Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Whom the Gods would Destroy

I used to enjoy returning to the United States from trips abroad. Whatever the many virtues of foreign lands, none had the open and airy breath of freedom that one inhaled upon setting foot in America. Today, it is the reverse. I heaved a sigh of relief upon leaving for a brief trip abroad and, on my return from the “outside” world, I felt like I was descending back into some bunkered madhouse.

The madness began in earnest this October 7th when we invaded Afghanistan to “smoke out” Alkaydah and teach them ragheads not to mess with Uhmurkans!! The yahoos in my town took to peeling rubber in their flag-bedecked picks-ups as they leaned on their horns and screamed “yeeeehaw!!” “kickassssss!” and “Muuuuuuuuuurrrkaaa!” at the top their lungs. The town elders hung banners that read “America Land of the Free” even as Congress was voting away our liberties.

The yeeehawing and honking continued for three days. Old Glory became ubiquitous - hanging from every house and store; plastered on bumpers, on posts, and windows. The town was intoxicated with jingoistic, testosteronal self-love. Thump! thump! thump! thump!

My town did no more than mirror the rest of the country, albeit in a somewhat more primitive but at least more honest way. The fact is that the country as whole -- its leadership, its press, its populace, willfully ignorant and self-indulgent -- are wallowing in a celebration of war.

Do they not know?

While “outside” I met up with a friend of mine from Germany. “So, how is it?” he asked. I looked at him for a moment and replied, “Well... you know how it is. It’s like your country in the 30’s. All that self-idolatry and chest puffing. Ich bin stolz ein Deutscher zu sein!” He nodded pensively. “I’ll tell you something else," I said, “and like your country, Americans will not learn a damn thing until they are hit over the head hard with one hell of a 2x4.”

Whom the gods would destroy they first make A’mukans.

©WCG, 2001


Thursday, October 11, 2001

Translating Government NonSpeak

I was surfing the news this morning. It all sounds so familiar: the Government emitting a non-stop torrent of lies and insinuations blended into a blather of non-speak, a form of appearing to say something articulate without saying anything cogent at all. Eventually, subjecting a nation to this kind of verbal abuse destroys language and hence thought.

Nevertheless, although misinformation destroys public discourses, it remains possible to, as a matter of private comprehension, not only to “pierce through” the propaganda but to use it to find out what the truth of any given matter is.

Provided one follows two basic rules, the US Government is a very accurate source of information, The firt is the Rule of Anti-Inference. Listen to what is actually said and do not infer anything. Once that is done, you will know what the government doesn’t know (but would like to imply that it does) or what it wants you to think by virtue of not having said it. The correlative, is the The Rule of 180 -- invert whatever the Government says to its opposite, and that is the truth. The past days have given several examples of how these rules work.

About 10 days I was talking to someone who mentioned that the Government had proof that Bin Laden "was responsible". In actual English there is no such thing as "being responsible" there can only be “responsibility for something” or “responsibility to someone”. To say that someone is or is not “responsible” without further attribution, is simply to make a general statement about character that means little more than saying he is a good kind of guy. Thus, when the Government says that Bin Ladin “is responsible” it does so in the expectation that we will fill in the necessary attribution. And so, we think we have heard a statement to the effect that “Bin Laden is responsible for the 9/11 attacks.” In that way, without ever explicitly lying, the Government lets us lie to ourselves.

I decided not to quibble with my interlocutor and, cutting to the chase, replied, “That means that he didn't have anything to do with it.” “Oh, you're so cynical," came the reply, “they’ve said he’s a potential suspect.” Now, there was no escaping a lesson in elementary English ....

I explained that the word “suspect” meant someone who might have done something, and so a “potential suspect” is someone who maybe might have done something. When the government “elevated” Bin Laden from a mere “suspect” to a prime “potential suspect”it was actually saying that it had less to implicate on Thursday than it had on Tuesday. My interlocutor looked at me suspiciously, as if he suspected I did not love our country sufficiently.

As it turns out, however, last night on CNN, some FBI expert pontificated that Bin Laden was “actually” more like “the pope of terrorism.” According to this intelligence expert “Bin Laden couldn't lead 8 ducks across the road.”

What I had always suspected from the start was that Bin Laden was more of a cheerleader than a ringleader. The reason I suspected this much was because the Government’s attempt to bamboozle me with talk about “prime suspect” and “potential prime suspect,” "links consistent with" and like whatnot indicated that they didn’t have the goods on him. The Government’s non-speak was banking on my drawing an inference of culpability from meaningless burbles.

So now, apart from confirming my cynicism, we have arrived in short order at the absurdity of attacking a country in order to capture a “pope-like” “responsible” who couldn't lead eight ducks across a road.

Is it surprising that the United States begins operation Hard Liberty (tough luv) by bombing the country in order, we are told, to “clear a path” to get food to “innocent civilians.”

To this end, we drop 35,000 MRE's ("Meals Ready to Eat”) on the country. But apart from the minor problem invovled with bombing recipients of charity, the reports out of Afghanistan are that there are an estimated 2 million people on the edge of starvation. So our magnanimous act, doesn’t count for much except to delude the average CheezO munching TV viewer that America is Good.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, follows up by assuring us that American attacks have gone “according to plan” The bombs have hit their "designated targets" and that they have proved "partially successful" in that we have forced the Taliban terrorists “out of their holes.” Yeehaw!!! Operation Smoke ‘Em Out is a success!

But what a difference a word makes! El Pais (Spain) reports that the terrorists are being “dispersed”. Excuse me for being so utterly stupid, but if you want to capture a group of people don't you want to corral them?

This "war" will be like smashing a bead of mercury with a hammer.

At any rate, the US is apparently now ready for the next phase: helicopters and troops. I have no idea know how good US special forces are but what I do know is that Afghan mountains have altitudes of 10k to 16k feet. Gee...who would you bet money on -- a shepherd boy or some hay seed from Iowa? Who knows... maybe the US will pull off something; but I'm not clear what. Apparently, the whole point is to capture a "pope" and to replace him with a nonagenarian "king of Afghanistan" who is certifiably senile enough to come out of a 70 year retirement in Paris in order to lead a "coalition" of elements who have nothing in common except intense mutual hatred. This makes Diem (remember ol' Diem?) looks a sure winner.

But never mind. The US has scored victories on other fronts as well. Last week, after a whirlwind tour of the sands, Rumsfeld returns and announces triumphantly that the US has consolidated its Arab coalition. According to The Rule of 180, this means no coalition exists.

Lo and behold, yesterday the League of Arab Nations unanimously denounced "any invasion of an Islamic country". According to the press this was a "compromise" resolution.... uh... comprised of 1% for and 99% against? Since Afghanistan is included within "any", it doesn't look like a compromise to me at all; but whether it is or not, with a coalition like this who needs enemies?

It is beyond me how it could be in any country's interests to join in this folly. Indeed Die Zeit opines that Europe should "disengage". My wager is that -- apart from the English cocker that tags along barking at its master's heel -- Europe will in fact find ways to distance itself

©WCG, 2001


Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Deus lo Vult!

Intoxicated with self-righteousness and fired with bellicosity we are rushing headlong forward without the least circumspection or doubt. This is the surest way to disaster.

People talk about “evil” as if it were no more than the label for things we do not like to varying degrees of distaste, disgust, revulsion, anger and abhorrence. Evil ends up being simply that which is opposed to us and which we oppose. But that partial view of evil is only partially correct.

I remember an itinerant guru some years back saying something to the effect that modern man thought of the devil as merely a metaphor. “No, no,” he said, “it is not that way; the devil really does exist.” I think he then laughed and added, “He even has horns and a tail!” The point to be taken was that evil is not just an “act” but truly a force -- its own presence in the world.

But if evil is a force abroad in the land, then it can affect us as well as our enemies. And by “affect” I do not mean as innocent victims but as guilty actors. In other words, evil can victimize us by making us too its beelzebubs.

The older I get the less inclined I am to laugh at medieval monks throwing holy water on a fire. The first thing medieval man would have done when confronted with a shocking conflagration that was so unexpected as to be like “an act of God or perchance the Devil” was to cross himself protectively. The second thing he would have done would have been to examine his conscience to ask what sin he had committed to bring such evil upon himself. Only then would he embark on the third step of sallying forth to wreak vengeance on the fiendish enemy who had done him wrong.

We have skipped the second step, and without examination and contrition it is an open question who is leading us whither.

Peter the Hermit rallying the Troops

The rhetoric thundering out of Washington is very much like the drumming that precedes all warful endeavours. But for obvious reasons -- including the counter rhetoric emanating from assorted caves and mosques -- it sounds most like Pope Urban II’s call for a crusade.

“Oh, race of Franks, race from across the mountains, race chosen and beloved by God as shines forth in very many of your works set apart from all nations by the situation of your country, as well as by your catholic faith ... To you our discourse is addressed and for you our exhortation is intended.
“From the confines of Jerusalem ... a horrible tale has gone forth... [A] race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation forsooth which has not directed its heart and has not entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire; ... They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness. They circumcise the Christians, and the blood of the circumcision they either spread upon the altars or pour into the vases of the baptismal font. When they wish to torture people by a base death, they perforate their navels, and dragging forth the extremity of the intestines, bind it to a stake; ... Others they bind to a post and pierce with arrows. Others they compel to extend their necks and then, attacking them with naked swords, attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow. What shall I say of the abominable rape of the women? To speak of it is worse than to be silent!
“Let the deeds of your ancestors move you and incite your minds to manly achievements; .... Let the holy sepulchre of the Lord our Saviour, which is possessed by unclean nations, especially incite you, and the holy places which are now treated with ignominy and irreverently polluted with their filthiness. Oh, most valiant soldiers and descendants of invincible ancestors, be not degenerate, but recall the valor of your progenitors.”
By all accounts when the Pope had finished his exhortation, all who were present, cried out, "It is the will of God! It is the will of God!" Deus lo vult! Deus lo vult!

“ When the venerable Roman pontiff heard that, with eyes uplifted to heaven he gave thanks to God and, with his hand commanding silence, said: “Unless the Lord God had been present in your spirits, all of you would not have uttered the same cry. ... Therefore I say to you that God, who implanted this in your breasts, has drawn it forth from you. Let this then be your war-cry in combats, because this word is given to you by God. When an armed attack is made upon the enemy, let this one cry be raised by all the soldiers of God: It is the will of God! Deus Vult!
Before we in this most modern and technologically advanced nation make mockery of them silly medievals, we ought pause and take note of how medieval we ourselves -- and the Bush Administration in particular -- sound. ... And also how not.

For before Urban called upon the valiant Franks to visit devastation upon the Infidel, he exhorted them to correct their own sins first.

“For how can the ignorant teach others? How can the licentious make others modest? And how can the impure make others pure? If anyone hates peace, how can he make others peaceable? Or if anyone has soiled his hands with baseness, how can he cleanse the impurities of another? We read also that if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch [Matt. 15:14]. But first correct yourselves, in order that, free from blame , you may be able to correct those who are subject to you.”
The liturgical custom of public penitence before battle dates back through the Emperor Theodosius I (379-395) to King David. The story of David is well known. Flush with victory and trusting in his own lights, David connived to cover his adultery with a betraying act of murder. Out of his own household, calamity was visited upon him leading David to publicly confess his sins in what became Psalm 51 and, later, the Introit to the mass:

Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. . . . Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean
When Theodosius, in pursuit of one of those nefarious and treacherous policies which were characteristic of the Late Roman Empire slaughtered 7,000 innocent Thessalonicans, he begged off saying that David had done as bad or worse. An implacable St. Anselm excommunicated him saying, “You have imitated David’s crime; now imitate his repentance!” After several months of very public humiliation at the cathedral door, the Emperor was received back into communion.

In the medieval mind, the shedding even of pagan blood, ran the risk of pollution and damnation. In typical medieval fashion, David’s repentance after the fact became the model for repentance before the deed. The example of Theodosius became the paradigm for acts of royal humiliation prior to coronation and for Charlemagne’s edict requiring three days’ fast prior to battle. The idea seems to have been that custom, necessity or vindication do not necessarily make the act clean, godly or right.

Modern cynics, like Cervantes or Monty Python can split our sides with the absurdities of medieval chivalry. Nobody in their right mind could possibly take this stuff seriously. Life is nasty and brutish. Chercher le banquier or at least la femme. As the French historian Guizot put it, “the middle ages, were, in point of fact, one of the most brutal, most ruffianly epochs of all time; one ...wherein the public peace was most incessantly troubled and wherein the greatest licentiousness in morals prevailed.” Indeed, after reaching Tyre, the valorous (and pre-confessed) race of Franks saw fit to catapult diseased animals and rotting human heads into the city in order to instigate a plague on the besieged. “Nevertheless,” Guizot is quick to add, “it cannot be denied that side by side with these gross and barbarous morals, there existed knightly morality and knightly poetry.... It is exactly this contrast which makes the great and fundamental characteristic of the middle ages.”

That is also the fundamental difference between then and now. The issue is not hypocrisy but idealism. The Middle Ages was in fact one of the most idealistic epochs in history. The duality of what is as against what ought to be was constantly before their eyes: the city of man, the City of God, the King’s two bodies, the “real” sun moving in a perfect uniform circle and the “merely apparent” sun being a little too forward or behind where it ought to be. As the English historian Plucknett put it, “Out of all the confusion and disaster of the middle ages there arose a unanimous cry for law, which should be divine in its origin, rendering justly to every man his due.”

In Plucknett’s view, American constitutionalism is an indelibly medieval construct:

"Where many a medieval thinker would ultimately identify law with the will of God, in modern times it would be identified with the will of the state. The medievalists in England had ended Stuart statecraft and the Constitution of the United States was written by men who had Magna Carta, Coke and Littleton before their eyes. Could anything be more medieval than the idea of due process...?
But the open ended concept of a due process we must strive to live up to is not far removed from Urban’s admonition that “if anyone has soiled his hands with baseness, how can he cleanse the impurities of another?” Both are rooted in an imperfect consciousness of perfection.

Medieval man was many things, but the one thing he was not was self-righteous. If anything, he was acutely aware of his fallibility and failings. When evil befell him, his first thought was to ask what he may have done or failed to do to bring about the misfortune. He may have followed up with generous dollops of self-justification, but at least he asked the question. We have not.

Caught in the toils of the way things are we can nevertheless be mindful of the way things ought to be and this mindfulness in turn makes us aware of the way we are. We are not full of right, but full of sin. Our own misdeeds bring misfortune upon us and lead us to rush headlong into disaster. It may be that in this imperfect world we must do imperfect things; but if we do not pause beforehand to examine ourselves honestly and humbly we become mere agents of Fury which like a fire is only interested in consuming what it burns.

©WCG, 2001

Fulcher of Chartres, Gesta Francorum
Robert the Monk, Historia Hierosolymitana
Francois G.P. Guizot . A Popular History of France (1875) Volume I.
T. Plucknett, A Concise History of the Common Law, 5th Ed. (1956)

Saturday, September 15, 2001

A Common Bond in Service of Rival Masters

WATCHING the almost simultaneous commemorative services at Saint Paul’s in London and the National Cathedral at week’s close, it was impossible not to be impressed by the deep bond of memory shared by the peoples of the English speaking world. It is a palpable sort of thing which is as difficult to explain to the peoples of the Spanish speaking world as it is for the collective Ibero-American experience to reverberate in us.

The United States is a very different country from England. Our Germans and Irish, Italians and Poles, myriad lesser ethnicities and Jews have all made us a distinct, raucously brash and agitated country. Although all Americans are Anglicized, it is by now exclusionarily absurd to think of the U.S. as an Anglo Saxon country. (I’m fairly sure that notion sank with the Titanic.) And yet, a Martian beholding the two services this Friday could not fail to think : “These are both stemming from some same thing.”

That sense of sameness is extraordinary if one happens to know that the St. Paul’s service was strictly C of E, whereas the Washington service was inter denominational and inter-faith. It is even more extraordinary if one compares the restrained formality of what BBC called an “informal” service with the casualness of the American which, one supposes, BBC would have characterized as a church beer bust.

The sameness I am talking is not a matter of professional definitions but of evoked and signified feelings. Beyond the vestments and vergers, beyond the processionals, I suspect the language of the soul had the most to do with it. It is not the differences the expert hears that matters but rather the cross-borrowing sameness the layman feels at home with. Immortal Invisible (London), Oh God Our Hope ... and A Mighty Fortress (Washington) are sounds which by liturgical or historical experience are part of a shared family album.... albeit an irredeemably Protestant one. (I kept on thinking how out of place the Catholic cardinals looked on either side of the Atlantic -- their red robes conjuring up a very different confluence of memories.)

The English fixed our common bond by singing the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning of the service, the Battle Hymn of the Republic toward the end and God Save the T’is of Thee at the last. The message sent was more than one of just sympathy. Whether amnesiac Americans remember it or not, the Crown certainly has not forgotten that when Churchill came a-begging for help aboard the Prince of Wales, he had the ship’s complement sing: “....Oh hear us when we cry to thee, For those in peril on the sea...” The message was, it seems to me, that the English saw it as pay-back time. They would stand with us, no questions asked.

But the second thing that was just as striking was how different the two services were notwithstanding their deep commonality. The English service bespoke the polities of religion; the American was all about religion in the service of politics. The differences were appalling.

Bush’s pseudo sermon (presumably qua ius pontifex) was pretty much a plain declaration of war. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s homily was a reminder that a just war must have a just purpose. Thus, when the English sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic the sense of it was “dying to make men free....” When the Americans sang it, to the accompaniment of belligerent blasts of brass, the sense of it was “nuking out the vintage where Bin Ladin’s grapes are stored”. It was unmistakably blood thirsty and chilling.

It was very strange seeing two things so deeply common at one level being done with such critically different spirits on the other. The Anglo-American memory is something I cannot help responding to. But my critical mind kept telling me that Washington was, yet again, abusing my responses.

Of course, it is not possible for a nation to be attacked as we were and not retaliate in some way. All the priestly prattling notwithstanding, it is a brute fact of geo politics that the nation must vindicate its honor they put it in the modern world, “sustain its credibility”.

But in such times, a service such as these is more properly used as the pause before war than the as prelude to war. We need a time to calm the passions and to make space for a modicum of reflection before reaction. Dismally enough, the belligerence out of Washington is unremitting. Bush proclaims a global campaign to “whip terrorism” in a “new kind of war” while Collin Powell says we should not expect “this war” to be without casualties. Since terrorists don’t usually fight on battle fields, I think he means to includes civilian casualties. Are we really marching off into some nightmare?

©WCG, 2001


Wednesday, September 12, 2001

The Devil's Bill

Yesterday’s shocking attacks had less to do with religious fanaticism than with a secular fundamentalism on our part which provokes acts of impotent (if spectacular) desperation in response. Predictably, root causes and the true nature of things will buried under a barrage of inflammatory invective against depraved and malignant “terrorists”. That much is to be expected. More troubling yet is my premonition that this already-announced “war on terror” will be used to undo what remains of civil liberty and stampede the populace into a police state.

At the outset, I think it is critical to avoid confusions between policies that have a true religious inspiration, policies that aim to enforce a religion and religion as an ‘inflammatory narcotic’ in the service of interests and policies that have non-religious motives and bases.

From what I can tell, Arab fundamentalists have no real desire to evangelize their religious beliefs and customs outside their own societies.  No doubt, the banner of The Prophet is often hoisted over a Pan-Arabist political and economic struggle that is regional in scope. But it is essential to take stock of what is afoot under the banner.  These so-called extremists do not hate the United States “for our way of life” but for our Government’s unilateral support of Israel and its imposition of client regimes that serve neo-liberal Western economic interests.

"The United States,” said Bin Ladin, “accustomed to acting in an ambience of arrogance, has today laid down a double standard. It wants to occupy our countries, rob us of our resources, impose agents to govern us insisting that we accept all of this even if it departs from what God has revealed as just and right. If we refuse to accept these unjust impositions, they brand us as terrorists.”

It is hardly news; but Bin Laden knows whereof he speaks.   The United States is as arrogant as it is powerful. Instead of applying itself to humanitarian ends, it pushes people around and feigns shock and indignation when they fight back. Indifferent both to their grievances and its own exploitative policies it disparages resistance as terrorism while engaging in its own ongoing wars of terror.

The greater part of so-called Islamic terrorism could have been avoided with even a bare modicum of balance in America’s Middle East policy.

In all events, this war against terrorism on which we embark today, like the war on drugs on which we embarked years ago, cannot be won. Today our politicians in all but chorus denounce the “heinous assault against civilization and freedom;” but just you wait, tomorrow they will palaver about the required “sacrifices” and “tools” needed to defend our homes and loved ones. What sacrifices? What tools? None other than the loss of the liberty supposedly defended.

This war is nothing that can be won with a handful of battles. On the contrary, it presupposes a continuous engagement. And who is the enemy? All Arabs? No.... not all.... The American militias? Perhaps, but not always. The Irish? At times. The Basque?  Could be. What the Government will have to presume is that everyone is at least a potential terrorist. In the most fundamental sense that is a presumption that is entirely antithetical to the concept of civil friendship, i.e., societas.

In present day England they have already mounted cameras on every corner in the country in order, it is said, to defend against IRA terrorism. But what this entails is that every movement anyone makes in public is made under the all seeing eye of the Command and Control Center. Worse yet, Control can zoom in and use high-def photography to snap, digitize and database your corneal imprint.

Such things are but the visible manifestation of what is in actuality a policio-military apparatus of espionage and control that is gradually being erected over us. Bit by bit, the denizens of this country have been led to accept incremental police measures, soothingly reassured at each step that -- the police being husbands and fathers themselves -- these powers will not be abused. Bit by bit, fear has been insinuated between government and the governed and, ultimately, between citizens and neighbors themselves. And, as always, fear goes shadowed with intolerance and hatred of anything different or unusual.

The most stupid thing about this new “war” is that the security it purports to achieve cannot be attained.   The problem presented by so-called terrorism is not the criminality of the act but the criminalization of the actor.  The difference between “lawful war” and “unlawful terrorism” is not that the former is in actual fact less terrorist, but that it occurs within a larger context of regularity and stability.  The unofficial terrorist, on the other hand, is like the ordinary criminal who, precisely because he is a nobody, has nothing to loose and is nowhere to be found.

To declare war against an unseen, amorphous, invisible enemy who is given no option other than implacable hate, is a gross stupidity which can only be explained by this country’s overweening arrogance and self-righteousness. For that pride the Devil will have to be paid.

©WCG, 2001

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

As Dogs Snoozed in the Sun.....

Michael woke me up at the ungodly hour of seven with three persistent phone calls the last one of which ended with something I heard as: "You must get up, the bombs are falling!" Wha...? wha...? With a tension and controlled panic in his voice he tells me I should turn on the TV. "They've bombed the trade center." It was completely destroyed. He had been out walking the dogs and the doorman had just told him on his return.

I told him I couldn't possibly talk to him until I had my morning coffee and cigarette but that I would call him back shortly. I would love to pass this off as some kind of English country unflapableness, but it's just my addiction.

For me, it was a day of quiet astonishment. After calling Michael back, I tried to get into work, and did in fact do some mindless cross-checking. By and large, however, I remained glued to the TV. Even so, I felt curiously removed from the whole thing, and this feeling was due to something other than living in the protected hinterlands.

When I saw the video of the plane crashing into the second tower, I caught my brain-gears saying : This is not real. This little mental re-adjudgement disrupted the immediacy of what I was seeing and there is no way to recover immediacy once it is lost. After that, the impact remained indelibly intellectualized. Today's experience was very different from the televised shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. I remember that well, and it was as if it occurred in your living room. It was truly shocking. But in the intervening years, the daily barrage of live warfare replayed into our homes and the endless stream of special effects and split screens between the place being blasted to hell and “our studios in New York” have reduced everything to a mediated reality. Acts no longer bear an impact; they come supplied with one, and this leads to masturbatory emotionality of little use.

As a result, I have become guarded against allowing myself to be affected by things that don't actually affect me. Sort of nisi in coram nisi prius in sensu. I am not there; I do not know anyone who was; it was not in my present; I am not now impacted by it in anyway, just as I was not impacted by the earthquake a couple of years ago that killed 30,000 in a few seconds, I forget where...I think Sicily... In all events, I am not about to let some manipulative anchor dink jerk me up into some state of fast-feel, junk emotion.

I do not mean to say that I did not think about it, or that the spectacularity of the deed did not rivet me or that I am not cognizant the political consequences that will affect me for sure. But other than a feeling of horrified pity at seeing little “specs” of human being jump to their death, there was little that resonated at an emotional level. I looked at my doggies several times during the day, blissfully snoozing in the sun's rays. Their unawareness served as an admonishment. Between true immediate impact and artificial titillation lies a space which can be mediated by a barrage of television chatter that fills the air with trivializing data or by detached reflection. And so I don't have much to say other than that I am thinking about it.

[Continued September 13th]

©WCG, 2001