Saturday, October 15, 2005

Pinter Patter

Rightwingers usually fume when things don't go their way, politically. Despite control over Congress and the White House -- or at least what they thought was control -- they must be a frustrated lot these days. And now they are furious with the Nobel Committee and its award of the esteemed prize for literature to Harold Pinter. Thinking that anyone expressing dismay and anger at the Bush-led assault on international law with an illegal invasion is, necessarily, "deranged," those unhappy little war-mongers at LGF are beside themselves with indignation at the award.

Never mind that Pinter has long been opposed to war in general and that the Nobel is awarded for a lifetime of work, much of which was produced long before Iraq was even a neo-con gleam in Wolfowitz's rheumy eye. The muslim-hunting shitcakes at LGF have nothing but disdain for the academy and, well, literature in general. Or so says one particularly incensed rube:
Nobody takes this stuff seriously anymore. I can't remember the last time I read a literary novel by a living writer or attended a play by a living playwright.
The addled fellow is apparently unaware that the remark is much more a reflection on him than Pinter.

I wonder what these dolts thought about the Nobel going to J.M. Coetzee in 2003? (Ok, well maybe "thought" isn't quite the right word.) I was unfamiliar with the author at the time but the Nobel always makes me curious to check out some work. When I had heard of the award, I immediately grabbed a few of Coetzee's books.

Waiting for the Barbarians, written in 1980, is an haunting story of the life of a civil servant, a judge, stationed in a remote military outpost of some unspecified, overreaching "empire." Written well before neo-con fantasies, it struck me as an amazingly relevant statement on today's climate. It is an intensely personal view of the military and the effects of its brutal ham-handedness upon the inhabitants of the occupied land. Indeed, it is told in such a way that it's time frame is almost unknown, as is the country in which it is set.

Needless to say, the book did not depict such military adventurism in a good light. But the dumb-dumbs at LGF were probably never bothered by Coetzee because

a) they never heard of him


b) he has never flat-out said Bush is a war-mongering idiot.

A very personal man, it is unlikely Coetzee would ever actually feel compelled to say this. Coetzee doesn't usually feel a need to state the obvious. And when he does, he doesn't state it obviously. His work is far more subtle than that.

Pinter, of course, has railed on the Bush administration quite openly, and this is what really bothers the Bush fawners on the right. They just don't like anyone criticizing war or its proponents. Even when that war has been as badly bungled as Iraq.


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