Is it even possible for an entire nation to go mad? I believe mine has.
Both Canada and the United Kingdom have closed their borders to members of the Westboro Baptist Church and I think they’d be well advised to extend that courtesy to the remaining population of the United States. Quarantine seems in order.
This week the Kentucky legislature (over the governor’s veto) decided to exempt its citizens from obeying any law found to be in conflict with deeply-held religious beliefs. And my own state of North Dakota passed (with the governor’s signature) the most expansive trinity of anti-abortion laws yet seen in this country. The irony of all this? These come directly from the efforts of people terrified that Sharia Law will gain a foothold in America. That these are Sharia Law will be lost on them. Then add the recent assassinations of Texas District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia, very likely by White supremacists the AG’s office was investigating.
Far be it from me to plant a seed in this overly fertile wacko-sphere, but will it now be possible for the parents of a minor girl child who becomes pregnant without benefit of marriage–or who marries without benefit of parental consent–to stone that child in the spirit of the Old Testament simply because they hold to these deeply held, albeit Stone Age, beliefs? Will virtually anyone who encounters a person bold enough to admit his or her homosexuality be similarly able to exact Biblical justice and escape civil consequences. And then there are dietary restrictions! Will there be a gauntlet of shame for all those exiting Red Lobster? Questions have been raised about pharmacists withholding “morning after” pills from victims of rape; this is not small potatoes, but I’m of the opinion that this will reach even greater depths of irrationality before Kentucky’s and North Dakota’s nonsense is seen for the Sharia Law that it is and be overturned.
Somewhere in the pile of books beside my bed is Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudon, said to be his best non-fiction work. I can’t say, being only forty pages or so into it. I bought it to better understand a 1969 opera of the same name by Krzysztof Penderecki. The opera was drawn from a stage play of 1969; and Ken Russell made a controversial film in 1971. Each of these tells some aspect of real events in the early years of the 17th century when a sort of religious hysteria overtook the French village of Loudon. I think of all these tonight and wonder what “Huxley” will tell the story of our own times.
This ominous watercolor comes form an exhibit that raised money for Mind, a creative therapies fund that serves England and Wales. Perhaps we can get a chapter here. Until then I shall continue to wallow in the Agincourt Project for its own therapeutic properties and welcome you all to join me there.
Art and Therapy
One component of the next Agincourt exhibit that I had hoped to achieve was a puppet theater. Agincourt’s own resident mental health therapist Dr Reinhold Kölb served the community from the mid-1920s until his death, innovating both art and drama therapy. And its resident theater director Seamus Tierney performed much the same service during an overlapping period. It occurs to me that there may be other characters who’ve healed minds in their own ways at those and other times.