Wednesday, May 18, 2005

That Ironic Smell ...

... is what caused us to become concerned, and break into Irony's apartment. To, of course, find it dead. Irony is not only dead, but the cats had a while to work on its soft bits as it lay on the kitchen floor.

I come back from a four day holiday with no news coverage to find this?

(Warning -- Atypical rant commencing.)

This administration -- the guys who threw out the Geneva Convention (fact - and proudly, just ask the AG); sends prisoners to countries so they can be tortured (factitty fact fact); and put into place policies which led to images of Muslim men, 70-90% of whom were innocent according to the Department of Defense, being electroshocked , dog attacked, and bound naked, these images being spread worldwide -- these guys claim Newsweek is damaging America's image abroad? Newsweek?

Gee, any of you idiots bitching about Newsweek stop to think why the Afghan people even believed this? It's not like the plate was set for this to be credible behaviour.

Abdul: Mumar, my friend, even though I was innocent, they tortured me, stripped me naked, waterboarded me, had dogs attack me, and shocked my nuts!
Mumar: I heard they also desecrated the Qu'ran.
Abdul: Please! How could you believe such a thing?
Mumar: ... Dude, they shocked your nuts.
Abdul: So? They have taken cultural sensitivity courses. They would never cross that line!
Mumar: I am filled with shame at jumping to unwarranted conclusions.

Did Newsweek fuck up? Of course. They single-sourced a story. Although I'm a little hazy about how this causality of blame works:

1.) Newsweek hears from government official about Qu'ran abuse.
2.) Newsweek, knowing this is controversial, gives the story to another government official for confirmation.
3.) This government official does not correct that item.
4.) Newsweek publishes story with a single detail which has been reported multiple times in other newspapers.
5.) Afghanistan, already a tinderbox because of the incompetence of even more government officials who botched the reconstruction, erupts. Into riots which, according to someone who is probably smarter than I, oh, say, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are actually related to the ongoing reconciliation process more than the article.
6.) Government officials bemoan Newsweek's carelessness.

Of course, nobody cared when the media single-sourced stories on, say, WMD's or whether the occupation would go smoothly. But we're sharper now.

According to the autopsy, what finally pushed Irony over the edge was this:

Larry DiRita, the spokesman for the Pentagon, actually had the NUTSACK to say, of the original source "People are dead because of what this sonuvabitch said. How could he be credible now?"

He actually had the big brass stones, standing there atop Iraq with no WMD's, no links to al-queda, and no links to 9-11 ... he had the unholy testicular power to stand on the corpses of 1600 dead American soldiers, 15,000 wounded American soldiers, tens of thousands of probably-dead-but-we-don't-count-them-because-they're-brown innocent bystander Iraquis and claim the moral high ground on credibility?

I am actually beyond humor. I'm in awe.

So let me see if I understand this.

-- Osama bin Ladin, Zaquari, and Omar are still strolling around ...
-- the Taliban is making a comeback. The Taliban, a group which after 9/11 which should have been so thoroughly vaporized in such a horrifyingly white-smoting-light-of-righteous-violence that even now a mere random combination of the syllables "Tal"," i", and "ban" should cause grown men to wet themselves at the unspeakable memory of their fate, they apparently have a sign-up sheet going in Pakistan like a fucking office softball team ...
-- Afghanistan's a destabilized hellhole.
-- Iraq, according to even the most optimistic of planners, will chew up American troops for at least five more years ...
-- Iraq is an insurgent war hell because (whether you agreed with the reasons for the original war or not) nobody planned for the occupation, based on the rosy beliefs of a few "government officials" ...
-- We have, demonstrably, statistically, one of the worst health care systems of the industrialized world ...
-- Tax cuts have put this country in the hole to the Chinese ...
-- North Korea and Iran are about to go nuclear ...
-- the government's now declared that pensions are fair game for the corporate fucking-off train, possibly stranding 36 million hard-working day-job Americans ...

... and they've got everyone screaming about Newsweek. That's ... just unspeakably beautiful. It's brilliant. That's Lex Luthor brilliant. It's so magnificently evil, I wish I'd done it, just to be able to say I pulled something like that off. When you manipulate public opinion like that so shamelessly, with such breathless artistry, you should seriously be doing it from inside a giant rampaging robot head. It's the only context that makes any sense.

We are officially in post-modern politics in the US.

Really, congrats to everyone who gives a rat's ass about this. I can't wait until the day, standing in the flaming ruins of America's impending economic collapse, watching as Third World countries race past us in technology, education and power, our populace grown disaffected and violently cynical over repeated betrayals and trivializations of the great governmental process, the day when I can turn to my trusty gyrocopter pal and -- raising my voice over the inconvenient weeping of another mother whose kid has died in Iraq -- say "Hey, remember when Newsweek single-sourced a story?"

Boy, that'll be the kicker right there.


Joe Matthews said...

I wrote an essay titled "Jesus Christ, I want my absurdity back. They've stolen it and are using it for evil." I can't watch the Simpsons anymore, or Fox in general.

But I prefer to focus on the serious action required to fix the problem.

Sorry, don't have the patience to squint through the whole post.

DMc said...

The sad thing is that Irony Mark Twain'ed it just long enough after 9/11, just long enough, pulled itself up by its little flipper hands and off the op-ed pages from September through November 2001, convalesced for a while, took a breather, had a smoothie and built its strength back just enough to go down in this macabre, brilliant fashion. Shoot out the lights. We're done.

Great post.

caseyko74 said...

I am just hoping there is some semblance of a world for my son when he gets older.
I don't even get the politics game anymore. The public just doesn't seem to care. They just want don't seem to care we are turning the world into shit. I have friends who are well educated telling me everything is fine, and they trust the Republicans are doing what is right.

Soon I will be back in New Orleans. Fucked up with it's own problems and pretty much cut off from the rest of the world, except when yall come down to get drunk and make asses of yourselves. I might join you some now.

Alex Epstein said...

Yeah, that's why I live in Canada, now.

Anonymous said...

Brilliantly said. Wonderfully funny, brilliantly angry, and so true it made my stomach hurt to read it. Thank you. I think.

geoff said...

You owe me a new Smug-O-Meter, John. Mine just fucking exploded.

1031 said...

Absolutely brilliant. Thanks, John. I needed a good laugh, which is pretty horrible, isn't it? Everything you wrote is true, yet it's so absurd, so utterly beyond comprehension, that all we can do is laugh about it.

It's either that, or shed tears.

Rob Cottingham said...

I've been searching for the right words to express my shame-faced awe at the audacity of the right, and here you go and nail it with this passage: "When you manipulate public opinion like that so shamelessly, with such breathless artistry, you should seriously be doing it from inside a giant rampaging robot head."

That Girl said...

You're brilliant!

Jaded said...

Amazing that we don't have a revolution going on at home yet. I thought the original principal behind going to Iraq might have had some merit, but if we didn't have a better plan we shouldn't have gone. Possibility of weapons of mass destruction and giving aid to the Taliban seemed like good reasons, until you realized that it was all just an excuse to take our eyes of Afganistan and the war we weren't winning. But wait let's just blame Newsweek!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait 'till all the world is just like it is in my back yard. Then I won't feel like I'm missing anything while buying guns and watching TV. Hooray Empire!

Raka said...

I normally have a deeply-ingrained resistance to leaving comments that offer nothing more than a hearty "Well done, sir!". But this is just so well-crafted, so simultaneously factual and funny and scathing and sad and... and...

Well done, sir!




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