Thursday, 7 April 2011
We're half awake in a fake empire.
The National: Fake Empire (Bryce Dessner)
If I were to take on board all of the misery peddled by the soothsayers and suchlike, I'm quite sure I'd be a neurotic, gibbering kitty by now. Day after day pours forth a further torrent of gloom and despondency from the soothsayers, flavoured by all kinds of alarming developments in the world of human beings.
Cuts, Health Scares, Murders, Battles, Wars, Pestilences, Plagues, Poxes, Pizza, Tax Increases, Global Warming, Mildew and Rising Damp are all standard fare on the gloom-monger's breakfast table. And, of course, there's more of the same for lunch, tea and supper too. And how about a tasty nibble of Desolation between meals? It won't spoil your appetite. Much.
But a lively Christian faith balanced with a sense of humour and ridicule get you a long way, and they go far to help me regain a balanced perspective on the world. And when I hear about Hermit - the half-witted henchman of King Jose Borracho of the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire), I can't help but smile. Bless his little padded jacket ;-)
It appears that the Emperor Caesar Borracho has - in his unbounded wisdom and magnanimity - wheeled Herman out for an hour or two, and even permitted him to move his mouth and to utter quasi-intelligible noises to a congregation of window-licking lackeys and soothsayers. Now, that's a very dangerous undertaking, since it's by no means predictable what the dolt is going to say. But life is full of risks, isn't it? Just ask any out-of-work Health And Safety Administrator for details.
And Hermit hasn't disappointed. He stated that he - singlehandedly - well, with a teensy-weensy bit of help from the Franks, the Anglo-Saxons, the Jutes, the Danes, the Gauls, the Dacians, the Magyars and Uncle Tom Cobley and all - has successfully prevented O'Daffy - the chandelier-swinging psychopathic despot over Cyrene - from beating his rebellious opponents to a pulp. Not one innocent person has died as a result of the Imaginary Empire's military looting, pillaging and sacking adventures. One more stunning triumph for the emerging Beast From The Sea - Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire). Hooray! Rejoice with me, people.
Consequently, there have been parades, flags and celebrations here in Streonaeshalch. There's been dancing and the unrestrained drinking of ale and mead in the streets; the bunting has been flapping merrily in the breeze. When I asked some half-cut Saxon youth what he was celebrating, he looked at me blankly and managed to say through slurred words that he had no idea. But everyone else was celebrating, so he was simply joining in. He then went off to disgorge the entire content of his stomach somewhere. For understandable reasons I didn't hang around.
I can't help but cheer up when I hear deluded claptrap like that. There's a saying that those whom the gods wish to destroy they make mad first; certainly Nebuchadnezzar learned that lesson from the Almighty - but he was fortunate enough to have his sanity restored. The empires of men have always been established on the same illusions and fictions used to perpetuate them. The problem is that there are always casualties resulting from their delusions of grandeur and adequacy. Sooner or later, something is going to sink its sharp, needle-like teeth into the padded posteriors of the kings, the princes, the satraps, the nobles and the hangers-on who wallow in their self-importance and feast off the ill-gotten fruits of the labours of the serfs. Its name is Reality.