Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I am an awful person OR the world needs more excitement

Ah, dysjunctions! Only one condition need be true to satisfy its logic, though the statement is not false should both statements possess a positive truth value...

I've of late been titillated by the prospect of good old fashioned Total War breaking out on the Korean peninsula. I know, right? I'm pretty much a sleazeball. How could I possibly be titillated - how dare I sexualize my interest - by the prospect/threat of war?

A few years ago, I had a summer job as an overnight stocker at a grocery store in my hometown. That was the year Israel was going bananas for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, dropping payloads and blitzing tanks and smashing apartment complexes and et cetera on account of a captured soldier. At 4 a.m., right near the end of my shift, they'd bring in the newspapers for the next day, and I remember how excited me and the other stockboys/stockmen were to snatch the rag and read all about the pain, misery, suffering, loss, and so on and so forth suffered by the people of Lebanon and Israel.

Since then, I've basically not bothered to follow the news until the prospect of war is drummed up. To wit: A few years later, Russia and Georgia went at it; and suddenly, I'm reading the paper again.

Now, South and North Korea are getting all, "This is my land" sort of thing, and here I am, cruising news-sites for dirt.

a pictorial summary of worldview

The fact that I am so politically apathetic, so derisive and dismissive of soldiers and the militant class, so theoretically pacifistic, and so otherwise-completely-out-of-tune with the world at large, makes me feel utterly shameful every time I eagerly chow down the awful legacy of war.

I was talking with a friend about this all recently, about how utterly privileged we are in Canada to be able to take on an attitude of complete complacency when it comes to war. Yeah, Canada's got soldiers in Afghanistan, our boats and commanders were secretly serving during the invasion of Iraq (haven't you heard?), we've got peacekeepers running around keeping peace (I guess); but it's not as though my home is under threat of invasion. It's so easy to get riled up at the prospect of war, to discuss the great capitalist/imperialistic world order, to dismiss fighters and warriors the world over as uneducated, unthinking brutes. But since I'm not even remotely touched by it, I may as well be writing fiction - it fact, I might as well be making, consuming, and then vomiting up mud pies - as formulating worthwhile/unworthy opinions.

Which is part of the reason I have striven for the last four years (since overcoming my Ideological Young Zealot phase) to live as vacuously, in an intellectual sense, as possible.

But still, this is absurd. My girlfriend's grandfather is a veteran of the Second World War; my own grandpa trained fighter pilots during the same. And these connections demand almost mandatory sympathetic adjustments; a certain, roiling, pit-of-stomach belief that "that war was different," ignoring even the unsubtle and obvious fact that it was as much a product of circumstances as any other, filled with horrors as any other, and only took place on so grand a scale because Europeans were, at that moment in time, near-literally the owners of the world - and hence brought war to every corner of it.

is something to die for something to live for?

Do I hope South Korea and North Korea go to war? Not exactly. (Not exactly? What's wrong with me?) But I frequently find myself at an existential impasse, where I wish I had been born somewhere that demanded of me harsh and unbending opinions; a place that demanded of my moral self real rigour instead of the proto-intellectual flippancy I am helpless to espouse. I wish, in short, that I were an Israeli, or a South Korean, or a Georgian, someone whose very life and family, whose very everything, suffered under the possible threat of complete annihilation at any moment.

Am I an awful person? Am I "messed up?" Is this really the world we're born into, the options we're given? Do I really want to live in an awful life-scenario that demands/threatens war, rather than my pleasant, domestic, consumeristic, North Atlantic situation?

Well, whatever. I've decided nothing. Please, audience: decide for me. Hurl you anxieties and fears at my feet, or else hurl your curses. This husk shall be filled by your entreaties/vitriol/comforts and joys.

-bn

1 comment:

  1. Don't worry, Hell is quite nice in the winter. Try to get a property that's Lake of Fire adjacent.

    Good post, though. As a person who actually follows events, the trick is training yourself to find Relationships more interesting than Explosions.

    Hmm, that's sufficiently pithy for a Writing blog, right?

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