A people in the throes of national prosperity, who breathe poisoned air, drink poisoned water, eat poisoned food, who take poisoned medicines to heal them of the poisons that they breathe, drink, and eat,
such a people crave the further poison of official reassurance. It is not logical,but it is understandable, perhaps, that they adore their President who tells them that all is well, all is better than ever.
via Changing Circumstances
http://www.amazon.com/dp/161902277X book link amazon
Well I recently saw Bill Moyer’s interview with Wendell Berry (which is available on youtube by the way) so I know why Mr Berry is a bit mad.
The black willow trees on the bank of the river by his family farm are dying and the likely cause is the coal mining upriver doing some damage to the water upon which the black willows depend. Seems like a no brainer to me. I think I would be upset too.
Unfortunately I find these poems more interesting in many ways then his earlier writings of which I have browsed quite a few. I guess I am a bit mad myself and a bit of understanding of Mr Berry’s dilemma adds much much to appreciating this writing, though I do hope Wendell can have his water and willows restored and go back to feeling calmer again.
I think his perspective and current annoyances come through well here.
You might wish to see if you do as well. I do hope Mr Berry is successful in his wishes.
The audio CD is superb. The story, Tah, which was Mr Hubbard’s first published is the story of a 12 year old Chinese boy stuck in a war he really doesn’t wish to be in, caught up in a war machine which crushes his individuality and true wishes.
All Is Quiet on the Western Front conveyed this type of message in a different, larger, and more complex way on western wars while Tah is a simpler short work set in China that is quite poignant.
Wind-Gone-Mad, the lead story, is about an American pilot the pre-WWII era who comes to the aid of Cheng-Wang who is threatened buy a warlord called The Butcher. The quote below provides a taste of the story:
(Wind-Gone-Mad): “I see. But you happen to be perfectly willing to see an entire province ruined by three of your big ships. It doesn’t jibe, Blakely. Did you ever meet Cheng-Wang?”
(Blakely): “Once or twice.”
(Wind-Gone-Mad): “And you know that he runs a fair government. His taxes are not high. Rather than crush his people he had kept his army at actual policing strength. He did not want to burden his merchants by making them subscribe to a plane fund….”
“Jim Dahlgren is always certain that his planes will not be used for civil war. He’s trying to shoot square with the Chinese. Jim knows a friend when he sees one.”