Monday, November 19, 2007

More Than A Car Crash

We all want to look at a car crash. I'm not sure what we're looking for. Do we want to see that everyone is safe? Are we hoping for evidence of the vulnerable unpredictability of our mortality? Do we want to see real life instead of television? Do we even know why we look or is it some sort of reflex?
I've seen some gruesome things while rubbernecking. As well as some astonishing things like a guy with his feet in the air and his upper body inside of the car that just hit him as he was walking across West Burnside. He crashed head first through the windshield and was suspended for almost an hour while firemen and paramedics prepared to remove him. He walked away from it with a few scratches on his face.
I don't know if it's another bad Brian DePalma film, but Redacted bombed at the box office this weekend. My suspicions are that Iraq is a wreck that we don't want to look at anymore. I've been reading Riverbend, a blog by an Iraqi woman. I link to it under All Things Human.
Some of the things she writes stab me in the heart. She avers that the continual gaffes by the U.S. are actually strategic policy made to look like incompetency. It's the one thing she says with which I disagree. Sadly, I can pretty much guarantee that our Iraq policies and their implementation are plainly incompetent.
I recall one of this blog's reader talking about "the mission". I wonder; is "the mission" about dividing a people along sectarian lines that coexisted peacefully prior to the war? Is the tolerance of masked border guards and militiamen a result of the valiant and heroic effort by the soldiers that carried out "the mission" of occupying a country that was invaded under false pretenses and contrary to international consensus? Before anyone gets their panties in a patriotic twist, please read Riverbend. Take a walk in her shoes. Lower your eyes from the masked militiamen with her instead of looking away from the living hell that we've created in her country.
I'm disgusted by our role in Iraq. As I'm disgusted at our unwillingness to look at it. Perhaps the greatest thing about the electronic hyper-connectivity of the 21st century is that we can no longer exist in the vacuum of fatuous ideology. If only we can take a break from celebrity gossip and other pornographic tripe and exercise our empathy from time to time.

Cantando nella nerezza,
Signore Direttore


David Millstone said...


In our morning warm-ups, we do a series of stretches, several of which begin in the position of a low squat. Each actor of the ensemble takes his or her turn leading warm-ups each day. Two or three actors refer to this squat as the "refugee position." Last week, when my turn came, I gently but fully articulated my objection to calling it this because to do so imaginatively distances us from the horror. The ensemble listened politely enough while they stretched, but sure enough, later on in the hour one of them made a crack about being "politically correct." I kept my smile plastered on my face, but for the rest of that hour, I hated actors and their self-absorption, and willful lack of empathy. But, these actors were just standing in for us all.

Signore Direttore said...

In your admirable articulation of how such a label creates distance from the horror of life as a refugee you were making a stand for humanity not policy. Which makes you guilty of human decency rather than political correctness. Had you suggested renaming the posture "displaced citizen" or "supplanted national" you would have been quite guilty of being odiously PC.