“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Wednesday, November 19, 2003


I'm extremely dissatisfied, at the moment, with the anti-war movement. It seems as though the movement is frozen in time, and that, if they just protest loud enough, the troops won't go in...

This is, well, ignoble. There's real pressure that can be put on Bush at the moment. While the Bush administration says it is for democracy, it is for a democracy without elections. Very convenient. This is a simple point, that can be put on a placard. Iraq--Elections now. How simple is that? As for the troop pullout, that's a great idea, but nobody thinks it is a great idea to do it while the guerrillas present a threat -- not of terrorism, but a threat of retaking power on behalf of an evidently bankrupt system. The problem isn't, as the odious Hitchens insists, that the left is "for" the Ba'athists. The problem is that BushnBlair are clueless in the face of this threat. How clueless/ How about bombing cities you already occupy. I mean, if Saddam the H. is going to go to meet his maker, at least he is getting a good laugh beforehand. This is counter-insurgency as parody. Solution (I have to write this way because I'm going to mop a floor. Work, you know. So I'm telegraphing, rather than Henry Jamesing) the Iraqis who are not part of the resistance have to have something to fight for. How about: their own country? As in, let's not continue to pump the air out of Iraqi civil society in order to please the rightwing deologues in D.C., who mean, by free, free enterprise.

But are these the major features of the protests in London? No.

I get all red in the face thinking about this. In my life, I have seen nothing so worthy of being opposed as what Bush has done, is doing, and plans to do. From bad pre-conceptions to faulty follow through -- the guy's a mess. And I have seen nothing so depressing (okay, I have, but I wanted that sentential balance, you know) as the inability of the organised opposition to present reasonable and pursuasive reasons to oppose the bastards. Slogans should follow, not lead, policy.

Now that the U.S. has officially adopted reality -- that Iraqis have to defend Iraq -- the next step is to get them to adopt even more reality -- that Iraqis have to run the politics and the political economy of Iraq. Swallow it, guys. Swallow it without Chalabi, even. The narcissistic relief one gets from insulting Bush is what one of those commies called infantile leftism. Or is it left infantilism?

These people should really learn something from past mobilizations. The mobilization against the war was led by the dullest group of law student types imaginable. They did the organizing, and made it a success, while some Yippees freeloaded and made themselves celebrities. It is long past time for the dullards to come to the fore.

Talking about which -- I have been exchanging emails on the literary life with my friend T.S. in New York, and he just wrote me an email that discretion forbids me from pasting whole. However, here's the last couple of sentences, re the topic of Academic discombobulation in the face of Bush. Enjoy.

Academia! Fuck it! Of course it does criticism of Dauphin le Shrub so badly, because it doesn't do anything well but crunch numbers. Dissent and non-conformity (beginning at the absolute zero that is one's contempt) is simply not done; dissatisfaction is about all it can muster when its knickers really get twisted. As my old mentor Nelson Algren once wrote (I don't recall where, or even if he wrote it, once or multiple times, or at all) "a certain ruthlessness and alienation from society is as essential to writing as it is to armed robbery."

No comments: