Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri

From the notebook of a visitor to Earth

Dreams of harmony and peace or absurd visions of the end of time are legitimate constructions of human imagination. If you are dealing with pure cinema, they are effective. Such spectacles appear to confirm the implacable universality of violence, the murky origins of terrorism, and the marriage of reason with insanity. They are primary features of life on planet Earth. Women and men may satisfy their fantasies by imposing gender and by speaking of amoral Nature in their own images. They are free to tamper with Nature in efforts to make a more living-friendly "world," and they may succeed for brief periods of time. Ultimately, they fail. They manufacture abstract and material "worlds" that are mercurial, that speak back to them of their cosmic insignificance in visual and audible languages which negate interpretations.

All that is happening in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 is merely a rerun of tribally-motivated antiquities. A frantic male of one tribe, believing himself to be authorized by the Holy Bible, the United States Constitution, and the codified laws of Charles Darwin, murders a male of a different tribe. People who identify themselves with the dead male react naturally. They are shocked. They grieve. They enact counter-violence, the only procedure that is paradoxically understood and misunderstood in a nanosecond by the American body politic. Violence is very obedient to folkloric injunctions to increase and multiply. And American  as well foreign mass media take special delight in the production of misinformation about how violence procreates. In the historical tragedy entitled the United States of America, the George Zimmermans and Darren Wilsons are proclaimed to be  the stars of the show, the militants who keep democracy safe for those who are wealthy enough to buy it.  The Michael Browns and Trayvon Martins and the thousands of unarmed dead who were the targets of tragedy are treated as  footnotes in the smallest print on the playbill. In the sacred narratives of universal violence, this is proclaimed to be natural. According to such logic, the American Nightmare that has decentered the American Dream; the death-bound mission of Europe; the family squabbles between Palestinians and Israelis and the diabolic plots in the Arab/Isamic winter of the Middle East; the progress of environmental destruction in Asia; rampant neocolonialism and unique ethnic hatreds on the continent of Africa; outbreaks of such health threats as Ebola and yearly variations of influenza; the refusal to acknowledge the humanity of indigenous peoples in Australia and yhe actuality of global climate change-----according to such logic, all is quite normal on Earth.

Unfortunately, this superb logic is not a part of the education of Americans. The majority of them dwell in the darkness of believing that a meek savior will serve peace and harmony at the  Finality Feast of Thanksgiving. Our transparent wisdom obligates us to tolerate their eternal ignorance but to act otherwise.

Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

August 16, 2014

Re-printed here.

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