THE B SIDE OF BANALITY

 

I’ve been where there has been war, and where there currently is.

People who haven’t look at the footage and get a very skewed impression of what war is like. What they don’t see is that, just outside the mise en scene, more often than not the busses are not just running, they’re running on time. Wars are fought by a very small percentage of the population in some field or village way over there. For the rest, life goes on, because that’s what life does.

What the reporter and her cameraman are showing us isn’t fake news. It’s real enough. It’s that busses running on time, because that’s what busses tend to do, just isn’t newsworthy.

Feminist historians have been especially keen to point this out. The history books are all about battles and palaces. But most of what mattered in the past, not unlike most of what matters today, happened and happens in the home. The home may not always be a peaceful place, but neither is it red in tooth and claw. Beneath the sometimes horrible tenth that’s above the surface, lies the nine tenths of life that’s just banal.

But banal in a good way. It’s the B side of Hannah Arendt’s banality of evil. It’s a baker setting out his bread in the morning, a boy kicking a can down the street, a man pushing a little girl on a swing. Nothing ecstatic. Just beings being.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s