Thursday, June 12, 2014

Grade A

Salaison de montagne, Noël Thaurin, Moutaine, Jura, France (2006)
Grade A
Ruling Class Approved

Societies all have their rites

to signal who belongs:

some, shibboleths; some, handshakes;

some, decoder rings; some, songs.

Our ruling class has pedigree -

that sausage grinder fame

of university bestowed

letters beside your name.

Societies all have their ranks,

our ruling class as well:

which sausage grinder framed your thoughts,

how well they did excel -

your fealty, your true belief

in stories that they sowed,

your type and number of degrees -

the letters they bestowed.

Sausages legion, link on link,

repeating what was schooled:

“The Country Class is stupid and

therefore it must be ruled.

And who better to rule them than

we betters trained in same:

we best and brightest ruling class,

we with a lettered name.”

But the more letters by your name,

the more time that you've spent

detached from that same Real World

toward which your will is bent.

And so your bitter paradox,

which none-the-less is true:

that stupid, stupid Country Class

is far more wise than you.

No, anti-intellectual-

ism is not to blame

when one points out this paradox,

rejects your royal claim,

doubts your fav'rite professor's worth,

fights all that you've been taught:

True Education doesn't breed

conformity of thought.

It has Truth as its arbiter

not consensus of crowd,

demands that thinking for oneself -

self-ishness - be allowed,

appeals to what's reality

not to platonic form,

cares not for letters, pedigrees,

rites, rank, or cliquish norm.

But there's another paradox,

and one that's just as true:

while, yes, the Country Class is wise,

it listens still to you,

accords still to you its respect

however-so unearned,

cedes still its children to your will

so they might too be turned,

urges them to a grinder go

only to face regret

when lettered sausages return

with rote and crushing debt,

with smug, petulant discontent,

with cocksure certainty:

“the stupid people must be ruled

by us with pedigree.”

So, I'll resolve this paradox

and so might resolve yours:

no more will I give my respect

to those name ligatures.

Until they stand for something more

than puffed-up power claim,

they prove no more than deficit -

those letters by your name.