But Soft!


As, in a theatre, The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness, And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away ~ T.S. Eliot

Too long! Weary now; even seat-squirming, the audience anticipates the election, anxious for the next act in American life, hoping it brings catharsis, redemption, change.

But soft, for the fool still struts his hour upon the stage.

The curtain cannot fall on the Bush years soon enough. The sheer destruction has been unbearable for those with healthy human consciousness. We have witnessed the invasion of two countries – and the silent, smirking nod given to the invasion of a third – leaving cities leveled, towns wasted, and lives lost in uncounted thousands. The economic price we will pay is only just becoming visible through the rising smoke and ash, while eight years of power-lust and lawlessness have left our hard-won human liberties buried beneath the rubble. The scene demands the lonely sound of a cello as we survey the desolation: "Madness! … Madness!"

A tale told by idiots? To be sure! Else why would the ideologues have destroyed the political vehicle they rode to power? Yet modern American conservatism, whose faithful, like poor players, had mindlessly mouthed empty lines about fiscal responsibility, limited government and respect for the Constitution, will now not be pieced back together. But for idiocy, why would the worshippers of nothing so much as military might have displayed their ultimate impotence? Only idiocy explains why the plunderers, utterly dependent on the productive, have wasted their hosts so completely. Surely the act is complete? We, the unwilling spectators, hold our breath, longing for release. Enough! Let the curtain fall! Get on with it!

But soft!

For this is the America that worships commander guys and destroyer gods! This is the age of the Hollywood blockbuster! Enough is never enough! The frenzy of destruction is never complete. There is always another car-truck-bus chase to end in a twisted pile of carnage ahead, another helicopter to crash, another train to wreck. More falling debris to crush fleeing bit players… high-altitude bombardment, a thermonuclear explosion, an asteroid if need be! Whatever it takes to top that which has gone before and pierce the American theater-goers’ dull sensitivity, that his delight in destruction might be made complete.

Those wise in the ways of theater, recognize the device: the mournful cello’s remorse signals the end of the act only to deceive, that we might let our guard down, heightening the surprise of the next thunderous shock.

And life imitates art. Busying themselves, the stagehands of this production, the enabling talking heads and public nuisances, raise a great sound and much fury about the acts to come.

But soft!

We, distrustful of power-wielders and world-shapers, recognize the device! Will the hapless audience exhale now, anticipating the act yet to come, even as the clown prince remains on the stage, his last lines yet unspoken, his final deeds unfinished?

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow:


April 7, 2008

Charles Goyette [send him mail] is the morning talk show host on Talk Radio 1100 KFNX in Phoenix, AZ.