Monday, October 09, 2006

What Kafka Knew by Christy Rodgers

I get almost all my news and analysis from the U.S. independent press now. I’m very grateful these sources exist, mostly thanks to the very low end of the FM dial and the as yet un-gated realm of cyberspace. But constant absorption of “alternative” news often makes me feel as if I am trapped inside a locked room. The room is populated with hundreds of highly intelligent people, all shouting at one another, their eloquent voices filled with urgency, with factuality, and sometimes with despair. Of course their eloquence is actually directed beyond the room, at the Powers that operate outside it, but the walls have been pretty well sound-proofed, and only a sort of tinny whine ever seems to break through to the world beyond. I know this because I talk to people who live outside the room, many of whom, to my chagrin, are not even aware of its existence. Another political commentator wisely warned recently that we of the self-identified Left should not mistake a growing public unease about the actions of the powerful in this country for actual awareness, in the sense of real political consciousness; I have to agree. For my entire adult life up to and including the present moment, most of the Left’s sense of injustice, its justified rage and fear, and its warnings of looming catastrophe have fallen almost entirely on the ears of the others in the room. I don’t know how the rest of you feel, but I am increasingly forced to leave the chamber of Left-wing Analysis and seek other sources of insight from time to time, and that is what invariably leads me back to literature and art.


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