Symbolism in the making of the Compliant Citizen

h-1 - CopyI’m a very visual person. I write better when I can see pictures or images of what I’ll be writing about. Symbolism it focusses my mind incredibly. It’s a little bit different and unconventional, if you know what i mean, but it works for me.

When writing The Company of the Oxbridgenites, and The Compliant Citizen , the challenge I had was to collate images that perfectly summed up everything that was wrong with modern government, universally, while still maintaining an emphasis on elitism, privilege, injustice and such concepts. Which was quite the impossible task, because even though issues like corruption are everywhere, even in the US as we’ve seen with the recent conviction of Ray Nagin, former New Orleans Mayor, they are not always manifested in the same way. So then, how do you encapsulate them into one poem?

For risk of being branded a leftie, I had to navigate a delicate path where I tried fruitlessly to portray my disapproval for certain kinds of behaviour (corporate greed, unrestrained excess neatly encapsulated in films such as the Wolf of Wallstreet, political dishonesty, mass control via religion) not to be mistaken for extremist hostility against capitalism or its proponents, but instead as a form of strong and resolute activism against what is clearly a messed up system.

So the bar code has George Orwell‘s 1984 written all over it – a world of stereotypes where humans are ‘scanned’, while the images of Lenin and Karl Marx are more an emphasis on social and communal service, than an endorsement of Communism. The black figure of Che‘s head is an obvious one, as is the Anonymous mask: revolution, but in this case, not a bloody I’ll kill you and take all your belongings type revolution, no, instead this type that focuses on dealing with another as with self, whether one is religious or not:revWhether this is a fanciful utopian dream too idealistic to be practical in the real world remains to be seen. But I don’t completely believe the narrative that humans are inherently greedy beings on a selfish quest for fulfilment or self-gratification above all else. It’s true that some people have learned to be like that, but its been a carefully crafted lie that has been claiming that the “selfish gene” exists, if not literally then metaphorically. Further, I for one cannot advocate violence to change the status quo – which we all know is grossly unfair, impractical and doesn’t work for the majority – without a bloody good reason, i.e. something akin in atrocity to the gassing of innocents in Syria by Assad/ his opponents.

Finally, the brown priestly figure with a raised arm and the saluting German figurines are symbols of blind loyalty, something which the Bourne Movies star Matt Damon referred to here.

In my world, after one sees all that, their mind becomes focussed and they are motivated to write and edit a piece of work freely, with little or no problem.

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