Sunday, August 27, 2006

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

The video for British band Kasabian's new single "Empire" makes quite an extraordinary anti-war statement, touching especially on the impact of violence upon youth, beauty and art. I'm looking forward to checking out their new album. Their debut was noteworthy, despite the nasty anti-piracy software included in many copies.

The latin phrase above - "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" - closes out the video. It's from Horace's Odes and means "It is sweet and appropriate to die for the fatherland." According to Wikipedia, Bertolt Brecht referred to the phrase as "Zweckpropraganda," a great word by which he meant cheap propaganda for a specific cause. Lot of that floating around these days, innit?

In his poem "Dulce et Decourm Est," English poet Wilfred Owen refers to the phrase as "the old Lie."

A whole lot of youth, beauty, art, intellect and progress has been banished from the earth as a result of that old lie.

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