Now writing fiction is definitely an art and I have long said that I am far more of an artist than a technician. Therefore I appreciate and enjoy the creation of a story (or an essay) as a work in itself and strive to make that act of creation aesthetically, technically, and inspirationally, right. I believe that, like a painting or a savory meal or a fine wine, a piece of writing should be pleasing in the consumption. My aim is to make my work just that.
At the same time, however, I have, in my latter years, become more and more politically aware. That is, I've striven to look outside my bubble, even as I've struggled to survive and provide for my family, and see the world as it really is. As I've gotten older I have become less and less able to be satisfied with the consensus of what reality is (especially in the US) and with the conceit that everything is OK, will be OK, our leaders wouldn't do that, and that the future will be like the past. There is too much serious stuff going on and I have to speak of it and point it out, though I be pilloried in the effort. My demon will have its way.
Integrating these two impulses--art and social commentary--is the challenge I cannot avoid. I just have to work out how best to do it. In my writings, I want to inspire and entertain readers, and also say something. In his brilliant essay, Why I Write, George Orwell described his own struggle with expressing art and making comment:
So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose and style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information...The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.
Yes. Exactly. Mr. Orwell got it right on so many levels.
One of the activities this age forces on us is The War of the Damned as I mentioned in my last journal entry. Here are a few updates for that war from this past week.
Ukraine: Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (installed as PM in last year's coup by the US) announced the resumption of war with Donbass (ethnic Russians in eastern provinces of Ukraine who are a self-proclaimed independent republic now). Yatsenyuk says: “Adequate financial resources are available” now to retake Donbass. He's referring to material and financial support from the US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I guess that means the cease-fire is over.
Greece: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assured the Greek people that they will not return to the policies of austerity, "despite pressure from European lenders." He also spoke of "...an honorable compromise..." that requires the recognition that "the previous policy of extreme austerity has failed." While that's certainly true, his language sounds like he is still depending on a reasonable negotiation with the Troika, which I believe won't happen. The same article noted that the European Central Bank (ECB) would be opening a new headquarters building in Frankfurt later in the week and that the Blockupy organization planned a mass demonstration there. That demonstration happened on March 18 with about 10,000 demonstrators taking part. There was some violence that the Blockupy representatives distanced themselves from. This is typical with such protests and, considering the organization being protested, makes one wonder about agent provocateurs.
Philippines: There were demonstrations in the Philippines against the government acting at the behest of the US to assassinate two FBI-wanted terrorists that led to slaughter of a Filipino commando unit. The operation, which was apparently US planned and meant to be a "surgical" killing of wanted terrorists in the midst of the Moro rebel army, was botched when the Moro caught the commandos in the act and a firefight ensued. The Moro rebels cut off the commandos escape by attacking the army unit charged with covering it. About 44 Filipino soldiers were killed.
Weather/Climate: A government climate scientist published this article on the Truth-Out website, explaining the persistent weather pattern over the US of serial "winter storms" in the east and record heat/drought in the west and midwest. Compare the article to this one on the GeoEngineering Watch website that takes the same data and views it in the light of verifiable, obvious, and ongoing Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering (SAG) operations. Also, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has confirmed that Arctic sea ice is at its lowest volume ever recorded. This shows that the earth is warming and NOT cooling in spite of the "winter storms" that have marched through the eastern US and left record snowfall in Boston. They also confirm (along with numerous studies) that "2014 was the warmest year ever recorded." All this is further confirmation that humanity is in deep doo-doo as dramatized here.
Syriza in the US?: The most hopeful article I read this week was one by Chris Hedges about Kshama Sawant, who is a member of the Seattle city council representing the Socialist party. That she was elected at all strikes me as a miracle. She is up for reelection after a year of some legislative successes. Mr. Hedges tells us:
...she has helped push through a gradual raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Seattle. She has expanded funding for social services and blocked, along with housing advocates, an attempt by the Seattle Housing Authority to allow a rent increase of up to 400 percent. She has successfully lobbied for city money to support tent encampments and is fighting for an excise tax on millionaires.
All this has earned her the enmity of the political establishment, including the Democratic Party. A lot of corporate money will oppose her reelection. Progressives are gathering around Sawant's campaign and I wonder if it could be the nucleus of a real, representative party arising out of the morass of corruption that so burdens our citizenry. This is the amazing scenario that happened in Greece with the rise of Syriza to power. Sawant lent support to that hope by saying:
"Our campaign needs to be a launching pad for something bigger. It needs to be about building a mass movement, a viable radical alternative. This is what is happening in Greece and Spain.”
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This is an overview of what's going on around us and is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. I expect that George Orwell is watching all this somewhere and its all very familiar to him--just bigger in scope.