolute greed, a vocal
idolator of the Great Bear and 
Pleiades of money - only money,
mated by a minstrel of Palin-
esque depth and conscience. It's
almost an afterthought, to dismiss
everyone else as ugly, but with 
sublime, unwitting modesty. He is
right, of course. 

We're not his job to worry about.

    Well, then, however the old sea-
    captains may order me about - 
    however they may thump and punch
    me about, I have the satisfaction
    of knowing that it is all right;
    that everybody else is one way or
    other served in much the same way
    - either in a physical or metaphy-
    sical point of view, that is; and
    so the universal thump is passed
    round, and all hands should rub
    each other's shoulder-blades, and
    be content..

    And, doubtless, my going on this
    whaling voyage, formed part of the
    grand programme of Providence that
    was drawn up a long time ago. It
    came in as a sort of brief interlude
    and solo between more extensive per-
    formances. I take it that this part
    of the bill must have run something
    like this:

Grand Contested Election for the Presidency of the United States.



    The pale usher - he loved to dust his
    old grammars, it somehow mildly remind-
    ed him of his mortality.

Herman Melville
  or The Whale
  i  Chapter I: Loomings
  ii Etymology
op. cit.

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