This slogan is very popular these days, from Washington to Bagdad with a little stop everywhere else in the world. It's so nice of the high authorities to reassure us this way. The more you hear it the more you understand the worst is yet to come. And I am not talking about the price of gasoline. Because, until now, fear was the cement of our societies [the fear of the cops, the fear of unemployment, the fear of the IRS, the fear of AIDS, the fear of the Muslims who make the Christians happy to have found themselves], this don™t be afraid, proffered like an invitation from the hypnotist ready to pounce on his prey, should make us suspicious. It's 100% trick à la Lenin : You stroke gently the neck of the bull you are leading to the slaughterhouse while whispering kind words to his ear. Or better yet, let twelve cardinals all decked up in their splendid outdated costumes tell us don™t be afraid we'll get you a new pope. Or even better, let a half dozen TV animators tell us about the terrible things happening in the world but don™t be afraid Bush is going to solve everything especially your social and political security so don™t be afraid. And anyway, all those who are not running around burning candles are snoring away in front of their TV screen [except the terrorists]. It's been quite a while since humanity pointed its telescope toward a better future. Don™t be afraid also means close your eyes.

We should not allow ourselves to drift into such abandon. We should rather open our eyes and look at our fears, stare at the menaces that are being formatted for our anguish. If only literature could still make us aware of our fears. But no, literature has become a mere supplement of culture which peddles the same message, don™t be afraid, it's just words.

What is irritating about this don™t be afraid slogan, it's that it removes all possibility of deepening the meaning of our existence. This don™t be afraid is really scary. It's a very smart slogan. It screens another alternative. While pretending to give us a choice between not being afraid and being afraid, it sweeps under the carpet the possibility of frightening the slogan-maker.

Raymond Federman, May Day 2005

Spinelessness Pizzazz.

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