‘Such a dynasty’s days are numbered’
|November 17, 2012|
From Words Without Borders:
A dynasty that is so degenerate that it massacres children and tortures the truth—such a dynasty’s days are numbered. Yet the shrewd tyrant Deng Xiaoping resorted to a trick: in the spring of 1992, he made a historical trip to Shenzhen in the South, where he announced the opening of China to foreign investment and the global market in order to save his party from a political crisis. The suffering grew ever worse and the people ever more desensitized, while the Chinese economy increasingly flourished.
Throughout the world, people are convinced that China’s economic boom will necessarily bring with it political reforms, turning a dictatorship into a democracy. As a result, the countries that once imposed sanctions on China because of the Tiananmen massacre now want to be the first to shake hands and make deals with the executioners. Even though these very executioners are still detaining and killing people, new bloodstains are still being added to the old ones, and new atrocities are still being committed that make the old ones pale in comparison. In the process, simple people, who must live their lives between blood and atrocity, lose what little is left of decency.
Under the guise of free trade, Western consortia make common cause with the executioners, piling up more and more dirt. The influence of this value system of dirt, which places profit ahead of everything else, is getting out of hand around the world. Those in China with money and connections simply leave behind their battered and poisoned country and go abroad to savor the sun, liberty, equality, and fraternity in a clean environment. Perhaps they even join a church, to ask Jesus—nailed to the cross by other dictators in history—to forgive them for their sins.
More and more Chinese people will discover that there is neither justice nor equality even in the democratic West; and that there, too, greedy functionaries and other profiteers act shamelessly, in keeping with the motto “to the victor go the spoils.” And it won’t be long before they will all be following this example and, in a not too distant future, every corner of the world will be full of Chinese swindlers eager to leave their homeland at any cost.
This empire’s value system has long since collapsed in on itself, and the only thing still holding it together is the profit incentive. At the same time, these vile chains of profit are so far-reaching and intertwined that the free world of economic globalization is bound to become hopelessly entangled in them.
Make any cento you want! But try to make it as good as you want it to be. You don’t really want Seidel’s freedom. His poems are licensed by privilege, prestige and money — lots of all three. His deliberate transgressions look like power — to poets, any use of power looks like freedom. But I just read all Seidel’s work, straight through, and I think he’s wearing golden handcuffs.
Pale Youths in Love
I remember when I was a pre-teen and they moved into a loft across the street from me in Tribeca, where I lived. And an older neighbor friend told me they were living in her building, on the top floor. I saw him at my corner deli, and on the street smoking, but never her. At night, I sometimes looked up at their windows and saw their lights on. He was not very impressive in person. Cute, but no big deal.
What is Work?
Without a written record, we cannot know with certainty how the earliest humans thought about work, but the importance of sharing food and other resources means that prehistoric work embodied at least an element of serving the needs of a community rather than just those of an individual and his or her immediate family.
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