Honestly, truly, I don’t write in Middle English, nor do I deliberately obfuscate.
Well, that’s not completely accurate. Once in a great while I do perhaps choose to make my words ever so slightly demanding, but only because I wish them to be understood by some but not all. For reasons having to do with nothing but self-preservation.
But I really hadn’t been thinking about freedom of speech in my last two posts, despite the fact that I have never seen more terror lurking behind words than I have, almost always, on the left, any left. Fear that one will get it wrong, offend the directorate, be tossed or shunned.
My solution, as I’ve noted here before, is to be nowhere, everywhere, invisible but, yes, ubiquitous. No comites for me, no grant money, no shadowy puppetmaster on the Other Side with deep pockets. And, being a girl, nor has my entire sense of self-worth been dependent on acceptance by an increasingly smaller number of frat boys.
So there, she flounced, giggling still.
No, it has to do with what comes after the freedom of words. The consequences of those words in a particular milieu.
Imams and Ian Paisley, papists and patriarchs, academics and artists, journalists and japes. Anyone with a pulpit, a creed and a crowd.
It can dress itself up in the robes of religion, politics, art or almost anything, but its demands are always the same. It needs untutored acolytes, ideally impressionable adolescents or disgruntled mid-lifers. And amoral scribes, “new” journalists, more than willing to toe the line on offer so they can get on the bus and shine in reflected light.
And enemies. Mother of god, they require enemies.
Catholics or Protestants, Jews or Muslims, the morally repressed or the morally profligate. Rich people or the hoi polloi, the political class or undocumented workers. The Evil Empire [any of them], the Axis of Evil, the Bad Governments, these are among the best, because they establish the connection directly, without having to tax their fan base with an intervening step. “I hate loose women [feel free to insert what you will here: Islamists; gringos; men who wear hats; Sunnis; gangstas; AMLO supporters; Quebecois, ad totally infinitum], we hate loose women, they are very, very bad, ergo we are very, very good”.
Yes, I know. The oldest boilerplate in the world, and who in the hell cares. A shaman, a charlatan, a man of steel, a general, priest, visionary. His terribly unresolved issues with Daddy, his courtiers. Drawing up a Plan, choosing a persona, practicing in the mirror, finding an Enemy, drawing a crowd.
And we know it works.
Millions slaughtered every century, tons of ink spilled writing, then revisiting, the lives of the Great Ones. But even those whose fiefdom never extends beyond their parish, classroom or subscriber list still sleep, confidently, with the angels.
So, yes, boys setting themselves up as Gods and holding forth.
I did wrack my brain for the odd second in search of one of the fairer sex for whom this scenario might apply, and I’m certain such a lady might exist. Somewhere. But, as I noted in one of my very first posts here, girls tend to work from the other way round. Starting with the domestic, the micro, weaving web and cloth, outward.
I’ve been rambling at much too much length here and find myself quite diverted. First, by boys discussing religion in the Comments, a subject I’ve been struggling with for the last few years. The object of my struggle being Boys Discussing Religion. Heatedly.
With exactly the same tone, intent and passion as, say, another has been waxing about a certain mayor of a certain large city.
I understood, at about the age of 11 I believe, that most institutionalized religious entities were nasty, horrid and dangerous things. As I learned more of the world, I realized that most political, academic, economic and cultural entities were the exact same thing. Providing forum and writ for Boys Gone Wild, as noted several paragraphs above.
One example. A boy, who has been close to me, in some ways and at some times, ever since I was 18 months old, came to visit last summer, as is his occasional wont. After several cans of lager, he leaned back in his chair, voice rising, eyes fixing, and he proceeded to rail against the Church, which, he averred, had “destroyed his life.”
Once I caught my breath, I moved to gently interrupt the tirade, which was loud enough, truly, to disturb the horses in the street. I reminded him that, as far as I could remember [and, being the only girl and the middle child in this particular unit, one can be certain that I remembered most clearly, even down to the colour of the frocks], that we had visited the inside of a church exactly once in our lives. It was an Easter Sunday, and it had entirely to do, in fact, with frocks. And bonnets. Easter bonnets. He would have been about 5 at the time.
Nor, I reminded him, had any deity ever been mentioned in our home. Ever. Not once. But he wouldn’t have it. The Church was the Scourge of all mankind, and the single abiding reason for his own misery and unquenchable fury.
It was beyond bizarre, but it reminded me of other times, other places. Another boy, a euro-boy, who suddenly went off, once upon a very last time and completely out of the blue, about American born-again Christians. The other boy, the one with such suddenly deadly serious issues with the above-referenced mayor.
The best I can make of it is that it might, perhaps, be the other side, or tarnished edge, of the coin I was trying to discuss above. The boilerplate. Every time I’ve seen this particular brand of explosive, curiously inappropriate rage [and I’m not speaking of any of the Comments, but of the examples I’ve proffered from my own life], the boys in question have been of a Certain Age and have indeed held court, albeit in widely differing venues.
I really did have a point to make when I started all this, but to hell with it.
Because I simply cannot get my mind off two other recent examples of Boys Gone Wild. The one, of course, being Dick Cheney, full of Wild Turkey one presumes, taking literal potshots at his “hunting” buddy. Not hunting, mind you, but apparently one of those stocked, skeet shooting entertainment centers for Evil Fat White Men.
The other, and I’ll tread as gently as I feel I must, had to do with a Man Wielding a Metal Folding Chair, a mouth as foul as an Irish person and a very hurried change of lodgings.
All my sympathies to the hunting partner and window in question, but, still and all, my deepest thanks to both of them for having lightened my mood, and my weekend, beyond all measure.