“Nattering nabobs of negativity”, catchy. He could turn a phrase.
No, not Spiro Agnew to whom it is credited but William Safire who put it in his mouth. Safire, along with Gore Vidal (how ironic given their diametrically opposed political perspectives), the authors of novels objectively portraying the United States Civil War, and thus highlighting the congenital hypocrisy with which it’s been imbued.
Hypocrisy, the one word that best describes our society; that best describes us. The ultimate gist.
Today, mourning for so many in Broward County Florida, but also in Iraq and Libya and Syria and Afghanistan and the Sudan and the Eastern Ukraine and in Colombia and in Venezuela and in Guatemala and in Honduras and so many other places, I try to reflect on causes and how unlikely it is that fairly obvious solutions will ever be implemented.
The war of denials and irresponsibility. On the one hand (the hand most often vilified by those nabobs), we have the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment to the Constitution and the Grand Old Party. On the other, the amazingly hypocritical but very, very wealthy Hollywood community, ditto for the mainstream media and the Democratic Party.
Hollywood, buoyed by the mainstream media and the Democratic Party produces an endless stream of propaganda and filth under the guise of entertainment and art, filth that twists the minds of our young and our mature alike, making violence a fun thing, a justifiable reaction, producing visual how too manuals. The Second Amendment-distortionist-right then denies that the massive proliferation of firearms has anything to do with violence. The arguments of each side are eerily alike. “It’s art for heaven’s sake” one side proclaims, and “it’s people not guns shouts the other”; “the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment”.
Peas in pods everywhere smile. Indispensable halves of a horrible whole.
So, … Is pornography art? It’s a valid question. What about child pornography? Why is sex with underage children wrong when Yahweh himself caused the impregnation of a pubescent Mary (probably Miriam) to bring forth the purported savior whom he arranged to have tortured and crucified? Are all social standards illusory, all values relative, is nothing real, are there no borders in philosophy or art?
Is all pornography sexual or is our political system and are its bipartisan leadership and mainstream media support cohort more pornographic than sex, any kind of sex could ever be?
As an artist I abhor borders and censorship of any kind. And I believe in free speech, absolutely. But then am I too responsible for the consequences when art is taken to extremes? Even if I’m not one of those who produce it or even one of those who enjoys it. How fair is it for me to rant and rile about the consequences? Should anyone be held responsible and if so, whom? How wide ought that terrible net be cast? Is it decent to merely hide behind comforting hypocrisy?
Are we all nattering nabobs of negativity?
Sick thoughts for a sick day after.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2018; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.