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The Voice Of 40-Something Cynical Optimism!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

No more heroes?

"This almost suicidal cavalry charge should knock off a few points off the Mordor 100 Stock Index chaps!"

When in a facetious mood, ie when I am a bit drunk, I declare that the success of Lord of the Rings movies was the result of the good guys having British accents for once. However, in more considered moments I think both the books and films are popular because they involve two things which are sometimes hard to imagine in this day and age. One is that good triumphs over evil. The other is both books and films are grand narratives. I think that the continuing popularity in British culture of World War Two is that it is the nearest historical event most people have encountered which corresponds to a grand narrative in which the good guys win (ok you have the Soviet Union winning, and the Yanks drop the bomb on Japan and have their plans dominate the world, dismantle the British Empire, collaborate with remaining fascist movements throughout the world etc etc) but it was the last true Good War.

I also think that the continuing appeal of Marxism is that has a grand narrative, which takes in all human history, and the good guys, ie ordinary people, triumph. I guess that is also some of the appeal of religion. Religions are able to interpret the flow of history and suggest ultimate victory for the good guys ie those who stick to that particular religion.

In contrast, modern capitalist society offers nothing adventurous, and its scribes suggest that we have the end of history. This is as good as it gets, they say. It is not much if one has ideals. Capitalism will collapse simply because it is so damn boring. Please don't try and tell me that venture capitalists, investment bankers, hedge fund managers and bleedin' accountants are in any sense heroic. People criticise (often quite rightly) the antics of pop stars, sports people, actors/actresses etc, but at least they inspire people. The only good thing most capitalist types have is money, and I only envy them to the extent that I would use that cash to do what I really want to do in life.

I think people are voting with their feet when it comes to politics. They want people with ideas who will inspire them. That is why so many people say their political heroes are Tony Benn and/or Enoch Powell. Compare them to blandocracy who dominate the three main parties in Britain today. We appear to be allowed a free market and choice in everything EXCEPT political ideas and policies. No wonder more and more people are giving up on the electoral process, which is a tragedy, and a disgrace in a so-called democracy.


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