Independence Musing

The Mice are burying the Cat”, a 1760s lubok print. It has been commonly thought this plot is a caricature of Peter the Great’s burial, authored by his opponents. The caption above the cat reads: “The Cat of Kazan, the Mind of Astrakhan, the Wisdom of Siberia” (a parody of the title of Russian Czars). It has been claimed by modern researchers that this is simply a representation of carnivalesque inversion, “turning the world upside down”.In the spirit of independence and change, I submit this lovely lubok illustration of the dead cat being buried by his prey, the mice. This terrific lubok print really captures in my heart, how we had been captivated by the cat or the “Man” and we need to , as a community of weaklings, band together and let ourselves be heard. The multiple wars and occupations we seem to be embroiled in—seemingly endlessly weaving ourselves deeper and deeper into the tribal hierarchies we do not even begin to understand spending treasure and people on protecting something we have no understanding of, nor heart to feel true compassion. The obscenity of the oil spill (gush) off our beaches with the fingers being pointed to one after the next greedy, self possessed individuals who are so intent on not stepping up and taking the heat, and equally not charged to change the situation for now and for later—has this mouse enraged to the point of not knowing even how to react other than  stew. There is nothing to do. Sure we can raise money but for what? for Whom? Should the money raising be to raise the other mices’ consciousness to prevent another one of these disasters? Should it go to alternative energy solutions and stop offshore drilling none the less? Should we all take a week off and turn off the lights, stop driving and test to see whether we could make this work for us…?   When is it when we mice, the community of mice, grab ahold of this tragedy and not wait for some paternal character (not the president of BP) to console us and tell us everything is back to status quo?

The corporate world, one for “training” and “accountability” as part of their human resources requirements for all employees has tragically failed to not trouble shoot the trouble shooting, or the trouble shooters. The military training program for creating failsafes (even I as a dumb graphic designer had to take) to ensure there was a backup plan to a back up plan somehow failed. Did the boom create this moral bust? Did the culture of greed and irresponsibilty of people like Bernie Madoff, or companies like Enron override this aspect of our culture that it is better to point the finger when the immoral jig is up than to plan and do the right thing to get ahead?

On this Independence Day, as we slice up the watermelon, turn on our grills and kick back, I suggest we think about our independence and ask ourselves if we truly are?