Friday, September 28, 2012

One more in a long list that will go on and on


Richard Wagner, his life, his art and his legacy are fraught with ironies. And the collection is ever expanding. The latest addition to it is the anti-Obama video ad created by the Emergency Comitee for Israel, a pro-Republican organization seen above which features excepts from the "Siegfried funeral march" from "Götterdämmerung". For those not aware, the irony is in the fact that in Israel public performances are under am informal ban because of unfortunate associations of Wagner's music with the Nazi regime.

There are numerous ways in which one can interpret the add, as Alex Ross from "The New Yorker" puts it:

The choice serves various purposes. First, it creates a palpable chill, endowing President Obama with a demonic aura. Second, viewers who are aware of Wagner’s anti-Semitism may instinctively associate the shouting crowd at the Democratic National Convention with anti-Jewish mobs. Finally, the ad seems designed to trigger memories of the Wagnerian iconography of Hitler’s Germany. Siegfried’s Funeral Music was the chief anthem of Nazi mourning, and was heard alongside the slow movement of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony after Hitler’s death. On some subliminal level, the ad might actually be equating Obama with Hitler.

All these make a valid point. Ross, however, misses one important possibility, one deriving directly from the libretto and the synopsis: Israel, the heroic Siegfried being stabbed in the back by the scheming Obama-Hagen. It is also the one that has a foundation in some of the classic interpretations of the "Ring of the Nibelungs", most notably, Geroge Bernard Shaw's. Shaw claimed that Siegfried's smashing of Wotan's spear in Act 3 of "Siegfried" represents the destruction of the norms of the old order, including the 10 Commandments. If we accept this as a valid allegory, the only logical conclusion that can come out of it is that the character of Wotan is in fact an allegory of the Jewish God of the Bible. And since Siegfried is Wotan's grandson he too is of Jewish descent. A turn of events that makes a mockery not only of nazi pseudo-interpretations of Wagner but also of those Wagner "scholars" whose malevolent constructions actually give credibility to the formers' ramblings.

And this problem of legitimising, in a certain way at least,  nazi views on art by painting not only Wagner's works but Wagner as well in a distorted, caricatural manner is not lost on Ross:

Hitler was one of a million youths infatuated with Wagner at the turn of the last century. Some were anti-Semitic extremists; others were socialists, communists, democrats, feminists, apostles of free love, early gay-rights advocates, Rosicrucian mystics, Theosophists, and members of every other imaginable group. There were even some African-American Wagnerians;...We have forgotten that glorious interpretive confusion; in an unsettling way, we now listen to Wagner through Hitler’s ears.

The author's case, made in the title of his article, is presented in a compelling manner,likely made even stronger by the fact that he admitted in it that some time ago he supported the Wagner ban in Israel. And he gives a reason for his change of heart that could hardly be more logical:"I know more about Wagner now than I did then, and would no longer resort to such a pat formula." Many should follow his lead and learn the facts that contradict the vicious narrative that has been indoctrinating people against some of the finest work of art in the history of mankind.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rotten borough America

This entry will be somewhat of a belated translation, or better, a paraphrase of an entry in my blog in Serbian I made about the elections in Serbia. This time, I'll comment on a similar tendency to the one that contributed to (preliminary) Serbian election results that is going on in America. Mitt Romney is now catching a lot of flak for his comments on "47% of Americans being dependent on governement handouts". The accuracy of his numbers as well as crassness of his comments notwithhstanding, Romney was correct in general principle that the number of Americans dependent on the governement is ever increasing and that this can not be a good thing. Economic disadvanteges that this tendency creates are too numerous to even contemplate here, and are bad enough by themselves. Possible political consequences are, however, potentially worse, devastating even. America itself could be made one giant "rotten borough". As I wrote back in May about Serbia:

...After 12 years of continual economic, moral and cultural destruction of Serbia, the whole country has become one large rotten borough...  By that I do not mean that the voters were literally bribed to vote in a certain way but they did recieve a financial incentive albeit in an indirect way. This was achieved through a now infamous system of  "party employment" in public and state-owned companies and governememnt jobs. The ruling clique has empoloyed enough family members, friends, party activists as well as their family members into lucrative(as well as less so) jobs in governement jobs ans state owned companies to ensure that the number of their votes can tip ther scale in their favour because the entire livelyhood of these people literally depends on who has the power. Looking for a different job is out of the question, partially due to economic crisis, but mostly because of the governement deliberately creating  an economic climate that makes private, autonomous initiative all but impossible. To top it all, many of the existing private companies are dependant on business transactions with governement institutions,  the rights to which many were obtained in a roundabout, even blatantly illegal way. And so it comes to be that a large percentage of the electorate doesn't really have a choice on election day.
As I said the number of such voters in America may not have reached critical mass that ensures one party's stranglehold on power but all research points to the progressive swelling of governement dependents.

So, what are the possible devastating political consequences should it come to the point of no return? The first one would be that elections will no longer be a feasible way of achieving  any kind of meaningful change. If a candidate was to openly campaign on a platform of reforming the system he would open the opportunity for the ruling party to fear-monger among it's dependants. If he would argue that such dependency on governement handouts is not good for the people that recieve them he could be portrayed as arrogant and patronising. Anyone willing to take on this system would have to pander to it and it's beneficients in public. This in turn creates resentment and frustration among the part of the population that works (more or less) independently of governement institutions and a feeling of it not being adequately represented in the governement which is formally supposed to be "off the people, for the people". These feelings, initially directed at politicians of both parties, could easily turn to fellow Americans living off the governement thus sowing seeds of discord that could bear some really ugly fruits.

Is there a way prevent this kind of situation? As I said, unlike in Serbia, the number of people directly or indirectly living off governement jobs or handouts has not yet reached critical mass so it is still possible to stop this slide into the abyss by purely political means. The question is, is Mitt Romney, who professes to be the saviour from this fate, up to this task? Almost all the known facts point to a negative answer to that question.

And once the situation I described in my Serbian blog entry comes to be, is there a way out of it? Actually there are three. One is the complete financial bankrupcy of the US which will force the governement to slash all except the most essential personel. Needless to say this will create huge civil unrest and open up a whole different can of worms. Another is an overthrow of the system by force but that could spell either a formal cessation of the American system as it is known or a break-up of America, an 1861 revisited.

The third one is the Serbian way out, which means a 10-Richter-scale political earthquake that was the victory of current president of Serbia Nikolić over then-incumbent and Serbian version of Obama Tadić which turns the political landscape completely on it's head. This, plainly and simply, is a miracle, and God does not distribute those at an abundance, which is why they are called miracles. I am tempted to say that America does not deserve miracles, but I thought the same about Serbia in May. The Lord works in mysterious ways and all I can honestly recommend are prayers.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

In the wake of current events in the Middle East, who comes out as the most stupid? You decide

I'll just provide the list:

1. Obama and his administration. Desperate for a legacy and a positive event after seeing the hype of his "Hope/Change" routine unravel after little more then two years, he fell under an another delusion, the one that the so-called "Arab Spring" is "Eastern Europe 1989" redux. Now he says that Egypt is not an ally. Well, not any more after he himself pushed for the ouster of Mubarak, a fact he hopes people would forget.

2. Ambassador Stephens. Even if one completely casts aside the sheer illegality and immorality of his and American governement's actions, it is hard to feel sympathy for him. Idealistic enthusiasm, regardless of how naive, misguided or even cringeworthy can be forgiven(let's not debate the sincerity of his statements, it's beside the point), but not willful blindness. He totally ignored islamist elelments  among anti-Gaddafi forces and even befriended them. He then, according to some reports, encouraged US intervention in Lybia. One can not help but draw the conclusion that he brought this fate upon himself. Nor can one escape the feeling of poetic justice having it's hand all over this as at last, one of the architects of a seriously misguided, even criminal, policy feels himself the consequences of it instead of the bill being delivered just to ordinary folk.

3. Conservatives and republicans hoodwinked into supporting the war against Lybia.  While it's true that a good portion of them were sceptical about going into Lybia and the so-called Arab spring, the most influential ones were all gung-ho, seeing it as some sort of vindication  of George Bush's "spread democracy" project. And the sane ones were stupid for allowing the scoundrel to reach her last refuge(Hillary Clinton: "Whose side are you on?"). And by criticizing Obama while trying to sweep under the rug their own role as cheerleaders makes them just as intellectually dishonest as he is.

4. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman. These three belong in a league of their own. We may even have a winner of this competition. If it is not for Diana West's brilliant takedown of it, you could only weep as you read their joint message. Or, perhaps you should weep nonetheless?

The list is not final, it can be updated at any time with names from past present and future, because as Robert Spencer writes:

Lenin never feared there would be a shortage of capitalists ready to sell the communists the rope they would use to hang them. And now, even despite this brutal murder, there is no shortage of diplomats in Washington, ready to show their nation’s good will and bestow its largesse among those who will stab them in the back as soon as they turn in the other direction. If our nation continues indefinitely down this road, the entire country will eventually suffer the fate of Christopher Stevens, writ large.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gratitude


The picture of the headline ant the begginig of the article, especially the highlighted part, says it all.

So, how is Libya freed of the "evil murderous dictator" Gaddafi working out for you?

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Dumbfounded

That's how I reacted to the video below because it arises so many conflicting feelings. It is funny, sad, awful, disturbing...Actually, the latter is the most apt word to describe the incident since it captured the essence of the Democrats. Their rank and file are nuts, their leadership is corrupt and crooked...What's not to like about them? The late Samuel Francis was kind when he called the Republicans "the Stupid Party". How could they be loosing to these people?