Sunday, November 3, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 229/ 15
The E E* Elite
© Eso A.B.

The bell on my computer signaled the arrival of email. When I read the letter, I discovered that an acquaintance was sending me the text of a speech given by a Latvian poet. The speech was called “A Preamble and Afterword”. I read the text and decided to respond to the Afterword.

Discussion about a Preamble to the Latvian Constitution is presently among a number of political themes. Unfortunately the Preamble or the poet consists of what Americans call, ‘patriotic gore’ and worse.  It is irrelevant with regard to the situation in Latvia as I observe it. It only shows how removed in Latvia, most everyone including the poet, is from everyday reality. To sum up crudely: the country’s innards have been gutted, and the body has no stomach for more ‘positive’ government cures.

The following are a few lines from the Preamble of the speech:

My translation (for space saving reasons, I abut the sentences): “If it (the nation-State) makes no sense, then we have nothing. In this sense a Preamble (the link is this Writer’s addition) to the Constitution may mean renewal of lost sense. A nation-State cannot exist on a material plane if idea, image, and sense are not alive in the consciousness (heads and hearts) of the people.”

I agree with these sentiments and believe that most readers of any nationality will, too. The words do not stand out for their originality though. Moreover, what if it is not the nation-State, but the Government makes no sense?

My answers to the poet’s eleven (11) parts of the ‘afterword’ is that the Latvian Government has been steadily steering toward a state with a small s since ‘professional’ politicians took over the country on August 21, 1991. The date stands for the date that Latvia as a State was officially reestablished.

I separate the points made in the  ‘afterword’ numerically; and my responses alphabetically; re (incidentally, the poet intends to present the text sarcastically):Instructions: How to destroy your Nation”:

“1) Make it stylish to make statements which belittle the Nation in the public arena, the more, the better. Laugh and guffaw loudly, so that all see your crown of plastic.”

Answer: There is a difference between the nation (Latvia, America) and the Government (lead by presidents Bush, Obama, or perhaps a bank, or foreign investors). Whenever a Government is intrusive (and a Parliamentary government Is intrusive, because it bypasses direct democracy for a representative one), there is confusion in the public mind between what is a nation and how it differs from Government. Such confusion is arises, because ‘public space’ is populist by nature. This why the public always speaks true, while politicians always lie or tell fairy-tales..

“2) Persuade yourself that others are responsible for the nation’s troubles, excepting you.

Answer: Presumptions that put all blame on people is not common among people encouraged to do political debate.

“3) Cultivate opinions that discredit the leadership, enlighten it with unfounded accusations, compromise it until it is ruined--so the only opinion that remains and prevails is yours alone.

Answer:  Political leadership and media in Latvia have proven to be selective as to who they permit to express themselves; generally ‘opinion makers’ are they who conform to a political party’s interests or speak on behalf of a financial institution, either a bank or the Financial Ministry. Not surprisingly these views are self-serving.

“4) Support the interests of foreign nations wherever possible, and pleasure yourself, whenever possible, by taking shelter in a foreign power’s ineffable gentleness, whispering (to it), as the criminal novelist Nicci French put it: “Kill Me Softly”.

Answer: One cannot help smelling Russophobia in such a statement. As for ‘love of money’, money is the ‘secret glue’ of neo-liberal society. If America serves us as an example: Neo-liberal society becomes unglued the moment money loses value.

“5) Do not fear to be ideologically corrupt for the sake of personal benefit, and do not hide your wish to be a foreign agent, because it is self-evident

Answer: Rabid anti-communists seldom notice how money oils the ideological skids of neo-liberalist ideology.

“6) Attack the Creative Intelligentsia for not doing anything, but attack it even more if it does something.

Answer: Just who and what constitutes the ‘creative intelligence’? Is the poet attempting to recreate an anti-populist intelligentsia under a new name? The ‘renewed’ Latvian Government has a tradition of belittling the Latvian people by putting itself on a pedestal. Few observers believe that ‘intelligentsia’ is a valid concept. It is unlikely that it is more valid when replaced by ‘creative intelligence’ Are populists who voice their disgust with ‘creative intelligence’ to be denied a platform by a remainder of the presumptuous?

“7) Do not seek to pull Kant’s formula, the law of morals, or the starry sky spoken of in Latvian stories of old over your head, but seek it elsewhere, better—do not seek it al all.

Answer: As Gwendolyn Brooks, American poet, wrote: “If Thou be more than hate or atmosphere,/ Step forth in splendor, mortify our wolves,/ Or we assume a sovereignty ourselves.”

“8) Take care of only your personal biological necessities and spit on national, historical, and religious symbols, which Wittgenstein insisted are no less important than your biological necessities. Hmm, who is Wittgenstein to teach you anything?

Answer: The Government is in the habit of not remembering Latvia’s history past 1940. Unfortunately, as a result of Government invented mythology, Latvian historians are largely agents of the State and Religion. There is a distinct phenomenon among historians not to question past events. The Latvian language-- dependent on words of endearment during its oral phase-- loses half its soul (religion) when written.

“9) Bark at everyone whoever comes near your chain and expresses concern over the Latvian language and Latvia’s future, because such concerns prove paranoia, claustrophobia, Russophobia, senility, and social backwardness; assert that a nation of a million and a half people has nothing to worry about from a neighbor with one hundred and fifty million inhabitants, who wish to domineer and ridicule us; howl and bark all the louder==after all, you are fed to do so. Only do not forget to crawl on all fours.

Answer: This is pure Russofobia and a consequence of the failure to cultivate in ourselves the confidence to integrate other nationalities with our own—if only our Government would create economic conditions that do not reduce the nation’s inhabitants to a feral state, and if our writers could make a living writing.

“10) Be courageous when writing brutal commentaries on the internet, do not fear being lewd, enjoy your anonymity, and cultivate verbal destruction of others online. Be vulgar and cynical when communicating, because, after all, not might, but people with gentler qualities will decide the future of Latvia.

Answer:  A last minute acknowledgement that populists may not be un-humans after all. Be that as it may, yet another attack on populism. The poet should acquaint herself with books that explain and educate one as to the history of populism and its long tradition among Latvians.

“11) When exiting the elevator press all buttons.

Answer: This is what the Latvian government has done every day for twenty-one years: after pushing the ‘Up’ buttons, it pushes those who have  exited the elevator after them into the elevator shaft. This forces the Latvian people to cut down their forests and live in the quantum gap they discover in the pit of the shaft.

*E E =East European


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