Friday, March 31, 2017

The snow this time

Another snow is falling.

I have things to do, but I don't feel like doing them.

Watching the snow is peaceful, even with the roar of traffic going by; the sounds, not of quiet, but of tires on wet asphalt, punctuated by the whirrs of small motors, and the occasional groans of trucks.

I haven't been able to write much, and what I have been able to get out has been in orgasmic spurts on Facebook, commentary meant to attract the reader to news stories that seem important.

There are too many stories.
There is too much to try to understand.
There is too much to think about,
there is just too much.

One night last week, I watched 'Gojira', the 1954 Japanese movie that was altered for release in the United States, where it became known as 'Godzilla'. I dare say everyone knows the outline of the story: a few years after the atomic bomb, a monster arises from the seas, a monster that shows little use for logic, a monster bent on destruction.

Such plots call for a scientist who will quell the beast. In 'Gojira', that role was filled by Takashi Shimura, known to film buffs worldwide for his roles in the films of Akira Kurosawa. In his role as the scientist fighting Godzilla, every time the camera zoomed in for a close-up of his concerned face, all I could see was his face at the end of Kurosawa's 'Ikiru', in which he plays a bureaucrat struggling to find the meaning of life, his life, as he dies of cancer.

The picture I want to use as illustration shows the actor, in the snow, on a child's swing. It has a stock photo company's watermark on it. A lot of photos which used to be considered to be in the public domain are now claimed as the property of such companies. They want to be paid for their use, and the amount they want to be paid, even for a blog almost no one will read, is not cheap. I know the progression of this takeover for a fact, as for several years I have done occasional searches for particular photos, and watched as this has happened. In this case, a 65 year old photo from a Japanese movie is claimed to be under the ownership of a stock photo company. Much of the world seems to be becoming divvied up by owners who were not creators.

The snow outside of my window isn't sticking to the road yet, but is already piling up on the earth which had just started to suffer the appearance of crocus and the earliest signs of Spring.

About two weeks ago, I woke repeatedly throughout the night, which is not at all an unusual occurrence. That evening was different, however, in that every time I woke, I was in the same dream. I only remember the part at the end, from my stirring in the early morning. That's a metaphor, I suppose. In the dream, people were being rounded up. Color was draining out and everything was becoming, well, not black and white, but gray. Gradations of gray. Gray upon gray. People were being rounded up and sent off to somewhere. Younger men were being sent to the army, that much was known. Other people were being sent someplace unknown, to be unknown. I managed to sneak away from the roundup, and made my way down a long corridor which seemed an endless void. There were doors everywhere, lined up neatly, evenly, like some Levittown style apartment house. As I came close to my door, the corridor was flooded with people, people rounding up people, people trying to escape, there was a crush of people. I managed to open the door to my place, and snuck in, hopefully unobserved in the chaos. It was my space without a doubt. Except that my stuff had been largely removed. The furniture that was left had been covered by sheets and tarps, resembling one of those old closed up apartments opened years later with layer upon layer of dust covering everything. That was when I woke up.

The snow covers the world like layers of dust.

I feel stupid. I may have misread the situation, and the intentions of the Trump coterie. I just read several of the comments made by Nikki Haley, the new United States Ambassador to the United Nations. The situation in my country grows more surreal by the day, by the hour. I'd long assumed that the takeover by the reactionary right was an attempt to gut the government, to remove any help given to the working class, to move as much money and resources as possible to the rich, the oligarchs, the robber barons of our time. This seemed like the natural, and predictable, outcome of years of de-regulation, of lies and distortions by media representing the far right. A fight that had used the religious culture wars had paid off, but the cost was Donald Trump and the destruction of the Republican Party. I think I was wrong. I should have kept focus on the religious right. They don't just want to end abortion, or end gay rights (and gays). They don't just want their version of Sharia law, a world in which the husband will rule the home, with an obedient wife to wait on him (if she knows what's good for her - by now a working life in an often corporate culture should have taught women that they are expendable, their roles replaceable).

As I look at the proposed cuts to -this year's - budget, the toll in human misery can easily blind one to the toll on science, on the arts, on international aid, basically everything. I thought these people were simply ignorant of the interdependencies of the world, and had no understanding of the outcome of their actions.

But it's what they want. They are depending on it. Many of this crowd are fundamentalist Christians. The Bible is their word, their God, infallible, and Trump is His servant. They are not here to destroy the world so the United States can take over, so the moneyed class can acquire more than they already have. They are here to destroy the world. Period. They seek nothing less than to force Armageddon; they aren't looking for the end times - they consider that we are already in the end times. They are looking to hasten the end.

Mr. Trump isn't the intransigence and chicanery of the Republican Party come back to haunt them. He is their monster, rising out of the sea of their despair, come to destroy.

And me? I'm just another observer, a loser at life, swinging back and forth in the snow.