Monday, May 30, 2016


This brave man shows courage in several dimensions:  first in becoming a military warrior, second in surviving grievous damage, and third in allowing himself to be frankly and clearly seen.  Most of us think that our bodies “are” us and discount the presence of anything else, but in this man something is shining through, something almost like compassion — even for himself — and, more than that, a kind of proud transcendence.  Awareness of the price idealism can demand.  

He still has a strong man’s chest and, I hope, his right arm.  He can still hold a lover against his chest and carry a baby in the crook of his arm.  His whole stance is one of intelligence, even wisdom.  And yet, he is like Darth Vader unpeeled: standing after terrible suffering.

Patrick Burns used this photo on his blog.  .  Patrick is an iconoclastic demographer and hunter of burrowing animals with the help of terriers.  He’s dedicated against stupidity and Puritanical, conventional, non-thinking proliferations.  His work is in Washington, D.C., and his experience is world-wide.  He’s a confronter.

Every Memorial Day we say, “Yes, yes, isn’t it terrible?  Don’t soldiers suffer as well as triumph?”  And we love those movies that show how they take care of each other and always prevail in the end.  But some look deeper.

“Famed author, critic and professor Camille Paglia has unexpectedly called George Lucas the world's "greatest living artist" saying the finale of 'Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith' as having more "inherent artistic value, emotional power, and global impact" than any other work of art in the last 30 years. . . .

“It's because the art world has flat-lined and become an echo chamber of received opinion and toxic over-praise. It's like the emperor's new clothes—people are too intimidated to admit what they secretly think or what they might think with their blinders off.”

You might remember the young handsome Vader rolling in lava next to a molten river, screaming it agony.  It was Hell.  I didn’t like the scene much, but I take her point — both about the disastrous consequences of such an ordeal, not just the burns but the malevolent trauma; and the banal stupidity of art based on profit, afraid to be dramatic or truthful.

Of course, art is drawn from life.  But it often misses true heroism.

No comments: