Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cult of Personality

I've been reading Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, which notes the rather interesting fact that fascism in the U.S. has always been a phenomenon on the left and is, in fact, still closer to socialism than to U.S. conservatism.

Just tonight, I was thinking about one of my favorite bands form the late 80s, Living Color and one of their hits, Cult of Personality. Seems that the band was prescient in its recognition of this fact. To whom does the song specifically refer? Kennedy, Mussolini, Ghandi, FDR, Stalin. Hmmmm. Mostly the same people mentioned in Goldberg's book (with the exception of Ghandi, I thik, but I'm only halfway through).

I noticed that the ending of the video shows two little boys crossing themselves—a traditional blessing for Catholics and Orthodox Christians. While most of the other images seemed militaristic and showed average everyday citizens acting in mob-like fashion, this one image appeared at the very end. I grappled with why this image was saved for last, but then it made perfect sense.

When we as Catholics encounter something from which we want protection or when we say a spontaneous prayer or encounter a sacred space or object, we cross ourselves. The final image is of two innocents putting their faith in God's hands. Fascism is the opposite: rejecting God and putting faith in the corporatized government.
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