It's late. Very late. I wish the following was so much better than it could be, but it's not. Readjust your expectations downward, and let's begin.
Wife passes table of sale items in the skyway - books, tapes, software. Wife brings home four computer games for Gnat. One of them is called Chika Chika Boom Boom. It allows the child to make music. Husband explains to wife that she will not have to live with the consequences of this game, and that is is quite unlikely she will be attempting to write something on deadline while Gnat constructs hideous sound collages. (Shes not yet three, and she knows how to turn up the volume on every electronic device in the house.) Why didnt you also get a diaper that reacts to feces by blowing them out the back in a fine mist? Eh? Or a bow-and-arrow set with special arrows that use GPS to nail daddy right in the eyeball when hes trying to find le mot juste for the latest Pali atrocity? I have to work here! I dont need Chika, let alone double Chika, let alone twinned Chika served up hot with a double-shot of Boom!
I can hide it, she said. We'll just save it for later.
If theres one word Id like to banish from the slang of modern political discourse, its sheeple. It means the great bleating mass of Americans content to huddle in a herd, chew the mass-media cud, and follow without question whichever shepherd the Dark Cabal has placed in charge. The people who use this term - usually brave lone iconoclasts posting on website message boards under false names - have great contempt for their fellow citizens. Theyre thimble-brained ruminants incapable of individual thought. (Of course, the herd can gain enlightenment overnight, if the polls suggest that the sheeple agree with the Lone Iconoclast.) In the 90s, the sheeple were led by the liberal media to love Bill Clinton. In the Oughts, the sheepledogs did the bidding of the Neocon-Zionist Protectorate, and made the sheeple scamper off to the right. No one really thinks anymore; they just graze on the sweet grass of television news and daydream about how good that shearing razor really feels.
Okay; put that paragraph aside; lets continue:
The Beeb did an expose on the Jessica Lynch rescue. Perhaps youve heard this story. Apparently it was all staged. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck led the charge under the command of the DI from Full Metal Jacket, and the initial reports that she was beamed up to the Enterprise were utterly false. The very fact that she was rescued alive proves that the Baathist regime was the epitome of humanitarian solicitousness. Admit it - when you saw the footage of American helicopters roaring over the hospital blaring Rock You Like a Hurricane from their loudspeakers, werent you suspicious? Didnt you think hmmmm when one of the soldiers turned to the camera and said Ahll be back and did an end-zone spike with the severed head of a Republican Guard commander? Were you not a little bit unnerved when the giant face of Karl Rove filled your TV screen, his forehead tattooed with the Chevron logo?
As it happens, I remember seeing the rescue footage the government released. I TiVod it for the video compilation I was making. No gunfire; no flashbangs; there was a shot of some soldiers going down a stairwell, a grainy green night-vision shot of a waiting room with a portrait of Saddam leaning against the wall, and an outside shot of the stretcher being prepped for extraction. Ive seen news stories on paintball tourneys that were more dramatic.
So why did anyone believe the BBC story? Why did Robert Scheer take the bait and write an entire column based on an uncritical acceptance of the Beebs mad blather? The Prof was on Hewitt tonight (and contrary to what he said, he came off just fine) and he noted that its one of those stories that confirms the suspicions of those who wake every day believing the worst. Sure, they say the sun rises in the east, but thats just to keep you from looking west where the real action is. Each side is guilty of this - in the 90s a substantial contingent of the right was convinced that Gov. Bill Clinton ran coke out of Mena. Its almost as if you have two options:
1. I disagree with my opponent's position on taxation, and therefore I shall oppose it.
2. I disagree with my opponent's position on taxation, and therefore I believe he has sex with goats.
The second option is ever so satisfying to the lone iconoclast: the fact that the mainstream media does not report the rumors about midnight goat-deliveries confirms your worldview. And the faintest whiff of goatiness whets your enthusiasm, confirms your juicy suspicions.
But of course the sheeple wont believe it - which just proves how smart you are.
The toppling of the Saddam statue was another example of immediate revisionism - it was all staged, there were only a few Iraqis present, it was all a big mendacious showpiece! If you looked at photos taken from far away, you could see that there werent more than a couple hundred Iraqis present! Well, I never thought that the square was jammed, because while the statue was coming down Fox News cut away to a long shot that showed the square to be largely empty. Yes, Fox! No doubt Agent Smith from the Council on Foreign Relations worked over Roger Aisles kidneys with rubber hoses that night.
The Beebs website has lots of reactions to the Lynch story. Most are appalled at the credulous nature of the American public. Sheeple!
Come on. A movie (about Pvt. Lynch) before 2004, which happens to be when Bush is up for reelection? Surely there can be no other reason for such a movie than to reinforce everyone's loyalty to America. It's like something Saddam would do!
So says an uncritical consumer of state-run media.
Soon, we'll all be citizens of the United Hates of Amnesia.
Hey, Monsieur Fragment: I have a collection of newsreels from the Vichy era; one of them ends with Petain pointing a finger at the audience, and saying You have forgotten too quickly. Hes castigating the French for having short memories, and not remembering how bad things used to be before the helpful Huns showed up to relieve them of their freedoms and surplus Jewry.
When we start packing up the Jewish children for removal to concentration camps, and we protest later that we knew nothing about it, talk to me about Hate and Amnesia.
This bit of sheeplism comes from the Emerald Isle:
Most Americans will most likely think that the footage beamed into their homes is unquestionably genuine, that the Iraqi doctors who treated the private are lying and that regardless of what the private herself remembers, the fridge magnets bearing her name still look nice every time they reach for a Dr Pepper.
And every time I reach for a Guinness I remember that the Irish were neutral in WW2.
This is news, but not terribly shocking. Any intelligent American will balance US reports against non-US news and make a rationale decision - with little weight to be given to the US gov't. Most Americans, however, are not intelligent and prefer to accept everything which is easy and spoon-fed.
Michael DiPresso, NYC, USA
Not Mike! He eats his easy peas with a knife, like any other rationale person.
That the government spin doctors would turn this rescue into a "made for television" event comes as no surprise to those of us Americans who are actually conscious. Unfortunately, the quiet majority of Americans who actively think about peaceful solutions no longer placard our cars with peace slogans for fears of retribution by false patriots and violent souls nurtured on the perverse teat of television and film.
Matt Stinchfield, USA
Sucking down lies from the withered left dug of print is another matter entirely, of course.
Googling around for some other bold Scheer pronouncements, I found this:
November 24, 1998 AOL's acquisition of Netscape gives the Virginia-based company a power over what we see and do on the Internet that mocks previous concerns over Microsoft's purported influence.
Contrary to the slogans of Orwells nightmare, Ignorance is not strength.
Unless you're a respected journalist. Then its job security.