LIBERTAS ON THE BEACH
Here’s an updating – and politicizing – of the “Actaeon and Diana” myth. The composition is from a 1634 painting by Rembrandt. See it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Bathing_with_her_Nymphs_with_Actaeon_and_Callisto
I’ve taken quite a few liberties with the cast of characters, but the narrative remains pretty much the same.
First of the character shifts is subbing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, for Diana. Libertas is not a well-born Olympian goddess, she’s a parvenue, an invention of the Roman republic as an embodiment of and propaganda for their “ideals” and intentions.
Libertas, here, is no longer a full-time icon of freedom “Enlightening the World,” as she can’t make a living doing that these days, so she become freelance stripper, and well into her act, her goddess robe, welcoming beacon and “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” tablet have been discarded. But she’s retained her crown, as an homage to the 1% and shakes her chains, to remind the 99% that it could be worse.
The goddess no longer is devoutly followed by a troupe of skinny-dipping young hotties but is ogled by a gang of aged frat boys camouflaged in bespoke yet RTW hanging suits, aka politicians. I’ve not differentiated them as Ds or Rs because those labels are just for show; they are all nothing but amoral opportunists and they only feign loyally to other teams as necessary to be reelected.
And then there’s Actaeon, the hunter who is observed observing Diana bathing. She is not amused and she turns him into a stag and as such he is killed by his own hounds. Here, before the slaughter, the equally mythical character “Free Press” subs for Actaeon; he (or she) is observing – and taking notes on – the politicians crudely enjoying the demeaning show. “Left” and “Right” Free Press’ best friends, fellow citizens and regular customers sit nearby.
Will Free Press, like Actaeon, be caught observing an event only to be seen by Olympians and their acolytes? Will the “guardians of democratic values and ideals.” (U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson 5/3/17) be turned into “enemy of the people” (U.S. President Donald Trump, 2/17/17) and then torn apart by his formerly loyal collaborators?
Or will Free Press train Left and Right to “hunt, point and retrieve” their real enemies in time? For it is only a matter of time before the stripper/goddess clocks out and goes home, and the frat-boy politicians go to work making America great again. For their bosses anyway. Less so for the rest of us.
So be nice to journalists, as often their – and their anonymous sources’ – threats of exposure are all that stand between an amoral politician and his (or her) doing a favor for a donor that is anything but a favor for the rest of us, his (or her) supposed constituency.