Monday, January 05, 2009

shit hammers and mud

New Year’s day greeted me with a righteous headache and a giant fucking restaurant bill. And there were explosions. Explosions enough to shake the very ground I walk on and wake me from the deep time-fog where I have lingered for the past few months after a nail biting end to what will go down as the longest most expensive presidential race ever. The result of this tedious process is that in this new year, Jesus himself will walk amongst us promising government accountability and tax cuts to the middle class. Someone once said that the meek will inherit the earth (if they want it), and those that trouble their own house will inherit the wind. The soon-to-be crowned black Messiah will, in the words of Michael Herr, inherit a giant shit sandwich.

Allow me to present an example. Missiles, bombs and now troops fall on the Gaza Strip in an attempt to stem the flood of Qassam rockets; black rain to stop black rain. But something in this makes no sense. A Qassam rocket is, more-or-less a few metal tubes welded together, fuelled by fertilizer and sugar and armed with a warhead composed of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil—fertilizer and diesel for those who didn’t already know. The net cost of making and deploying one of these has to be around $20 per unit (not including indirect cost of total and massive retaliation from the world’s second angriest war machine). These rockets, explode, occasionally maim someone and more often make a hole in the pavement. Their biggest threat is that they have no fancy, read expensive, guidance systems, so no one knows where the fuck these things might land once shot off. My water rocket has the same problem.

In contrast and witihin five days Israel, under the cover of stopping terrorism from these rockets, has deployed its own weapons, managing to devastate a few piles of rubble and kill one or two enemy combatants—not counting collateral damage. These also come from the sky, but they do not fall (and, rather are guided), and this is where the comparison stops, since these are a bit more sophisticated than a bit of fuel and a bit of fertilizer. I do not purport to know how much it costs to fly a warplane, launch a missile, drop several tons of TNT, and return home in time to watch it on the news. Millions? But, I bet, per unit, it costs more than $20. Bringing me to a roundabout point. If the purpose of this increase in hostilities is to broker an end to rocket ‘attacks’ then surely raining death in the form of precision guided munitions and street to street ground operations is not the best way. This analysis suggests rather that Israel, although interested in ensuring the end of terrorism in the form of Qassam rockets, has more in mind than just the usual rampant subjugation of a suppressed people. This is war of aggression, not defense, and before it ends we will all be asking some serious and deeply introspective questions about militarized nationalism, the foundations of Western Civilization and how quickly worms may turn. Jesus, the people’s Messiah, will wake on 21 January, the first day on the job, to his own vicious and mean-tempered hangover to find yet another quagmire in a region known for quagmires where one side has little to loose, everything to gain, and some angry and heavily armed friends.

On a separate note, I managed to watch the new bio-pic about Hunter Thompson. I have a hard time eulogizing anyone who’s topped himself, and having known a fair few number of people who have done so, my cynicism about useless, futile and pointless gestures of self-indulgence leads me to hold an aloof and ambivalent view. Thompson was decent writer, who said some funny and poignant things about events that occurred several years before my own birth. Indeed Thompson’s words had a rhythm and turn of phrase without which we would not be able to use the terms ‘shit hammer,’ ‘cheap rotten chimp’ ‘or furiously masturbating bum’ in reference to presidential candidates in polite conversation. He was neither oracle nor sage like the media materials of the film or his widow might suggest. Rather, Thompson was a pop-journalist who got caught up in his own mythology, and when he couldn’t foot the bill he took the cheap way out while somehow managing to get a bunch of his extremely wealthy friends to shoot his remains out of a 100 foot tall cannon. Explosions after all are pretty cool; and what better way to cap a 30 year decline then with a column of fire. Happy New Year.


Post a Comment

<< Home