When a man is a master wizard, look behind the curtain
Magic has always fascinated me. When I was a young ‘snapper, watching films about magic, reading books of wizards and warriors or a simple imagining of myself as a hero wizard, saving the world. It was obvious fantasy, but, as author Arthur C. Clarke stated, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The Great and Powerful Oz is a perfect example of this adage in an older piece of fiction. Still, it serves as a great story of how to a society of sufficiently low technology, you might have to hide your “power” as the more primitive mind wouldn't be able to comprehend science.
But, you have the curtain as a metaphor for the separation of known and unknown. In my generation, we were yearly indoctrinated by watching The Wizard of Oz. The Great and Powerful Oz, didn't want to help them. So, he hid behind a curtain, pulling levers and flipping switches to install awe and wonder into poor Dorothy. Outside of that particular light, the Wizard was in actuality attempting to instill fear into a teenage girl out of her depth and alone. Fear of the unknown, can be manipulated with ease into fear of anything: skin colour, gender, religiosity, politicality or any other semi-made up word that describes a willful division of a people.
Thusly, the dark side of magic is not what is revealed, but what is not revealed
In today’s world, the wizard isn't some unlucky fellow sucked into an alternate world of witches and yellow brick roads or the soaring beauty of the Emerald City. No Dorothy, it isn't Kansas anymore, our wizard hails from the high-rise skyline of New York. And this particular wizard doesn't seem to be benevolent and helpful once his lies rise to a level of “fake truth.” It is arguably better to not think of him as “revolutionary,” but in the ever more vivid caricature of dictators and autocrats of old. Oh, and he has an itchy trigger finger on the Twitter-sphere that he uses to almost, but not quite, incite riot.
As time passes, we get to see more of the ugliness behind the curtain. And oh my, is it ugly. The underlying forces that have given birth to this particular mad wizard are not only some of the darkest corners of our society, but also from some of the most righteous. This is where the real hyper-levels of hypocrisy play out. When hate groups and the self-appointed caretakers of righteousness come together, the world is not a safer place.
Wizard or warlock? Or, dark lord?
In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien presents readers of his epic fantasy world three “classes” of wizard: Saruman the White, Gandalf the Grey and the spectre of the ultimate evil wizard, Sauron. In essence, Tolkien presents us with a morality tale, that even the greatest of all pureness can be seduced by the darkness, that a man who rides the middle greyness can too find the light after falling into the deepest bowels of the earth. And, ultimately, that evil can be defeated when all peoples come together, united in opposition, to end it’s reign forever.
Though, we all know that “forever” is a fantasy, and there is only ever a respite of unknown duration.
Tolkien’s story is also one of vigilance. It tells us that we must never allow ourselves to become complacent or believe that the peace and freedoms we have can be taken for granted. Yet, we as a society, believed that this kind of darkness could never dim the light of liberty. Our complacence has come home to roost, and the head rooster is proving to be a real throwback kind of cock.
Now, we have our wizard, who has shown himself to be a dark lord yet professes to be of the light. And too many people in our great country have found themselves riding the coat tails to a hoped for pure society of whiteness and God.
Their saviour, our demon
On the one side, we have supporters of the DOTUS (pick your D, there are plenty that fit, all of them quite ironically so) who have found a champion, a saviour, that can lead them out of the hinterlands of the fringe into the light, to “save” our country. On the other, defenders of the real faith, of the real rules of law are gathering forces to oppose, leaderless, without any focus beyond fear and with anger beyond measure. The precipice that we find ourselves standing at is crumbling at a rapid pace.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, a world of codified oppression developed in order to “save” it. Orwellian predictions of a society that lost itself to nationalism and perpetual war seem to be the general warning sign of our road ahead. When I first read Orwell’s masterpiece, I never dreamed that it could ever happen in the real world in my lifetime. I was twelve at the time and I had a naive trust in our checks and balances, as little as I know I knew about how the world worked outside of the fiction I was reading.
My naiveté has given way to cynical surety that the grand American experiment is ending. That oppression is not only fearfully close, but possibly unavoidable. George Orwell’s fictional vision of dystopia could, in fact, actually happen!
At least we hope not, if everyone would actually wake up
What we now see is disparate groups of people, wild with different agendas, coming together under the banner of nationalist concepts to throw us back to the 1950’s. Welcome to the new McCarthyism.
All the pieces of the puzzle are here in one form or other: nationalism, perpetual war, constant surveillance, cult of personality, righteous evangelism and, most important of all, hatred of anything that doesn't conform to this world view. It has been bubbling and fermenting for many years, and the current Ministry of Information (aka the Internet) has allowed for the dissemination of ideas from the dark corners of society, infiltrating our information flow with unreality. Truth is becoming malleable and subject to whim, rather than fact. What is true any more? Let’s ask the Ministry of Truth, it will be accurate, right?
Truth still exists, it is getting harder to find, but it is still available to those who open their minds to it. The truth is not behind the curtain, though there is a truth there. Behind the curtain is another illusion one of levers and switches that can and do incite fear. This is what our dark lord does in the late hours of the night and early hours of morning, while he lays surrounded by gold like old King Midas.
He screams the loudest in an effort to drown out all other views. He has a firm belief that all that he touches is gold and that the world portrays him untruthfully and unfairly. He fears his own impotence. He fears those that do not love him. And when he fears, he lashes out in righteous fury at all who do not bow to him.
Behind the curtain, we find fear
When we pull the curtain aside (thank you Toto), we see a man-child who fears losing adulation, amongst other self-reflective neuroses. And when this angry child suffers from fear, the only avenue chosen in this case is one of tantrum, a man-child lashing out at anyone within reach. And in the Internet age, that reach is quite far.
And in the Internet age, there are people listening and agreeing. They are the real bogeymen here. And their “benevolent” leader is whipping them up into a frenzied scramble to sharpen focus into a perceived purity of vision. One of a white, fundamentalist nature.
If you cannot recognise what you are seeing, look at our “enemies” in the world, and you will see a mirror. The names are different, as are the colours of skin, but the social impact is the same. Dominance, oppression, control.