Thursday, December 6, 2007

The State of the Nation

I'm teaching Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir, by Suzanne Antonetta. It's a lovely, complex memoir from someone whose body was shaped by the cesspools of pollution, chemical and nuclear waste in New Jersey in the 1950-60's. The book was a New York Times Notable Book when it came out in 2001.

Here, she's describing the political environment in the 1970s as the nation prepares for another presidential election, still in the midst of Viet Nam muck:

"Lying had become a ritual ceremonial act, one that's since become deeply embedded: every four year's a man's face floats up in the ghost space of television, says things he doesn't mean and we do not believe, and we vote for him and spend the next four years watching those few months of promises unravel. As if we need that: a buildup and a jilting ("Read my lips!" "A swift end to the war.") As if we were bored."

Frightening how apt this seems, still and again.

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