Culture Rover

#88 - Cutting Down Cherry Trees

Is it too big a leap to suggest that the whole James Frey-Oprah national psycho-drama is a displacement of the lies told by the current American president and his administration?

The emotional experience of Frey and Oprah feels so similar to the larger shocks and powerless experienced as we learned about Abu Ghraib, secret energy commissions, blocked access to presidential papers and judicial records, illegal spying, and many other half-truths, cover-ups, and outright fabrications constructed by the political powers-that-be. I wonder if we cannot quite get ourselves to face the logic of their rule and the resulting effects: the quagmire in Iraq, the continued (and unsurprising) revelations of unconstitutional incursions of civil liberties, and various other prevarications, distortions, and deceptions.

The only way to face the politics of deception is through cultural substitutes in the realm of Oprah? Or think of it the other way around: Are the politics but one fluctuation of a larger cultural situation? President Bush and his cronies are simply the political instantiation of a deeper rot -- the decadent relativism of a society that has lost its bearings, cannot look itself in the face without a distorted mirror?

When I feel hopeful, I think about the many truth-tellers out there and the many principled Americans I know. But I cannot tell a lie -- sometimes I feel less optimistic.

28 January 2006

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