What is Hollywood, you ask, dear children? A quorum of whores babbling endlessly on about fucking while the bordello is razed for a penny arcade -- Paul Bern

Sunday, August 8, 2010


(one of a continuing series on spectacular grief)

Did you hear the one about the aircraft full of famous Polish marytrs that crashed on the border between commemoration and oblivion...? No? Well...

Here's how Rod Serling would write it...

The dignitaries are on the plane, flying to commemorate the tragic and fatal event. The plane lands safely. But it's 1940, and they are rounded up by the NKVD to join the rest of the Polish officer corps. The dignitaries, mostly wheezing old men, try to warn the others about what's coming, about the history of soviet treachery, 1980, etc...They are accused of senility, naturally. One young officer believes them, and leads an escape of the oldsters, back to the guarded presidential plane. They seize the plane, but the engine is riddled with 1940 vintage bullets, and the plane crashes, back in the present. Investigators find the body of the young officer, whose name is on the death lists in the official accounts of Katyn, along with the mystery of his pre-war uniform. The anomaly is hushed up. Koniec.

Back in "real" Poland, mad grieving crowds, surround the memorial cross in front of the presidential palace.
"First they finished Kaczynski off and now they want to hide the truth about it," said Katarzyna Zaluska, a 35-year old office worker, giving vent to a suspicion among some supporters of the late president that the Polish government shares responsibility for the crash.
Terror is best experienced in crowds, of course. It's best that the crowd sees its terror, humiliation and grief amplified by the screens.

Demurred one illustrious & sober public intellectual:
"In any case, when tragedy struck, the human attitude prevailed. Everyone is terrified to see human bodies torn to pieces. Everyone travels by air. Everyone is terrified."

By accident, he's hit on another beautiful hegemonic linkage. This is how systems become mental environments -- and then, scaling down, set the dimensions of mild inner gulags.

Someone tried to ride the dragon of the nation's grief, but the thing was too wild. A heightened, exalted state.

The production of Grief in perpetuity. Direct "access" to trauma-events. At odds with the usual way of transforming trauma into myth.

Nothing can be settled. The meaning can always be dragged back into the court of mediation. And it will be. The aircraft perpetually flying in the limbo airspace between 1940-2010.

Nightmares fed by the restless, paranoid feeling of a secret life beyond the merely visible.

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