November 10, 2016
Miranda: O wonder!!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in’t! The Tempest, William Shakespeare
I was getting started on this new webpage, and wanted to create a community blog of sorts. Then came the bombshell of this election, to which I can never be reconciled. So I have decided to write a series of blogs (not in any regular duration) with which I hope I can keep a record of”accontability” of this world before us for at least 4 years. And I also hope that this will generate a conversation among anyone who wishes to participate — a conversation that is not political in blame gaming, but affective, imaginative, analytical as we make sense of and try to imagine a community beyond the demagogic language unleashed by the Trump forces. For each entry, I also hope to mine literary/aesthetic imagery to map the fault lines of our time.
The phrase that uncannily and unexpectedly kept running through my head yesterday was “Brave New World.” For many men and women who voted for Donald Trump, the sea of people that changed the map of this country red, it probably seems like a very “brave” world; they showed the world that the raw energy of Trump and rich promises of a mankind consisting of “real Americans” was “beauteous” indeed! In the play itself, however, Miranda’s words carry a poignant irony. She is portrayed as the innocent, even pure exemplar of womanhood, facing the ships coming on shore and meeting a group of new people coming to the island where she is exiled with her father, Prospero. Yet the people emerging from these ships are all flawed. Among them are those who dethroned and exiled him, including his own brother and more recently, tried to murder a rival. The wonder and innocence of her gaze adds an enigmatic appeal to her sense of a world that she considers “brave” in her wonder, but is actually morally compromised. Post election all of us who did not vote for Trump are called upon to be brave — like Clinton herself — not only worrying about the practicalities of the economy or taxes, or even governance. But most importantly, brave in the face of the divisive demagogic language – language of hate, or crude misogyny, of Islamophobia, of race baiting, ad infinitum.
Thus begins this journey of our times.. not in Miranda’s naivete, but in reaching out to what if anything is left “beauteous” in this world.