RHAE – Farewell Statement
*Rhae was eliminated at the end of Round 7
“He is not dead who departs from life with a high and noble fame,” the 19th century German author Johann Ludwig Tieck once wrote. Leaving aside the suspect romanticism and inherent vagueness of words like “high” and “noble,” Tieck offers timely advice for an era in which we are given every opportunity to resign and outrage our better sensibilities in favor of that euphemism for self-imposed lobotomy known as positive thinking.
I’ll interpret “high and noble fame” as living by one’s conscience, one obeyed from within, not imposed from without. It may explain why I resisted advice by readers to flesh out the characters. Perhaps I would still be in the running had I done so. However, I would have also betrayed the primary inner voice that each of us has but doesn’t always listen to. Even when others clamor for our attention, there is one voice that speaks more firmly, one that compels our attention when we look into the proverbial mirror, one to which we lose everything if we ignore it.
There is always a danger of pigheadedness. But a dose of intransigence is a necessary tonic to our times, which demand a stubborn independence of thought. After eight years of Bush’s degradation of intellect and “thinking from the gut,” the mere act of oration has lulled much of the progressive community into passivity and soporific hero worship. In certain respects the dangers now are greater than they were during the Bush era because they go unrecognized.
I have appreciated all the critiques, discussions and disagreements. Although the fiction provided a useful skeleton for interaction, it is these comment strains I most enjoyed. Hopefully we’ll pick up some discursive threads again in December. I look forward to finding out if Tuck’s jingoism, sexism, racism and misanthropy were satirical or in earnest. At last we will learn if he really is a cyclopean, bigoted nationalist or just a puerile, offensive, second-rate comedian.
I’ll leave it at that. There are times when it’s constructive to leave on a combative note. Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but dissidence makes the mind grow stronger.