The More Fool I

Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created the Sentinels and the zealot Bolivar Trask when I was ten years old. Then I outgrew simple "comic book morality". I scoffed at scenarios about religious fanatics seizing power in the United States, of corporations replacing sovereign nations, of killer drones, of disasters manufactured for media consumption. I may have been more naive at twenty than I was at ten.


Syrial Killers

Dear Sir,

I would like very much to contribute to the purchase of 96 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a cost of 1.2 million dollars each, but oh dear, I’ve already spent that money on something else. And I would like very much to send in Wonder Woman to precisely target the pursed lips of Bashar Hafez al-Assad and those who obey his orders, but we. Just. Can’t. Afford it.

I am enough of an amateur historian to believe something must be done when civilians are gassed, but perhaps the Arab League or United Nations might get off their ass if you weren’t so quick to insist on being the only one who can wipe up any mess…?

The blood and treasure in our account are seriously overdrawn. This is the price you pay for having followed the boy who cried wolf in Iraq, the movie star who did nothing when another regime, an “ally”, used chemical weapons on civilian targets, the glad-hander who still feels awful about Rwanda. So do I. I feel awful I can’t kick in the 96 million, but I just don’t have it; maybe next week?

And how many fucking times will my society have to put up with fucking soldiers signing up for another fucking war to be sent by their commanders to do horrible fucking things with a song in their hearts, because that’s the logic of war (as inevitable as gravity, even for those honestly fighting for a noble fucking cause) and then come back and cry “Boo Hoo, I did horrible things because my mean lieutenant sent me to the wrong fucking house”, hoping their therapy circle will tell them it wasn’t their fault when, God damn you, it is.

It’s not as if there isn’t information out there telling us what war is, what war does, what a baby looks like after a stray bullet and what a woman’s face looks like when contorted by a scream. Your Commander-in-Chief is not Abraham Lincoln or King Arthur and the Enemy of the Week (fill in the blank) is not Adolf fucking Hitler. No, I say no, you don’t get to turn in your conscience like your grandfathers did. It does not dishonor the military to say there is a qualitative difference between Little Round Top or the beaches of Normandy and My Lai or Wounded Knee.

There is no get out of Hell free card because the American public is afraid to call you anything but “heroes”. The engineers who created those weapons for you killer apes because they thought it was a nifty “problem” to solve will be screaming in the cell next to yours. And your dear grandmother, five thousand miles away from your next High Value Target, should take that flag magnet off her car, fold it into corners, and stick it up her ass.

Many Are Called, Some Are Chosen, Maybe There's a Reason So Many Are Assholes

There's terra incognita here for research into the social class distinctions among lawyers, doctors, politician/bureaucrats, and teachers.

There's certainly a culture gap between public teachers and professors, and among public teachers, a class struggle between those who love their subject, those who wanted to "teach" as an excuse to coach, and those who were intellectually lazy enough to major in "Education" and get summers off.

We all encounter medical people who followed the path of altruism or scientific interest, versus those who became doctors because that's one does in their family circle. The past isn't dead, it isn't even past, and Faulkner might have added, the family mythology shapes us more than some care to admit.

A friend who did time in a monastery found layers of class distinction between those who excelled at pastoral care, and those who excelled at climbing the ladder of advancement in the church. How much of this is due to the personalities attracted to the profession? This goes a long way towards explaining Vatican politics. We need only look to how John Paul II scorned liberation theology in South America because his lenses were fogged over by Stalinism in Europe. Anywhere he smelled "communism" or impudent women, out came the scourge. After two papacies spent punishing the foot soldiers, we might have a new pope who turns towards the ambiguities of parish work. "Who am I to judge?", he asks. Let's hope this extends to the church women who rather than sit down and shut up, ought to take a fire house to the burrows in Vatican City.

These distinctions might be most apparent among judges. Chief Justice Roberts being the very model of a country club boy who became a judge, and that background shaping his decisions. In my scant experience, I have met judges who vary from the most humane to the least human of officials. And there are shades of diversity in this; if I can't have a Mandela, a Darrow or a pro bono saint in my corner, I'd find it easier to deal with an honestly rapacious Saul Goodman than a sanctimonious pharisee.