The New York Times has this interesting article about blogging and, specifically, a rift that is apparently developing between “war bloggers” and “regular bloggers”. (I suppose that’s what you’d call them.)
This seems a good time to discuss my stance just a bit, perhaps violating my own “no politics” policy. In the menu to the left, there is a quote from one of the characters in Guy Gavriel Kay’s magnificent novel The Lions of Al-Rassan. Stripped of its context, the quote probably seems anti-war, almost pacifist in nature. The novel, though, is a fantasy inspired by the fall of Moorish Iberia and the rise of Catholic Espana; war is one of the book’s central themes. The words of this particular quote are spoken by a man who is one of the great poets of his day, in Kay’s world; this same man, though, is one of the most dangerous men in the world. He is extremely skilled with a number of weapons, and he kills a number of men in the course of the novel. War, for this man, is a necessary evil, a part of the world that must be accepted — but must not be allowed to become everything.
That, I suppose, is the reason for what I am doing with this blog. The current war is extremely important and will be for a long time to come; but it is not everything. There is still a world full of books and music and art, and I offer my oft-inadequate musings here as a reminder of that. I am not a pacifist; I generally support the war, although I am troubled by a number of aspects of it. It worries me, for example, when we are told by the Vice President that “The war will not be over in our lifetime”; I worry that this is simply a means for rescusitating a formerly-shaky defense industry. I am disturbed by the idea of military tribunals. I wonder just what our plan is for all those detainees at Guantanamo Bay. I question whether or not we should go after Saddam Hussein (my opinion on this changes daily). All this is irrelevant, though, to my writing here.
When we are asked why we fight, so often we answer, “Freedom”. Art — be it great art, shallow art, or junk-food art — is born of Freedom. What do we fight for? Freedom. But what do we want to produce as a result of our freedom? I recently read a comment by some historian — whose name I cannot recall — that went something like, “Every epoch is known for two things: its art and its wars.” I’m glad we have warbloggers to write about the wars. I prefer to write about our art.