The war on terror. Our latest, most profound and far-reaching war yet – the one that defines our generation, makes or breaks everything from careers, status, prestige, respect, human lives in general. Omnipresent, it encroaches on all things functional, eating away at them. The acid on our foundation. The hornet under the bedsheets. The wind that shakes the barley and the storm in our teacups, glasses and digestive systems. Whatever we feel about it has an impact on our lives. Hate it and we’re treacherous bastards – or valiant counter-conformists – or brave holy brothers – or crazy jihadists. Love it and we’re patriotic SOB’s – or no-good bigots – Islamist fanatics, crusader heroes… you get the drift.
The war on terror came upon us all of a sudden, just like that, like a Deus ex Machina – or more like a Freak Show ex Machination (see failed strategies to mobilize the masses through the use of all-inclusive, far-reaching, vague terminology to create an undefined enemy [barbarians] against whom to unify and fight – which, of course, backfired, thrusting a society in an endless, vicious-circle confrontation against an invisible foe, creating terror out of Terror and insecurity in the name of security.)
Make sense now?
Here’s a timely definition (from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary): Machination – a scheming or crafty action or artful design intended to accomplish some usually evil end.
Evil may be a contested and controversial term, but the scheming and crafty parts are straightforward. Machination = setup, and we seem to have been set up royally: by military intelligence, crafty politicians, and wily jihadists – or a combination of the above – it’s not clear which – but the foot’s in the door and the barbarians are at the gates, screaming blood murder and raising hell. Such is the war on terror: a filthy noisy setup, through which society is convinced to wage war on shadows, and deem it normal, and perpetuate it for as long as it takes.
It’s not all gloom and doom. to be fair. There’s the cousin argument to contend with, an argument that agrees with the absurdity of this war but doesn’t focus on the machination part of it – the part that insists that the people high up in the hierarchy have schemed to plunge the world in a perpetual state of war and vigilance through conspiracy-derived acts of terrorism, all in the name of autocracy. They want the laws tightened, our freedoms curtailed, extraordinary measures taken, and specific interests served, or so say some of the conspiracy theorists. They also claim that jihadists are by some extraordinary whim of epiphany launching offensives that slowly grow into self-fulfilling, self-defeating strategies of “counter-terror.”
But our cousin argument doesn’t focus on the above. Instead, it sheds light on blunder and gaffe.
Simply put, someone screwed up, super-royally, or so goes the argument. Somewhere in the system, someone thought that by creating the most “patriotic” initiative yet – the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and ObstructTerrorism Act of 2001 i.e. the USA PATRIOT Act – and by defining the most elusive bogeyman yet i.e. Terror rather than Terrorists – we, the people, would be rallied to the cause.
It didn’t happen. The strategy was a disaster, creating the biggest moral backdraft known to modern society, setting fire to national stability, creating global uncertainty, suspicion, paranoia, keeping us busy chasing shadows and ghosts, rumors and fears, not to mention our tails, our neighbors, ourselves, and our very existence.
And it doesn’t end there. Did I mention the creation of the biggest government mechanism to date, which we’re stuck with because no “sane” and “patriotic” politician or leader will dare dismantle Homeland Security, dissolve the USA PATRIOT Act, and disassemble the lucrative behemoth colloquially referred to as ‘the war on terror.’
In short, we, the people, of whom, for whom, and by whom the government is made, are being exploited, our resources diverted to fuel its expansion in the name of security, blowing everything up – itself most of all, not to mention our lives and livelihoods – in our attempts to tackle the invisible, all-pervasive adversary known as Terror.
In the midst of this tragedy, while looking at our society and wondering what went wrong and how we allowed ourselves to get to the stage we’re at, there’s the flip side, a silver lining, which can lift the shadow of the war on terror and nullify, slowly, in due course, its devastating effects on society.
This silver lining is called Humor.
Before showing how it works, here’s a few words…
Humor, through its sharp and relentless approach, shaves away righteousness – the pompous kind, where people swell up and tell others what to do because they think they know better, because they say so, because god or allah or manitu, or some all-encompassing theory or creed, mandates it; the one where beasts claim divine sanctity to attack others and shape the world according to their will – the bad kind of righteousness – some would call it evil – that has been plaguing human history since ancient times.
Well, Humor targets righteousness head on, as well as from the side, on the spot, or with delay, and in general through more ways than self-righteous people can handle. It’s silver-bullet-meets-pointy-stake-struck-by-war-hammer, mixed with bright rays of sunshine and courage under fire, shaken together in a vampire-slaying cocktail. The zombies of Terror, wherever they may reside – be they homegrown, foreign, rogue, or incorporated – can’t survive it. Humor’s mockery melts their righteousness away and eats into their being, all at once or in due course, exposing the righteous parts of their nature for the sanctimonious tosh it is, cindering it to oblivion.
The secret is winding up these self-righteous zombies. Volatile as they are, and full of hate, they explode at will; prod and ridicule them, piss them off, expose them for the sanctimonious, scurrilous beasts they are, and they catch fire and spontaneously combust and perish because they’re that proud and volatile, insecure and weak-spirited. Don’t be fooled by the 21st century’s sophisticated aura. Terror is terror, and whatever is founded on it and feeds off it is subject to volatile and self-destructive behavior, period.
Terror, my fellow citizens of the globe, is a stupid beast, and all it takes is a little prodding to get it mad enough to kill itself.
Having said that, here are a few examples that expose Terror (the war on terror, terrorist jihadism, anti-terrorism security measures, and all their sick ramifications) for what they are.
Let’s start with how to fight the war on terror. Regardez…
The above Merrie Melody, insane as it is, reveals one thing we forget: history sides with the one who’s in the right. To be in the right, of course, you have to: a) be under attack, and b) not be too full of yourself.
Bugs Bunny is the perfect example of the person minding his own business, and who gets intruded upon, and yet doesn’t get mad. He plays the fool, moves on, but then, when pushed too far, stands up, kicks back, ridiculing the agitator, and exposing him for what he is: a mindless agitator. As simple as that.
Let’s take heed from this crazy bunny and follow in his footsteps before we get angry and start shooting everything down in our effort to defend open society. The America that won WWII was an innocent, Bugs-Bunny-like America, cool, amusing, funny, and irresistible – which is what wins the day.
With this in mind, let’s move on to the flip side of the coin, where the stereotypes are not crescent-moon-wearing Svengalis but suit-clad Rasputins.
Here’s In the Loop…
Behold! The insanity, the inanity, and the futileness of the Western system in all its glory, exposed for what it is under the leadership of misguided bureaucrats and other useless posers. No one really knows what these clowns are fighting against, and foreign policy turns into a great farce where the enemy becomes none other than ourselves, harming the very society these buffoons are claiming to protect.
Which brings us to a landmark film on the absurdity of self-righteousness. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. This is the definitive film on righteous madness, on people going crazy over an idea, on how one pushes the other to breaking point, triggering more madness, setting off an uncontrollable chain of events.
This film exemplifies how once set in motion, certain processes become hard to manage, each setting off something else, the situation escalating – tit for tat, dog eat dog, yo-ho-ho and a bottle of nuclear bang-bang.
Which brings us to the other great satire on war:
Catch-22 has less to do with righteousness and everything to do with human greed and corruption, as well as the insanity of war, wartime trade, and, yes, logic.
Behold the infamous catch-22 i.e. the conundrum itself:
“In order to be grounded I must be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded that means I am not crazy any more – and I have to keep flying!”
The impasse of logic! As crazy as that!
Administrations and spin doctors have used logic and its paradoxes to convince people to digest even the most absurd things, in the name of good, god, peace, the nation, the people’s will, one’s family, you name it, they’ve manipulated it. And the logical becomes irrational and absurd.
Enter the Second Civil War, an HBO production. This dark comedy reveals the madness of idiots (idiotic madness?) through a superb cast and storyline…
And because political correctness doesn’t allow for lopsided presentation of sides, we have to present at least one more caricature of the Islamist Jihadist elements that have been so central in the current state of Terror, so that no one can accuse us of being partial, politically incorrect, and prejudiced solely against Western insanity.
Observe the Four Lions…
So much for kuffar-haters and their bombastic jihads.
Still, the most captivating take on Terror isn’t the one that takes place on screen, for the sake of entertainment, but the one that starts where the buck stops, beyond than the Oval Office, here, among the citizenry. It’s the one that stands up, looks Terror in the eye, and spits in it, calling its bluff and pouring tar and feathers on it for all to see and recognize and make a fool of.
So here goes:
I, Nicolas Sampson, citizen and individual, say to all terrorists: you, whoever you are, whichever side you hide behind, whatever your arguments are, wherever you may reside, history says NO to you, as do all individuals, groups, and nations. You shall not prevail! Your time is limited. Terror and terrorists, whoever you are and whatever you do, wherever you go and whatever you try…Nope! – and shall probably end up very pissed off when you realize we’re making fun of you, dealing with you like the self-righteous buffoons you are.
The End (Of Terror)
We’ve reached the end of our take on Terror. Just in case we got carried away or ended up confused, let’s remind ourselves that there’s nothing too grave to turn into a joke, nothing at all, including sanctimoniousness. If the Holy Inquisition became the stuff of jokes and Richard Nixon a satirist’s entrée, then mullahs of hate, shahid morons, thugs in suits, security goons, preachers of lies, propagandists et al are fair game.
Terrorism, get ready for our all-out lol offensive. Mr. Terror T. Fudd, the Terrible, you sound terrifying, muahahaha, but deep down you’re a joke, and it’s time we treated you like one. Be vewy vewy quiet, you’re hunting wabbits, we know, but the joke’s on you. It’s always been on you, ever since the tape started rolling. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, doc. And forget about the wabbit… ‘Can’t you see that I’m much sweeter – I’m your little seniorita – you’re my type of guy, let me straighten your tie, and I shall dance for you.’
And that’s the way we deal with Terror.
Thu-thee, thu-thee, thu-thu-thu-that’s all folks!