Wednesday, January 28, 2004

So my Writer's Craft exam was yesterday. It consisted of the teacher providing the students with a series of pictures, one from which they had to base a short story on. Yes, the exam was creating a short story in 75-minutes. I did one on a picture of a cheering crowd in the streets, confetti strewn in the air. The story's protagonist is a 13-year old girl named Carla. The town of 80,000 gather annually to participate in a lottery to find criminals. The womenfolk would represent their entire family in buying a single ticket that contained an eight-digit number. Cops would draw numbered balls and whoever had the matching ticket would be executed (or whomever happened to be the eldest man in the family). Carla's dad is the progeny of the town's founder, Mr. MacArthur. Carla ends up having the winning ticket and her father is blamed for the deaths of two boys. The townspeople reckon that anyone lucky enough to win must have been singled out by God, thereby, providing the authorities with the answers to unsolvable crimes. As a noose tightens around her father's neck, Carla asks him whether or not he did it. He shrugs his shoulders and says, "I guess I did." Carla skips home, smiling, thinking thoughtfully, "Wait until mom hears about this. She won't believe my luck."

I wrote the equivalent of something around 7 or 8 pages. Looking back, maybe its theme is our society's trust in higher authorities, rather than ourselves. Besides God, there is also democracy. In second world countries, many citizens have the decency to read between the lines when reading their censored newspapers and staged trials because they recognize the flaws of their system. In the majority of western nations, we've forgotten this. We read the news, deducing fact from truths. Maybe that's more dangerous than visible oppression. Maybe blind faith and arrogance is the new nationalism, the modern tool of Big Brother, the pride of the West.

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