The editors at Electric Agora ( https://theelectricagora.com/ ) asked me to submit an essay reflecting on the recent presidential election, and I have. If they like it, it will probably be posted in the next couple of days.
In preparation of that I thought I would here post videos (via youtube) to the material I quoted. I quoted from two songs and two books.
The first song is Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” a heavy metal antiwar song, and condemnation of the Military Industrial Complex that seems to do well, no matter who’s elected president:
The second song is from the Dead Kennedys, from 1981. This is a revised version of their earlier song “California Uber Alles,” but its actual title is “We’ve got a bigger problem now” (the bigger problem being the election of Ronald Reagan, a Donald Trump prototype):
The first book quoted from is Sir Thomas Malory’s La Morte d’Arther, the tragic tale of the rise and fall of the great Kind of England (actually, Wales), Arthur Pendragon, slain by his illegitimate son by an incestuous affair. The video I’ve chosen to represent it is a performance of selections from the text, recited in the original late Medieval English dialect. The introduction is brief, and includes insight into the life of the author, who was a wild but mysterious adventurer who ended up in prison (several times).
The selection I quote from is read at about 31 minutes into the video. Pay attention to the ferocity of Mordred’s hatred for his father, as he forces himself down Arthur’s spear in order to strike Arthur with his sword:
I’m not going to provide a video performance from the second book I quote from, Adolf Hitler’s Second Book. My use of it in my essay is to introduce the romantic notion of achieving greatness in history, which I argue is false and only leads to disappointment. However, generally Hitler disgusts me. So here I simply include brief quotes from reviews of the standard translation of the text:
As the reader may know, there has ben considerable controversy about how much like Hitler Donald Trump really is. Personally, I think he’s more like Mussolini, and for a number of reasons that’s actually worse for America, because Mussolini lasted longer than Hitler, was more integrated culturally into Italy than Hitler was in Germany (thus requiring less violence to control dissent), and was primarily concerned with long-term economic changes, preferring to fight his wars overseas – something the US does very easily and its people have no difficulty living with.
Nonetheless, I include here a bit of satire from Bill Maher, comparing Trump and Hitler:
If the essay doesn’t appear at Electric Agora, I’ll put it up here. It will be the last comment I have on this wretched election. I’m not going to ignore politics; but the train wreck has already started in Washington, and there is no point in looking backward, unless we’re willing to learn from it. My guess is that most of us won’t. Already the media is normalizing Trump, and Congressional Democrats are talking about working with him. Only on the margins do we hear people talk about correcting the mistakes made in this election campaign. Whether their voices will be heard is worth waiting to see; but my guess is that they won’t. America seems set on a course of permanent decline; and all our best efforts simply disappoint us.