Friday, July 29, 2005

there's always time for a good rant

There are some days when there’s no point writing my own damn blog. Others have beaten me to the punch. I'm posting my favorite bits, but all of them are worth reading in their entirety. I do just love it when I'm not the only pissed off person on the web.

Brian Hines of HinesSight
writes eloquently about responsibility for the Niger famine crisis:

"I blame myself for letting children die. And I blame you too. We sit on our hands instead of doing something. However, I don’t blame us nearly as much as I blame those who have the power to truly do something: President Bush, Prime Minister Blair, and all the other politicians and government officials who spout platitudes such as “I respect the culture of life” while letting a child die needlessly somewhere in the world every three seconds."

This is what I wrote him back:

Dear Brian,

I did not see the show on Niger. I have been following the coverage on BBC's website. At some point I had to turn away for the sake of my own sanity. I see an unbearably thin child and I see my own daughter - I can imagine all too easily what it must be like for their parents, watching their children waste away and not a damn thing they can do about it.

And more money isn't going to fix the problem. Like so many catastrophes, it's a complex issue. Politicians and the MSM don't see images of starving children as newsworthy - we've been turning our backs on our own starving people for so long that a whole population on the other side of the planet is hardly an issue.

Genocide by means of neglect.

I want a paradigm shift in this world, and I want it NOW. We have got to stop thinking in such narrow tracks. The children in Niger and Ethopia and Darfur and Rwanda are MY children, they are your children, and they are George Bush's children, too. But it's pretty clear to me that the ruling class here doesn't think that way.

It's our job to protest. It's our job to talk to other people and help them understand, if they can, that issues are global, not just national, and that simple solutions aren't going to work.

And it's our job not to shut our eyes and our hearts, no matter how often we're accused of being overly emotional and therefore irrational. Feeling is not necessarily mutually exclusive to thinking. You can, despite the myth, do both at the same time.


After seeing Hotel Rwanda, Anntichrist Coulter posted a gut-wrenching rant about Rwanda over at BlondeSense. (I haven't dared watch the movie myself, yet. I'm still recovering from Beyond Borders, and that wasn't even nonfiction.)

"I feel like a big ol' piece o'shit right now. I dunno if that's too foul for a blog front page, but there it is. While I was going to concerts and playing DOOM and watching television and just being a knob, almost a million people in Rwanda were murdered. For what?

For bullshit, that's what.

The only difference between a Tutsi and a Hutu is that the Belgian colonists told them that they were different from one another. That's it. Paperwork. Eeenie-meenie-miney-moe. And hence began the race warfare in a country that had almost recovered from the colonists when all hell broke loose.It really makes you realize how fucking trivial our lives really are in this country. It also makes you understand HOW so-called Americans can not only CONDONE the mass murder of "BROWN PEOPLE" in Afghanistan and Iraq (and Kuwait, too, btw) --- but to ENDORSE IT."


Phil Rockstroh at the Smirking Chimp dove once again into the dark recesses of rhetoric inspired by Hunter S. Thompson (and possibly into a pile of amphetamines) to produce a long-winded, sometimes incoherent, but otherwise terribly insightful analysis of why things haven’t changed much in government since the 1970s. Lines like these made me want to crack the monitor screen open with my head.

"Nixon realized the concept of freedom was (and remains) too vague for many of us. Where exactly can freedom be located? But, in contrast, just go down to any shopping mall and you'll find envy; just visit any suburban subdivision and you'll find fear; and just set yourself down on any stool at any neighborhood bar and you'll find hatred and resentment. [snip]

Even after Nixon was exiled to San Clemente and we took up the mantra, "That was that ... Let's move on ... Our long national nightmare is over", we Americans remained uneasy, desperately clinging to the sustaining self-deception of our being mere bystanders when the crimes were committed -- and, as a consequence, we made ourselves willing marks for political flimflammers (as within a few years time, Ronald Reagan would exemplify) who peddle the politics of the comfort zone and all its attendant lies exalting the inviolable grace of our collective obliviousness. [snip]

I first began to take note of the acceptance of proto-fascistic tendencies, in the cultural banalities evinced in the 1970s -- even in those of us who were too young to have cast a vote for Nixon. I noticed my fellow peak-years-of-the-Baby-Boom teenagers were not the progeny of The Woodstock Nation, as the beleaguered authoritarian types of the era had feared -- instead we were the floating spirit-incarnate of a pop culture Weimar Republic. As a rule, we used drugs neither to expand our awareness nor as an act of social or political rebellion -- rather they were utilized as apolitical agents of anesthetization ... Like the sound and fury of our pinball machine distractions, and our Muscle Car imperialism, and the pseudo-edginess of the so-called FM radio revolution (that was, in reality, the advent of corporate rock) -- our seeming rebelliousness was, below the lank-haired, faded denim-clad, reefer-reeking surface, a pervasive anomie ... the metastasizing of an insidious indifference -- to a large measure a radical renunciation of anything more challenging than those things available within the immediate confines of our comfort zones. It was a revelry in adolescent, pop culture narcissism, punctuated by incessant self-medication, that was mistaken for the excesses of freedom ... In short, just the sort of numbed-out, muck-headed Sturm und Drang one should expect from young minds -- bereft of life experience, brainwashed by an existence inundated by commercial manipulation, and incompetently educated by the state... [snip]

Furthermore, we shield ourselves from our complicity in the carnage by choosing to remain fixated by our small concerns and mind-numbing distractions, rationalizing the corruption of the corporate and political classes is in no way a reflection of our own self-serving proclivities; we march through our commodified, daily lives -- Storm Troopers of our venal, corporatized agendas (all maintained by bunker buster bomb imperialism and planet-looting ecocide); our thoughts as banal as Eichmann's as he calculated the weight capacity of death-camp-bound boxcars as, all the while, foreign blood is spilled in our name and the natural world that sustains us dies. [snip]

Yet, more than likely, the readers of this essay are as mortified, heartsick, and enraged by the actions of the US Government and the corporate overlords who own and operate it as is this writer -- nevertheless, we carry the empire within us as deeply as we carry the imprints of our parents' faces. It is too immense for us not to; it is too pervasive and invasive for us to avoid; it weaned us and socialized us -- and even when we rebel against it, our actions are generally restricted within limits set by it. Otherwise, the consequences would be too crushing for most of us to endure: financial ruin, destitution, homelessness, prison. [snip] is high time to strike the gong for Karl Rove and his pathetic, dancing, feces-flinging pet monkey act that is presently stinking up the stage of The Gong Show of the American political system. But next, we should turn off the TV, walk to the closest mirror, look ourselves in the eye, and repeat the risible (as well as demonstrably false) phrase, "I am not a crook," -- and then, at long last, face the Richard Milhouse Nixon within, and thereby come to grips with the reason we Americans are, at present, as popular and respected worldwide as Richard Nixon was in the Summer of 1974. "

C'mon, folks. Is he right? Is he deluded? Is he insane? Does he overreact? Is he too emotional? Does he have his facts wrong?

Or is he pretty close to the truth?



James said...

Having lived in Africa for 2 years I feel especially connected to these stories. My heart is ripped out and stomped upon with such horrific acts. I want to give them all of my money, (of which I have little) but I think I will end up living there for good. My wife and I want to join the Peace Corps and spend the rest of our lives helping the poorest among us in this world. Fuck the corporate rat race bullshit.

As for HST? I love the man and mourn his passing every day. He is one of my heros.

God (if there is one) help us all. We are destroying everything that is good, sacred and holy and now we can not hide any longer. Our planet is dying and so are we.

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