11 September 2012

Driving Obsessions

If you can think of another please tell me. But to my mind, there is no more dangerous, arrogant or obnoxious way of conveying the overriding importance and urgency of Oneself than speed.

10 September 2012

In Crisis Motto

"Keep calm and carry on." 

I suppose there's nothing quite like dusting off a quaint old British Second World War morale watchword. And all the more so in time for a London-hosted Olympics. How utterly characteristic, too, of those sturdy, stodgy, unvisionary wartime Brits. Observe - "keep calm" - not a shred of a sense of real glory in them. Or of those things most worth sacrificing in order to win it. Worst of all - and on such a potentially heroic occasion - to remain so punily, pathetically human in their scale and proportion, and perspective, of things. I mean, if monstrous times don't justify becoming a bit of a monster oneself, what does? But then by the same token, don't relatively dull, listless, uncertain times (as our own are often alleged to be) require a that-much-more deliberately disproportionately monstrous energy? And enthusiasm?

So what might be a fittingly dynamic, 21st-century American counterpart - or even rejoinder - to a modestly 20th-century British crisis slogan?

"Get all worked up, and carry it right off a cliff?" 

And why not? What's the point of truly believing in (i.e., taking to its limits) anything - even a business model - if you're not prepared go crazy with it? Neither, I'm told, is there anything quite like a serious economic downturn for separating wheat from chaff, men from boys, women from girls, fit from unfit. Perhaps it's time we laid the groundwork for a whole new series of economic paradigms: man-made disaster as the better man's made-in-heaven opportunity.

To do what, you ask? Why, yet further to improve to himself; to extend the frontiers of human (or is it post-human?) triumph over nature; to distinguish the superior man's hardwon greatness from the mediocrity of that always-too-abundant herd which deserves only failure. And as for the general state of the world, surely there's no better raw material for the properly innovative man or woman than a clean slate? Indeed, might it not be reasonably asked (I can almost hear the ghost of H G Wells with his ebullient "Fresh starts! fresh starts!"):

Can the slate ever be clean enough?

So why not just take the whole rotten system and plunge head-over-precipice? Who knows what undreamed-of supercreatures - uh, make that creators - may yet emerge from the rubble?

(NOTE: For those readers as yet unsure of my drift - yes, this was indeed a swipe at not just Mr Hopeful Audacity, but Bush the Younger. And Greenspan. And Clinton. And Gingrich. And . . . )