Secret Mojo Dumbs It Down for You

August 16, 2006

Billmon says “trash,” I say “treasure”

Filed under: Israel/Lebanon,Politics,war — secretmojo @ 10:10 pm

Billmon wrote:

Strictly from a humanitarian point of view, it’s both grotesque and repulsive to have to listen to Ehud Olmert, Sheikh Nasrallah and the Boy King all proclaiming victory in their nasty little war — even as the bodies are still literally being pulled out of the rubble.

He has not considered my humanitarian point of view, which is when all sides claim victory, it binds them inexorably to the truce. What “victorious” organization would dare attack again, and prove false their rhetoric on victory while confirming their own brutality?

This is a difference between me and Billmon — aside from his brain dwarfing the jumbled marble bag of mine. I know that some of it is more theater than policy, and must be regarded that way. Lebanon asked for the Shebba farms back, knowing it wouldn’t get them. Israel inserted “defensive operations” in the agreement to keep the scare on. But as we see now, everyone shouts “victory!” through their losses as if destruction were self-validating. Absurd, but a good sign.

I realize Billmon’s post was half rant, but still. Good things can happen despite the embarassing gibberish of those in power. Yes, I’d prefer that everyone compete to see who was more “grown up,” more “human,” more “compassionate” and “reasonable,” but that can happen only in my Utopia, where dead bodies in fact devalue winning. Fact of the zeitgeist is, winning — self-centered, ego-fellating winning — trumps sensibility every time.

Maybe that’s where Billmon finds his frustrated rage. He may see, in these victory cries, the opening sequence to The Last Boy Scout, where a running back needs that touchdown so bad he whips out a nine and blows away two defenders on his rush to the end zone. If only we could be more like the running back, who, instead of psychopathically raising his arms in triumph, comes to terms with his sin, removes his helmet, kneels, and squeezes fire through his own brain.

I don’t see it that way. One has to admit that stopping is something, even if leaders overcome shame with unabashed triumphalism. True, a person can’t beat the living shit out of someone then congratulate his “moral character” for curbing his desire to gouge an eye. Equally disgusting would be to dance in celebration over a writhing victim.

But these guys are politicians, abstract storytellers struggling to fashion a throughline for something that is, at is base, surreal. They can only work within their strength: delivering a more salable form of the truth, one where they aren’t revealed as thoroughly depraved nutjobs.

Therefore, I regard these silly victory shouts as a Cuckoo’s Nest form of agreeing it’s over, and can be thankful — beyond all the absurd proclamations — that we, as the caretakers of ourselves, recently received a backhanded gift, in the form of birds singing again in southern Lebanon.

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