Reading the headlines lately about President Obama releasing information about severe interrogation techniques, among which were the more insidious; such as waterboarding, apprarently approved by Ms Rice while in office and having just signed a petition I received from George Soros foundation, I find myself thematically back a decade when I was struggling to give voice to an incalculably difficult novel, which explores the political notion of the 'blameless torturer'.
I was also reminded of a phrase in an article I had read shortly after the fiasco of Abu Ghraib prison died down in the press which read: " when you live in a country (I add..we could read in this global culture instead) that is pro-torture but anti-porn, where you can put someone on a leash as long as they're not enjoying it in a sexual kind of way, laughter becomes a necessity..."
The obvious moral premise here begs several questions about our societal outlook and general level of tolerance for hypocrasy, especially, when sexuality drives so much in the commercial market and has consumers pretty much on a short leash of its own. Deeper down beneath our social skin, a similar though rather darker conversation is begging: It is coloured by the very subversive nature of satire. We all know how humour and often sardonic wit which is the mastery of black comedy, creates an ambience of critical irreverence and no more unwelcome of late than in the arena of political correctness. In today's world humour can kill you..or have you killed. Not so funny, especially if you're the one to wake up on a day and the bounty is over your head - and all for creating a joke or a cartoon.
As much as there is no debate about the relevance or actual appropriateness of political correctness per se, there is even less to be heard on the virtues of our modern day state of mind and lack of soul.
Thinking has always been a subversive activity and lateral thinkers become as potentially dangerous to a given regime as terrorists do to communal safety and for all the black listing one can have, the absurdity of placing a thinker on a 'most wanted' list seems again overly obvious...but is it? Absurdity is afterall, is what makes leashing someone acceptable in interrogation but not, when an expression or exploration of pleasure. We scour under our suburban virtue at those honest enough to venture into realms of eroticism, openly venturing amid leash and whips and other fetishes of their fancy, while we strangulate ourselves most likely in green of quiet envy.
We absurdly tolerate a government taking a nation to war and begrudgingly bury our young in its wake, even in the knowledge its all been based on lies. And scarily, we're even prepared to become absurdly complicit in the death of humour, the death of lateral thinking, where associative parallels that have an innate clarity in revealing the nature of a thing, can actually teach us something from its original perspective, we're willing to watch, allowing its strangulation in turn, in favour of a form of ''correctnes'' which is decidedly humourless and far from benign.
Laughter is something sold even across the 'wellness'' counter these days, yet it's become a dangerous paradigm, in some cases even lethal. So within the metaphysical wonderments of leashing, just how leashed are we against real laughter? How soulless have we become when we rant indignantly at sex games, yet can live with ourselves in our silent mitigation of torture: of allowing those who supposedly govern in our best interests, to leash someone against their will for the extraction of information or just for the plain thrill of humilation? How leashed are we to our own ensuent loss of dignity... or is that we really just don't care about being human anymore; which may well have us and our children learn to inhabit a philosophical state of inertia and complacency which renders everything irrelevant, albeit leashed to the immutable ''we are what we do'.. and just what kind of legacy of laughter and life nurturing legacy is that?
Causes Renee Sigel Supports
The Grossman Burn Unit