Harold Pinter on not-so-hidden history

by Yule Heibel on December 7, 2005

Just a quick pointer tonight to Harold Pinter’s acceptance speech for the 2005 Nobel Prize in literature. Pinter starts by telling us a story about what’s true and what’s false for the writer (of fiction), and then modulates into a scathing indictment of what is true and false in politics. Political power, Pinter writes, is bought by keeping people ignorant of the truth, which is why politicians increasingly have no interest in truth-as-truth. It doesn’t matter if something is true or false; it only matters if you can hold on to power. Power has become so imperial (to continue the theme from Dec.5) that conscience and morality vaporise, disappear into expedience and unreality. Crimes never happened, history gets a rewrite: “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.” (Pinter) At some point, namely the point we’ve now reached, things devolve to this:

The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don’t quite know how they got there but they are there all right.

The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity – the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons – is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it. [More…]

* * * In an unrelated matter, although still somehow fitting with the flavour of Pinter’s critique, I blushed to discover a new enthusiast yesterday. He commented on my Dec.5 entry, and I first mistook him for The Happy Tutor‘s twin sibling, or at least a close cousin from the Wealth Bondage compound. I’m referring to Cavalor Epthith, who, with his two collegial fallen angels Diane Tomlinson and Fredrick Schwartz, writes Editorials from Hell’s Leading Daily Newspaper. It appears that Mr. Schwartz was assigned at pitchforkpoint to write a post about moi (please, allow me to be even more pretentious than I am naturally…), which turned into an embarassingly flattering review of my disjointed, crow-like jumping up and down. Thank-you, Daily Pitchfork (oooh, not so hard!)….

But I do protest against one point (pun?): I don’t own a coffee table. And while I have become overeducated, I have also it seems become unfit for real employment, and therefore won’t be buying new furniture (not even coffee tables) any time soon… However, even little devils like me eventually get practical. Perhaps I should be posting a link to my resumé here, just in case someone has a research or writing assignment they want to tell me about… Well, one can dream, right? What’s true and what’s false these days anyway?


The Happy Tutor December 8, 2005 at 8:33 am

Nice to see you get some recognition. Writing to the web sometimes seems like, “Dear Diary.” I hope you get a wide influence if not a huge audience. Still teachers after all these years, students or no students. “Peripetetic.”

Cavalor Epthith December 8, 2005 at 10:10 am

I am reading Pinter’s speech this morning with a warm cup of steaming broth that is popular here in Hell’s capital and I am truly mesmerized. We often misjudge you humans because of that terrible lemming-like quality many of you have for belonging. Still, every now and then a Hawking, a Pinter or I feel a Heibel comes along to unbind human eyes and elevate human souls starved for the succor only truth can provide.
Thank you again for pointing me to Pinter and for the honor of mentioning our efforts within your pages.

May you suffer not.

Cavalor Epthith
The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork

maria December 8, 2005 at 12:33 pm

Nice (well, that’s not the right word … more like right-on) review of your post studio, Yule.

melanie December 8, 2005 at 8:41 pm

Thanks for linking that.

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