Monday, September 12, 2005

Once upon a time

[Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you can find the EZLN and other zapatista translations in our Library.]

I’ve been toying with toying with words this evening. Exploring a few of them. Toying with and exploring - more or less the same thing, under the proper circumstances.

I’m afraid my mind was drifting just a bit there, and heaven knows why.

I mentioned once before the absence of the term Civil Society of late and how sorely I missed it. I hated it at first, it seemed so stiff and structured and hollow. But then, as incivility continued to overtake my known universe, a fondness ensued. Civil not, of course, as posited against the political or whatever, but as against the rude, boorish and brutish.

[I know there are some who choose to misunderstand my affection for civility, calling it something else, but words, like people, can also be used as straw men.]

Now we read different descriptors: a variety of nouns with similar qualifying prepositional phrases. There are social organizations, individuals, artistic groups, and so very forth, all of a particular location on a specific sliding scale of a determinate political spectrum.

Other words that seem to be increasingly scarce are neoliberals and globalization. Both of them horrid, of course, terribly nonspecific, without resonance and lacking in any historical, cultural or literary connotation.

Instead we see more of “anti-capitalist” and such. Tons of resonance and connotation there. Perhaps I shall have another peek at some of the founding words.

I’m sure there are an abundance of possibilities, from tactical positioning to the imperatives of next steps, to absolutely no meaning whatsoever.

Perhaps I simply think too much about words and would do better to find other things to toy with and explore.

But the one thing I cannot ignore tonight is Belfast.

There are certain, often predictable, consequences when history moves through some kinds of organizations, and through their oppositional counterparts. Of course the Orange Order bastards orchestrated and/or incited the bloody riots of the last few days. Of course nothing is ever enough when the clumps of aging hardmen and their witless progeny have no clue as to their own history or even as to what the hell is going on around them today.

The IRA is decommissioning, and who would have thought it? History would have thought it and so would have the stories told to their children that told of that history. The same stories, I know, that I heard as a child, the ones that murmured the troubles, the heroes and, yes, the moral of the story.

The civil underpinning, as it were.

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