In no particular order (in keeping with the disarray elsewhere):
1. Why should “progressives” be criticized more than The Right?
A: ‘Cause The Right is a long-dead dead horse. More than enough is already known about their machinations, crimes, etc. A great part of what’s holding back The Left from DOING something about what’s wrong is “progressive” insistence upon attributing “wornout values” to democracy here and abroad (1), progressives carving out careers (attacking The Right) in lieu of forcing change, and “progressives” denying that they’re going to have to change their lifestyles –every bit as detrimental to socially conscious change as what’s posed by The Right’s way of living– in order to make a difference. Details upon request.
2. What role does lack of familiarity with culturally liberating works play in keeping “progressives” locked into their present inefficacious behavior/outlook?
A: It’s enormous, its sad importance. And it’s unacknowledged, of course. First of all, there is entirely too much embracing of products which simply reinforce the worse elements of the status quo. For starters, how many “progressives” are applauding films like Aviator, Million Dollar Baby and Hotel Rwanda? In so-called leftist Hollywood too; Entertainment Candidate Counterparts to Condy Rice’s Nomination. Virtually no one is talking about the difference between what was thought and said about Moore’s 9/11 before vs. during post-election America. A good exercise for “progressives” would be to ask what horrid values/misconceptions those creations reinforce. Instead, the left is engaged in arguing that this or that Hollywood production is this or that level above what The Right might applaud. Trash like Meet the Fokkers is supported by some of the most influential elements in Left-Out-Of-It Hollywood, and worthwhile literature is pushed under the rug. Highly-decorated TV shows like West Wing are really no different in the sense that they compound ignorance with ignorance; readers would do well to ask themselves what counterparts existed in Hitler’s Germany. Some of our most respected literary figures (like Roth) are prematurely announcing the Death of Literature/Reading As We Know It. A work like Don Quixote, for example, is something that all educated “progressives” should be lauding…beyond encouraging familiarity with such brilliance and beauty only on the level of, say, Cliffs Notes. (2) Details upon request.
3. Are previously-invoked paradigms for revolution dead in the water?
A: Yes. Details upon request.
4. Is there much hope for any significant national movement in solidarity among “progressives” in the U.S.?
A: No. Details upon request.
5. Are there strong reasons for certain citizens to consider leaving the United States?
A: As much as there ever was for German citizens of good conscience to depart (or stay and fight violently) WWII Naziland. Citing our anticipated/upcoming economic catastrophe, Seymour Hersh — who has a lot more faith in OTB (Other Than Bush) office holders than me — recently advised people: “It’s going to go very bad, folks. You know, if you have not sold your stocks and bought property in Italy, you better do it quick. (3) The only thing that I would add is that we can’t hope for things to be different…even if there’s a Democratic Coup. And…that aside from temporary personal relief, possibly…going elsewhere won’t cut it. Details upon request.
6. Speaking of cutting…down trees, what’s the deal with left writers publishing…virtually not commenting on other (bigger) forest-killers in the process? And what about those who argue that using electricity (and magnifying related ills) vis-a-vis computers does just as much damage?
A: “Progressives” are publishing WAY TOO MUCH. As far as other forms of communication having evils attached, there’s a big difference between using the internet to communicate essentials and using the internet to communicate AND cutting down trees for books, magazines, etc. Again, this is not on the table for discussion. It’s instructive to note that such talk often disguises an aversion many “progressives” have respecting actual activity, commitment. By reducing everything to “one-half a dozen six of the other” one can escape responsibility, distasteful confrontation, friendship-breaking decisions. Details upon request.
7. How do you respond to critics who say that our problems are really a reflection of human nature?
A: That they are, rather, a reflection of what’s become second nature for us. And which we still have an opportunity to turn around…if we’re willing to make ourselves vulnerable to humanity. Details upon request.
8. What is the Biggest Single Ecocidal Enemy on Earth?
A: Following the American Consumer…that would have to be the U.S. Military. (4) Speaking of vulnerability, one of the most radical issues we need to discuss –but which is not considered at all– is the fact that…unless we’re willing to pretty much eliminate the U.S. Military as it stands (under Bush or under OTB office holders)…we’re doomed. On the bright side, if we manage to make that traumatic transformation, a lot of the consumer-related problems will fall by the wayside…as part of the natural course of things…getting the ball rolling on additional necessary changes. Weird “religious” thinking should be cited here too. Details upon request.
9. What’s discussed the most, but understood the least?
A: The kind of stuff covered in Robert O’ Harrow’s new book No Place to Hide. We talk about surveillance plenty, but the depth/depravity of what’s coming is totally missed. I could have picked other topics, but…being a “Gypsy”…this is gonna affect me in a queer kind of way. Details upon request.
10. Speaking of waste, the wasted and wastrels, what’s the Biggest Waste of Time for “progressives?”
A. It’s arguably a toss-up between the elections in Iraq and the U.S. 2004 Pretzel-like ballot boxing. That’s if you only count half of the dead and maimed in 2004 Iraq. NO DETAILS UPON REQUEST!
RICHARD OXMAN offers details upon request in Los(t) Gatos, California for those who want to do more than simply…progress. He can be reached at email@example.com. Recent articles are available at www.selvesandothers.org, and his bio can be found at http://www.cjonline.org/rOxman.htm.
(2) In 2002 over 100 writers of major importance (representing 54 countries) voted Cervantes’ masterpiece the Best Work of Fiction in the World. The extraordinary significance and influence of this novel demand attention. To sidestep our responsibility…miss our potential pleasure on this count is tantamount to derilection of duty. Not as bad as divorcing oneself from Mother Nature, still…such a loss cannot be put into words. And –given the West’s Big Cultural Picture and influence– cannot be tolerated…regardless of what advances are made directly on the Ecocidal Front. If you don’t know what Cliffs Notes are…good. Hopefully, readers won’t get sidetracked by taking the example of DQ as particularly precious.
(4) See Dollars and Sense, March/April, 2003 (Bob Feldman’s “War on Earth”), Washington Free Press, September/October 2002 (Mann’s and Milner’s “Disobeying Orders”), and Wild Matters, October 2002 (John Passacantando’s “Military Dumping”).