Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"As usual, the human response veers off into the absurd", said artist and author Alex Hirka, speaking out regarding the controversy regarding the inclusion of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

"Fact is, in this case, we need to throw out the baby, or more exacty: demon, with the bath water."

He was speaking to a small group of reporters who has gathered to ask him questions about his forthcoming book "Existential Stew for The Souless".

"Let's stop getting children to repeat his drivel altogether - this tool of indoctrination to the mass mind."

"Are you also opposed to patriotism, then?" asked one reporter.

"That would take," he said, slyly smiling, "yet another book to elaborate. But basically the answer is an unconditional yes. Let me read you this little quote I carry with me in my wallet as a reminder to stay stalwart in the face of sheep mentality. It is from the author Hermann Hesse.

" 'My instinct as an individualist and artist has always warned me most urgently against this capacity of men for becomin drunk on collective suffering, collective pride, collective hatred, and collective honor. When this morbid exaltation become perceptible in a room, a hall, a village, a city, or a country, I grow cold and distrustful; a shudder comes over me, for already, while most of my fellow men are still weeping with rapture and enthusiasm, still cheering and venting protestations of brotherhood, I see blood flowing and cities going up in flames.' "

When another reporter took the interview back to the issue of the words "under God", Mr. Hirka responded:

"Well, it's as a chief spokesman for the National Boy Scouts once said: 'Once a person admits to not believing in God, this raises the question of whether or not that person believes in America.' And I, being a montage artist, one who puts new works together from already created pieces, will once again utilize a quote to respond."

"This one I do not have a name to give credit to, though am very grateful to someone for distilling the truth so nicely. It says: "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

After shaking hands and ducking a rotten tomato tossed by a protester with an "Television Is Soma" badge on his coat, Mr. Hirka left the building.

Mr. Hirka's book has no release date, and some question whether he has as yet written it. One bystander suggested this was it's Prologue.