Friday, June 13, 2008

Lead us, O leader. We fall as you fall.

Dear George,

For someone as jaded and bored as I am, the descent of our empire into hell is the only thing that makes life worth living. How I love to see our idealism curdle as it is distilled into the black bile of decay. How wonderful is it to be lead by leaders so stark raving mad they believe they are on the cutting edge of reality. How stimulating it is to be kept informed by elite pundits whose servility is rewarded by access to power as long as they mouth the approved platitudes.

Liberty’s torch is now a sputtering smudge pot that sends its black murk across the face of the earth choking and blinding all that it touches, while your minions try valiantly to persuade the world that its darkness is the light of freedom, illuminating their shattered lives.

Famine and pestilence stride the land singing your praises as the very god of want and despair. The cry of a hungry child is freedom’s song; the wail of the widow its polyphonic motet. The water board and the hood are its teachers.

You have brought America into a new age of integrity and honesty. The evils of the 50's once committed in silent denial in Iran and Guatemala are now openly broadcasted and bragged about. Evil is now good, and worn as a badge of honor.

And as the crushing boredom of impoverishment closes around the America public, they turn a blind eye to your dark visage and see in you, themselves, for you are an extension of the public’s fear and loathing. Their pathological consumption has eaten away their souls and all that remain are empty shells rattling in the icy wind that blows from the north, so cold it freezes the marrow of their bones and turns their hearts to stone.

Lead us, O leader, and we will follow you to the precipice over which we will find the ultimate freedom that only death can offer.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

6 comments:

gunboat diplomat said...

Oh, come on - a little Conrad will cheer you up:

At the end of the river:

"I directed my glass to the house. There were no signs of life, but there was the ruined roof, the long mud wall peeping above the grass, with three little square window-holes, no two of the same size; all this brought within reach of my hand, as it were. And then I made a brusque movement, and one of the remaining posts of that vanished fence leaped up in the field of my glass. You remember I told you I had been struck at the distance by certain attempts at ornamentation, rather remarkable in the ruinous aspect of the place. Now I had suddenly a nearer view, and its first result was to make me throw my head back as if before a blow. Then I went carefully from post to post with my glass, and I saw my mistake. These round knobs were not ornamental but symbolic; they were expressive and puzzling, striking and disturbing -- food for thought and also for vultures if there had been any looking down from the sky; but at all events for such ants as were industrious enough to ascend the pole. They would have been even more impressive, those heads on the stakes, if their faces had not been turned to the house. Only one, the first I had made out, was facing my way. I was not so shocked as you may think. The start back I had given was really nothing but a movement of surprise. I had expected to see a knob of wood there, you know. I returned deliberately to the first I had seen -- and there it was, black, dried, sunken, with closed eyelids -- a head that seemed to sleep at the top of that pole, and, with the shrunken dry lips showing a narrow white line of the teeth, was smiling, too, smiling continuously at some endless and jocose dream of that eternal slumber.

"I am not disclosing any trade secrets. In fact, the manager said afterwards that Mr. Kurtz's methods had ruined the district. I have no opinion on that point, but I want you clearly to understand that there was nothing exactly profitable in these heads being there. They only showed that Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts, that there was something wanting in him -- some small matter which, when the pressing need arose, could not be found under his magnificent eloquence. Whether he knew of this deficiency himself I can't say. I think the knowledge came to him at last -- only at the very last. But the wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude -- and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core. . . . I put down the glass, and the head that had appeared near enough to be spoken to seemed at once to have leaped away from me into inaccessible distance.

"The admirer of Mr. Kurtz was a bit crestfallen. In a hurried, indistinct voice he began to assure me he had not dared to take these -- say, symbols -- down. He was not afraid of the natives; they would not stir till Mr. Kurtz gave the word. His ascendancy was extraordinary. The camps of these people surrounded the place, and the chiefs came every day to see him. They would crawl. . . . 'I don't want to know anything of the ceremonies used when approaching Mr. Kurtz,' I shouted. Curious, this feeling that came over me that such details would be more intolerable than those heads drying on the stakes under Mr. Kurtz's windows. After all, that was only a savage sight, while I seemed at one bound to have been transported into some lightless region of subtle horrors, where pure, uncomplicated savagery was a positive relief, being something that had a right to exist -- obviously -- in the sunshine. The young man looked at me with surprise. I suppose it did not occur to him that Mr. Kurtz was no idol of mine. He forgot I hadn't heard any of these splendid monologues on, what was it? on love, justice, conduct of life -- or what not. If it had come to crawling before Mr. Kurtz, he crawled as much as the veriest savage of them all. I had no idea of the conditions, he said: these heads were the heads of rebels. I shocked him excessively by laughing. Rebels! What would be the next definition I was to hear? There had been enemies, criminals, workers -- and these were rebels. Those rebellious heads looked very subdued to me on their sticks. 'You don't know how such a life tries a man like Kurtz,' cried Kurtz's last disciple. 'Well, and you?' I said. 'I! I! I am a simple man. I have no great thoughts. I want nothing from anybody. How can you compare me to . . . ?' His feelings were too much for speech, and suddenly he broke down. 'I don't understand,' he groaned. 'I've been doing my best to keep him alive, and that's enough. I had no hand in all this. I have no abilities. There hasn't been a drop of medicine or a mouthful of invalid food for months here. He was shamefully abandoned. A man like this, with such ideas. Shamefully! Shamefully! I -- I -- haven't slept for the last ten nights . . .'

Case Wagenvoord said...

I seem to remember that Conrad was attacked for making up stories about the staked heads. Later, his description was proved accurate.

thepoetryman said...

The water board and the hood are its teachers.

We need teach our children, yes, and if it takes extreme methods of simulated drowning to keep the little bastards in line then so be it! Wait? I forget which side I'm fighting for...? Is this what your post was trying to tell me, that I'm confused about my allegiance to humanity? Help...

Case Wagenvoord said...

Up's down; down's up; sane's mad; mad's sane; in's out; out's in.

Take your pick

thepoetryman said...

Oh. I get it! Cheney is Bush. Bush is Cheney. Terror is War. War is Terror. Bonkers is sane. Sane is bonkers. This is fun! Up is down. down is up. Straight is gay. Gay is straight. Milk is cheese and cheese is milk... Thanks, Case. I mean, Mark.

gunboat diplomat said...
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