Saturn Devours His Own

The Greek myth Titan Cronus has parallels in Freud, Shakespeare and elsewhere with differences in outcomes and motivation. The myth is represented majestically and horrifically by the Spanish artist Goya, and is housed in the Prado Museum in Madrid. The painting stops the museum visitor in his or her tracks because it is so powerful and frightening. The painting can be compared in its realism to Goya’s other majestic paintings there for their depiction of the horrors of human behavior. Goya’s depiction of war interests me from a personal perspective as a war resister.

Leaving home to visit distant museums is no longer a requirement to see horror first hand in this the most exceptional of societies where many have come to worship “shock and awe,” or, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the horrors of the Vietnam War flashed nightly on the three major TV networks of that time. It, the horror of contemporary society, doesn’t require leaving home to experience the reality of death.

Like Saturn, many here make plans to consume their own children, or to put into place policies that will harm children.

With about 4 percent of the world’s population, we’re chalking up the highest world tolls of Covid-19 sickness and death on a daily basis. The US went on an endless war binge with trillions of dollars in an armaments’ spending spree after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.  Now there’s no need to send troops thousands of miles from home to witness horror. There are no horrifying sights of burning towers in Manhattan.

Reagan and George H. W. Bush got us ready to accept a permanent war economy and September 11, 2001 did the rest. Nothing could get people ready for Covid-19 because plans for public health had been hacked away through right-wing extremism and bipartisan austerity. Here we have socialism for the very wealthy.

Look at these maps and charts from the Newspaper of Record and readers can easily see the bright red of Covid-19 disease and death in so many places in the US. This is “All The News That’s Fit To Print” (“Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count,” December 3, 2020).

None of this horror happened by accident. While other societies managed, or didn’t manage the pandemic with varying degrees of success or failure, the US pulled ahead in its race to the hospital, mortuary, cold-storage trailer morgue, or cemetery. The Guardian’s “US faces grim winter as Covid cases and deaths set new record,” December 4, 2020” tells readers just what’s likely ahead for us in the US.

How did it happen? First there was the narcissist Trump, who instead of eating his young, rewarded some of them with lucrative and powerful posts in his bizarre, far right-wing administration. There are still over 70 million of his supporters as of November 2020, who are more than willing to give the continued green light to mayhem of all manner with no light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t know how Operation Warp Speed (a successful government initiative) will affect us on the streets of the US and who and when we will benefit from an effective vaccine.

Like the horrific depiction of the Greek myth of Saturn, it’s the rest of us, or at least large numbers of the rest of us, who have been thrown to the proverbial hungry wolves.

This post was originally published on Radio Free.