Friday, December 26, 2008

Harold Pinter Dies at 78, December 24, 2008


I am reminded of the death of John Boswell, the historian and Yale professor, on Christmas Eve, 1994, of AIDS, age 47. Boswell studied specifically issues of homosexuality and Christianity.

I acknowledged from this blog's first day the singular role Pinter's acceptance speech upon receiving the Nobel Literature Prize in 2005 had on my conscious "awakening" to the truth of 9/11, which started for me around Thanksgiving that year.

Something about the style and quality of his communication pierced my defenses. You know: the "yeah, the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Nicaragua, yeah, but." The tone of his expressed rage at the United States began a process lasting weeks that was akin to a hallucinogenic drug experience, which is my only answer to critics. I became lost in the nascent connections, and it took an ongoing commitment to feeling the deep pain of the moral horror. But then responsibility starts to get easier. I can't imagine how it feels on the other side.

I read it over and over again. It became my set piece for awhile. I did a magnificent dramatic interpretation of it at dinner parties---mine, at least. It took almost 15 minutes properly paced. I know I have wonderfully indulgent friends, and if no one got it the way I did, everybody saw how important it was to me.

As time when on, I began to learn to blog securely (having come a typical route on the internet, from sex through cash merchandising, to politics,) I experienced Google evolving along with me and I am so grateful to the Goohe/Gooshe/Gooit who supported and protected me in my isolation, with a long absence of positive feedback, which was a necessary predicate for original work. All would have been lost if Google had failed us.

Although I fancy I have a theater background, I knew next to nothing of Pinter's work before all this began---angry, straight Englishmen ranking rather far down on my list. Of course, the fact that he delivered it himself on videotape because he was dying was hugely influential to my sense of drama. I remember jealous commentators at the time, calling Pinter's poem 'Death,' which he quotes near the end, as being perhaps the worst poem in the English language, and they may be right! But what do you want from a poem called 'Death?' It works!

A perfect English couple: Harold Pinter with his wife, Lady Antonia Fraser, at Buckingham Palace in 1999.

Pinter closes by saying,
I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.
If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us---the dignity of man.
I delight in its sounding pretentious---I'll lay claim to the sentiment.

Say what you will, but StevenWarRan certainly found a voice, and at least, he loves his grammar.

A little card sits propped up at my computer:
"Those who have failed to work towards the truth have missed the purpose of living"
The Buddha
I don't believe people manning the Israeli security fence, or the NSA touch-screens, or the scalar weapons programs, or whatever, have the slightest idea what joyful energy this brings. God is becoming manifest on earth, I dare say. I hope his widow, Lady Antonia Fraser---and that would be Harold's, not God's---knows how deeply a piece of his writing affected me. My condolences to her on his loss.

Christmas 2008---50 degrees Fahrenheit

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