brazil & build it beautiful


We watched Brazil last night as a group at the cabin. It was startling to me how pertinent Gilliam’s insights about terrorism and the tyranny of the state are to the present time. The movie was released in 1985, over 30 years ago, 30 years when technology of killing and monitoring populations has exponentially increased in its efficiency.

Mark let me read in his new Wendell Berry book, A Small Porch: Sabbath Poems 2014 and 2015 together with “The Presence of Nature in the Natural World: A Long Conversation.

The second poem in it is “The National Security Agency.” It ends like this:

I’m not going to tell you whether
or when I’m coming back. Don’t wait.
Don’t try to call. I have no phone.
There’s not much left I want to shoot,
but I would like to shoot a drone.

The way states break into the lives of people is well etched in Gilliam’s movie, Brazil. Near the beginning and again near the end, people dressed in riot gear break down doors and capture malfactors whose loved ones are asked to sign a receipt for in the first case. In the second case, the viewer can no longer witness the scene (as it is being told from the point of view of Sam Lowry who is under the horrible straight jacket hood), but we do hear gun shots that presumably were killing the woman of Lowry’s dreams.

I abhor the concept of drones, remote killing. I abhor the concept of killing in and of itself. But when the impersonality of the “state” (US or “Brazil, the movie”) is added it sends a chill into the heart.

On several of the podcasts I listen to, the web builder software, Squarespace, is a sponsor. I find it annoying that they have decided to use the word “beautiful” in their ads and campaign. I counted in one ad the use of the of the word, beauty, 3 times.

I must be a bit of a fuddy duddy luddite, because I can’t envision a “beautiful” website. Beauty is an important concept to me.

Wendell Berry puts it this way in Mark’s book:


Beauty is the crisis of our knowing,
the signature of love indwelling
in all created things, called from nothing
by love, recognized and answered
by love in the human heart, not reducible
by any analysis to any fact.

Sonnet 65: Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea – Poetry Foundation

Wendell Berry quotes this sonnet in one of his poems in Mark’s book. Very cool.

Citing Safety, Bookseller Pulls Out of Hong Kong Pro-Democracy March – The New York Times

the state successfully represses another voice.

A friend of mine on Fecesbook “shared” this video. I found the choreography amazing. Check out and compare to the original slick video.


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