“The true political spectrum in America is not right to left; it’s top to bottom.”
– Jim Hightower
“…reason and love keep little company.”
– from Midsummer Night’s Dream
Yeah, the Bottom Party, that would work for me. Not that the electoral arena will suffice, but… let’s face it, we do have to have something going on in that realm if we want to bring about transformation as nonviolently as possible. The radical changes that are now demanded cannot be brought about exclusively through civil disobedience.
Bottom has lots of decent associations for me, aside from the obvious reference to those hanging by their fingertips on the lower rungs of the ladder which was left to rot by Horatio Alger long ago, as he turned over in grave multiple times, disgusted at the turn of events since his death at the end of the 19th century.
For one, there’s the Shakespearean weaver, one of the Athenian craftsmen who are referred to as “the Mechanicals” in Midsummer Night’s Dream. They are working-class guys on the order of what Billy Bragg could boast about in song; I can imagine him penning a Pyramus and Thisbe that would be on the playlist at more than one blue collar wedding, a theme song perhaps for a feature film titled, I’m A Jackass Wanting to Transform Everyone. In Shakespeare’s day it was a huge “no no” to consider royalty and commoners bonding sexually or in any other significant way, and Bottom brings up the rear on this score. Meaning, his character is all about such blending.
Bottom’s endearing idiocy is handled with love by the Bard, spotlighting the charm of innocence. And if we ever needed to move in a direction the polar opposite that Cynicism tries to take us it’s now. “Bottoms up,” is what I say. Let’s drink to the potential for putting trustworthy citizens into office in lieu of the cynical careerists who callously disregard the value of childhood innocence, who insanely support the actual murder of children… whether it’s in Flint or Fallujah.
Bottom is the epitome of what’s called comic relief. We need that, and we can have that while — simultaneously — taking brand new action in solidarity with a toast to the possibility of being able to generate something absolutely unprecedented under the Sun. Authentic magic in the electoral arena.
Bottom’s particular brand of obliviousness makes him a character who represents what the play is all about: not playing by the rules. Without any self-consciousness, Bottom takes advantage of an opportunity to blur the boundaries of social hierarchy. It’s a little joke of Bottom’s, and Shakespeare’s too, no doubt. The theater indeed — for centuries — has been thought of as a place where magic can be performed, but we must now embrace the notion that that is possible in the so-called real world too. In fact, it IS a place where even fools like Bottom can traverse and triumph in all the sad and sorry realms on this troubled planet.
Those hitting rock bottom these days are seeing their ranks growing, and we are witnessing the steady deterioration of everyone’s shredded safety net. You can bet that there would be a benefit for one and all if such inhumane insanity were put to an end by a Bottom Party wearing a smile from ear to ear, using a donkey’s visage to mock what Noam Chomsky has called the “most dangerous organization in history,” while — at the same time — underscoring that its mainstream opposition was a horror to behold too.
Let us bray.
Muhammad Othman can be reached at email@example.com.