This is the thing with derivative western political culture – something Britain’s Tories have taken to whole new depths; it gets progressively worse and less convincing with each new generation. Gone are the days of a marbled Gaius Octavius Thurinus as Caesar Augustus – vultus bonus, ut me addere – pointing the way ahead for Pax Romana. Now we don’t even have an effete William of Orange on his gee-gee. We have been reduced to this: Middling civil servants accidentally promoted – through the rigours of last man standing – to leadership, poised as though bracing to release excess gas.
Alex Salmond’s choice to broadcast his talk show on Russia Today, given that he would not be given such a luxury in the United Kingdom, has ruffled a few feathers. The British media and unionist voices in Scotland want to present this as Russian interference in our democracy, and in doing this they have deliberately re-ignited the fuse of the Russophobic prejudice they installed. This was easy for them to do because, as I have admitted, the fear of Russia is still very much part of our cultural psyché. All the old McCarthyist buttons are being pressed.
This need to have a gun for protection from the bands of merciless cannibals who roam freely about every street in every town and city in America, and from “the government,” is a survivalist fantasy that gives away the country’s enduring fetishisation of the gun and every kind of violence.
Looking over the window Nativities of Dublin it was interesting to see what was variable within these acceptable norms and what was not. One of the most beautiful – in my opinion – was a gorgeous little pottery Nativity of caricatured Native North Americans. Indeed the birth of God in humanity was and is for all humanity, but it was amusing to see that this infant retained his northern European hair colour.
Except in the event of a worldwide electronics apocalypse, this cyber revolution, together with all the changes it has brought and will bring about, is here to stay. While we may know the odd person who has resisted the urge to begin using Facebook or Twitter (are these already passé?), everyone – at least in the developed world – benefits from the progress we all share, and we all suffer its consequences.
Invariably these pubescent fantasies include some slim dolly bird in distress, who upon the completion of the good guy’s mission wraps herself around him and they both ride out into the sunset. Sadly this spank bank material is never about the girl.
In the gap years of the Cold War the European Union has developed apace to become another land of the free on this side of the Atlantic, and by and large we were meant to buy into the whole story of Europe being a stronghold of the Free World.
As a cultural, historical, and religious counterbalance to European civilization we have projected onto Islam – quite literally – our worse fears on this other; we have made it our very image of evil and all things dark and fearful.