Thursday, November 30, 2006

Paul's modest proposal

My response to good friend Paul's query over at otherthanbooks:

"What if we decided to really wage a culture war, and instead of sending
explosive bombs that destroy infrastructure, we waged the war on the front
our enemies most fear? How much would it cost to drop a 100,000 iPod
shuffles, preloaded with music and a message about our desire to promote
freedom?" Link

There is a "modest proposal" of this kind in Reading Myself and Others by
Philip Roth where he proposes dropping new kitchen appliances on the

I would like to believe that if Iranian President Ahmadinejad could just
hang out and listen to Jonathan Richman he would renounce his repugnant
ways...! But even a Shuffle loaded with work of great Jewish comedians
might not work on him.

People are capable of all sorts of interpretations and uses of culture.
For example, Serbians could listen to Nirvana while rounding up & killing
civilians in the '90's. Osama is into Whitney Houston. The web intensifies
this strangeness. Our culture doesn't automatically look like "freedom" to
everyone either.

On the other hand, The Velvet Underground and Allen Ginsberg inspired
Havel and the Velvet Revolution. (I know, Joan Baez too).

Snarky answer: Or, do you mean by "our enemies" the RIAA and Microsoft?

Online portfolio of paintings: