By William Markiewicz

Karma of Lesser Gods

Is karma in the hands of some capricious god(s) or is it a matter of public relations? One art dealer told me that in success talent only counts 50 per cent. The rest is P.R. and karma.

"He walked constantly on the streets
Talking eerily to himself
And he prayed in every chapel
Such for him was this life"

This is a translation from Polish, I can't reproduce the rhyme or rythm. The author was a burly physical labourer with sky in his limpid blue eyes. He would never be accepted as a poet by the less talented, more sophisticated cognoscenti.

I heard a great Brahms concert, executed with harmonica, over the telephone. By the way, the musician was an unskilled labourer, a friend of the poet.

I saw a collection of excellent drawings of ladies' shoes, a project of one illiterate immigrant construction worker.

etc, etc...

Why karma of lesser gods? Because their works will last no longer than the creators' lifetime, as their 'hobby.'

Lesson of Walkerton

In Vagabond, June 99, under the headline "Harris, or Big Efficiency versus Small Joys" I commented on the tendency of Ontario's Premier Harris to sacrifice small conveniences in daily life for economic advantage; he gathered everything he could into megastructures. My title wasn't totally accurate, because I focused on only one form of efficiency - economy, and on one form of disadvantage - the psychological one ("The cathedral doesn't replace a small church, hatcheries don't replace kindergartens"). I didn't point out that more is at stake than psychological comfort; in megastructures the head is too far away from the tail to function optimally. The Walkerton tragedy shows that the managerial obsession of saving money may lead to deaths in a community. Small localities, too distant from one another to become megastructures are allowed very democratically to keep their autonomy, but, in exchange, they are "punished" by cutting their funds. The government doesn't lack money, saving is a matter of policy. And how can those communities manage the essentials like controlling the quality of their water resouces? A big political crisis now strikes the megamanagers and economists. Too late they start to look beyond their megaspheres toward the remote microspheres on the periphery.

Authenticity vs Personal Rights

In the past, actors were supposed to suit the characters they played, even without makeup. The Ancient Greeks had to look like Ancient Greeks, Normans like Normans, Moors like Moors, etc. Today only Japanese have to play Japanese, the Chinese -- Chinese, the African tribesmen have to be African. The others, in the name of political correctness, can play anybody without considering authenticity from an anthropological standpoint. So I find it highly unjustified and discriminatory that a black girl with dyed blond hair employed at Colonial Williamsburg risks being fired. Why should Colonial Williamsburg require authenticity more than elsewhere?

Back to the index of the Vagabond
© Copyright 2000 E-mail to: William Markiewicz