Friday, November 18, 2005

Stairway to Heaven

It sometimes seems that W's tale is as pure a tragedy as Macbeth's -- the hero comes to believe he's favored by supernatural forces, usurps power and, under the corruptive influence of that power's intoxication, comes to believe himself a very god, one exempt from the laws which hold ordinary mortals, one who 'creates his own reality'. This delusion spreads to his worshippers too. Reality, of course, has other ideas, and is in the process of springing its catastrophic joke.

But W is no Macbeth. He can't really be tragic, in the Aristotelian or Shakespearean way, because he is a man without qualities. Utter banality cannot be tragically flawed.

So the fiction that really captures our condition is more modern; it is Memento. W is not the hero/victim, that is the American people, who, grievously shocked by 9/11, have been unable to lay down new memories. That's why W's stooges have been able operationalize a new lie, often in contradiction of the old lie, at will. The People know only that they've been assualted and that someone must pay. W's role is that of the corrupt cop who spins the amnesiac, turning him to his own murderous purposes. Slowly, given the prosthetic memory of video-tape, many are coming to something like a realization.


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