There are many reasons to loathe the New York Times: its columnists, its obsequious wealth porn, its egregious bias toward Israel, its “view from nowhere” political coverage, and on and on. But until it sends a reporter out to analyze your own home town, it can sometimes escape you that it is utterly incapable of getting ANYTHING right.
“Time flies, whether you’re having fun or not.” -Lynda Barry
This thought has been haunting me lately as we approached the 13th anniversary of The Day That Changed Everything (for the worse).
The stark images from the day itself, so overplayed yet ambiguous, seem insignificant now compared to what followed, which is so much more dreadful than anything I could have imagined at the time.
As the Mighty Wurlitzer of war cranks into gear yet again, I can’t help but wonder if war itself has become the singular cause upon which all news media agree, and no matter the opinion of those affected by it, they’re naturally going to sell any old war with just this sort of embarrassing fervor.
It’s understandable, I suppose, for the bloated multinationals who control what we see, hear, and read to choose war as a business proposition. Ratings surge, careers are made, and reporting costs are all but negligible when the aggressor is more than happy to provide all the talking points needed to fill time and space between boner pill ads.
As the Police State tightens its grip, often literally, on powerless populations, one casualty has been language itself. The vocabulary of authoritarianism turns out to be pathetically small; from Jerusalem to Ferguson, the same words and phrases fall like rain, as though no one could be bothered to haul out a thesaurus once in a while to mix things up.
When I was in college, I took a two part class called War in the Modern World, as a conscious departure from the social history that was my focus of study. The experience was eye-opening, and continues to be.
By “modern,” it referred to the period from the US Civil War to the present (the early 1980’s), based on the fact that the Civil War was won by pure industrial might, and the victor was the belligerent that could out-produce the other and hurl the most materiel and men onto the pile.
College activism brought down Apartheid in South Africa, and it will, eventually, bring down Apartheid in Israel, too. The Israel Lobby recognizes this, and that’s why Salaita had to go.
In American life, there is a large and growing number of institutions that act with utter impunity, are coddled by a fawning media, and no one, certainly not our supine elected officials, can dislodge them from their lofty perch, from which they shit on us all like cackling birds aiming at a just-washed car.
The grotesque spectacle of the two-hour torture yesterday of an Arizona murderer was made considerably more revolting by the bloodthirsty commentary provided by the victim’s family, and eagerly echoed by Arizona officials.
You see, no matter how barbaric the execution was, the crime was worse, so who cares? Really? Something now popularly called “closure” for the victims’ loved ones, i.e. a retributive display of frontier justice, is now required by the public (and the media), supposedly to avenge the crime.
It’s a little depressing to acknowledge, for the umpteenth time, that a disturbingly large number of our fellow human beings simply can’t abide the very existence of a lot of us, and really aren’t at all ashamed of this.
Today it’s Israelis vs. Arabs, Teabaggers vs. well, everyone, and alleged Russian separatists vs. airplanes in the sky. But that’s just today; people who can’t get a proper beauty rest knowing that somewhere, someone they don’t like continues to breathe, or let their children play on a beach, without becoming bugsplat, seem to be flourishing like kudzu.
I know that for many years, Israel has served as a necessary evil for the American foreign policy elite; when you want somebody to help in any nefarious pursuit, they’ve always been mensches. Reagan tapped them for arms sales, Nixon for war support, and everyone else for Police State pointers. But really, is it worth it anymore?