Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Interesting Times

At Bluepepper we tend to leave off the editorials and let the poetry speak for itself. Momentous events of the past year have passed without comment here partly because we were rendered momentarily speechless, and partly because words and opinions were flying so thick and fast it seemed at worst a futile gesture, at best a hollow one to weigh in to the melee. Our position at Bluepepper should be pretty clear by now: words matter, opinions matter, but only if they can bear close scrutiny. We will spare you Voltaire's famous maxim, but as the world continues to coalesce into two angry, bristling camps impatient of nuance and all the million little contradictions of this life, it behoves us all to celebrate the restorative powers of art, and especially poetry, its power to shine the light on all those little nooks and crannies where the magic lives amidst the relentless hectoring and tub-thumping of what now passes for public discourse. Kindness is not weakness, it is to admit the strength of a bond.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame."

- W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939

2 comments:

donalmahoney said...

Justin,

I know you live in Australia but in this piece you sound like you are living among us in the United States. My first presidential vote was for Jack Kennedy in 1960. It’s been an interesting life. But I have never seen a time like this at least in America. Never have I seen the media and a President so deep in battle. It makes the Nixon era pale in comparison.

We don’t hear much detail about problems on your continent but Americans in general have no problem with your people.

I saw a small article about some controversy down under not long ago but the big story was allegedly your PM and our president going at it which of course later both denied.

In terms of our media and our very different, often personally dislikable president I don’t know who to believe.

I hope things improve in your nation. I see no respite for us. Their are two camps here and a small remant dizzy in the middle.

Take care.

Donal

Justin Lowe said...

Yes, well down here in Oz we have had a decade of changing parties and leaders and almost zero leadership to the point where even this old war horse is close to despair. We now have the dubious honour of being the most volatile democracy in the Westminster system. As in the US Fox news and conservative shock jocks hold inordinate sway.