Mission, Not Glory: A Dialogue by Marie Cartier

Well, he didn’t do it for the glory, that’s for sure.

Maybe he did?

He’s gone. When you immolate –you’re gone. What glory is there in that?

Well, the reason he did it—as I understand it—is because the world is burning up anyway. He made a statement.

Exactly- a single statement. So, who’s getting the glory?

I mean we don’t know the entire impact it has. He took his life for God’s sake. On the Supreme Court steps. April 22, 2022. It means something. He knew he would be immortalized.

But, what difference does it make if he’s gone? I think it was a waste. I wish he would have run for –anything. School Board! Someone that committed should have stuck around and tried to do something.

He did do something. It’s just…he made the ultimate sacrifice.

I’m sorry. He killed himself. And so…we’re left here without him. Without someone who was that committed as an activist.

The world is burning up. We won’t last another thirty years. So good for him for taking a stand. He was a Buddhist monk, right? Good for him.

He was a hippie from Boulder, Colorado. Wynn Alan Bruce.

Well, here’s a hero now. And I bet he’s a hero to Buddhist monks, too. Wynn Alan Bruce? He was a climate activist, not just a hippie. I mean, I’ll give you that he may never be well-known. But he’s known. Just not well- known.

But don’t you see? He took his life for what? To take the Kardashians off the front page for a day?

Yes. That’s why monks burned themselves in protest of Vietnam. To take over the front page. In service of concrete media attention. To grab the front page.

What front page? There’s no front page anymore. Of what? Twitter? It was just bought, it’s …what is it now? Where is the front page of what you’re talking about? And who knows what media is anymore—a sound bite? What is the media? What is media attention?

He did it as an act of love for the planet. We are zero f**** to midnight. Something Helen Caldicott could not anticipate. It doesn’t matter how it works now. His act was an act of bravery.

No, it was an act of cowardice. To leave right now is cowardice.

No– it was bravery! Love for the planet! For humanity! A last desperate attempt using everything he had at hand—his very life.

His life? A life? A life doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Especially a life that just—leaves. Do you know what the word “absquatulate” means?

To suddenly exit? Yes, of course I know what it means. I’m a wiz at Scrabble. I love words.

Well, then…let’s put it this way—you enervate me. This is a disastrous turn of events. Draining! We can’t all just leave. We can’t all absquatulate!

Well… then to use another word, I miss the insouciant days of Helen Caldicott. In retrospect they seem almost carefree. At least we had an hour before midnight. We don’t even have that now.  Hashtag climate change matters. Hashtag octothorpe. Hashtag double entendre. Hashtag activism. Hashtag ultimate sacrifice.

You know, I don’t like talking to you right now.

Then…why don’t you run for the School Board?

–Marie Cartier, with thanks to the QueerWise writing and performance group QUEERWISE

BIO: Marie Cartier is a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University; and a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.

Categories: General, Politics

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6 replies

  1. I Love You Marie….
    Makes my heart ache…..


  2. Beautifully illustrated, the headbutting, the split as we try to balance on the edge.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Because one of my strategies for survival involves NOT listening to the news this is the first time I have read about this man’s death…. I find it ironic that he set fire to himself – polluting the very air that is already killing us – – I get it though. Living with this kind of Earth despair and knowing that I am part of the problem and feeling so powerless to create genuine change is an impossible position to be in – Balancing on the edge? I am not able to do it. Can anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brava! As usual from you, brilliant writing with a strong point. Bright blessings, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you. As usual Marie Cartier makes me think, makes me feel, makes me look at the world. She makes me try to make a difference.

    I wish he did not kill himself, but Ihave to respect that kind if committment. But our planet needs environmentalists active, living and teaching, not dying.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think it was an act of despair.

    Liked by 1 person

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