David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

21 August 2010

You live your life as if it's real

Over recent posts this blog has focused on the centrality of (reference to) reality in the 2010 Australian Federal electoral campaign. Today we vote.

Raimong Gaita wrote the following in this morning's AGE :

It is impossible to form a sober judgment when what we are told is a sham.

Not long after Kerry O'Brien pressed Julia Gillard on whether she could not see that she insulted the political intelligence of the electorate by persistently repeating ''party-generated slogans and cliches'', she announced that the ''real'' Julia was on her way back. Satirists responded mercilessly. She must have known they would.

Tony Abbott has many times acknowledged that people are anxious that his reckless and impulsive dispositions are being kept on a tight leash only for the duration of the election campaign, after which they will roam free again.

Though he often says that he is ''fair dinkum'' about this or that matter, he does not claim that the real Tony Abbott is the one we now see, his identity transformed by his serious acknowledgment of newly acquired responsibilities as a candidate for prime-ministerial office.

Whether Abbott can control the impulses that make people anxious about his suitability is a serious question, but it is not one that should take the form, ''Who is the real Tony Abbott?''

Why did Gillard think that questions about the authenticity of a politician's identity should, in any but exceptional circumstances, be relevant to what citizens have a right to expect of them, to the ways they are answerable to the citizens they govern or hope to govern?

My guess is that part of the answer is to be found in the fact that she was responding to discontent with the products of the party spin machine. Spin, I suspect she realised as Abbott does not, is a distinctive form of political mendacity, different from lying and other more common ways that politicians deny citizens truthful answers to their questions...

Even Socrates drew the line at spin
read full article here

Before setting off to cast our votes we listen to some Leonard Cohen :
The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it's done -
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it's real
A thousand kisses deep.

2010.08.14_VOTE MASK_400
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