It's time for us to find the people responsible for this mess and hold them accountable.
I’m reading Retribution, Max Hastings’ epic history of the death throes of imperial Japan, after having just finished Dear Billy, a superbly written comic by Garth Ennis in which a raped British nurse takes revenge by suffocating captured Japanese patients. (The whole story is told through a love letter to an RAF pilot, and it’s a shockingly good read).
Both the book and the comic focus on the messy, bloody death throes of the Japanese Empire—that bizarre combination of 20th century ultra-nationalism, 19th century imperialism and the medieval death cult of bushido (as worshipped by a wide-eyed Tom Cruise in his diabolically clumsy movie The Last Samurai). And both fixate on a desire for vengeance.
Ennis is perhaps best known for his work on Marvel’s Punisher, the story of man who tries to bury his remorse under a sea of bodies—and fails. One Ennis/Punisher storyline, "Kitchen Irish", ends when a young British soldier slots the young Irishman who killed his dad—and feels absolutely none the better for it.
I bring all this up in the wake of the increasingly irrational and hysterical Glenn Beck’s 9/12 campaign where Fox bollocks-talker Glenn tearfully implores Americans to feel the way they felt on the morning of the 12th of September 2001, and which Steven Colbert brilliantly parodied by appearing clutching a pump-action shotgun, a gas mask and colostomy pants.
An American friend received an e-mail on or around 9/12, the text told the story of a kid looking at a Ground Zero monument:
“Daddy, what were the Twin Towers?”
Dad explains that the landmarks were destroyed by Arab terrorists.
"Dad,” says the kid, “what’s an Arab?”
My friend wrote back angrily, asking that she not be sent any more racist e-mails.
The reply came: “You wouldn’t say that if you were a New Yorker. No city in the world has suffered as much as New York!”
To which, of course my friend could (but did not) respond with the following list: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Warsaw, London, Bristol, Liverpool,Pompei, Carthage, Coventry, Atlanta, San Francisco …
But hey, I’m with Glenn.
Let’s do it all again. Let’s spunk a couple of million on Chinese-made U.S. flags. Let’s go beat the shit out of some Sikhs. Or some Hindus. Or anybody who kinda sorta looks a bit like a terrorist. Let’s give the same sordid cabal of war-profiteers andneo -imperialist wing nuts who spent the Clinton years secretly plotting the unprovoked invasion of Iraq another run out. What have we got to lose?
Those were the days my friends, if only we could get them back.
Beck has been rightly and widely mocked for his flailing, unfocused fury. What’s he against, exactly? And who are the “them” that he claims “we” surround? (I read this as whites surrounding blacks—does this make me paranoid?)
It seems—once one has picked one’s way through all the fake crying and strangely Mussolini-like hand gestures—that Glenn is calling from some sort of jihad-style vengeance on those who are destroying some vaguely defined American way of life.
Which I’m all for. I like a bit of catharsis. But for heaven’s sake let’s narrow down the list of really guilty men before we start. And let us—by all means—keep things judicial.
So why do Americans love them? Also: 'The Wire' sucked. And so did 'Battlestar Galactica.' And so does Kill You In The Face. Anybody not mad yet?
Rupert Murdoch knows everything. He probably ordered the immediate adoption of the Bolshevik worldview throughout the News International print empire the minute he realized that only a total imbecile could possibly sing the praises of the so-called free-market in the deregulated nightmare horror wreckage of the voodoo economy.
They’re not McDonald’s. They’re not “businesses.” Oh, sure, they’ve got to make payroll. But they are not and cannot be run as out-and-out cash cows for the greedy and the idle.
I personally spent last 25 years dumping the vilest invective imaginable on the heads of bands I consider bad, boring or merely annoying. Even with cancer, what right do I have to any immunity from those who slag back?
Are the Oath Keepers for The Man? Or for The People? And how are regular people supposed to tell "legitimate" conservatives from the nutter fringe these days, anyway?
First Person Arts Podcast: Proud Mom