J Church / Honey Bear Records Newsletter - Fall '01
If Death Comes So Cheap, The Same Goes For Life

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

 

Stating the obvious, it's been a surreal couple of days. Peter Jennings, who I've really grown to like, really hit the nail on the head when he described the WTC collapse as such. I still find it kind of mind boggling when I watch the re-runs.

It's especially strange because I really feel like I (and others) have been waiting for something like this to happen. I don't mean that we were looking forward to it or would in any way have wished for it to happen. But I've spoken to friends many times before about the subject of terrorism in America. Why doesn't it exist?

There have been active terrorist organizations in almost every other country. Left wing, right wing, religious cults (I include Christianity under that heading) and who knows what else, the one thing that most of them can agree on is that America is the big bully on the block and is the enemy of the world. I never could understand why they spent so much time blowing things up in their own countries when America was such a wide-open target. And the number one target, in my opinion, was the WTC with the offices of multi-nationals in it as well as the World Bank and it's proximity to the Stock Exchange.

It's also so very symbolic. Knocking down those two towers was like saying, "Hey America, you may think you're big and strong. But we just knocked down your two biggest phallic symbols." Have you ever told a big macho skinhead that he was impotent?

So when it finally happened (I'm already talking like it was some event in a US History book), of course it's horrible and the loss of life is horrendous. But I can't say I didn't expect it. I know I wasn't alone feeling that way. I could be wrong, but propaganda by deed is the most powerful. I would be surprised if the WTC attack wasn't a precursor to a new age of terrorism in the US. Like the Oklahoma City bombings, it's proof that it can be done and it's proof that if you're willing to put your life on the line, it's virtually unstoppable.

This seems obvious to me and now I'm realizing what the real danger of a President like Bush is. Of course, Gore is also evil and would probably be just as anxious to please the American public's bloodlust and fragile ego ("We're #1!" "God bless America!" Fuck off!). But Bush is a special kind of stupid. Ultimately, all Presidents' are manipulated by other forces (Big business, the pentagon, the Knights of Malta, whatever.) But Bush is especially likely to do something really rash that could lead to a much more dangerous end. He's obviously flailing out there and has no idea what to do. Once he starts making real decisions as to what kind of revenge America seeks, he could start making a lot of big and extremely dangerous mistakes. Right wing, left wing, whatever: we may all be fearing for our lives.

Americans seem to think that they're Romans in the Coliseum and historically Bush isn't opposed to keeping the people happy with blood sports. If we start attacking Afghanistan or Pakistan or Florida for that matter it will be like the ultimate mixture of Bread & Circuses with reality TV. I don't think that I'm being cynical in saying that ABC, NBC, FOX, etc. are secretly ecstatic. This must be better than sweeps week for them. Everyone is blinded with a sick and joyous rage against helpless targets. I wonder if anyone is practical enough to start thinking about how this is all going to affect the economy? Closing down the stock exchange for a week is one thing. But the President having unlimited access to all government financial resources is another. Do you trust Bush to spend our last bit of savings wisely? Do you remember what lead to the Great Depression? Are we heading for Class War or a right wing coup?

If you're a billionaire or a multi-millionaire, you're not gonna be too concerned about Bush draining all the money from social security. The rich won't be the ones homeless and starving. It's obvious whose interests are prioritized in the hunt for Bin Laden or whoever. It should also be obvious that nobody really cares about the interests of the middle class and lower in this country. The most laughable (and not much is really that laughable) is that tomorrow (Friday) Bush has declared a day of remembrance for the people that died in the attacks. He's urging everyone to take time to pray DURING THEIR LUNCHBREAKS. Yeah, all those people died but big business and corporate America aren't about to give anyone a day off to remember or contemplate these lost lives.

What's most appalling is how self-serving all the American politicians are. Listening to the Senators making those utterly quaint and self-serving speeches on Tuesday and then singing "God Bless America" was nauseating on so many levels. Thousands of people dead is now a future campaign strategy. It says a lot that, when interviewed for ABC, players for the New York Giants seemed more lucid and sincere than any politician.

Now there's misinformation being circulated about the White House and Air Force One being targets of the attack. I don't think anyone believes it. It may be the White Houses biggest lie in the matter and they're already being a little coy about it. It's a smoke screen to avoid the real question. When Bush claims that "cowards" did these terrorist attacks he doesn't want anyone asking the obvious. What's more cowardly: taking over a plane and flying it into a building or hiding in secret while the country that you're the president of is under attack? Shit, even JFK sat at his desk during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

God, it's so painful. I can take seeing the wreckage. I can take the relentless footage of planes hitting buildings. But I can't take hearing Bush's fucking voice anymore. I think the final straw was that live phone call with him and Pataki and Giuliani. It was so lame. Anyone who believes that it was a real exchange must also think Days Of Our Lives is a documentary.

But the propaganda machine in the media is in full blitz. We're bombarded by borderline racist comments about Muslims. We're bombarded by pathetic pro-Israeli editorials about how we should now understand how the Israeli's feel even though they are the occupational government. Is it any surprise that Palestinians were celebrating in the streets? At my most cynical, I'd say they were just as stupid as Americans. Frat boys and jock and other idiots were cheering while they drank in sports bars around the US while watching live footage of missiles hitting civilian targets in Iraq. What's worse?

Within the media itself there are different tiers and while I do respect people (who I may not essentially agree with) like Jennings who's had the decency to respectfully interview Palestinian and Arab leaders there are far more opportunists in their midst. Scumbags are everywhere hoping to capture THE human-interest story. I'm sick of seeing reporters talking to victims or the victims' families and just waiting for them to cry. "How will you feel if you find out she's dead?" "Would you be willing to trade your life for your dead brothers?" Or what about the reporter interviewing the surgeon after hours of work? "How does it feel to be a person whose job is to save lives be surrounded by so much death?" It's sickening.

And Ari Fleischer… For fuck's sake, it's become obvious to everyone that every time Bush opens his mouth, something stupid comes out. More and more, it's fallen to Fleischer to deliver information from the White House and now he's on TV relating some human-interest story on how "touched" the President was when he visited victims in a hospital. God knows Bush wasn't able to convey any emotion as complex as that during any of his public addresses. But does Fleischer have to refer to him as if he were the Great Oz? He and the impotent Colin Powell are definitely trying to make the most out of the utterly empty statements Bush has made.

Of course most people I know, and I'm guessing just about everyone who reads this, isn't your "average American". They're not the doe eyed patriots that can't believe that any civilized people could hate America with such intensity. This attack might be a real crisis in faith for middle America. They've believed in America for so long and without any logical reason, that once they start questioning their belief systems and analyze WHY they have that belief system, their lives could start unraveling.

But my friends and me are in an odd situation. Hey, I don't like Bin Laden or the Taliban (assuming that's who's behind this… we may never know). But I don't like Southern Baptists either. All religions are kind of the same to me. I don't like the Afghani system of government, obviously. But I'd be hard pressed to find any tolerable government amongst the nations condemning them. Putin and Bush criticizing a nation for harboring terrorists? It's absurd. I certainly have no feelings for the Christian proselytizers who are currently under arrest and probably shitting bricks in Afghanistan. They're all vicious. There are no "sides" worth siding with.

And what can you say about an attack on the Pentagon? I can honestly say that I've been hard pressed to find any emotional connection to that attack. It's the seat of American militarism. Next to the World Bank, it's about as evil as can be. I'm no pacifist. But I certainly don't like seeing people die. But I really can't relate to any remorse over an attack there and I get the impression that more and more people feel the same. Even the news media isn't reporting the Pentagon attack with the same concern as with the WTC attack. It's awful to feel indifferent to death and destruction. But is it any different than the death and the destruction that goes on around the world and is almost entirely ignored by Americans? I know that this is gonna sound really trite, but maybe this is all Karma for our indifference towards all the people killed because of American business interests around the world. Too bad I don't believe in Karma…

Anyway, I'm turning off my television. I can't stand it anymore. I don't like being manipulated and I know I can't resist this level of propaganda. As much as I hate to say it, it's become boring.

 

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