Because life is life and art is art and life is fleeting but art sure isn’t, I am not doing much labor in the Department of Fine Letters these days, concentrating instead on the muchly more pressing matters of Life. So I don’t take on new commissions, because what’s the point.
Pelckman Publishers yesterday did send an intriguing one my way, however: a five page contribution to a Dutch-language book to be called ‘Mijn Amerika’ – ‘My America’ – a volume to celebrate ‘the things American we appreciate the most’, as well as detailing ‘what we Belgians/Dutch should learn from the USA’.
(One more book to add to the library of foregone conclusions, it seems.)
It did set me thinking, though.
I’d say, it sure was hard to pick the most valuable lesson for Low-Land Europeans to learn from their transoceanic brethren. (For Lesson 1 – ask all of the GOP presidential candidates – is: Sisters don’t count, not even in strictly Sisterly affairs.)
In the end, it’ll have to be a toss-up between these two: (a) That waging war against nations that have, as nations, done nothing against you is a uniquely rewarding way to conduct foreign policy; and (b) that greed run amok to the point of wrecking the entire world’s economy is a perfectly acceptable way to conduct business, not in the least because it is the most ultimately thrilling ride you can be on while still keeping your Versace suit pants on.
Both, of course (d’oh!) are linked by their utter lack of negative consequences. Au contraire, you will get reelected and/or Nobel-prized and bailed-out and end-of-year-bonused beyond your wildest dreams if you engage in these behaviors. Along the way, you'll even be able to persuade the General Public that a few dudes held in cages on a tropic isle or a handful of hippies in tents are the Next Great Threat to the Nation, and you’ll remain in power forever, instead of being tarred and feathered for having finally and definitively proven that living the American Dream is just as feasible as building the Workman’s Paradise – a 1% affair.
Clearly, the thing to swing here is a Set of Big Brass Balls.
And so it goes, and Sisters still don’t count.