Oil for Food for Thought

December 4, 2006

Up to a few days back, I was awed by the degree of activism shown by my people about the US’s involvement in Iraq. Whenever the thing came up – at a party, after a show, someone’s reading, or online (which goes to show just how drab my proclivities are getting) – I was very impressed by the degree to which people seemed to theorize on the issue at hand. And most of it wasn’t mere armchair talk. These weren’t your run-of-the-mill Fahrenheit 911 buffs. These were people who had read and quoted Vonnegut and Chomsky; watched the Presidential Debates, balanced Kerry’s diatribes against Bush’s, and skillfully concluded that this was a very bad thing to be happening. And so I sat and listened, and my admiration grew to the point where I began to perceive faint haloes (in dim light) about the more initiated speakers’ heads, when there was this terribly loud explosion in Colpetty.

And the people just went on talking.

Now, being new to this circle, I had been under the impression that we were taking Dubya to the cleaners on bombing Iraq because we cared about simple everyday things like the death and misery it was causing. About the right a country has to stand up for its values against aggression from without or within, however worthless that aggressor may claim those values to be.

Of course, if things were as simple as that, surely, we ought in rights to talk a little about what happens in Sri Lanka itself. But whenever the thing comes up, it gets dismissed with a witty quip or an irritable shrug. “You see, Mahinda is one idiot, Ranil is another. In fact, I think Prabhakaran is the smartest of the lot, no?” This generates a refreshing round of laughter and some nods of approval (Or a ‘lol’, depending on the setting). These duly received and noted, we move on. To greater things. So things weren’t as simple as that. And I pondered mightily on how this might be, and came to realize a great and wonderful Truth.

We weren’t criticizing the President of the USA because he outraged our sense of decency. We were criticizing him because criticizing the President of the USA  made us feel cosmopolitan.

When we berate him, we are momentarily of His country, He is our president, and we can give Him the hell He deserves because we are His people. And not have to gripe about some boring joker in a national kit and a red shawl, or a terrorist leader who looks more like the Hindenberg with every passing year. That would be, in a word, embarrassing.

The first Movies came with John Wayne. People wore blue jeans and dreamed the American dream.

The first LPs came with Elvis. People danced the night away and dreamed the American dream.

The first PCs came with DOS. People played Doom and dreamed the American dream.

And now that CNN is here, people discuss Iraq and dream the American dream.

The trick will be, I think, bailing out before Iraq becomes passé, just as everything else did.

This mindset, with a vocabulary that includes “humanitarian effort’ and ‘slacktivism’, are rapidly becoming the quintessential tools of today’s Cosmopolitan (I would like to write more. But I fear a few narrow minded people might consider what I write to be a criticism, and not a rational explanation, of our motives. And since I’m also getting rather late to leave for a private performance of Beckett’s Breath by a beloved and talented member of our close-knit circle of like-minded intellect, I shall desist. I have been late for these on two occasions now, and I cannot live with the scowls. I cannot).

– – –

(on this one,  jokerman acknowledges the assistance of manshark, who isnt a genius or anything.)


One Response to “Oil for Food for Thought”

  1. Manshark Says:

    If I “assisted” in this (I did no such thing!!) does that mean I can’t comment? (Like I would care?)..er..I don’t think these “cosmopolitan” ppls would need to bail out of this situation at all..Cos after Iraq there’ll be Iran and North Korea..and after that, a few other baddies who just won’t let Dubya be..

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