There’s stuff everywhere.
Stuff that is a cruel joke:
The 5th International! has been declared at long last by…Hugo Chavez. This will unite the forces of revolutionary socialism world-wide. In Chavez’s view, of course, the forces of revolutionary socialism include…Mugabe. And Ahmadinejad. And the Chinese Communist Party. And…wait, what?
Thing is, I could sort of understand these sort of vile endorsements before – though I’m not too motivated to insist on a charitable reading of Chavez’s words, such a reading was available: he’s kissing ass because he wants/needs international allies. He wants a bit more security against threats from the US and its allies. It’s not what you’d expect of an ‘internationalist’ in the genuine sense but then, why would we expect such things from Chavez? The point is, it’s entirely standard and expected from a government. It’s exactly what every other government does.
But actually proclaiming a Socialist International, and then sending your people to receive ideological training in China, is…well, a cruel joke.
Stuff that is also a cruel joke:
Pardoning turkeys. So there’s a special day on which millions of turkeys are to be killed and ritually eaten. You get one or two of these turkeys and, with great publicity, and great fanfare, decline to kill them. This provokes hearty laughter. After all, you can’t spell slaughter, without laughter!
Stuff that is hardly even funny anymore:
In Nepal, there has been a grand religious festival of death, in which a few hundred thousand animals of various sorts have been killed by pious God-fearing folks from all over the country and beyond.
Quote: “I slaughtered around 20 buffalo in 2004. This time I managed to behead about 70. I wish the sacrifice has not ended.”
And: “I do it for spiritual satisfaction.”
Note: roughly the same number of animals have been slaughtered in the world for food since you started reading this post. With the precision of ‘roughly’ tied to how fast a reader you are.
Question: is it more disturbing that people do this sort of thing for spiritual satisfaction, or that they do it with complete casual indifference?
More Cruel Jokes:
You remember the world’s biggest war? Yeah, still going on. Currently some people are expressing concern that the peace-keepers are actually keeping war, and troops sent to protect civilians are actually protecting people who are massacring civilians. The Congolese government has said “That’s really what we can call an exaggeration”. Well then. Thanks for that.
In fact, it looks suspiciously like the actual international response is largely a series of actions to prop up and support the government, and take no action against the companies funding violence for resource access, surrounded by high-pitched humanitarian trills and whistles.
And Thanksgiving, which itself is a somewhat cruel joke. We exterminated you, but there was a brief period of amiability early on! Let’s celebrate that!
What lesson can we draw from all this? From the jovial celebrations, ironic mercy, grand revolutionary pronouncements, grand humanitarian pronouncements, and perhaps most of all from the ‘spiritual satisfaction’ – what they seem to illustrate is that humans have a striking ability to take violence and cruelty and destruction and give it pretty much every positive emotional spin you can think of.