Incoherent Rambling #2

I won't waste space and time by telling you about the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. We all saw it replayed over and over again on every television in every language through every time slot. We all saw that clip of the second plane coming around . . . disappearing for just a little too long . . . then the side of the building blowing out. We all saw the images of thousands of heroic rescue workers, trudging through a Manhattan that looked like a desert, prying up fragments of real estate, looking for the remains of its inhabitants.

Everyone says that it's so surreal, like it's part of a movie-- yet if they saw the same images coming from any other region, they wouldn't think twice. Disaster-- even at this scale-- is considered par for the course in any third world country.

People are so hypocritical that way. Those thousands who died were no different from the billions who have died throughout history and the billions more who will die on our species' road to Armageddon. No victim of the crashes was any more or any less than those who died in the Crusades, or those who died of smallpox, or those who died because of Imperial Roman expansion. Each one, still grasping for air. Each one, still capable of so much. Each one, so tragically unfair...

A death is a death is a death is a death.

Everyone else is crying, though. Maybe I really am a misanthrope.

The world of webcomics, like every other sphere of human activity, had its own way of mourning. Many comic strips (like Penny Arcade and Randym Thoughts) simply shut down their sites. Others (like Spaz Labs and Tsuduku posted a "moment of silence". Some put up a picture of their cast members mourning: (like Suburban Jungle and Tonja Steele), while still others showed their characters reacting in a more fluid fashion (like Bob the Angry Flower and Newshounds).

Many cartoonists did their part to help-- Sluggy Freelance posted extensive emergency and blood donation info. Many others put up donation boxes right on their site.

Of all the tribute strips, Tatsuya Ishida's was undoubtedly the most evocative. I've said it before, I'll say it again-- the man has real class.

I was actually a little offended by the one over at Unicorn Jelly (it has since been removed from the archives), and that is really saying something. I pride myself on my virtual inability to be offended by anything. It basically attributed the terrorists' violence to their perception of absolute truth, effectively lumping them in with anyone who claims to have any definite view of the universe in which they live.

True, it would be some kind of bland comfort if no one had any cause for which they would be willing to kill. It would be an unimaginable horror, though, if no one had a cause for which they were willing to die.

I accept, as must we all, the possibility that all I perceive is an illusion and all expended effort is necessarily futile. As I implied in this strip, however, acknowledging that possibility can have no bearing on our behaviour, therefore the truth of the world around us is, in a functional sense, as good as absolute. Cartesian common sense carries us from there, although possibly not as far as René would have liked.

I find I am one of the few people in my social circle that still views the Islamic viewpoint as valid. Everyone else, in trying to be tolerant, babbles about how we must respect them, even if their views look crazy. That's not respect. Respect is taking a long, hard look at what they believe and-- while not necessarily agreeing with them-- admitting that their viewpoint makes a kind of sense. It is difficult to deal with someone if you believe that their basic view of the universe is inherently loopy.

Even the Taliban deserves our respect, really. They may be vicious, but they're no dummies. Heck, they may even be right (and then where are you, Mr. Smarty-pants?).


I dunno.
No one else seems to be agreeing with me. Perhaps there is such a thing as being too open-minded, too capable of understanding someone else. After all, what does it gain me to walk a mile in the shoes of a madman?
Crazy shoes, ladies and gentlemen.  Downright wacky.

What scares me about this upcoming conflict is the attitudes I'm seeing in the Americans. A friend of mine remarked that she was not as mad about the lives lost as the fact that anyone would dare to desecrate American soil. I think a lot of Americans have this kind of "action movie mentality", whether they realize it or not. After the Nazis, it was the Commies, now the Arabs. They need someone to wear the opposite-coloured jersey.

You can't declare war on terrorism, not really. Terrorism isn't a group, it isn't a motivation, it isn't a region... it's a modus operandi, a means of attack that gets large results at little cost. Trying to go to war against terrorism is like trying to surgically remove AIDS. It isn't the way you do it. Terrorism is done on the individual level: you'd have to kill everyone, then make sure whoever's left thinks you did the right thing.

Besides, Osama bin Laden denied responsibility, didn't he? Aren't we going to give him the benefit of the doubt?

So, in summary:

You can't fight terrorists with armies.
I'm probably too open minded for my own good.
And Jennifer Diane Reitz can bite me.