Futility in a Living Elegy, by Ray Zwarich

This is a bit of a detour from the direction I intended to go, in trying to lead us into a discussion of how to actually SOLVE our deadly dangerous predicament, rather than just continue being satisfied with describing it eloquently, and complaining about it endlessly. My next installment of my ‘What’s Going On’ series, (inspired by the great Marvin Gaye’s plaintive song), which is intended to try to expand our consciousness into a wider awareness of what’s actually happening all around us, is already started, under the title ‘Glenn Greenwald’s Second Folly’, or possibly ‘Fool Me Twice’, (or some variation thereof).

Even after the burning, painful lesson that the oligarch Omidyar taught him, Mr. Greenwald now revels happily in his Substack sandbox, provided to him by different oligarchs, which he is again so foolish as to think have his interests, rather than their own interests, foremost in mind. When the time comes, when Substack suddenly becomes as censored as all other public communications platforms created by the Oligarchy, including ‘The Intercept’, eventually have, will Mr. Greenwald quit in yet another public ‘huff’, and then go off searching among the Oligarchy for a new patron? Will he finally ‘learn his lesson’ then, or will he once again leverage his own fame, (and therefore profitable market value), to search for another oligarch to be his ‘sugar daddy’ benefactor?

We all know the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on ME”. It seems that as long as Glenn Greenwald is raking in both lots of money and generous public accolades, as long as his own ego is well-served, he’s happy as can be, despite the immediate dangers that threaten we lesser folk, who are living in degrees of anxiety that often lapse into utter terror, as we wonder how we can keep paying our rent, or mortgage, so we can keep the rain off our beloved children’s heads, and keep their bellies full.

That’s the direction I intended (and still intend) to go next, to try to make Mr. Greenwald, and other writers I admire as much as I do him, (like Taibbi, et al), ‘see’ that Substack is a cunning trap laid for people like him. But this morning I awoke to read a moving essay by Patrick Lawrence, intended as a tribute to, as a ‘living elegy’ for, one of the truly ‘Great Citizens’ our American nation has yet produced, Daniel Ellsberg, who has publicly announced that he is terminally ill with only a short time to live. Mr. Ellsberg will certainly rest among rarified company, with the likes of our nation’s most courageous Common Citizens, in the pantheon honoring those who have risen from among the ranks of the Common People to serve their nation with the highest possible degree of courage.

But after so recently singing Mr. Lawrence’s praises, I now come to scold him, not to praise him, and I hope people will understand WHY I am scolding the very writers I most admire.

We desperately NEED these people, together with others like them we could name, we desperately need these, our very BEST writers, to ‘get over themselves’, to quit being self-satisfied with their endless descriptions and oh-so-eloquent analyses of ‘The Problem’, and instead to turn their energy and attention to imagining, describing, and leading the way in building ‘The Solution’ to ‘The Problem’.

Copied immediately below are the comments I attached to Mr. Lawrence’s ‘living elegy’ for Daniel Ellsberg.

Simius C.


Futility in a Living Elegy

It is always sad, of course, when someone we regard with respect and admiration passes. Mr. Ellsberg has lived a long life, however, blessed with more years than most of us are blessed to be alive. After reading his own public statement, it sounds like he knows that full well, and although he still seems to treasure the gift of being alive, he told us that he will embrace his passing with dignity and in peace. May he have a ‘good death’. May he die with courage, and rest in peace.

I remember quite well how genuinely shocked the nation was when the Pentagon Papers were released. People in those times were much more naive. Up to that point, the Common People still trusted our government. When the Pentagon Papers proved, beyond any possible doubt, that our government routinely lies to us, to serve the interests of unseen nefarious forces, a genuine wave of utter shock shook the nation to our souls’ very depths.

It was very much like an earthquake. (I’ve been in one, the San Fernando Quake of ’71, which shook me out of bed onto the floor). When the Earth itself shudders, when what you thought was the most solid and dependable factor of ‘reality’, the ‘firmament’ itself, shows us that it is in the grip and control of even much larger forces, it shakes one’s orientation to ‘reality’ itself.

But it’s now been over half a century since we were thus shaken. And we’ve now had many more lessons that have reinforced what the Pentagon Papers taught us. Now we know, beyond ALL doubt. Now we know that our government not only routinely lies to us, but that it is in the grip of larger forces, more powerful than government itself, that use our government as a mere tool to serve their greed and lust, cruelly exploiting the lives of the nation’s people in doing so.

These evil people have no ‘honor’ whatsoever. We now know that they lie as easily as they breathe. We ALL know that. The Pentagon Papers were but the first death knell’s peal for ‘public honor’. The Pentagon Papers tore back the wizard’s curtain and revealed that ‘public honor’ was being murdered to serve the cruel, rapacious greed of the Elite Few.

Now Public Honor lies LONG dead.

Now we know that. But thus far, what good has knowing it done us? Have the nation’s Common People used this knowledge to rise up to challenge these evil Elite Forces, which now completely control our government, which now have complete centralized control over our Mass Media, which now thus have complete control over our society, over our culture, over every aspect of what comprises our ‘nation’, and are using their power to relegate all our lives into ever increasing degrees of anxiety and misery?

What good has Mr. Ellsberg’s courageous action done us? What good has the knowledge he delivered to us done us? Have we used it in any way to improve our lives? Have we used it as motivation to solve our deadly dangerous predicament? Over Mr. Ellsberg’s long life, has he not only been forced to witness the ongoing futility of his actions?

Haven’t things just gotten FAR worse in the 50+ years since the release of the Pentagon Papers taught us how bad they were?

Even our BEST writers, even writers like Mr. Lawrence, whom I admire as among our very best, even writers like Greenwald, and Taibbi, and Hedges, et al, give ALL their energy and attention to earning self-satisfaction and public accolades by eloquently describing ‘The Problem’. When are ANY writers going to turn from their pursuit of self-satisfaction, from useless ego-gratification, by earning public accolades for their skill in describing ‘The Problem’? When are these excellent writers, even our BEST writers, going to begin devoting their energy and attention to imagining and describing a SOLUTION to the problem?

It’s been over 50 years since Mr. Ellsberg’s courage fully exposed ‘The Problem’. When are people like Mr. Lawrence going to stop being satisfied with earning accolades from elaborating on what Mr. Ellsberg’s courageous deed already exposed? Isn’t it FULLY exposed by now? Do we REALLY need The Problem to be further described, ad infinitum, and ad nauseum,  so writers like Mr.Lawrence, (and the others mentioned above), can earn public accolades by doing so?

When are ANY writers going to forestall their need for ego-fulfillment, which they earn by writing about The Problem, to start writing about The Solution instead?

THAT is what would serve Mr. Ellsberg’s life with its crowning glory. As things stand now, he will die knowing the utter futility of all his life’s work. Mr. Lawrence’s showering him with accolades will not forestall that.

Writers like Patrick Lawrence, and all our other BEST writers, could best honor Mr. Ellsberg’s life’s work by setting their egos aside to begin the difficult and serious task of imagining, describing, and then working toward a SOLUTION to The Problem that Daniel Ellsberg’s courage first exposed.

Simius Cognitius