Onward!

The above photo was taken last night by my friend Sona, as Tim, Garrett and I watched the election results coming in. The different looks on each of our faces reminds me of this video installation I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a while back. It was a stunning work of art by Bill Viola – the first video installation ever purchased by the Met. He took five actors, gave them each an emotion to express, and then taped them for 60 seconds. He then slowed down the 60 seconds, making it a sixteen minute video. It sounds strange, but it was visually stunning – on a massive, crystal-clear screen, it looked like a perfect painting – except that if you watched it for a minute you realized that the people in the painting were moving, ever so slowly, movements mostly invisible to the naked eye. The cumulative effect was captivating.

And so was last night – captivating, slow motion, full of emotion, intense in a slow-spooling sort of way. The look on my face in the photo is perhaps as tense as I’ve ever seen myself.

What is there to say? I’m not ready to pontificate on what this means and what happened and what the future holds. In a mundane, petty way – I think that MSNBC had the best TV coverage of the election (having four TVs running at once I feel I can be an accurate judge of this). The web was kind of funny – I think that most of the blogs didn’t have great coverage, but did have great discussion. I generally found CNN.com to have the best online election coverage. C-SPAN had the coolest map. And Comedy Central’s Indecision 2004 blog had good comic relief—specifically the “liberal agenda”. Our Resultron performed admirably, due mostly to the overtime efforts of an amazing team. I also enjoyed two interesting sites – one for GOTV that used text messaging, and one for moBlogging of ballots.

Now what? Good question. This op-ed from earlier in the week from the Boston Globe seems especially apropos. Beyond Voting was called to my attention early on Tuesday – and the sentiment suits me. I know virtually nothing about the site, but it’s ethos is right – this election is just the beginning.

But at the end of the day, I’m not sure what any of this means. Dark images of The Handmaid’s Tale come to mind – I recall Margaret Atwood being asked about the content of the novel, and she said something to the effect that everything in the novel is happening already. I have no idea what tomorrow and the next day look like — but I took heart in a poem I read late last night — true, it’s a bit blood and gore, but I need a fortitude, a resolve to continue fighting the good fight — so here it is.

Arete

Rise up, warriors, take your stand at one another’s sides,
Your feet set wide and rooted like oaks in the ground.
Then bide your time, biting your lip, for you were born
From the blood of Heracles, unbeatable by mortal men,
And the god of gods has never turned his back on you.

So cast off whatever fears arise at the armored legions
They’ll muster before you, hedge yourselves round
With hollow shields, and learn to love death’s ink-
Black shadow as much as you love the light of dawn,
So that when the hour comes, the battle lines drawn,

You won’t hang back beyond javelin and stone but,
Marshaled into ranks, advance as one to engage your enemy
Hand-to-hand. And then, hefting your bronze-tipped
Spears and raking the air with your broadswords,
Set foot to foot, battle-dress to weaponry,

Horsehair crest to polished mail and, helmet to helmet,
Eye to eye, mangle their gear, hack off limbs, lay open
The organs that warm their chests, and beat them down
Until the plain runs red with enemy blood and you
Still stand, breathlessly gripping your wet sword’s hilt.

— Tyrtaeus (7th c. B.C.) translated from the Greek by Sherod Santos

My friends, the future belongs to us.

2 Responses to “Onward!”

  1. anne Says:

    Thanks, Nicco, for the metered tears of that poem.

    This morning I woke up at 10.30 and made a wonderful and strange brunch with my good friend George, whom I haven’t seen since 3 weeks after 9/11. How blessed we were for the mild sun and breeze.

    Driving into work at 1 pm, windows down, we listened loud to Richard Buckner’s album Bloomed, and I to his refrain especially:

    And Christ how this life from mud to miracle
    Is just the prettiest little burden, isn’t it?

    http://www.rykodisc.com/Catalog/dump/rykoalbums_991.asp

  2. Mary Mele Says:

    That last comment about casinos is in fact spam. Amazing. Is that a bot that does that? posts spam on blog comments?

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