ZIGGURAT

“The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. to this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history.” ―Bertrand Russell

THERE ARE TWO VESSELS IN THE IMAGE. One is a megayacht with its oligarch; I prefer this term to “billionaire” as it has more deservedly negative connotations. Imagine him as an ancient king, a Naram-Sin self-deifying kind of guy, but with more modern predatory capitalist overtones a la Leopold II. He’s very important in his own space and time, but just another despot in the bigger picture. He’s not a god, he’s just your average dime-a-dozen CEO.

The name of the megayacht is “Ziggurat” because it is like those ancient temples: a concrete testament that the oligarch has the power to command the creation/purchase of such a useless thing. Megayachts are in no way a capital investment in the corporation that gave the oligarch his wealth. It even has a “stairway to heaven” like those old monuments did.

This “Ziggurat” has its priestesses. They are shown here in a tableau vivant resembling the rows of supplicants like the ones in temple friezes built millennia ago. Their job was then and is now to please the god/oligarch with rituals, and divine his will. But they also performed purifications, exorcisms, and other HR duties. 

Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer. Contemplation is the gravest sin of which any citizen can be guilty…” —Oscar Wilde 

The other vessel is a little sailboat named Minow, not Minnow, see the links section for an explanation. Its “captain” is like Maynard G. Krebs, the pal of “Dobie Gillis” on that 1959-63 TV show. He is being bemused by some of the priestesses, while others take his sail and rudder, symbols of the original sailor’s means of being, and offer them to the oligarch in “The Sacred Theft,” a ritual in our religion of capitalism of the upward concentration of wealth. 

Maynard is a “beatnik” which is a benign mainstream caricature of sometimes self-destructive, always anti-establishment Beat Generation poets. The sad irony here is that Maynard was never a real person, he was a media stereotype and TV trope created by the all too real oligarchs for their benefit.

Why place a Maynard here? He is a near-perfect antithesis of, or in a better world, an antidote to the oligarch CEO, and as such, he functions as the protagonist in a social media morality play, a temporary simulacrum where good triumphs over power. However, as in the real world shown above, Maynards are no match for the oligarchs. As long as Maynards are ridiculed—thereby made harmless—and oligarchs, either the domestic or the foreign sort, are loved as gods or feared as monsters that ain’t gonna change. 

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USUALLY, THESE POSTS are either illustrated essays or captioned cartoons. This is neither. It’s just a drawing that I wanted to do. It’s not one that restates visually the points I wish to make in an essay—more a rant, really—that I’ve already roughed out, nor is it so straightforward that a caption is easily created, even, if to be complete, approaches essay length.

“Just a drawing that I wanted to do?” What does that mean? What is a drawing that is just a thought? It isn’t a drawing at that point, really. It is a pattern of electrical differences in my brain —so the high priests of science currently wish us to believe—that bears no physical resemblance to either the two-dimensional re-presentation or the three-dimensional thing re-presented. Yet, somehow they are connected. 

I can “read” my patterns and you yours. I can’t read yours, nor you mine. But as we are, in a way, multilingual, we all can “talk” with one another using shared public languages. Some of these use words and others pictures as signifiers. So they don’t translate from one to the other well. Often images are unexplainable and prose/poetry can’t be pictured. So it’s best to do some of each if you want to communicate.

The only truth I can understand or express is, logically defined, a lie. Psychologically defined, a symbol. Aesthetically defined, a metaphor. —Ursula K. Le Guin 

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Naram-Sin – World History Encyclopedia
Leopold II: Belgium ‘wakes up’ to its bloody colonial past – BBC News
Mesopotamian Priests and Priestesses – History
Ziggurats: A dwelling places for the ancient gods – SURFIRAN
frieze | architecture | Britannica
Political Propaganda Art In Ancient Mesopotamia
Tableau Vivant: Definition, Examples and a Simple Explanation
Maynard G. Krebs
Drew Friedman :: Maynard G. Krebs
‘Gilligan’s Island’: How the Ship on Series Got its Name Minnow
Beatniks and Hippies – The Golden Age of Rock
Morality Play Definition and Examples – Poem Analysis