The Spanish Teacher and the Radical, 2013
Bracing moment when you realize the university where you work is the training ground for Empire. Students write of their goals of working for Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman – the goliath defense contractors who are bankrupting the nation and manufacturing technologies of terror – and the NSA – the Ever-expanding Eye on the global 99%. These entities send reps to the campus to vet (interview) students.
If you are the instructor, earning a non-living wage, what does that make you? Are you a patsy? The butt of a joke?
You try to escape the tentacles of the corporate state and find its grip virtually omnipresent. The trail of slime emitting from its suction cups reeks in remote and unsuspected corners of existence: grocery store food, the asphalt streets you bike upon, the fetid river struggling to flow beneath the turnpike, the classroom where you engage students in simple Spanish exchanges (Dónde está el perro?/ Where is the dog? A qué horas es la reunión?/What time is the meeting?). These diverse realms, all forged by the influential glances and handshakes exchanged between the state and the obsequious & cloying corporate lobbyists- more often than not with the actors playing roles on both sides, at different times. (In 1999, Mr. Smith works for the SEC. In 2001, Mr. Smith works for Goldman Sachs. Or vice-versa).
Rather than making me into the patsy (stammering goggle-eyed at the unknowable machinations) or the fool (red-faced with a bowl of noodles plopped onto his his head), this knowledge is making me into a Radical, in the true, original sense of the word. Radical: “… relating to, or proceeding from a root: as a (1) : of or growing from the root of a plant…” Radical: from the root. The Radical of 2013 therefore values above all the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. She values the perfection of the relationships of interdependence that she observes in the biosphere: Tree needs soil needs worm needs water needs sun needs bacteria needs fallen leaves need fruit needs seed needs bird needs twigs needs wind and on into the infinite it goes.
It is to this understanding of existence, of the human, of life that the bracing moment ultimately leads. And it is to a wolf-fierce dedication to right the unbalance and vanquish the nightmare toxic beast seeking to destroy all that the bracing moment ultimately leads.
Dan Hanrahan is a writer-performer and educator. He is the author of “Some Giants: Monologues in Homage to Avant-garde Jazz Composers.” He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org