Sunday, May 24, 2020

remembering an old poem I wrote, riffing on a specific American "rebel" mentality, during a time of lockdown

Ecclesiastes 9:4-5 Common English Bible (CEB)
4 Whoever is among the living can be certain about this. A living dog is definitely better off than a dead lion, 5 because the living know that they will die. But the dead know nothing at all. There is no more reward for them; even the memory of them is lost.

the action hero breaks the fourth wall

it is far better
to be a dying lion
than a living dog

You and I do not know the names of billions of people who have lived and died before us and we can never know them.  That well-behaved women rarely make history was an observation made in the introduction to set of funerary sermons and homilies delivered by Mormon clergy, something my brother was telling me about with the observation that you would never know this from the sloganizing use to which the observation has been put in contemporary feminism.  There are those whose motto is "I aim to misbehave".  The current lockdown scenario makes misbehaving something that is hard to construe as heroic, if misbehaving was ever heroic to begin with.

After a few decades of life I have gotten to see Americans whose motto is probably best distilled in the haiku above, who believe that being a dying lion is better than being a living dog.


Cal of Chelcice said...

I was part of a stupid roundtable about "Is Christianity compatible with hate?" with obvious punchline led by a liberal chaplain. I remember getting push back when I flipped the script and I had a girl tell me, no joke, that it's not right to say one hates rape but that she "disliked" rape. Moral relativists tend to buckle if you start showing them NAMBLA or defenses of pedophilia. They present a fake disbelief "no normal/sane/reasonable person would believe that", well that's basically the same line of argument the Inquisitors used against heretics. Deviancy is defend as "subversive", but, well, so is jihad when you blow up a bus full of infidels. The fake desire to be on the fringe, to be a rebel or outlaw, is basically a kind of LARPing, no different than the rad-trad who wants a monarchy. Misbehaving has its limits, arbitrarily imposed. It's a kind of aesthetic for liberal conformity. The real hard questions about the very framework we use to communally judge usually get submerged in this nonsense.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

in my part of the PNW the rebel stance has paradoxically been taken up by neo-Calvinist postmil types who think Doug Wilson is alright and are specifically angry about Gov Inslee's prohibitions against religious gatherings. That some of these folks invoke the "rebel" stance has had me thinking it's the flip side of the liberal Americanist ethos. When even self-identifying conservatives can invoke a devil-may-care rebel stance (which I can only guess is part of the recent Eric Metaxas idiocy on Twitter) the rebel stance seems to be an American-on-social-media default across the spectrum now.

I wouldn't be entirely surprised if some pundits pointed to the recently announced massive fraud in UI claims in WA state and elsewhere as a sign that unemployment as measured by claims shouldn't be used as a sign of how bad the economy has been doing if international fraud has ramped up claims and that the states need to re-open to boost the economy. I can just about imagine some op ed like that is going up this weekend in time for Memorial Day with an argument that the veterans didn't die in wars so that governors would clamp down local state economies for a covid 19 virus.

That conservatives and evangelicals are willing and able to invoke the "rebel" stance might be a sign of how saturated the American media scene has gotten with the trope.