Thursday, May 05, 2005

Codepink's Flash Video of Iraq 2005

I got this slideshow in my morning email. It's really heartbreaking.
The choice of Johnn Cash singing "Hurt" (a nine-inch nails cover) raised some old questions for me. Hurt is a song about personal pain and self-hatred, with the chorus, "you could have it all/my empire of dirt/I will let you down/I will make you hurt." I wondered, could this be a metaphor for the U.S's activities in other countries, that while promising freedom, we are delivering simply hurt, an empire of dirt, and that in the process of bringing these poison gifts, we are also "hurting ourselves" with dishonor, needless deaths, the end of the empire, etc. That's the sort of sledge-hammer to the head way to read the juxtaposition of the song, with Cheney and Bush being the unwitting deliverers of evil.
On the other hand, one could also read this somewhat more sympathetically, that the same kinds of emotional pain or downright mental illness also lead to the terrible actions that people commit around the world in the name of democracy, etc.
I have a pretty much equal personal investment in the legacies of Marx and Freud, a contradictory fact that is probably pretty common among the well-schooled of today. It seems to me that the necessities created by our "mode of production" are the ultimate motivator of most world events and personal ones as well, regardless of what individuals may want and believe. At the same time, I can see in my own life that the quest for unncessary objects, while on the one hand driven by external forces, advertizing, etc. and generally supportive of capitalism, is also related to personal, psychological needs related to emotional deprivation. Since the production of these needs and the expression of them is conditioned by capitalist conditions that create the particular family structures and atomized lifestyles that we all currently live, I guess there is no major contradiction between this type of "last instance" materialism and the belief that day to day, behind most greedy feelings and behavior, it's probably fairly easy to locate a primitive quest for love and acceptance that has been misdirected.

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