Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Vigilante Man

Have you seen that vigilante man?
Have you seen that vigilante man?
Have you seen that vigilante man?
I been hearin' his name all over the land.

I don't know about you but I'm conflicted about the idea of the vigilante - rather like Woody. And that conflict derives from the idea of justice - or more precisely injustice. At what point and for whom do we sharpen the axe, take the shotgun off the rack, file the points of the pitchfork and light the torch? And with what justification?

We laugh about the mobb - thinking we've grown away from such behaviour. We are better than that as we tend to our business. We don't feel the need to run that man out of town on a rail. We're grown up. We have police. The vigilante is finished.

What we have done is to nationalise the vigilante - to bring the prejudice of the mobb into the purview of the governors. And those governors are creatures of the mobb - playing with bigotry, exploiting misunderstanding and dwelling on threats invented to herd us. To take us to that point where we cast out the innocent, make scapegoats of the contrary and coral the unusual.

Today's axe, shotgun and pitchfork are metaphorical - they are the words and deeds we use to question orthodoxy, to tell our masters they have no clothes and to pull down the edifice of lies those masters would have us believe. The weapons of today's watchful are virtual not real.

...but there. See it? At the back of the shed. In the darker recesses of the cellar. Under the stairs. There is the axe. And it can be sharpened.


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