OF SNOWDEN, SHELLEY & THE NEW ROMANTICS
Our 14 year old son has just memorized and can now recite the ‘Breaking Bad poem,‘ aka, Ozymandias by that hot new poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley– whose pale and classically angst-ridden face reminds me of my son’s current political obsession, complete with a name that would do a Romantic Poet proud: Edward Snowden.
Like many in his generation, my son considers Snowden a ‘national hero.’ Though I don’t see eye to eye on that, what I can see clearly through my son’s fierce eyes is the appeal– for a generation born into 9/11 and George W. Bush’s America– of activists and poets who decry the corruption and ruin that comes with decadence, arrogance and unchecked power.
“Look on my works ye mighty and despair,” the fallen leader Ozymandias had decreed. No wonder Shelley’s timeless poem echoes and resonates for teenagers raised on economic collapse and wrongheaded wars plus CEO and now NSA scandal excesses.
All that is left of the ‘king of kings’ Ozymandias is his shattered statue, abandoned in a post-apocalyptic landscape where the ‘lone and level sands stretch far away.’
Along with Snowden, my son also follows the youth-driven activism of the Occupy movement. Can the New Romantics– more cynical yet more practical than in days of old– find their own voice against epic ‘despair’? WDYT?
(photos: AP, ABC news, GoogleImages)