Nostradamus Poe

This blog is many things, most of them literary. Occasionally it touches on important subjects like depression, traction engine’s (though this is a new development and will probably be a passing phase), life in general, racism, sexism, other ism’s, and once in a while, partly because I have a degree in politics, philosophy and economics, it even does politics.

What it doesn’t do as a rule is Politics with a capital P. Which is to say while I might comment on something in broad strokes I try to keep general politics off to one side. This is a conscious choice, because I grew up in a time when the mere fact someone’s views directly opposed your on a subject merely meant you had a difference of opinion. You could discus that difference of opinion in a civilised way. You did not need to burn them at the stake… Everybody had a right to be wrong, and people often were. But you could talk to the other side, and you did not need to chose sides to start with.

The choosing of sides has always been my problem with politics. For example, I agree with a lot of the principals of the labour party, but not all of them. I agree with some of the principals of traditional conservatism, though notably fewer. I agree with rather a lot of Green political thinking, but I fine the naivety of some green party manifesto policies frankly irritating. I am in fact that worst possible (from the prospective of political parties) of all political thinkers, an informed independent… As such I am willing to hold a discourse on most subjects and even occasionally adjust my views on a subject if the ‘other side’ put forward points that validate their views over my own.* Which in this day an age seems to make me something of a unicorn politically… But I also respect other peoples right to hold a different opinion to my own, and have friends on multiple sides of the political divide, I don’t even hold anyone’s views on Brexit against them, provided they don’t try to ram them down my throat, sure I think it was a mistake and we were better off in Europe than out of it, but not everyone who voted leave did so for bad reasons, and just because we disagree on that or any subject** doesn’t mean I won’t stand you a pint and talk of other things.

*bigots, racists, sexists and homophobes not withstanding. They can all just go fuck themselves.

**except the above and people who think the second Highlander movie was alright, they can also go fornicate with themselves.

So in essence I try to keep big P politics off my non-political blog, and talk of other things. As such in light of recent events, lets do that and talk about a story by Edgar Alan Poe, The Masque of the Red Death, A story that has the distinction of been one of the three anyone can generally remember…

It isn’t actually my favourite Poe story. That’s ‘The Tell Tale Heart’… Which is about as perfect a short story as it possible to write in my opinion. You could disagree, I’d stand you a pint and discuses it’s virtues against say ‘The Murders on the Rue Morgue’ any time. You’d be wrong to think Rue Morgue is better than tell tale heart, but I’ll happily let you explain why you think your right…

But to get back to The Masque of the Red, its a story that seems remarkably prescient today, in an almost Nostradamus fashion. It is the story of prince Prospero, a rich and powerful aristocrat, in a kingdom consumed by a terrible plague. The red death. This plague ravages all the lands, the dead lay unburied in the streets, the suffering in the kingdom is terrible.

Prospero and his court however, are indifferent to the suffering of the common folk. ‘Let the plague burn through them, there will always be more poor after all’. So they lock themselves away in a walled abbey. But as they are soon bored, the prince orders entertainment for his guests, the nobles and wealthy of the land, the powerful and influential… A great masque ball is planned. ‘let us be entertained…’

So the great masque ball begins. The wealthy, the noble, the powerful. Those who hold themselves above the common herd, party… while beyond the walls of their abbey, the pour suffer grieve and die…

Now, as I say, I don’t generally do politics here. So I am not going to point out the masque of the Red Death has a certain satirical echo of this week in British politics. I shall instead let you draw your own conclusions as to why this Edgar Alan Poe story was brought to my mind today.

In the end of course, The Masque of the Red death ends badly for Prince Prospero. He and his noble elite guests come to a messy end when a red robed figure with a mask of a decaying corpse walks though the abbey. This figure it turns out is the personification of the red death and all the party goers fall victim to the plague…

Shame that…

As I don’t do big P politics here I am not going to any statements about parties that may, or may not, but lets face it almost certainly were, held in 10 downing street last Christmas. But I will say that certain politicians who make such a point of proclaiming their credentials as literary scholars should perhaps have spent a little more time reading Poe…

Then perhaps they would have considered what became of Prince Prospero and his cronies, when they partied while those they considered ‘beneath them’ suffered…

This entry was posted in amreading, amwriting, big questions, horror, humour, indie, opinion, politics, reads, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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