Happy slapping our way through thick and thin
Ah, Thursday. The work week is almost over. Spring is almost here. My cats are almost happy enough not to complain constantly about their lot in life. Speaking of happy, the French law designed to ban happy slapping may be worse than I thought yesterday. It might be applied to any non-journalist who films a violent act and then distributes the film. Like say, the person who videotaped the Rodney King beating in the USA some years ago. Sigh. I don’t like censorship, and it appears to be on the upswing in the west. At the very time the media is becoming more distributed because Joe Citizen can now film and broadcast their own news, authorities in many western countries, including the USA, are trying to place ever more restrictions on the media. I think this is further evidence that most (if not all) governments really aren’t acting in the best interests of their nation’s citizens, but I am resigned to the fact that many people cannot or will not ever accept that about their own government. End rant.
Happy slapping? Just for those who didn’t really know what the hell that was all about, I looked it up on Wikipedia. Happy slapping is a euphemism for beating someone up (or worse) and filming it (with a camera phone or a video camera.) Charming. So now the cancer that is doublespeak has soaked to the furthest dregs of our society, even our street thugs now have deceptive names for their evil acts. Will historians someday look back at our era and think it must have been a golden age of peace? We have no wars or invasions, just “police actions” and “liberations.” No invading armies, just “peacekeepers.” And now even street crime has been vanquished in the west, there are no more assaults and muggings, just playful “happy slappings.”
The worst part about all this euphemism of course, is that it works. Huge numbers of people buy this nonsense by the boatload and happily support that which had it been called by its proper name would be an abomination. I’d give some examples, but most people can easily think of their own, and those who are mired in some grand self deception easily get very upset when their sacred cow gets skewered. Suffice it to say that people and -isms of every stripe have their own sacred vernacular for the horrors they commit. Sometimes I think that the pen is not only mightier than the sword, it’s mightier than the brain.
OK then. A few headlines:
Force won’t end Iraq war. General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in Iraq, said that military force alone will not end the war in Iraq. Hallelujah. Most of history’s wars and troubles were eventually solved by talks, not war. One of the most horrible things that ever happened to the USA was when Roosevelt for purely selfish political reasons persuaded America that we were such a good, righteous, and powerful country that we could insist that our enemies surrender unconditionally. In comic books and postage stamp countries that may work, in the real world it is a recipe for endless war. (It didn’t even work very well in World War Two, but that’s another blog.) I can only hope that General Petraeus’ words are heard in Washington, but time will tell.
Korean Talks Continue. There appears to have been substantive progress made in talks with North Korea, its neighbours, and the USA. I can only be optimistic that a certain amount of reality has intruded. No one really wants a war, and the USA putting pressure on North Korea was just making it even more dependent on and influenced by China. Maybe things will continue stumble toward reunification of the two Koreas. Or maybe the USA is just cynically going along with talks to bolster its case that talks with Iran have failed and that war with Iran is the only recourse. Once again, stay tuned.
Terminator 1.0 is here. Israel has unveiled a new hunter-killer robot the size of a small TV set. The idea is that these robots will go into combat zones instead of soldiers, thus saving the lives of soldiers. Of course people like me point out that if a war is so unimportant that you aren’t willing to risk your soldiers lives, you’ve already lost. This sort of incredibly expensive toy makes oodles of money for the defence industry, and takes away money and resources from the real soldiers. The people who tout this sort of thing are either fools or liars, and the more money Israel and the USA spend on stuff like this, the worse they will do in an actual war. (cough–Lebanon–Iraq–cough.)
Of course after watching the Terminator movies some years ago, it was suggested that an appropriate sequel might include terminator cats. The mere concept of course is too terrifying for words. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have to clean their litter boxes or wipe up hairballs daily. Lethal cats vs lethal litter box smells, it’s a close call really.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, it is central to illustrating the post, and it is an historically important image.)