From Diplomatic Trope to Universal Hope

UN Delegates - Muir Woods (rev'd)
UN Delegates - Muir Woods (rev'd)
UN Delegates - Muir Woods (rev'd)
UN Delegates - Muir Woods (rev'd) | Un, Muir Woods, Delegates,

A message from the other

Part One: Reagan's Rhetoric

At the global forum which grew out of WWII--almost literally hewn from Muir Woods (see photo), presided over by an agreeably maternal Mrs. Roosevelt, its optimistic incipient language penned by H.G. Wells--a President best known for his dramatic skills famously uttered the ultimate 'but for' to world unity: a threat from aliens from off-world. [http://www.johangrimonprez.be/main/Film_MAYBETHESKY_Story_8.html]

Yet, despite this fittingly 'Hollywood' simplification of our common problem, once less prominently phrased by a man named King (not the mighty icon of the Lincoln Mall)--'Why can't we all just get along?'--we, the people of Earth, find ourselves in an almost tribal, regressive state of world affairs, one which preceded the very concept of diplomacy and its envoys and embassies.

As old as the latter concept of exchanged ideas and policies - via physical human presence on foreign soils- is the art of rhetoric, the construction of the spoken word in such a formal yet commonly appealing manner as to unite the mass of a populace.

It is argued here that both have been so denatured and denuded as to have become but tools for our common demise. But, unlike the partisan doomsaying which pervades a commercial and ironically unified mass media (in the U.S., owing largely to Clinton Era legislation, itself the culmination of a long, downward spiral from not-for-profit, decentralized radio licensing to conglomeration-nearing monopolization of content as factional propaganda): this exposition will offer a solution, itself likely seen as naive by the cynical yet redolent of the very ideal unification stated by President Reagan as the catalyst for our necessary evolution from "only human" to "only humane."

Part Two : Current Evidence of Diplomacy as Conflict by Another Name

The famous theorists of warfare, von Clausewitz for the West, Sun Tzu the East, had in common one 'uniting' principle: the feinting of one's intentions.

For purposes of concision, modern era diplomatic history will be examined.

First: 1979's Iran Embassy hostage taking

True to ideological form, this crass breach of the diplomatic norm of inviolate status reverberates to this day as a metaphor for cold warfare. The media even then found the temptation too great to resist lending nightly programming to its newsworthiness, albeit with all the Hollywood trappings of theme music and austere deep-throated news personalities in some subliminal Reaganizing way--indeed, it was this very shattering of diplomacy's viability which led to his presidency, once again via the traducing of diplomatic norms so personified by the Iran-Contra "affair" (the latter, a vestige of this vestigial argot of diplomats).

Second: Putin's GRU & Biochemistry

Despite the West's seeming shock and awe at the very thought that a long-standing adversary and one-time occupier would stoop to blatant dispatch of black operators abroad to "terminate with prejudice" (ah, diplomatic euphemisms) their enemies via the disguise of that limbic-activating sympathetic coverall of "traitor'"/"treason," once again the expulsion of so-called diplomats-- some of whom are certainly spies as revealed in recent criminal indictments of Putin's U.S. contingents--nothing more than cold warfare.

Third: Sucre or La Paz in London

Whether the weather might have induced him to stay, he was certainly welcome to the relatively "peaceful," even "sugary" confines of the embassy of this"'in your face" socialistic government, right there in river city. Oh, yes, he's got troubles, that Aussie with the alleged connections to Mr. Putin's apparatchiks pertinent to "matters" ranging from Swedish massages to Kremlin messages. Once again, diplomacy as cold warfare by another label.

Finally, and ripped from the headlines (Hollywood, again) the extant "Murder in Istanbul," as we await the inevitable TV movie production, and fine-tuning of thematic sturm und drang soundtrack. Perhaps perversely fitting is the direct handling of this "matter" by a TV veteran President whose announced concerns are largely aimed at the commercial (some would argue personally aggrandizing) tenor versus the traditional diplomatic "grave concern for human rights" official press release destined for archiving in the dusty vault of history filled with such thought necessary utterances as stern albeit shop-worn policy.

What to make, objectively, of this latest of countless exemplars of the failure of old school diplomacy?

Just this: it is in each side's "national interest" (cue the tune, "that old devil moon, in your 'aye"), another vestigial all-purpose metastasized diplomatic fig-leaf even the good guys abuse to the point of affliction of both nation and genuine interest (both the commercial and values connotations here).

Compounding (another double entendre, useful in these matters) all this confusion, whether or not deliberate on the part of one or many of the factions, is the "everything old is new again" resurfacing of the tactical decrying of "fakery" memorialized so memorably by Orson Wells--himself, the seminal faker via his "War of the Worlds" radio debacle, so strangely relevant in the context of the our initial reference to Reagan at the U.N. concerning alien presence among us.

Indeed, this seems to be the go-to play in a playbook dusted off by a sitting President who used it so effectively in his campaign. Not since a certain German minister of propaganda ennobled the big lie's efficacy when repeated enough to a harried populace has so little gone so far with so many.

Part Three: 'Starman's Rhetoric

A solution was spoken of earlier on, and it is now presented; once again, the metaphor for dramatization is invoked, this time in the service of a kind of daringly universal versus strictly global hope--that ideal of ideals and galvanizer of positive action. Stephen King in another Hollywood offering "The Shawshank Redemption" termed "maybe the best of things..."

The auteur here is John Carpenter; notwithstanding the resonance of his initials, he's no savior, no avatar among us, regardless of his recent second coming by way of executive production of the remade


The work in question entitled "Starman," starring Jeff Bridges as the same - a map maker who bumped into a Voyager spacecraft with a gold "greatest hits plus" record from Carl Sagan on our behalf. A kind of invitation to visit. He did.

Using biochemistry, this time for good, "he" morphs into human form (any resemblance to a certain religious icon respected by billions of humans is both likely and purely in Mr. C.'s brilliant cabeza) and takes up with the DNA donor's widow, racing toward rendezvous with his fellows from out there before he perishes.

The chase ensues by a fear/greed driven defense establishment, leading to Arizona and a Native American curio shop/eatery near that crater that came to visit 50 million years ago near Winslow.

The government scientist contracted to communicate with this star person arrives there while it is surrounded by coppers. After sitting down in amazement at the chance, the scientist, played by the inimitable Charles Smith, gropes to get a handle on the moment, at which point the starman speaks, informing Charles that he would be surprised at how many species there are out there and that the human one is "unlike any other--intelligent, but savage." The drama is taken up a notch or ten when this is offered, rhetorically, yet answered: "Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you?" To which Charles nods, smiling. "You are at your very best when things are at their worst."

That was enough for Charles--he releases starman who is whisked aboard a mammoth craft, leaving a child within the now loving widow with these words of parting: "The baby will know what to do." As a teacher. Ahem.

What if the cost, both financial and otherwise, were dispensed with and, using virtual modes of technological communication now available and/or in the offing almost weekly, and the UN were to become a RejuveNations where each and every exchange of ideas and policies were begun in just that way, as a mandate that would soon become a desired practice.

Another tune comes to mind: "Accentuate the positive," it goes. Remember Ross Perot, the seeming longest case of laryngitis on record: Can we agree on this..." he would begin most statements.

What if we did something so simple yet profound as this: add that 21st century's preeminent symbol for electronic communication--'e'--as suffix to another symbol we call a word, as us,


Yes, the cyncics will do what they do. But how do sane humans react to what amounts to a compliment as the first utterance? We end where we began--what if some alien presence were to appear among us? Wouldn't we put aside our now petty differences?

In memory of Ronald Reagan, humane being, ambassador without portfolio (i.e., diplomatic baggage).

Notes: History of media/Part One: (https://www.mitel.com/articles/history-federal-communications-commission-fcc ; https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/02/business/media/sinclair-news-anchors-script.html)

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Updated Jan 2, 2019 12:26 PM EST | More details


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