Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Let the Secular Jihad begin!

The Guardian's Charlie Brooker recently panned Bush for his performance in the presidential debates. Brooker's article has been rescinded and dislcaimed by the Register, but I still found it cached in Google.) Roasting Bush, or any figure, is fine as far as it goes. I mean, I didn't watch the debates, but, even from a single glimpse of them on the news in the gym, I must admit Bush struck me as, well, a bit off. I'm no Bush-baiter and I don't take much interest in political gossip. I've been nestled in Taiwan (or, before that, buried in college) for most of Bush's presidency, so I haven’t made much sport of following the hilarious trail of Bushisms and Dubya faux pas. Mocking anyone on purely physiognomic or behavioral grounds is only slightly better than despicable. I suspect much of the anti-Bush (or anti-anyone) rhetoric, in style if not in content, is due to an ingrained eugenicist elitism in the US ethos. Chauvinistic hedonism is thus a political as well as moral worldview. As long as the 'tards don't know we're mocking them, it's all good.[1] And as long as we can marginalize Bush as the 'tard in charge, it's all good.

Still, while I generally avoid reading too much into a person's foibles, I must admit Bush did look distincly on edge, keyed up, a little baffled -- almost high -- during (at least one of) the debates. This could have been the result of a crafty liberal visual spinjob, but... well, let me just say that Bush, in this instance, seriously lacked the demeanor I hope to see in my national leader.

At any rate, Brooker, a moron apparently too witty for his own good, closed his roast of Bush with these infinitely rational words:

On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

UN-BE-LIEVABLE. I guarantee you this guy makes a pet hobby of skewering religious fanatics (presumably like Bush) for their jihad-crusade mentality. And yet, he thinks he has a pass to joke in a widely published periodical about killing another human being, the leader of the United States of America. Inciting violence, however whimsically intended, is still a monstrous game. Behind every joke lies a truth and behind every turth lies a joke. In this case, unfortunately, Brooker grasped neither the rudiments of humor or the truth of moral dignity.

Of course, that's fine, because he's but a sturdy little cog in the machinery of reason anf human freedom trundling over the undying corpse of faith and piety. In a strange way, jihadists and violent fundamentalists are more honorable because they see violence as a necessary means to a higher good; they at least don't toy with violence like Brooker, the powedered dandy at the keyboard. A jihad is at least stunning, almost stunningly beautiful, in its intensity. Brooker's secular jihad, by contrast, is nothing but a flabby hypocritical jab at the bogeyman of the week. Trivilaizing violence is precisely how it becomes more user-friendly, more accessible, more mundane and thus more common. Immoral journalistic humor can be just as desensitizing as ultra-graphic cinematic carnage-porn.

Say what you will about Bush, he is still a human and he needs and deserves our prayers and charity, even if not our vote. That, a moral injunction, is as far as I'll take this political discussion, since so much of this "political" campaign is actually a moral battle. I know Kerry did not endorse Brooker's article or the "retarded" flyer, and I'm not attacking him for either. There are clay feet and glass walls all around, but we must not check our conscience at the voting booth.[2]

[1] Seeing flyers like that, and knowing a cognizant human hand is behind them, set me so much on edge I cold punch a wall. I used to suffer from an extremely bad temper and it's f---king vile propaganda like that makes me long to drive my knee straight up through the guilty bastard's jaw -- if not in reality then, I confess, in my mind as I daydream or drift to sleep. Miserere me, Domine.

[2] Yes, B.O., a fasting man can legitimately recommend food to a hungry friend.

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