Lacking a sense of irony

“A nation with no sense of irony or shame, whose entire history has been founded on a myth of dispossession, that is incapable of empathising with the dispossessed.”

 

Many of my army of 27 Followers might be expressing nervousness that I haven’t Posted for the past six days.

Fear not, I am still here, staring numbly at my little silver laptop, that is a news portal of despair.

Whether you are a child-bride being hanged by clerics for allowing yourself to be raped, a woman accused of adultery being stoned to death by self-appointed village mullahs; whether you are being arbitrarily blown out of the sky, babies raining down from the clouds – or watching your blood burst through your skin, in the grip of a curse that kills 70% of its victims and was passed on to you by people who believe you can only catch Ebola from a white doctor; what does it matter? You could be run over by a bus, fall down a sinkhole, get a bone in your throat, undiagnosed secondary tumours in the liver – or die of old age. It’s all just chance. It’s all the same. In the end we’re all dead.

This is officially now another of Bogler’s Laws: Once a global population of any species passes a certain point, then the life of the individual ceases to have any objective meaning.

Respect, rights, tolerance, compassion, humanity flee in the face of the actions of a soldier of fortune who finds himself in charge of a powerful rocket launcher given to him by ideologically motivated well-wishers in a neighbouring state, who can press a button to shoot down a civilian airliner with 298 total strangers on board, so full of cheap vodka and a sense of his own imbecilic importance that he imagines somehow it might be an enemy aircraft (he has the systems to check, but doesn’t know how to use them) and then jokes about it, tweeting his mates. Oops, silly me. Their bad.

And then begins the process of official dissembling and cover-up, the game of accusation and counter-accusation, the dire threats and sanctions and spineless, handwringing declarations of ‘unacceptability’ and all the other useless paraphenalia of international diplomacy and card-playing, the torturing of historical facts, the playing to the gallery, the prayers for peace, until no-one is to blame, no-one was responsible, no-one cares, nothing to be done, because the next horrible, absurd atrocity is already shouldering aside the headlines.

Respect, rights, tolerance, compassion, humanity flee in the face of the actions of a nation, encouraged by an imaginary entity who promised them eternal rights to a flyblown strip of desert, claiming entitlement to wall one and a half million former inhabitants up in a  ghetto and regularly visit them with high explosive, in the name of National Insecurity, whenever they try to push back. A pushy nation, founded on a fateful mix of brutal terrorism and high-minded humanitarian principle, that has ever sought the moral high ground even when its morals couldn’t get any lower. A nation with no sense of irony or shame, whose entire history has been founded on a myth of dispossession, that is incapable of empathising with the dispossessed.

And then begins the process of official dissembling and cover-up, the game of accusation and counter-accusation, the dire threats and sanctions and spineless, handwringing declarations of ‘unacceptability’ and all the other useless paraphenalia of international diplomacy and card-playing, the torturing of historical facts, the playing to the gallery, the prayers for peace, until no-one is to blame, no-one was responsible, no-one cares, nothing to be done, because the next horrible, absurd atrocity is already shouldering aside the headlines.

Never mind, these are just temporary setbacks. History will take care of the problem. A hundred years from now, machine-people will look back and laugh about it all. You mean, they actually cared about one another? They weren’t repairable? What, and they were made of jelly?

“Every effort must be made to get at the truth”.

And then bury it deep in a hole in the ground, Vlad.

 

 

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Christmas in Connecticut

The arms-industry backers of the National Rifle Association and their bought proxies in Congress can drink a silent toast to Mr Lanza.

Where can anyone stand, ethically, in the face of a ghastly tragedy like the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut?

Predictably, against backdrop footage of an eye-dabbing President Obama, column-miles and whole air-days have been filled globally with pundits speculating that now would (or would not) be a good time to tighten-up the infamously lax gun control laws in America. And all the reader, the viewer, can think is, here we go again. Is there not a God? (Actually, there is, but He’s not real… sorry.)

With 300 MILLION licensed guns in the USA, what conceivable “tightening-up” of the gun laws is going to prevent some deranged, whingeing teenager from getting hold of his mom’s arsenal of lethal assault weapons, that she presumably bought so she could protect her precious child from imaginary enemies, and using it to cut out the beating heart of his community in revenge for some imagined slight?

Obama could dramatically increase the chances of his being assassinated before leaving office by decreeing a total ban on the sale and possession of guns of every kind, with a six-weeks’ amnesty giving people time to hand-in their Saturday-night specials and their must-have Glocks, their H-K 416 carbines and their rocket grenade launchers before a mandatory minimum two-year gaol sentence becomes Federal law.

It won’t make the slightest difference. The Good Ol’ Boys won’t pass it. No-one would do it, anyway. The US Constitution is as fundamental as the Q’uran, when it suits America’s paranoid rednecks (who need no encouragement from arms-industry lobbyists) to cherrypick its more anachronistic prescriptions. And it is sadly true that “responsible gun owners” are, by and large, not the Ritalin-damaged smalltown college kids and brooding scout-hut caretakers who end up committing these self-centred suicidal atrocities.

So, fundamentally, where can we stand, when the Weeping President next gives the order to a computer-game wonk in a bunker under Virginia to blow up more live children with a Hellfire missile from an unmanned drone cruising high over Waziristan?

What will he say to the grieving mothers then? Happy Christmas? We’re doing it for you?

We need something far larger to stop this happening in future, but I fear we never shall. The Massacre of the Innocents is a cultural meme with complex ramifications. Child sacrifice is an ancient rite going back to the Carthaginian holocaust and beyond, into mythology. We first have to accept that what Adam Lanza did is inherently a part of us all, not just an inexplicable anomaly, a random act of unparallelled “evil” that is “out there” somewhere in the dark, that we need to arm ourselves against.

Because all that the Sandy Hooks and the Columbines, the Dunblanes and the Utoya Island massacre by Anders Breivik ever manage to achieve, all the gun killings and the wasted potential of young lives, is, far from disarming communities, to heighten the state of fear and paranoia and to surely bring about the more widespread acquisition and potential misuse of ever-more lethal weapons of “deterrence”.

The arms-industry backers of the National Rifle Association and their bought proxies in Congress can drink a silent toast to Mr Lanza for what he will have achieved this Christmas in Connecticut. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

* I don’t claim to be any kind of seer, but a week after this Post we read that gun sales are soaring and the President of the NRA has made a speech predictably calling for the arming of primary school teachers, on the grounds that gun ownership is a deterrent to gun crime.