Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Downpour of Silence

You would think that with everything that's going on in the world—you know, bombs ripping apart the flesh of innocents in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan (to name only a few)—that the popular ardor for fireworks might cool a bit. And you would be wrong. The fireworks mania has continued apace, with the usual results.

Here in Brooklyn, it's never a good sleeping night, yet sometimes Nature helps out. I was settling in for a long night of listening to the pops, screeches, and booms of the amateurs in the neighborhood, when just after midnight, a blessing: a heavy downpour of rain.

Now in our culture, rain is typically demonized as "bad weather." Turn on the local newscast and witness the labels being applied to Nature: precipitation is bad, sunshine is good. Our mass media imagine that we're not smart enough to discern any finer shades of meaning than that. Or maybe it's just that they're not.

Same as how they portray political contests: Mitt is a real candidate, because he looks like one. Kucinich? Too short, too dumpy, not an ounce of stud in him. Unelectable.

And so we get bombs. Literal bombs, in places near and remote. Figurative bombs, in the seats of high power. It's all about the choices we make as citizens, and the decisions we make to accept or reject the lies and half-truths broadcast to us over the boxes in our living rooms.

Bombs are not fun, nor are they pretty, except via a projection of our minds. Bombs are dangerous: they can make sleep difficult, or they can make it permanent. Perhaps what we need in the Middle East are cloud seeders rather than troop surges, so that the bombs are more frequently enveloped in the watery silence of rain. I can only tell you that it sure worked here, last night: the rain came down and the fireworks were silenced.


Nick said...

So this is what joylessness smells like. A rant about fireworks? This would almost be funny if you weren't serious.

Brian Donohue said...

Ever had an M-80 go off inches from your head, son? May you never know what it feels like...