I’m on the road, in a strange country; by all appearances, a fragile, brittle, frightened land, where the natives must be told every day — and preferably every hour — by every means possible how wonderful they are, how good, how righteous, how deserving and important, how unquestionably, uncritically, purely and simply (oh so simply) special they are in every way. A land where cleavage-popping babes adorn forty-foot billboards for bail bonding companies. Where pasty realtors and corn-starched pols gather to pledge allegiance to the Confederate flag, and cranky predestinarians sketch flowcharts of salvation on basement whiteboards in the wee hours of the night. A land where fine dining establishments politely ask patrons to check their weapons at the door, and thunka-thunka country hunks lob self-regarding bombast through the wastelands and broadbands of suburbia. A land scoop-gutted, a land of simulacra , of empty gesture and thin masquerade. A land where only weather, only nature in its patches and adaptations, only the grass and earth that enclose the heartrendered dead can still convey the tang of deep reality that once flourished here. I am at present lost in such a country.
As you can imagine, it is difficult, if not impossible — if not completely pointless — to “blog” in such circumstances. Indeed, this sojourn in deracinating irreality has called the entire enterprise — or rather, my own contribution to it — into question. Faced with these Alps of ignorance and error, I have to look into the rippling, mud-rimmed mirror left by the downpour and ask: What can I say to the mountain? Anything new? Anything of import and enlightenment? Anything that will contribute something other than my own voice reverberating back? Should I set myself to a deeper schooling, excavate more thoroughly my own ignorance and error? Should I come at the mountain from a different angle?
Fortunately, as I continue my doubt-staggered journey, there are those out there for whom these questions in no way apply. They are most indubitably delivering new and important information, new stores of enlightenment. In the ancient hipster measurement of ultimate worth, they “have something to say.” And so, whilst the wrestling with logistical, technical and spiritual difficulties impedes my blogging, I direct you to these learned Thebans.
First and foremost, Arthur Silber has been on a roaring tear for days, delivering piece after piece of genuine importance: weighty essays, acerbic asides, bone-rattling insights. You should get to the site now and begin reading your way down — or hell, start at the bottom and read your way up. But read it, one way or another, if it is information, provocation, inspiration and enlightenment you seek.
As’ad AbuKhalil, the “Angry Arab,” is another writer who constantly offers new information and new perspectives, particularly on the cauldron of suffering, folly, and murderous geopolitical gamesmanship called “the Middle East.” He is an excellent corrective to the ignorance and error that pervades media and government attitudes toward the region — and in the region itself.
Other something-sayers worth checking regularly include Chris Hedges, Winter Patriot, John Caruso, William Blum, Jon Schwarz… There are many others, of course, but time and logistics are suddenly bearing down hard and preclude any further thought on the matter. I just wanted to drop in briefly at the site while I could to say we will back to regular programming — or some kind of programming anyway — in a few days.
*Note: My connection at present is so bad that I can’t link properly. So here are links to the writers mentioned above: