Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Peckerwood Culture that Thinks Itself Illuminating Humanity

What goes over with a bang en Europe?: the absurd realignment of racially and ethnically based archetypal roles, ones whose ignition value have long since faded, but still fit the population’s elementary, and quite frankly bigoted, imaginary notions.

The greatest warring power in today's world is the USA, whose occidental interventions go hand-in-hand with sex and crime scandals. This is the stuff of Peter Sellars' "Othello". In the hands of this American director, Shakespeare's Venetians, who speak the original text word for word, are Afro-Americans and Latinos, communicating in their dark blue uniforms over cell phones. The decision to send General Othello to Cyprus to defend the outpost against the Turks is reached via telephone conference. And Sellars has updated both skin colours and sexes to fit today's reality. The governor of Cyprus is a woman, Signora Montano, which in the course of this epic tale, leads to complications. She becomes a rape victim. On the surface, military life is dictated by prudery. It doesn't take much to topple inhibitions. A few beers to celebrate the defeat of the Turkish fleet – Lieutenant Cassio loses control and turns on his female comrade.
Note the real draw in this: Eurolanders get to imagine that the “great warring power”, of which the Jihad can’t be included due to the technicality of not having a seat at the UN, is warring with Europeans.

Somewhere in the Romper-room of their world-view, this makes the viewers, the inevitable “seminar participants”, and whoever gasbags on about it, some sort of intellectual titan. If anything marks the height of the part of the European world view that hasn’t changed in the centuries since Shakespeare’s time is the desire to avoid ones’ obvious insularity: that Danes, strange and far-away as they are were actually Black, much in the way that Jihad that the US has been shielding Europeans from (by fighting then away from their obvious launching point, the Schengen desert,) is somehow not near.

So much so, that the far-less-bigoted nature of American society that they can’t grasp must also present them with the puzzle of the type of ethnicities that they have simplistic revolutionary fantasies about, the “oppressed” in the form of Blacks and Latinos, are involved in American society in the way that minorities in any European society can only dream of.

Have no doubts about this: the idea that people’s personas are not driven entirely by the way they characterize your genetics or ethnicity is still an eye-opener to Europeans. It’s why they still find some puzzlement in finding the opinions of, say, a Jew criticizing Israel an amazement, as though everyone else in the world is so simple and programmed compared to them that they can only function and operate as imagined by the ‘enlightened’ in Europe imagining that they are constructing out of their elementary and insulting assumptions about people are actually ‘dialectics’. Thus, the childishness of the review in the original German from Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung, which smacks the shocked natives with the tag line:

Black is white, and white is Black

Multicultural, but taken at their word - Peter Sellars presents Shakespeare’s 'Othello'

It’s blindly obvious that the only thing these purveyors of the idea of their own cultural fluidity seem unable to understand is that other cultures are more than just a curiosity, they present the possibility of views of civilization and other people that might be different from theirs’. Thus we are to be enlightened and shocked, feel that moment of our own stupidity before their brilliance, to find that “Black is white, and white is Black.”

If this is where they’re starting from, they’ve got a long way to go, especially when it’s the consensus of the population that ‘other people, far away’ are the only ones who are vulgar and rotten enough to be bigoted.

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