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Perhaps we’ll find a cure for our pridefulness

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Culture – September 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine


Here’s a local example of how easy it is to be smug in one’s ignorance and misjudge an alien situation: During Salida Artwalk I sidle up to a mud-show dancer of indeterminate sex and exclaim, “nice legs, lady.” This is a moment of comedy dell’arte, a tradition centuries old, giving the street-actor a chance to engage (or not) in a bit of spontaneous burlesque. Staid passersby, however, get up on their high horse and in all seriousness make me out for a sexist pig, and a prime candidate for their version of thought control. I should engage them in a bit of further burlesque to relieve them of their ignorance of the theatrical heritage of Shakespeare, Moliere, and countless others, but I haven’t the time.

Imagine, then, how easy it is to misinterpret the goings-on of a third-world country on the other side of the globe, and how foolish to inflict our monoculture by dint of war. From Saigon to Beirut to Mogadishu, America had “a better idea” and then America got knocked silly and the better idea is long forgot. Maybe, just possibly, as part of a UN Team, we might have done some good in European Bosnia. More typically, our meddling produces hatchet-men like Pinochet in Chile. If you bought a series of “better-idea” cars and eight of ten turned out to be lemons, you might think about taking a different tack.

American under Clinton was bad enough: America under Bush becomes more and more a rogue state, ducking out of treaties and protocols essential for a rule of law on the planet. It would serve us right if we were sat upon by a UN peace-keeping force sometime soon.

International experts could help us mend our infrastructure. Legal committees would unburden our kids from the pledge of allegiance, which, even without “under God,” was a clear case of grandstanding and brainwashing. White collar thieves would fill the jail cells vacated by harmless pot-smokers. We’ll get an airlift of wheelbarrows, pennywhistles, and donkeys, and a cadre of volunteers from Afghanistan to teach us how to squat in the dirt and build earthquake resistant, sustainable housing out of mud and sticks. If some merciful benefactors smile on us, we might even get a team of medics to vaccinate our kids against this latest plague of narcissistic honcho cyber-cyber which has chronically wasted half our population.

It’s a long shot, but I’m hoping. There might even be a way to eradicate this rash of pridefulness. Imagine millions throwing away that crutch of pride and walking normally?

Slim Wolfe

Villa Grove