Thursday, September 19, 2002

My First Fisking

I've never been a party to a fisking, but this little piece of idiocy from Brian Sewell of the Evening Standard has gotten my ire up enough to inspire me. So, here goes:

Grief and Dust, The Day of Tears, A Nation in Mourning, The Dead and the Guilty, Time has not dulled the Shock, The Pain lingers on, How the World has changed, 11 September..., these were the headlines of last Wednesday's broadsheets, a day on which we were predictably treated to an orgy of cheap retrospection by our newspapers, our radio and television. By cheap I mean cheap to make - an easy rehash of old photographs, a minute-by-minute chronology of events, a set of celebrity interviews of the "Where were you when ..." variety - but much of it was cheap in the pejorative sense too, a cynical tapping into the pent-up reservoirs of maudlin sentiment that we discovered within our national selves with the death of Princess Diana, now spent, one year on, on the international business of 11 September.

Shall we spend it again in September 2003 and four and five? Shall we make 11 September an annual orgasm of remembered grief ? Or should we, having held, in the absence of so many solitary funerals, one obsequy for all, lay the memory to rest?

Boo hoo hoo, dickhead. I'm sorry that memorials for the 2,800 people who were deliberately murdered last year interrupted your diet of anti-America bile. Forgive me if I'm wrong here, but don't you guys throw an annual memorial of somebody who tried to blow up Parliament 300 years ago and didn't even manage to pull it off? Lets move on to see what other tripe you're going to try throwing at us...

This was an unprovoked assault on a nation not at war, an assault on freedom, free speech and the free world, on the abstract liberties and ideals of the American constitution, and America is, as we all know, a synecdochism for all the virtues of Western civilisation. But - and dare one express a but in such a hysterical context? - some might see the events of that day in New York as an assault on the twin monuments of Mammon by an ascetic religious force emanating, yet again, from the deserts of the East to scourge the daily manipulators of greed, rapaciousness and avarice, the disciples of profit and cupidity, the instruments of personal and private wealth for its own sake.

First of all, asshole, putzes like you have been exposing your buts to the rest of us for the last twelve months. And guess what? There haven't been any nighttime knocks on the door, no angry mobs, and no thumbscrews. You still have your cushy job going to exhibits and gallery openings and making your dimwitted pronouncements for the rest of the world. But lets get to the point here. Yeah, the religious whack-jobs probably did view themselves as striking a blow against "daily manipulators of greed, rapaciousness and avarice, the disciples of profit and cupidity, the instruments of personal and private wealth for its own sake". Why? Because they're religious whack-jobs. They view any sort of life other than blind subservience to an oppressive god-head, any sort of life where individuals strive for their own happiness, as "greed, rapaciousness and avarice, the disciples of profit and cupidity, the instruments of personal and private wealth for its own sake". Guess what? These same-said psychos would also look at you with your effete blatherings and line you up under a wall to knock down on your pansy-assed skull. The difference is that we in the West have developed a world where people are entitled to have an opinion other than the latest rantings of the local imam and where we are free to pursue our own interests and happiness. Where did we learn that? Oh yeah, the English Enlightenment. And a fair thing its been too. Gave us railroads, electricity, indoor plumbing. Guess those are the sort of things you find objectionable. Still, Brian goes on...

Have we forgotten the moral exemplar set by Christ when he scourged the traders in the temple of Jerusalem? When he overturned the tables of the moneychangers, did he pause to ask why any of them should be excluded from his wrath?

Okay, shit-for-brains, you must have a different version of the bible than I do. In my version, at least, he chased them out of the temple and overturned their tables. He didn't fly a fucking airliner into the temple and kill them all! Whatsmore, I'd been to the World Trade Center and don't seem to recall it being a church. The entire point of the building was commerce. Maybe in the Brian-Sewell-Workers-Paradise, thats a mean, nasty terrible thing to do, but here on planet Earth its how we collect resources for real big enterprises. If we didn't do that you'd probably be plowing the turnip patch rather than spouting your hatred of the rest of us.

But 2,801 men and women died in the twin towers, not one of them an enemy of Islam. Two thousand eight hundred and one? What sort of number is that over which to make a fuss? How many more, in recent years, have died in Nicaragua and Rwanda, the Congo and Biafra, Bosnia, Kosovo and Croatia, all now virtually forgotten? And looking farther back, to the Second World War, what kind of fuss did Londoners make on the night of 10 May 1941, when, in a single air raid, 1,436 Londoners were killed and more than as many seriously injured? That night the Tower, the Temple, the Law Courts, Westminster Abbey and every main line station were hit, the House of Commons was gutted, Westminster Hall was ablaze, between Lambeth and the Tower no bridge was passable, 700 gas mains were gushing flames, 250,000 books in the British Museum were charred and smouldering and mains water was cut off. But who now remembers this and where is the memorial? Indeed, what memory has any of us of the London Blitz and its 20,000 civilians killed, its 300,000 homes destroyed?

On 3 September this year we forgot the outbreak of the Second World War, forgot the six million Jews of the Holocaust, forgot the 19 million Russian civilians who starved or froze to death, forgot the Polish nation torn asunder, forgot, forgot, forgot what that war meant for civilians from Trondheim to the mid-Pacific, forgot what we, the British, did to the civilians of Dresden and D¸sseldorf in the spirit of revenge.

Oh, of course. The English neeehhver make a fuss about the Blitz. Yeah, right. Uhh...shithead, maybe you've already forgotten (quite conveniently), but as you pointed out in the last paragraph, "This was an unprovoked assault on a nation not at war". That kinda makes it a little different. All of those other places were at war. The deaths are tragic and terrible, but expectable. And, uh.., unless you don't recall, we actually got involved and corrected the situation, rather than sit around and snipe at the victims like a bunch of smug little shits. But now Bri-Bri cuts to the chase...

To old hands the fuss over 11 September may have seemed unconscionable in the light of 20th century European history, but it was, of course, an assault beyond the imagining of a nation that thought its land inviolable. The United States of America has a short history of extreme violence against the indigenous peoples of the central belt of North America, of ethnic cleansing and now of ethnic ghettos, of territorial expansion by forced annexation and war against an infinitely weaker Mexico in 1846-8 and against Spain in 1898.

These wars had no moral foundation and cannot be described, even by the most partial historian, as just; they were wars of expansion that brought Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona within the borders of the USA, and Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines within its spheres of influence and even ownership. This is not a pretty history, not a history that accords with the aspirations of those who wrote the Declaration of Independence, but a history of greed for land and raw materials, greed for downright power. What would now be the economy of Mexico had she not been stripped of California and Texas?

Yeah right, dipshit. I'm sure the Islamofascists were real concerned about the plight of the American Indian. It doubtlessly kept them up at night.

In case you're unaware one of the major reasons England didn't have ghettos in the classic sense is that the Jewish population had been expelled by the English government. But I'm sure the huge Jamaican and Pakistani populations of Knightsbridge are well aware of that.

Finally, Texas wasn't taken by the U.S. in the Mexican War. There was a little thing called the Texas Revolution that led to it being a republic on its own. That republic, in turn, joined the Union. The entire thing was over before the Mexican War even started. But don't worry, I won't let the facts actually get in the way of your anti-Americanism. But, uhh, while you're at it, would you mind explaining to me how if the territories disputed in the Mexican War would have given Mexico such strength and vibrancy, it didn't actually help them win the war?
In a throw-away Anti-America rant, Sewell goes on....

With the propaganda of the cinema, Mexicans and Red Indians have been demonised, made ludicrous and contemptible. With political propaganda, the Americans have made themselves heroes without whom the two World Wars could not have been won; without their fortitude and generosity Russia would have been the victor in the Cold War, without their moral strength, the Atlantic would never have been crossed by Coca-Cola and fried chicken.

Okay, asshole, why don't you try showing me one, just one, movie in the last twenty years where Mexicans or Native Americans have been "demonised, made ludicrous and contemptible". I think I'll be waiting a long time, since there haven't been any. If your point is anything other than to go on an America-bashing harrangue, you can't really can't go back 50 years and cite the old John Wayne movies. You're commenting on America's views today. And while we're reviewing America's role in World History lets actually review a couple of those instances you bring up. If you hadn't been paying attention in history class, World War I was actually at a stalemate when America entered the war. Now I know you're too fine and sensitive a soul to spend your time thinking about such things but a stalemate, by definition, means that neither side was going to win. So, uh yeah, we did win that one for you. As for the Cold War, you're an idiot if you think the burnt out hulk of Europe would have withstood the Red Army without America. And maybe its gouche of me to remind you, but um... your ever-so-sophisticated, ever-so-European sort was preaching accomodation with Soviets up to the bitter end. It was the U.S., ignoring dipshits like yourself, that actually stood up to it. But, to be honest, there's a little part of me thats kinda inclined (especially after your "Mammon" beginning) to think that the fact that Russia wasn't the victor is a little bit of a disappointment for you. Oh, and before I forget, the reason Coca-Cola and fried chicken crossed the Atlantic is that people actually like it. Last I heard there's no such thing as a Kentucky Fried Gestapo, rounding up non-chicken eaters to be shot at dawn. The fact of the matter is that they crossed the Atlantic because obviously a lot of Brits prefer them to warm beer and boiled beef.

Is this the point at which to murmur of Vietnam, to conjure Agent Orange - that dread defoliant - to remind Dubya Bush of 11 years of inconclusive warfare with an army of as many as 400,000 men, to remind him of the body bags and the many young men of whom, like the New York victims of 11 September, there is no trace - many more than 2,801? Will war with Iraq be any remedy for 11 September?

Sure, fella, murmur all you want. Just like you guys murmurred about Afghanistan as the "Killer of Empires" and "a new Vietnam" last October. Although I have to admit that I have doubts about people who constantly murmur to themselves. Will it be a remedy for September 11? Probably not. What it will be is a way to keep the Whacky Iraqi from getting his grubby paws on a nuke. It will be a way to help make sure that on some other fine September day we don't find that rather than loosing 2,801 of our countrymen, we lose 2,801,000. But then for all your harping on the insufficiency of the bodycount, maybe thats why you don't like the idea of American action.

America had its opportunity to rid the world of Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War of 1991. In four days from 24 to 28 February, Operation Desert Storm slaughtered between 85,000 and 100,000 Iraqi soldiers, but, with victory in their grasp, American forces that could within a day have entered Baghdad and driven Saddam Hussein into exile, turned tail and left him to continue being the monster that he is. This was the consequence of America's fear and hatred of Iran - at that stage, of the two evil regimes, the preference of American strategists was for the Iraqi and they were naive enough to suppose that Saddam would in some way express his gratitude. Now Bush threatens Saddam with invasion - Saddam who has no known connection with 11 September - because the President has, in the passing of a whole year and in spite of all his rhetoric, made no convincing progress in his war against terrorism, a war that he can never win.

No, dickhead, we stopped the march on Baghdad because we actually bothered with the opinions of assholes like yourself and a bunch of tin-horn Arab dictatorships. They were handing us the same line of bullshit you're handing out now about destabilizing the Middle East (like the stability of assholes is a GOOD thing?!?!) and the need for international consensus. Guess what, we won't make that mistake anymore. And as for Mr. Hussein's relation to 9/11, somehow or another, I'm a little more inclined to take the word of Czech intelligence officials over that of some dipshit London art critic. Sorry, just me. And finally we have little Bri-Bri's summing up:

We remember too little, but are tempted to erect memorials to far too much. What should be done with Ground Zero? As New York long since sold its soul to Mammon, it should rebuild the twin towers, resume its confident and worldly life with no pretence of piety and principle and let fade the memory of 11 September, just like the rest of its distasteful history.

You piece of shit. You little, fucking, obnoxious, scumbag, no-account, piece of shit. You sit there and give a giant "Who cares" about the mass-murder of innocents, and you have the unmitigated gall to sit there and pass judgement on my city?! Screw you! Screw the horse you rode in on! Screw anybody who looks like you! And screw the horses they rode in on! I've seen people treat one another with more common decency than you'll ever know or deserve. You snobbish, superficial, little bastard!

Its good to know, though, that even though we don't have any friends amongs the would-be Eurotrash like Mr. Sewell, real Englishmen and women remain America's genuine friends.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

This article by Nicholas Kristof has me a little disturbed. Not so much by the the threat of terrorists getting ahold of the Anarchists Cookbook as by Kristof's general naivite and disregard for the First Ammendment. The information that Kristof suggests could pose a threat isn't the gunshow books per se, but those "helpful articles in professional journals" that Kristof doesn't bother mentioning until the last paragraph. Maybe its me, but the sort of massive censorship of scientific journals this would imply seems anathema to open scientific inquiry.
Found a pretty funny posting from Aria Goes Down. I'm a little late getting to it, but the following gives a taste of what it says:

...You don’t like me? Good for you, lots of people don’t, some of them are members of my own family. I don’t give a fuck. Here in America, we call that your problem – not mine. Deal with it. You don’t like that I wear makeup? Don’t look at me. You don’t like that I have my own mouth, my own opinions? Don’t listen to me. Do I dress like a whore to you? Avert your eyes. You can really impress me - gouge them out. Does the Star of David around my neck offend you? Good, fuck off. Go home at night and curse my name. Curse my beliefs, my lifestyle, my behavior, my family, my friends – do it up, Fucker. Live large, make a dartboard out of pictures of me, a voodoo doll, create a poorly constructed mock me and burn it in effigy. Knock yourself the fuck out. I don’t care. Blast BuckCherry’s Anything, Anything and mosh your stupid head into the wall. Fine by me. Believe me, I’m not Snow White-Friend-to-All myself. There are plenty of folks out there that I take umbrage with (just ask Doris). You can hate me all you want. Let it eat away at you like a cancer until it consumes you whole. That’s ok with me.

The rest of it is pretty much as funny.