June 22, 2009

You can blow out a candle, but you can't blow out a fire

13610113.jpg I like to think that there's always been some seriousness of purpose stowed away inside those jokes about protest babes. But whatever the appeal is, they have become a trademark of this site. Which is why even though there's nothing I can say that you haven't heard already or felt yourself, I feel compelled to post this small tribute to a genuine beauty, and to acknowledge that while a sense of humor is important even in dire situations, there's a time for tears, and rage, as well.

Update. I changed the photo since there's some dispute over whether the one I posted yesterday is actually Neda.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Yes by all means. Rage is the best response to tragedy. Let's destabilize and topple the present Iran regime with more CIA operatives and send troops to kill thousands more teenagers in retaliation.

Blood spilled from some bodies is more precious than blood spilled from other bodies. Government and media have always been impeccable arbiters in such matters.

Altogether everybody: Remember Pearl Harbor, the Maine, the Lusitania, the Reichstag, the Gulf of Tonkin, 911, the King David Hotel ...

J.D., do us all a favor and take a day off from being a self-righteous dickhead.

Let's outright hope that J. D. gets downsized by whomever hired him as a blog commenter. Sad, since they must pay well.

Another beautiful child dies violently in the crossfire of power lust and rhetoric, as millions have before her, quite recently in Iraq, Gaza and any urban US center. What now?

The war drum on the road to Iran has been beaten for some time by the usual crew of chicken hawk shills. Nice trick to reframe perception: when the US death machine finally strikes it won't be seen as a crusade against believers in the wrong Invisible Cloud Father, but to save their rebellious kids, who are just like us because they use Twitter and are attractive. Reminds one of Janet Reno's rescuing the allegedly abused children at Waco by barbequing them. (She cried publicly about it later so it's all good.)

But I am now duly chastened by the ad hominems of a couple of random anonymous internetters. Ergo, I shall forego all common sense and jump on the war wagon. An innocent died -- let rivers of blood flow through the streets of Teheran! Now do you like me? Really like me?

Yes, J.D., like Sally Fields. The topics here are Pop, Politics and Sex and you stay on topic. You are the best informed of many I've read. The things you discuss are often uncomfortable and yet your (sarcastic) writing style makes them clear as light.

The underlying currents regarding attacking Iran, for years, have included throwing everything at them from bunker-busters to D.U. to Whiskey Pete, all the way up to Thermo-nuclear devices. Isn't that terrorism? Why would the not be afraid?

The average person can barely process what happened to Neda, and comprehending the numbers there at risk, simply rolls off the mind. Good God, yes, it is disturbing.

I am grateful Daniel grants us a venue for the exchange of such heady conversations and ideas.

Iran is but a microcosm of what we can expect here, if things don't change.

Best of luck, all humanity. :(

J. D.,

First of all, my comment was unnecessarily harsh, and I apologize for that.

Second, I don't know that anyone here advocates for any kind of war against Iran, or any other country for that matter; I certainly don't. Rather, upon reflection you might perhaps see why your initial comment on Daniel's tasteful recognition of a senseless tragedy was offensively off-topic. You responded to something that Daniel neither said nor even implied. Would you interrupt a funeral with a tangentially-related political rant? That is, in effect, what your initial comment did.

Sorry, can't talk now. Observing moments of silence -- consecutive not concurrent -- for each of the 10,000,000 children under five years old who died last year of preventable causes, such as chronic diarrhea from lack of clean drinking water. Their countries are not strategically important to the US so we don't threaten regime change in the face of such ongoing atrocity. The closest most get to knowing about the 10% infant mortality rate in Malawi is a joke about Madonna. I know, it's hard to make an effective rabble rousing YouTube video directly connecting a thieving despot with a little kid quietly expiring in his own shit.

After that I'm still grieving for Oscar Grant and Adolph Grimes, so it might be a while before I get to the children of the "enemies" of our "friends."

"But I am now duly chastened by the ad hominems of a couple of random anonymous internetters."

Ah, so the anonymous commenter calls out other anonymous commenters for anonymously commenting on his anonymous comments. Aye, that's rich. And one can just imagine the pleasure he felt as he composed that sneering put-down of "random anonymous internetters." Oh, not only are they anonymous (the cowards!), but they are also random (aimless -- and, therefore, insignificant, unserious, and easily dismissed) internetters (aka "masturbators"). I humbly submit that I am not the only one who knows his way around an ad hom.

Look, it's possible to express shock, horror, outrage, and grief at the senselessness of violence and the loss of human life without advocating for war. To imply that anyone who has an emotional response to senseless deaths is somehow running cover for war-mongers is complete bullshit. To mock a sincere expression of grief and to further insinuate that the only proper response to human tragedy is some holier-than-thou sardonic detachment qualifies as, you guessed it, self-righteous dickheadishness.

"The closest most get to knowing about the 10% infant mortality rate in Malawi is a joke about Madonna. I know, it's hard to make an effective rabble rousing YouTube video directly connecting a thieving despot with a little kid quietly expiring in his own shit."

Clearly, this means a lot to you. I hope, then, that you are doing something about it besides using it as a bludgeon against hypocritical commenters on some backwater blog. (No offense, Radosh.)

Backwater blog? Ok I'll say it, J.D. may be is the smartest guy in the room.

Amd props to Daniel and his blog, he's earned them. Some of us believe that his Radosh Awards really mean something.

Myself, I'd rather be commenting on Dakota Fanning's new film and her starring role playing Cherie Currie, than agonizing over all this horror. Alas, Consciousness means addressing it.

Daniel tapped into the collective consciousness about Neda, and her terrible and horrific death.

I've watched those countless protest videos hours and hours at a time, for days. J.D. has not diminshed this caring about the seemingly senseless death of Neda, he has contextualized it.

J. D.,

It's not about time (moments of silence), it's about place (a particular post on a particular person's death). While I can sympathize with your utilitarian tendencies, I cannot sympathize with your apparent callousness toward even one death. I think everyone knows that the world is a horribly tragic place where many people die preventable deaths; but is it wrong to then mourn a particularly gruesome death which symbolizes the oppression of a great and ancient nation by a few?

Contextualizing: A Play

R.D.: My grandmother died.

J.C.: I'd like to offer my condolences but, you know, grandmothers die
every day in countries like Guatemala and Tanzania. One grandmother is no more important than any other grandmother and, since I don't see you
shedding any tears for those Guatemalan and Tanzanian grandmothers,
you'll just have to excuse me if I can't spare any tears for yours.

R.D.: She died of cancer.

J.C.: Just be glad she died of such a glamorous disease. Most of the
world's grandmothers are too busy dying of starvation and dysentery.
But, then, those grandmothers have brown skin, so it's no surprise that you can't be bothered to care.

R.D.: On the way to the funeral, my brother and his family got into a
horrible car accident.

J.C.: How typically American. Most of the world's population never
even has the opportunity to get into a horrible car accident.

R.D.: He was able to escape with two of his kids, who now have
third-degree burns over 60% of their bodies. But at least they're alive. His wife and infant son were incinerated when the car exploded in a giant, orange fireball.

J.C.: Did you know that over 10% of the world's children die of diarrhea? Don't you think they'd prefer to die in a giant, orange fireball? But, of course, you've never given it any thought, have you? You're too busy wallowing in grief over the ashes of the privileged few while there's real suffering going on out there. Oh, and I'm supposed to feel sad because he lost his wife? What about the tens of millions of Chinese men who will go wifeless because there just aren't enough women? What about all the cultures where underaged girls are forced to marry men five times their age? What about all the gays and lesbians who will never be able to legally marry the one they love? All that injustice in the world and you're going on about some sap who lost his wife. Nice. Way to have the blinders on. And I haven't even gotten to the AIDS babies.

R.D.: AIDS babies? How awful.

J.C.: Oh, you think the AIDS babies have it bad? Idiot. But, by all
means...let's all rally around the AIDS babies. It's certainly the hip
thing to do in your celebrity-obsessed culture where every Hollywood
starlet absolutely must be photographed while holding an AIDS baby.

R.D.: There must be something we can do.

J.C.: Oh, so the mask finally lifts to expose your true face. Yes,
let's "do something." How about we bomb them, huh? Would you like that? Let's stain the cobblestones with their blood and steal their oil! Right?! Isn't that what you really want, you self-absorbed, xenophobic, petroleum-loving, gay-bashing, jingoistic, pro-diarrhea, war-mongering, imperialist pig!

R.D.: Well, what CAN I care about, then?! How do I choose?!

J.C.: If you can't care about everything, then you might as well care about nothing.

R.D.: You're so smart.

J.C.: I know.

The semiotics at play are whether or not the CIA can manipulate Neda's death (one of 17, during the protests there, by recent estimates), as incentive to attack Iran. The manipulation of symbols is at the crux here. And as far as this site goes, "Why not Bil Keen?" is hardly respectful. It will certainly run afoul of the HR 1966, the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, making it a felony to continuously bully people online. Daniel's site is rife with such snark, that's his style. So why this sudden demand about the treatment over this single symbol, the tragic killing of young Neda?

Ofc, I would much rather be commenting on the TMZ posted video, yesterday, of "Kristen Stewart filming as Joan Jett in 'The Runaways', [...] clumsily hurling herself into the sidewalk." and whether or not Dakota Fanning, starring in the same film, will strut onstage sporting cameltoed panties, crooning "Cherry Bomb", as Cherie Currie. That film is under enormous pressure, it is easy to tell. Does that outrage you?

The reality is that in several predominately Muslim countries, estimated millions of little girls every year have their genitalia carved away (FGM) by implements like broken glass or razor blades or dull knives, without benefit of anesthetics and while forcibly being held down screaming in excrutiating agony as their human body's greatest concentration of a bundle of nerves is rudely sliced away, as well as their labial lips. At least the criminals in such countries that have their hands and feet publicly amputated as punishment for their petty crimes, receive a semblance of a trial. The estimated millions little girls are presumed guilty of some original sin and therefore have no say.

That is an outrage.

According to Slate, and others, the displaced from Iraq, as a result of our war, number over a million and a tragic number of those find that the only way for their families to support themselves is for their young daughters to work as prostitutes in Damascus. The US is a country of moral panic about even child models, and yet one direct result of just one of our current wars is a huge creation of child prostitutes. That is not only an outrage, it is hypocrisy.

And yet we know from such sources as the Rand reports, that there is apparently no way out of the current deliberately engineered global economic crisis short of World War III.

One tires of living on the planet of the fighting monkeys year in year out, and weary of the ever-lowering standards for propaganda, increasingly sledgehammered b-movie style as the population is progessively dumbed down. As has oft been lamented, we now have a generation of young adults who think Rush Limbaugh and the Faux News Channel offer sincere political thought.

Some of you may recall that the last time we "avenged the deaths" of beloved victims or heroes or whatever -- 3,000 of them right? -- we witnessed hundreds of thousands of innocents die, a country devastated for generations to come, and a trillion dollars or so redistributed to the Halliburtons and Blackwaters of this world while we lost our civil rights and economic stability. The war drags on.

Remember how the gambit then was to connect Iraq with 911, slip to elusive WMDs, then slide to what a monster to his own people Saddam Hussein was?

The current Commander-in-Chief of the deadliest war machine in human history no longer needs to grab at straws or fumble with a shell game; he just smiles wanly and intones that the war is ending ... in, oh, I dunno, a few years, but hey, he's moving our trained killers to Afghanistan where the narrative (teleprompter-reading bobble heads) says the real bogey man and his crew hide out. Apparently Obama has to kill a few more legions of Amalekites for the same Invisible Cloud Father who tells him marriage is between a man and a woman and that little boys need their pee-pees shredded as a sign of fealty.

We have our colonial command post up and running, a permanent city within a city like the Vatican, in the center of Baghdad. I expect we will be building similar franchises in Teheran and Kabul soon enough.

Meanwhile media pundits (literally "priests") lead the true believers in daily prayer to the faceless gods of the Federal Reserve private "banking" crime syndicate to have mercy on us (just like it says in the Constitution, right?), while the Fed is busy legally snapping up what's left of individual private property.

Yup, lotsa blood money flowing to keep the offical lies blasting 24/7 and the truth stifled.

Rage for any reason is the least responsible thing an intelligent person can afford to indulge in our current circumstances. Isn't a citizenry blinded by easily manipulated emotion what brought us to where we are now?

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