Sunday, September 30, 2007


We get so often lost in debates of who did what to whom and for what. Politicians killed with morbid regularity, blown up with many innocent bystanders around them. The survivors are quietly holed up in the Phoenicia, waiting to meet again in another (useless) parliamentary meeting, while their bosses negotiate (fruitlessly) to get out of the impasse.

What Now, What Next?

In the midst of all this, “we the people” are split in three camps; the “what next?” camp, and the “here and now” crowd… A more extreme part of the latter camp prefers a “don’t give a flying f@(k” attitude. And I guess they have a point; whether your find it exciting or unnerving to be part of history in the making, there is no sense worrying about it...

History”, as DeGaulle once put it, “is made by the meeting of an event and a will”. Call it the French version of our "Mektoub"... On March 14th, a sequence of events, amplified by those who had the arrogance to think they hold sway on destiny, met head on with a diffuse and collective Lebanese will. Politicians misunderstood it back then, and they still do.

This was not the first time something comes in from left field, if not to change events, at least to formulate people’s wills and aspirations. History is full of such stories, and one of the most entertaining ones is the one about the genesis of the “Star Spangled Banner”, the US national anthem.

A song is born

Once upon a time there was a London "gentlemen's club" was founded, named after the Ancient Greek poet Anacreon, who sang the praises of Bacchus. The club, basically a drinking and debauchery venue, was founded in the mid to late 1700's, and held regular meetings at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand, in London.

This being England, the activities were “formalized”, while they focused on dinner and live entertainment; they played a "constitutional song" as they began festivities.

This being the British, they had a “formal song”, "Anacreon in Heaven", written by Ralph Tomlinson (club president?), and the music was written by Stafford Smith in between boozing parties. The song became famous among the English language cultural "underground" scene of the period, much like the "alternative" music and culture scene today.

During the war of 1812, one Mr. Francis Scott Key was imprisoned on a British ship, part of the fleet that was bombarding Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. Back then, the British had deployed some high-tech rockets for the time, which must have screamed like Katyushas. The fort resisted after the heavy bombardment, and rather than raising the white flag, they kept flying the star spangled banner.

The poet was so thrilled that when he wrote the words, he set them to the tune that may have most uplifted him back then. Not surprisingly, it was a song about booze and women...

In a way, I guess most of those who survived “close calls” would agree on the therapeutic values the two greater Greek gods; Bacchus and Venus.

That is unless, like Zeus, you’d rather fancy Ganymede…

The Song, and the Catch, and the Laugh…

Maybe Francis’s song took off because it plays well on the American "subversive" culture, as well as their common cockiness (some call it Arrogance). In an entertaining way, this goes to show the "non linearity" of History, and the lack of direct causality of its events...

It applies to us in a way. Our leaders have tied themselves in so many knots that whether “win” or “lose” depends little on our will, and much more on “luck”…

So why worry? Enjoy life while you still can. Let “Voice, Fiddle, and Flute”, (and derbakke) "no longer be mute”. While this may not evitabile fulmen of our greater sister’s ire, you’ll have a good time for a while; “You've the Sanction of Gods, and the FIAT of JOVE”, as long as you forever “entwine the Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine”.

If we’re going down fighting, might as well enjoy the ride.

And who knows, there may yet again be another event that could meet our collective will. And until then, we'd spare ourselves trying to understand the idiotic dialog of the puppets who claim to rule us

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