Thursday, October 05, 2006

IN HELL! The dead world, infernal zone, damned house, tortures place, pandemonium, purgatory, avernus, fire, Satan, THE PIT!... and the pendulum.

Last week our friend Don Snabulus in an effort to pull me out of a small bout of reverie reminded me of the political pendulum. It's a kind of "Newton's Law of American Politics" that every reaction brings an opposite reaction. Nothing is permanent, everything swings back into place eventually.

I know that the forces of darkness arrayed against progressives also recognize the political pendulum and have expended great effort in an attempt to force the pendulum to hold it's current rightward position permanently. The rank and file that make up the typical viewers of the FOX network or listeners to Limbaugh, Savage or O'Reilly hold the pendulum in place through sheer force of will. To effort necessary to push back against that seems almost insurmountable. That's where I start to despair.

This week there was a small PBS episode of the "Secrets of the Dead" series entitled "Umbrella Assassin." It told the tale of Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Malkov who was assassinated in London in 1978 by a KGB agent using an umbrella tipped with a microsopic ball of sarin. The assassination was an effort to send a message to all outspoken dissidents of the Soviet regime. The idea was to instill fear on a subconcious level. On the concious level the Soviets had an enormous military machine and enough nuclear missiles to obliterate the West several times over.

There was a time in our history that the USSR seemed powerful and immortal. The party controlled all elements of the state: the government, courts and media. They had the pendulum firmly wedged in place. So it seemed.

We know now with the benefit of hindsight that the appearance of strength and immortality that cloaked the Soviet regime were illusory. We know that the even the most repressive regime cannot permanently crush dissent, they can only sweep it under the rug or hide it in the attic. It will eventually get out and ruin Thanksgiving dinner.

We know that once that happens and pendulum finally breaks free it explodes against the forces that tried to keep it in place artificially.

Here's a reminder of what that looked like when it happened to the Soviets from the band Jesus Jones:

(I know the movie quote doesn't tie into the post well but it did have the word "pendulum." They can't all be gems.)


Overdroid said...

Sure, and things are so great in Russia now. Also - I'm not to worried about the social pendulum as I am in the scarcity and environmental pendulums. In fact, they aren't pendulums - they are finite resources that won't swing or bounce back when gone (take you pick - greenhouse gasses, oil, water, or all of the above). For a really pessimistic and depressing view - go here:

Then to be cheered up go here:

Oh wait, it's kinda depressing too. But funnier.

Dean Wormer said...

Didn't like the Star Trek bit, particulary because I don't think the author "gets" why people didn't dig Enterprise.

It was because it wasn't compelling sci-fi and lost the metaphors that he she had found so compelling on previous incarnations of the show.

Overdroid said...

Plus he liked the theme song. And I hated it. HATED IT. From the very first moment I heard it. But I still respect Chris Crawford (the author) for other reasons.

Dean Wormer said...


Trek is space opera not space karaoeke.