Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Well Hell. We Lose Another We Need.

Other than April, with the A-Z challenge, I don't go off the trail of Minis & The Hobby much here, but this hit me too deeply.  Gore Vidal died.  Granted he had lived a long and productive life, but there are some people who are so important to their time & place in history that no matter how late in life they leave it, it doesn't seem like we are adequately prepared to cover the loss.

Just a couple years ago George Carlin died, and late last year it was Christopher Hitchens. And now Gore Vidal.  Seems my favorite socio-political people are dying out.  I don't really see many ready to step up to fill their place either.  Is the world changing to be one where we won't see their like? Not a happy thought.

I'd put Vidal in the same camp as Mark Twain or Socrates.  Mr. Clemens took an honest look at the world he lived in and made everyone else look at it too.  We need such people, who will point out when something is dangerous, when it is cruel, corrupt, when it lies to us, rather than ride it for their own advancement.

Whether a person liked his conclusions or not, Vidal had an honest concern for freedom and fairness for individuals. He wasn't afraid to question the direction our entire system is leading us.
The media is flooded with political dishonest distraction.  Today both sides of the political spectrum dance around the same nonsense, avoiding the bigger issues of the structure of our system itself.  It is not in the self-interest of politicians of either side to face these issues, and few seem to do it from any walk of life, but Gore Vidal did, and now he's gone.

We have so few in our society with the commanding presence to be heard against the sea of approved bickering narrative, it really pains me that we lost one of the strongest voices. I'm struggling to think of who might be left.

I think intelligent people can disagree and have different ideas of what is 'best', but I don't think our system promotes any of that on either 'side' anymore.

Aside from many of his more serious endeavors, I highly recommend the mockumentary movie "Bob Roberts" where Vidal has a role as an incumbent senator in an election.  The movie is funny as well as prophetic.  Great film.

I think on it now and then, minis wargaming does focus on war: battle, conflict, killing.
I think there is nothing wrong with gaming these things- it is a game, a mental exercise to relax and puzzle the mind a bit.  But when societies use real military: our lives, our wealth, our production as a game for few to control and benefit from, there is a big problem.  It is nice that Vidal does credit Eisenhower with warning us of this, the power of the military industrial complex, but I can't help feeling that there is no way a President today could warn of it, and keep his job. Neither the right nor left would touch this today.  He'd be finished as surely as when Carter warned about rampant consumerism.  But why? When these warnings are good and honest and for the benefit of everyone.  Clearly something is wrong.

Well, enjoy the history bits and Bob Roberts clip:

And just for fun, one more:


The Angry Lurker said...

Didn't know much about him until now....

Anne said...

I remember reading Caligula when I was very young and that's when I first learned about Vidal. Loved Carlin as well. It's been a big year for the loss of giants-a fine generation of men are passing. And we need those voices in the world today.

Michael Awdry said...

A tremendous, well written and thoughtful post; thank you.

Porky said...

A worthwhile read. Your assessment seems a good one too. Divided, we're ruled. We can't fix the things that break down, or maybe even recognise them.

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