IAGO. Will you hear me Roderigo?
RODERIGO. Faith, I have heard too much; for your words and performance are no kin together.
(Othello, act 4, sc. 3)
Martin Luther King is a cultural icon who, these days, must be used sparingly by the apparatkit. Obama did not mention him in the original inauguration speech. It will be interesting to see how stretched will shortly be the connection – given that the inauguration this time coincides with King’s national holiday.
King is a national figure who, in the current cultural-political climate, is much better dead than alive. He fought passionately for peace and a measure of equality, gaining him his death along with the hatred of his time’s apparatkit.
Typical of King’s position on imperialist wars (at the time Vietnam) he said, “When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.”
In a scenario that would astonish even George Orwell, the “leader of the Free World”, (as it is being endlessly “…proclaim’d at market-crosses, read in churches…”) tripled the number of troops in Afghanistan, while traveling to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.
And here is 18 carats Orwell – “I know there’s nothing weak — nothing passive — nothing naive — in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King,” Obama says. (Translation, Gandhi and King were weak, passive and naïve)…but “I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people”
Threat to the American people indeed – the Bedouins of the Sahara, the peasants of Afghanistan, the farmers of Iraq – or more realistically, whoever does not kneel to kiss the foot (or the ass) of the imperial giant.
More 18 carats Orwell, “To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason – I raise this point, I begin with this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter what the cause. And at times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world’s sole military superpower.” (Translation, I don’t give a damn about the hatred that we inspire in the world. And those who, by demonstrating, dare express ‘reflexive suspicion’ here at home are easily put in jailed or caused to kill themselves as with Aaron Swartz – see previous entry on this site).
And for the crowning Orwellian jewel, “Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.”
(Translation, we killed several million people in at least 60 wars. In Vietnam we used all sorts of chemical weapons of mass destruction – genetic deformities are still a byproduct of our work of peace. Even the architect of that war wrote that it was a big mistake. But…..we underwrote ‘security’).
To the point – we may add - that millions of citizens (not Obama though) must expose themselves to the benefits of health-inducing X-ray radiation whenever they travel, so that zealous guards can check if travelers are absconding bombs in their genitals.
By now the thinking part of the population should have memorized Orwell’s words, “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”
Not all is lost however when it comes to rhythmical and memorable lines. If ML King said, “I have a dream”, Obama may well proudly declare, “I have a drone…. and will keep on killing.”
Tips for Use. Extract, ‘Your words and performance are no kin together.’ Good for a politician fighting the incumbent.
In the play. Roderigo complains with Iago that, notwithstanding Iago’s promises, Desdemona is farther away from reach than ever.
Image site: http://libyasos.blogspot.com/2012/08/libya-news-backup-libyasos-21-june-28.html