“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

Friday, October 28, 2005

Hephaestus, from Ida on Libby and Rove

When Clytemnestra announces the news that the city of Troy has been sacked to the chorus, who have been waiting uneasily for news, the chorus, a bunch of codgers, wants to know the source of her information. Was it a dream? These vieux garcons are a distrustful bunch, and obviously the intelligence systems have more than once spit out misleading omens and instructions. Then of course, there is the old festering scandal of the event that occurred right before the invasion of Troy, the sacrifice of Iphegenia, engineered by a technician of the divine, an early think tanker. Clytemnestra, like many a leader of many a coalition of the willing since, has obviously crucified her credibility on the power of back channel chatter and the self dealing of her hard to read heart.

Here’s the Q and A between the Chorus and Clytamnestra:

“Chorus
But at what time was the city destroyed?

Clytaemestra
In the night, I say, that has but now given birth to this day here.

Chorus
And what messenger could reach here with such speed?

Clytaemestra
“Hephaestus, from Ida speeding forth his brilliant blaze. Beacon passed beacon on to us by courier-flame: Ida, to the Hermaean crag in Lemnos; to the mighty blaze upon the island succeeded, third, the summit of Athos sacred to Zeus; and, soaring high aloft so as to leap across the sea, the flame, travelling joyously onward in its strength the pinewood torch, its golden-beamed light, as another sun, passing the message on to the watchtowers of Macistus. He, delaying not nor carelessly overcome by sleep, did not neglect his part as messenger. Far over Euripus' stream came the beacon-light and signalled to the watchmen on Messapion. They, kindling a heap of withered heather, lit up their answering blaze and sped the message on. The flame, now gathering strength and in no way dimmed, like a radiant moon overleaped the plain of Asopus to Cithaeron's ridges, and roused another relay of missive fire. [300] Nor did the warders there disdain the far-flung light, but made a blaze higher than their commands. Across Gorgopus' water shot the light, reached the mount of Aegiplanctus, and urged the ordinance of fire to make no delay. Kindling high with unstinted force a mighty beard of flame, they sped it forward so that, as it blazed, it passed even the headland that looks upon the Saronic gulf; until it swooped down when it reached the lookout, near to our city, upon the peak of Arachnaeus; and next upon this roof of the Atreidae it leapt, this very fire not undescended from the Idaean flame.”

All state of the art, this homeland security system of pyre on mountain-top. The vision of flames lit one after the other was in my head this morning when I woke up, since similar signals were flicking on in my own body. The equivalent of the Idean flame was passing from node to node in the immune system as the body reacted to the Austin air, laden with pollens and mold this crisp October morning, the hints of cedar on the outlying hills, of dust, of sun soaked motes. Those tiny chemical fires I could imagine being reflected in the red of my blood stream, sadly low on anti-histamines, and even in those streams the struggle continued. And so the news was finally flashed to my nose, where one messenger and then another took up their places to coordinate that first, that preliminary and preemptive sneeze, which gathered terrific force and… there I was, awake and thinking: “benadryll”.

My second thought was, of course: Fitzmas Day! Yesterday in my post, I realized from a comment by Brian, seemed to delineate such a broad vision of politics and secrecy that I excluded fun. Any time fun is excluded from politics, you know that the analysis is screwed. Entertainment is a goodly part of politics. I don’t question this. Moralists limber up by denouncing gawkers, tabloids, curiosity mongers, and the destroyers of the monuments when it comes to politics, as if politics had some serious, innocent essence stumbling towards the marble city on the hill. I cordially detest that seriousness. Much of politics is entertainment. It is simply a question of who is organizing the entertainment, and who is being lead in chains in the triumph. Eager to see if the fires from mountain to mountain had signaled “Rove” (oh let it be Rove!), I went to the computer and checked out the Times.

As the Chorus puts it: “But even as trouble, bringing memory of pain, drips over the mind in sleep, so wisdom comes to men, whether they want it or not. Harsh, it seems to me, is the grace of gods enthroned upon their awful seats.”

Harsh indeed, as it looks like the knives are going to spare Rove this morning. Of course, this is not going to keep me from raising a vodka martini, tonight, at the Elephant Lounge to the indictment of Libby; still, we wished for a more complete smash.

6 comments:

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Patrick J. Mullins said...

Roger, Ridgeway quoted this on Tuesday, which scared shit out of me. So I was less upset than you that Rove hasn't also been fully captured yet (obviously I would have enjoyed it, but...):

'John Dean, Nixon’s former counsel during the Watergate, thinks it unlikely that Fitzgerald would indict Cheney in part because, after all, the prosecutor was appointed by the Bush administration. Dean argues the matter will come down to why the identity of CIA agent Plame was leaked to the press. Did whoever leaked it act out of concern for national security? Dean says the investigation could well close as scheduled on October 28 and amount to practically nil.

“In short, I cannot imagine any of them being indicted, unless they were acting for reasons other than national security,” Dean writes. “Because national security is such a gray area of the law, come next week, I can see this entire investigation coming to a remarkable anti-climax, as Fitzgerald closes down his Washington Office and returns to Chicago.”

So, Dean notwithstanding, it seems well on its way at long last; and Fitzgerald said in strange ways it would continue. Sorry this is a bit long, I saw no reason you should search it out.

roger said...

Patrick, I am satisfied for the moment. The important thing to remember is: there's been damn little to drink to in the past five years. So I am drinking to this one. And, unless you have a medical excuse, I'd urge you to sacrifice a little to the goddess of wine, too.

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