Thursday, May 21, 2015

America's Dash from 'The Field' to Victimhood

"The Bull" McCabe: The field is mine.
The American: Well we'll see about that won't we? John B. Keane The Field
"You didn't build that!"  President Barack Obama on the stump 2012

John B. Keane was a brilliant Irish writer, storyteller and pub owner from County Kerry.  In 1965, he wrote a play called  The Field that told the story of a rough farmer by the name of The Bull McCabe.

The Bull McCabe worked land adjacent to his own - a field allowed to grow fallow and useless through neglect.  He made the field grow green and fecund by his labors.  In fact, he neglected his own family to make this once useless field of rocks and weeds flourish and become an asset.

The problem being the field is owned by a widow. It's the law.

When the widow decided not to sell the property to The Bull,  he engaged in rural terrorism to force the poor woman to give up and go away.

If The Bull had a lawyer as every serious victim seems to have, he could have made a case in court for himself under the real estate laws of Adverse Possession A method of gaining legal title to real property by the actual, open, hostile, and continuous possession of it to the exclusion of its true owner for the period prescribed by state law. Personal Property may also be acquired by adverse possession.

The Bull, like most people, was too busy doing his work to give such thoughts only people with too much time on their hands and a few sparks of cunning between their ears their due.

Like most of us, an injustice real or perceived can race the heart to bitterness.  The Bull was bitter, due to the widow's grasp on the land and the widow, bitter about the pranks and taunts visited  upon her by  The Bull McCabe, his slow-witted son and a sneaky leach called The Bird.

The widow determined to sell the property to a Rich American - The Yank - sight unseen.  The play ends in tragedy.

John Keane's wonderful play concerned human labor and property rights at its most basic. Keane's characters played to the fates without a politician to come to aide of either side.

That was in 1965.  LBJ was President. There was a War on Poverty and War in Vietnam.  Victim hood became the greatest revolutionary tool since anarchists international discovered that fused pyrotechnic could shake Bourgeoisie into submission.  Bomb tossing had little effect. Victim hood won the day for the Masses.

America's greatest essayist, wrote a history of Political American Victim hood in the Weekly Standard.  Epstein writes,

Victims of an earlier time viewed themselves as supplicants, throwing themselves on the conscience if not mercy of those in power to raise them from their downtrodden condition. The contemporary victim tends to be angry, suspicious, above all progress-denying. He or she is ever on the lookout for that touch of racism, sexism, homophobia, or insensitivity that might show up in a stray opinion, an odd locution, an uninformed misnomer. People who count themselves victims require enemies. Forces high and low block their progress: The economy disfavors them; society is organized against them; the malevolent, who are always in ample supply, conspire to keep them down; the system precludes them. Asked some years ago by an interviewer in Time magazine about violence in schools that are all-black—that is, violence by blacks against blacks—the novelist Toni Morrison, a connoisseur of victimhood whose novels deal with little else, replied, “None of those things can take place, you know, without the complicity of the people who run the schools and the city.”
Public pronouncements from victims can take on a slightly menacing quality, in which, somehow, the roles of victim and supposed antagonist are reversed. Today it is the victim who is doing the bullying—threatening boycott, riot, career-destroying social media condemnation—and frequently making good on their threats. Victims often seem actively to enjoy their victimhood—enjoy above all the moral advantage it gives them. Fueled by their own high sense of virtue, of feeling themselves absolutely in the right, what they take to be this moral advantage allows them to overstate their case, to absolve themselves from all responsibility for their condition, to ask the impossible and demand it now, and then to demonstrate virulently, sometimes violently, when it isn’t forthcoming. (emphasis my own)
We are victims waiting for shoes, bricks, bats, bullets and bombs to drop - unless we have a lawyer in our wallets'

Americans have run from The Field.   John B. Keane's character The Bull McCabe would have none of that -things will go very tragically, I am afraid; unless, we snap out of it.

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