Saturday, September 21, 2013

Poetry, Ireland, and famine

 from a 1994 Interview with Seamus Heaney...I always assumed that since he was born in Northern Ireland, he was Anglo Irish or Scots Irish, like most "Irish" writers, but he was not.

the Catholics had this sense of the moral high ground, which is so enabling. The system had been rigged against us and when the civil-rights marches began, the official resistance was to the minority qua  minority. The state machine just worked like that and the point of the new movement was to change it. You felt that being a spokesperson for the shift was honorable and, indeed, imperative. But all that certitude got complicated once the IRA began to speak on your behalf with an exploding bomb....

 (questioner asks: Don't you argue in an essay—using the example of Jesus writing in the sand—that poetry has the power to suspend violence?)
Yes. Debate doesn't really change things. It gets you bogged in deeper. If you can address or reopen the subject with something new, something from a different angle, then there is some hope. In Northern Ireland, for example, a new metaphor for the way we are positioned, a new language would create new possibility. I'm convinced of that. So when I invoke Jesus writing in the sand, it's as an example of this kind of diverting newness. He does something that takes the eyes away from the obsession of the moment. It's a bit like a magical dance.

Via teaattrianon

alas, poetry nowadays too often means bad prose to push political correctness, so no one reads it anymore. Poetry has been lost in American culture.

Ironically, our phrases come from movies (and less often, songs).

Jaws was on the TV here last week, and I was explaining to Ruby the plot since she turned it off as too scary...several phrases are now part of the culture, including "You gotta get a bigger boat" and "Smile you...."...But the real thing is that the plot has entered into culture in a way that went around the manipulation of too much of the media. Which is why too many "blockbusters" that posit a political statement are flops.

and why few "modern" songs stay popular.

Again one is reminded of "Peter and the Commisar": a song has to come from somebody's heart.


MariaElena at TeaAtTrianon, who has written a novel set in the Albigensian part of France, is leery of those who posit that culture as so pure and noble, since it was actually run by anti body elitists who thought they were holier than thou...they posited that if you "knew" the right stuff you were a saint, and material things were meaningless. Theoretically, that meant that some were "pure" and even starved themselves to death to prove they rejected materialism of food. In reality, however, it meant that gluttony and sexual exploitation of others was okay for them because material things and actions didn't have any moral content. So she links to an article comparing their attitude to today's elites who are eagerly destroying marriage in the name of their god, equality.

To me, it reminds me of the "health and diet police" types. 600 sexual encounters a year at a bath house by a politically correct minority? No, don't be judgmental. Eat a McDonald's hamburger? SINNER!

Mainly bookmarked for later reading.


Father Z and other reliable Catholic blogs suggests someone needs to read what the Pope said before they decide the press is reporting the nuances. I downloaded a copy of the interview via the Pirate bay, so I can take my time reading it. WhispersInTheLogia has a few comments and links to the actual document if you are interested in what was said instead of hearing the spin.

For all the twisting of the Pope's words by the press to make it sound like the church will change and give a "get out of hell free" card to sociopaths to do whatever they want to do is normal reporting today, alas. But the Pope is talking about welcoming sinners into church, because all of us are sinners...

As for a Pope that sees social action and pro life action as part of the whole: all of this is known to those of us who have worked with the poor.

Here in the Philippines, for example, the aim of the RH Bill is not to lower maternal mortality (it does not fund midwives for the one third of those who deliver with untrained midwives). Nor does it promote "under fives" nutrition supplements (like we did in Africa: the poor kids here are frequently low grade kwashiorkor and could use such things). And only now is the gov't clamping down on fake NGO's that were used to funnel money to the bank accounts of politicians.

Father Z then goes on to point out this Francis quote to a Catholic physician meeting, pointing out that the same modern culture that destroys the poor in the slums is eager to destroy the child in the womb and the elderly to save money...
A mentality of the useful, the “throw-away culture”, which today enslaves the hearts and minds of so many, has a very high cost: it requires the elimination of human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker....In the fragile human being each one of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in His human flesh experienced indifference, and the solitude to which we often condemn the poorest, both in developing countries and in the countries that are well-off. Every unborn child, but condemned unjustly to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord, which even before birth, and then as soon as born, experiences the refusal of the world. And every old person and – I spoke about the child: let us go to the elderly, another point! And every older person, even if infirm or at the end of her days, bears herself the face of Christ. They can’t be thrown away, as the “throw-away culture” proposes to us! They can’t be thrown away!

Too many elites have the "too many people" mentality that sees eliminating the "useless" as a goal, be they Nixon's plan, aka "NSSM 200" to control population or the green agenda of David Attenborough:

“They've been having... what are all these famines in Ethiopia, what are they about? They're about too many people for too little piece of land. That's what it's about. 
 no, actually the big Ethiopian famine was about the marxist gov't there trying to starve out areas that opposed them. From Wikipedia:
The famines that struck Ethiopia between 1961 and 1985, and in particular the one of 1983–5, were in large part created by government policies, specifically the set of counter-insurgency strategies employed and so-called 'social transformation' in non-insurgent areas.[6][7]

The dirty little secret of Africa is that if you got rid of the TseTse fly and allowed irrigation, that Africa could become another Kansas (an area that was once called the "great American desert", and where there was once a severe with irrigation, and modern variations of wheat developed in the Ukraine, it can feed the world).

Of course, David wouldn't like that: it would mean prosperous farmers where his beloved animals now live.

As for all those starving children: David has an opinion about them too:
“And we are blinding ourselves. We say, get the United Nations to send them bags of flour. That's barmy.” 

yeah. It was similar British Malthusian thinking that led to the millions of dead Irish in the potato famines of the 1840's, where grain was exported and locals starved to death or died trying to migrate to other lands on "coffin ships".


No comments: