12.09.2005

"the truth is something entirely different"

Harold Pinter, who won the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, is not just a great writer, he is a man of great conscience. Take a few minutes to read or view his Nobel Lecture, which he gave two days ago in Stockholm. This page has links to both text and video versions in several different languages.

Not only does Pinter rail against the invasion of Iraq and call for Moron and Blair to be arrested for war crimes, he places the war in a wider context of US aggression. For the last several years, liberal Americans have been decrying what "America has become", which leaves me scratching my head wondering where they've been. Become? Is. Pinter rails with eloquence and anger, and a knowledge of history. Please read or watch.

More about Pinter and his work here.

9 comments:

Lone Primate said...

I was looking around the news on the net yesterday and came across that. I found a transcript of his whole speech at the Guardian. It's a remarkable indictment. I think he hit the nail right on the head. The US has always been superlative in selling its love of itself at home and abroad. In the eyes of those who love it, it can do no wrong, and anything it does must be done out of the principles of those sainted men in 1776 and 1787.

Yesterday, I rented a documentary that's just as startling in its way -- Control Room, which is about the Iraq War from the perspective of a handful of Al-Jezeera journalists. Included in this, however, are the points of view of a number of Western, and particularly, American journalists, some of them military -- First Lt. Josh Rushing especially. Another blogger quoted a very poignant passage, an epiphany by Lt. Rushing, which can be read here. Sadly, he does not follow the logic through and arrives back where he started -- justifying the war, only now with a clearer sense of the costs and regrets.

L-girl said...

I loved Control Room. Excellent movie. We saw it right around the same time we saw Fahrenheit 9/11 - an excellent counterpart.

I agree re Pinter's speech. He really expressed perfectly.

Lone Primate said...

I agree re Pinter's speech. He really expressed perfectly.

You know what the real shame is? If the people of the US today really took to heart the thinking behind the US Constitution generally, and not just applied the text specifically to themselves, things like Iraq probably wouldn't be going on. I think a lot of the people who formulated the US government would be deeply disturbed by what the US has become. Jefferson was distrustful of standing armies and even more distrustful of banks... but what two things could better epitomize the US in particular (or the West in general) today?

L-girl said...

If the people of the US today really took to heart the thinking behind the US Constitution generally, and not just applied the text specifically to themselves,

Yes, and probably more so what's going on domestically. The men who wrote the Constitution were deeply distrustful of organized religion, and fully understood the need for a stark separation of church and state. The religions they themselves practiced, for the most part, were very non-dogmatic, expansive and definitely non-literal.

I often hear them spinning in their graves...

James said...

There's a story -- I don't know how true it is -- that someone once went around quoting items from the Bill of Rights to people on the street (not telling them that it was the Bill of Rights, and rewording it so as not to be immediately recognizable) and asking them for their opinions on the concepts presented. Most Americans asked thought the ideas were dangerous, subversive and far too permissive.

redsock said...

james - i have heard that and i believe it is true.

and if someone hasn't done that, they should do it now.

James said...

I do know that a recent survey had something like 55% of people saying that the First Amendment "goes too far" -- and that's when they knew they were talking about the First Amendment.

Though, to be honest, I personally think the Second Amendment as usually interpreted in the US goes too far. But I also think that availability of guns are far less integral to a free society than freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion.

L-girl said...

Though, to be honest, I personally think the Second Amendment as usually interpreted in the US goes too far.

But that's only because you're a sane human being.

That damn second amendment. If only they could have seen into the future, they might have written it more precisely.

Lone Primate said...

That damn second amendment. If only they could have seen into the future, they might have written it more precisely.

Every time I've read the 2nd Amendment, I've always surprised myself by thinking "this doesn't sound so unreasonable". It's like finally meeting the monstrous uncle someone claims drinks, offers insults, and causes fights whenever he visits — and then realizing he's just this normal guy with some peculiarity of character or habit than everyone else hangs their own faults on. I think the US would be better place if there'd been no specific mention of "the right to bear arms" in its constitution, and it was instead widely accepted as a privilege society had a right and interest to control.

But even with it in there, the problem's not so much its inclusion as the fact that "militia" has been allowed to be watered down to meaning anybody. Because farmers needed guns to protect their stock from predators and their homesteads from Natives (or, more usually, to pilfer new homesteads from the Natives), they opened the door for everyone else. States were too lazy or too duplicitous to formulate rules tying gun ownership to the responsibility of real membership in a militia, and here we are. That toothpaste is never going back in the tube now.