Thursday, May 5, 2011

Like Froo-its of Dev-eel

Hey all. DWD again. Shelly's taking some sabbatical time per her union's collective bargaining agreement. She thought she'd better jump on that before it's gone. Her recent legal victory restricting my blog topics has helped loosen her grip on the pen, too.

Here I sit fresh off the last page of Wicked by Gregory Maguire. Loved it! Even just the title keeps me riveted, repeating it over and over in my head with various inflection, the consonants like the latching of a creepy door in a horror film: Wicked. Wicked. Wiiiicked. Having found it and Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, literary fiction has been saved from the asteroid of extinction, resurrected as if by an arcane priest or faery godmother. (Did you see that? I worked Li-Fi, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy into the same paragraph!)

The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, as it's subtitled, handled the nature-of-evil discussion interestingly and irreverently. In the real world as I pored over the ending, some Navy SEALS in Pakistan gave a good example of one method for assessing and dealing with it. As all this percolated in my early-morning brain, the intertwining themes of evil in fiction and in reality gave me more to chew upon than my usual double-dose of oatmeal.

Mr. Maguire uses political power as one portal to evil in his version of Oz. It's a tool wielded differently by The Wizard in the Emerald City, the Headmistress at the University in Shiz, and even the Wicked Witch of the East, though her path was paved with good intentions. Did the destination make them evil, or being evil at the start, did they search out the position to best use their talent? That's what I wonder of those in politics, the ones for which I vote and avoid voting. I trust none of them, but should I? My evil alarm (which I suspect is a Shelly Deitometer) only works on my own thoughts and intentions, so that doesn't ever go off as a political warning. Are all statesmen evil like the Wizard, or just a combination of naughty, inept, and conspired-against?

Some real-life examples of politicians lots of people hate:

Clinton misunderstood terrorism, and failed to authorize the pulled trigger on Osama years ago. That could have kept his balanced budget in existence much longer, not to mention lives saved. He also had a certain lack of, um, restraint. Great. Now I'm wondering where the line is between mistake and evil, and good and biology.

Dubya knew how terrorists thought, and so he shot first and from the hip and with both barrels. No more attacks on the US. But having a misunderstanding of our neighbors cost us much of their help. Lots of people died unnecessarily. Arrogance can result in evil, but can it make us be that way?

Ideas are good, change is good, but can they be pushed too far? Do people have to take steps that will improve their lives if they don't want to? Should they be forced? Obama irritates and frightens a lot of people with his plans. I'd wonder about him in our study of evil, but anyone who's birth certificate is called into question so often is undoubtedly devil-spawn.

Three hard-thought examples and no pithy absolutisms. Not an interesting story at all. Should have known politics couldn't hold a candle to a picked-on misunderstood green girl or a Kansas kid with a cute dress and a puppy. What I need is maniacal-laughter and world-domination. Soundbite and titillation. A scapegoat upon which to blame failures, national and personal. Discovering the Chief Execs are human and prone to weakness and genius and error and efficiency makes for a boring read. And when it comes to voting time, I have to consider each individual situation and study them, the motives of those involved and the potential for benefit and harm.

Nah, that's too hard. I'll leave analysis of evil and go find another novel. Wait - what if not thinking is another subtle sell-out to evil...

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