Sunday, July 26, 2009

I remember reading William Golding's Lord of the Flies in high school English class. In the course of our study, our teacher informed us the name Beelzebub means "Lord of the Flies" or, more scatologically, "Lord of the Dung-Heap." Here's what the online dictionary has to say about the matter:

(Gr. form Beel'zebul), the name given to Satan, and found only in the New Testament (Matt. 10:25; 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22). It is probably the same as Baalzebub (q.v.), the god of Ekron, meaning "the lord of flies," or, as others think, "the lord of dung," or "the dung-god."
Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

The theme to Golding's novel revolves around humanity's "heart of darkness," which in his view takes the form of an inveterate cruelty and lust for power. In Christian terms, we might call this propensity for evil original sin. To illustrate it, Golding has an airliner crash on a deserted island with the only survivors children. They have no adults, i.e., no civilizing influences (such as they are), to guide or nurture them. To the anarcho-pessimists of The Last Ditch, the mini-state that emerges is drearily familiar but no less harrowing because of it.

Unlike Mr. Strakon, I am not squeamish about referring to political leaders like our president as the anti-Christ. Perhaps my vision of dreary political reality is more apocalyptic than his. Even less do I entertain qualms about tagging the Young Imam--as Mr. Strakon not so affectionately refers to him--Lord of the Dung-Heap. The Young Imam, after all, is a political leader. Like all political leaders, he heads up a movement.

As Vonnegut might say, "And so it goes."



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