GeoPolichinelle is intended to be a somewhat waggish (but none the less serious) exploration of the giddy world of modern GeoPolitics.
The name was chosen to reflect the fact that much of what happens in the global arena is a thinly veiled charade – a kind of never-ending masquerade, in which the players (state, corporate, and non-governmental) vie for position through the use of obfuscation, positioning, and downright deceit. Major and minor players alike speak from behind their masks, much like the characters of the Commedia dell’arte, and we as the audience nod along with their conspiratorial winks. In the theater, this is known as a “Secret de Polichinelle” – an open secret to which we are all party, but which it is convenient to pretend to be ignorant of.
Polichinelle is the French derivation of the Italian character of Pulcinella, or Mr. Punch as he is known in the Anglophone world. He is traditionally represented as “mean, vicious, and crafty and his main mode of defense is to pretend to be too stupid to know what’s going on,” making him an ideal representative for the present age of globalized geopolitics.
But, I hear you ask, who are you to poke fun at the great and the good? To quote a recent embodiment of the Commedia, “Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a man in a mask.” Stripped of this visage, however, I am simply James Robin Walker, a budding Political Geographer from Los Angeles, long time NGO activist, graduate from UCLA, and enthusiastic follower of the farce. I stagger between the camps of the Cynics and the Stoics, hoping to discover what it means to be a cosmopolitan in our modern age, and like all seekers after truth (whatever that might be), I am but a a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.
GeoPolichinelle is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone….