Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Yesterday, I ran across two stories of political entities that obviously have lost the filter that sits somewhere between our brain and our mouth. The first is funny, the second is sad:

1. Cyprus ‘Utopian’ candidate promises free love

‘My new order will give people ... lots of love for all,’ fringe politician says

LARNACA, Cyprus - Costas Kyriakou is promising Cypriot voters Utopia and that means sex. A colorful candidate among a sea of suited businessmen and lawyers, Kyriakou says he is offering voters an alternative in the island’s May 21 parliamentary elections.

“My new order will give people ... lots of love for all,” he says. His nickname, “Utopos”, combines two Greek words which coined the term “Utopia”, meaning “No Place.”

A strapping man with piercing blue eyes, he draws on ideas from Plato and Christian apocalyptic scriptures for his ideal city-state where people live in communes and share everything.

But central to his Utopia is sex, a campaign pledge which draws guffaws of disbelief from deeply conservative Cypriots.

“I propose a regime of free love,” he declares.

“The men will see it as a system of free love, the women as a matriarchy ... they will be able to carry the sperm of the most handsome men, and give the child her name.”

Utopos, an independent candidate for the western region of Paphos, has hit the campaign trail running. Literally.

Sporting a black bandana, jeans and sandals, he has crossed most Cypriot towns on foot, chatting with locals and handing out his pamphlets.

Utopos, 48, quit philosophy school in his third year and is now a farmer. “I knew more than they did. I was against others trying to stuff my head with ideas.”

It is his second run for parliament, which he sees as a stepping stone to the presidency. He ran in the presidential election of 2003, where he won 0.44 percent of the vote, the highest figure among a smattering of fringe non-party candidates.

Utopos disputes this. “I received 73 percent,” he said.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

2. No sooner had Tony Snow finished his first briefing as the president's press secretary than Democratic activist and CNN contributor Donna Brazile was on the phone to April Ryan, who covers the White House for the Urban Radio Network.

In declining to discuss the NSA's alleged collection of domestic phone records, Snow had said he wouldn't "hug the tar baby" of commenting on a program the White House won't confirm or deny. Brazile wanted it known that several people called her to complain about that reference to an American folk story about a trap that's impossible to get out of — which has also been used as a racial slur. Ryan has obligingly filed a story about it.

A recent comment to one of my posts made an undeniable comparison between artists and revolutionaries as individuals with similar motivations; yet possibly inconsistent potential and/or direction. The politician described in the above first article definitely blurs the line between artist and humorous revolutionary. Unfortunately, the second article exhibits little inspiration from the new White House Press Secretary. Although the Cypress “Utopian” candidate is obviously extreme in his approach (not unlike Texas candidate-for-Governor, Kinky Friedman); I must admit that I find his tactics more inspiring than our own federal administration’s method of dividing the country by race and income. I don’t know how else to classify a reference to “hug the tar baby” when it comes from what SHOULD be our country’s most respected soap-box.

I suppose, I mostly find this concept interesting after consideration of my recent reading of revolutionaries in the Hemingway novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Are we forever “stuck” with uninspiring career-politicians because the artist is too introverted to be a revolutionary of substance? What will it take for the “artist-as-revolutionary” to play well with others? – DN

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps violence against human dignity and race brings out the introvert artist? H. L. Mencken once wrote: "Nothing can come out of an artist that is not in the man." Of course, he would add to that "The greatest artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom even ordinarily respectable." So I am not sure great artists are always introverted, or always respectable, but should be revolutionary if they are worth their salt. but again from Mencken: "It is a dull man who is always sure, and a sure man who is always dull".