• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice

Paris.

It will happen this way. You may be talking to a friend. Maybe the first sunny day of summer. And your friend will mention the upcoming presidential election, and you will say something about how you find it impossible to even consider voting for Hillary Clinton, due to her ties to Wall Street, and various coups and military strikes, and her aggressive neoliberal orientation generally. And you will tell your friend that you might not even vote in November, or that you might vote for a third party candidate, or write in the name of a candidate who is no longer running, or who was never running, which might even be the name of a cartoon animal. And your friend will smile, a becoming smile. But your friend will say something like this:

“If you don’t vote for Mrs Clinton, and if you continue to criticize Mrs Clinton for her alleged ties to Wall Street, and the coups and the wars and all that, you will be supporting Donald Trump, and if he somehow wins in November, you will be responsible for that. And how will you feel then?”

Which calls to mind another movie, this one sadly without Max von Sydow, but featuring the very ethical dilemma your friend (along with David Brock and the rest of the Clinton campaign) will be trying to use to emotionally coerce you into actually walking into a polling station and voting for a person who you know in advance is going to do everything in her power to (a) continue to protect and assist the very people who brought us the housing bubble ponzi scheme and subsequent global financial crisis, (b) continue to facilitate the neoliberal privatization of everything and anything the financial sector can get its hands on, (c) bomb, invade, instigate coups in, and otherwise destabilize any number of other countries in order to advance the interests of her neoliberal friends, and so on.

Now, clearly, it’s going to take some serious emotional coercing to get you do that. But no worries, Mr Brock and the Clinton team are already hard at work on that front.

Remember the big revelation scene in Sophie’s Choice, the one where the sadistic Nazi guard pulls Sophie and her two kids aside on their way into Auschwitz and gives her the choice? Sure you do. He tells her she can save one, and only one, of her two young children. To do this she must choose the child she wants to live, and the other child will be immediately taken away to the gas chamber. After some heart-breaking agonizing by the extremely talented Meryl Streep, “Sophie” chooses to save her son, and her seven-year-old daughter is immediately taken away and murdered.

The point of this horrible flashback is, it’s Sophie’s unendurable feelings of guilt that have plagued her throughout her entire post-Auschwitz life, and that ultimately doom her in the story. In the end, she commits suicide with Kevin Kline’s character, and … well, who wouldn’t?

But here’s what makes that scene (and the central episode in William Styron’s novel, which Styron adapted from an account by Hannah Arendt of a similar actual event), so unimaginably sadistic, and just a perfect tactic for Mr Brock and the Clinton team to use to manipulate you into voting for Mrs Clinton in November … or at least shutting up about those $225,000 Goldman Sachs speeches, and the rest of her unsavory ties to the people who want to debt-enslave your kids into perpetuity. See, not only was Sophie faced with a choice between two equally horrible outcomes (i.e. the death of one or the other of her children), she was faced with an even more horrible choice … the choice of whether to choose at all.

This is the real sadism of the Nazi guard’s little game. If Sophie refuses to choose, he tells her she will be responsible for the death of both her children. However, if does choose, she will in effect be collaborating with the Nazis in the murder of one of her children. Which of course is exactly what the guard wants. He doesn’t just want to destroy their bodies, which he could easily do at any time. No, he wants to destroy Sophie’s soul, to emotionally coerce her into willingly participating in his sadistic game, to force her to behave as if he were some sort of merciful god bestowing upon her the chance to save one of her children from a fate he had nothing to do with.

All right, back to your friend, and the Clinton PR team, and the elections now. Fortunately, we’re not talking about Nazi death camps and dead children here. We’re talking about a US presidential election, an extremely expensive simulation of democracy, which the powers that be would very much like you to participate in.

So here’s your Sophie’s choice. You can either choose to participate in the game, and in so doing know that you have actually gone out and chosen to put in power a person who is going to help destroy, or seriously damage, the lives of you and your family, and a lot of other families, for no good reason whatsoever … or you can choose not to participate, because your principles, or your intelligence, or your soul won’t let you.

Choosing not to participate is going to cost you, but you should go ahead and do it anyway, because “what is it to gain the world and lose your soul?” and all that. The simple fact is, we do not have the power to stop the corporate plutocracy from playing its sadistic game, but we do have the power to not humiliate ourselves by willingly participating in it. Let’s remember that Sophie and her kids all ended up dead anyway … it was fucking Auschwitz, after all.

As long as it remains impossible to vote for a candidate that actually represents our interests, stay home, or, better yet, go out and organize, or in any event don’t vote for anyone you don’t actually want to see in office just because Mr Brock or whoever is holding an emotional gun to your head. And please don’t cave in to the pressure to shut up about Mrs Clinton’s record and Wall Street ties and so on. Doing that does not make you a Trump-supporter, despite what people are going to tell you, repeatedly, and what you’re going to read in the mainstream liberal press ad nauseam.

All of this is of course assuming that (a) you’d sooner pull your back molars out with a set of pliers than vote for Donald Trump, and (b) you’re not a member of the elite class that is going to continue to make out like bandits under a Clinton administration, which, if you are, I don’t know why you’re still reading this … unless maybe your conscience got the better of you.

More articles by:

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or  consentfactory.org.

May 26, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump Administration and the Washington Post: Picking Fights Together
John Kendall Hawkins
The Gods of Small Things
Patrick Cockburn
Governments are Using COVID-19 Crisis to Crush Free Speech
George Wuerthner
Greatest Good is to Preserve Forest Carbon
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Covid-19 Conspiracies of German Neo-Nazis
Henry Giroux
Criminogenic Politics as a Form of Psychosis in the Age of Trump
John G. Russell
TRUMP-20: The Other Pandemic
John Feffer
Trump’s “Uncreative Destruction” of the US/China Relationship
John Laforge
First US Citizen Convicted for Protests at Nuclear Weapons Base in Germany
Ralph Nader
Donald Trump, Resign Now for America’s Sake: This is No Time for a Dangerous, Law-breaking, Bungling, Ignorant Ship Captain
James Fortin – Jeff Mackler
Killer Capitalism’s COVID-19 Back-to-Work Imperative
Binoy Kampmark
Patterns of Compromise: The EasyJet Data Breach
Howard Lisnoff
If a Covid-19 Vaccine is Discovered, It Will be a Boon to Military Recruiters
David Mattson
Grizzly Bears are Dying and That’s a Fact
Thomas Knapp
The Banality of Evil, COVID-19 Edition
May 25, 2020
Marshall Auerback
If the Federal Government Won’t Fund the States’ Emergency Needs, There is Another Solution
Michael Uhl
A Memory Fragment of the Vietnam War
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
Make a Resilient, Localized Food System Part of the Next Stimulus
Barrie Gilbert
The Mismanagement of Wildlife in Utah Continues to be Irrational and a National Embarrassment.
Dean Baker
The Sure Way to End Concerns About China’s “Theft” of a Vaccine: Make it Open
Thom Hartmann
The Next Death Wave from Coronavirus Will Be the Poor, Rural and White
Phil Knight
Killer Impact
Paul Cantor
Memorial Day 2020 and the Coronavirus
Laura Flanders
A Memorial Day For Lies?
Gary Macfarlane – Mike Garrity
Grizzlies, Lynx, Bull Trout and Elk on the Chopping Block for Trump’s Idaho Clearcuts
Cesar Chelala
Challenges of the Evolving Coronavirus Pandemic
Luciana Tellez-Chavez
This Year’s Forest Fire Season Could Be Even Deadlier
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Beijing Acts on Hong Kong
George Wuerthner
Saving the Lionhead Wilderness
Elliot Sperber
Holy Beaver
Weekend Edition
May 22, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Hugh Iglarsh
Aiming Missiles at Viruses: a Plea for Sanity in a Time of Plague
Paul Street
How Obama Could Find Some Redemption
Marc Levy
On Meeting Bao Ninh: “These Good Men Meant as Much to Me as Yours Did to You”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Shallò: 120 Days of COVID
Joan Roelofs
Greening the Old New Deal
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Still Matters
Charles Pierson
Is the US-Saudi Alliance Headed Off a Cliff?
Robert Hunziker
10C Above Baseline
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
The Fed’s Chair and Vice Chair Got Rich at Carlyle Group, a Private Equity Fund With a String of Bankruptcies and Job Losses
Eve Ottenberg
Factory Farming on Hold
Andrew Levine
If Nancy Pelosi Is So Great, How Come Donald Trump Still Isn’t Dead in the Water?
Ishmael Reed
Alex Azar Knows About Diabetes
Joseph Natoli
Will Things Fall Apart Now or in November?
Richard D. Wolff
An Old Story Again: Capitalism vs. Health and Safety
Louis Proyect
What Stanford University and Fox News Have in Common
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail