We are hours away from a war with Iraq and the only thing on my mind is this mission I'm stuck on in "Freelancer". I dutifully turned on CNN today to freshen my brain with the sweet scent of politics, but I compartmentalized the repetition of rhetoric so well that it didn't even creep into the periphery of my thought process. Finally I said to myself, "listen man! Good Christ something important is going on!" and I sat down and forced myself to soak up the narrow bandwidth of worldview presented by 24 hour news channels.
Much to my surprise we weren't already bombing Iraq. Why? How long does a man have to be beaten in the face with War before we actually unzip and go to town? I've been hearing this fucking brain dead war drum beat for what feels like years now. It pounded its way over my righteous indignation at my country run afoul. It beat "thump-thump-thump" and drowned out what little activism I have in me. It worked! I was no drooling patriot singing "proud to be an American" but I was so sick of hearing the war mantra I wanted the bombs to drop just to silence it. Blow up Iraq already! I want that slack-jawed monkey child president of ours to stop juicing up my screen with mispronunciations and I want those two-faced European jelly monsters gone.
I'm a good citizen. I try to keep up with world events but there's only so much a man can endure before he reaches his breaking point. One minute you're listening to them rattle on like a machinegun about Elian Gonzalez and his fish-food mom, and the next you're in a clock tower pumping hot copper a hundred meters through the brainpan of some physics TA. That particular story was so prolonged and annoying it would have driven me to pray for blood if it had been given a face even slightly more annoying than some Cuban urchin straight out of Copperfield on LSD. It started to get one with that screeching relative of his that looked about as Cuban as apple pie dipped in liquid American flags. Fortunately the whole story aborted in a Havana dumpster before his banshee squeals could raise my blood pressure to the murder threshold.
Elian is dead and gone, or he may as well be, sipping iced teas with Castro on a beach or having his gums drilled by an ex-KGB man in the basement of a communist prison, either way he's not in the news. The story now is Iraq, but I don't have to tell you that. Even if the only two sources for all of your outside information are your front window and this web site then you know we're going to war. Everywhere you turn, including Something Awful - sickeningly enough even including this article - you're reading about Iraq. Far be it for anyone to have pity for a ruthless dictator, but who the fuck really cared about Saddam Hussein a few months ago? One minute we're reading about our brave men and women subduing the serpent's nest of Afghanistan and the next our president is babbling about Iraqi dictators and the Axis of Evil.
Chant, chant, chant it began like a vitriolic whisper. Like the swell of the music in "The Omen". Our President was mad, we weren't sure what had gotten him so riled up because he's about as coherent as a laser filtered through the ass of a retard, but we were all listening. We had our ears to the rail. Each word that oozed out of his maw was carefully crafted by high-paid speech writers and then messily butchered by the functionally illiterate mouth of our fist clenching exalted emissary of justice. Each verb and noun, each adjective, and every suffix as read from a phonetically spelled teleprompter was raked over in the media by crack teams of "expert analysts". They spun the words into mathematical matrices of speculation and conjecture, fueled further down fractal spirals by plants and leaks from "unnamed sources inside the Pentagon". Occasionally the talking heads and the president's latest blooper reel were replaced on my screen with lich king Donald Rumsfeld and his good old boy winking in front of the press or Colin Powell and his eyes burning with the fury of a man who hates his job. If we were really lucky it was Old Scratch himself, John Ashcroft.
Let me digress a bit because I have never hated a figure in American politics as much as I hate John Ashcroft. From his hideous Christian piano CDs he puts out, to his flummoxed chubby face, to his almost zealous efforts to constrict and bind the freedoms of Americans. I'll come out and say it. The man is a cocksucker, and not just any cocksucker, he's the kind that gets his bully boys to grab Arabs off the street and lock them away in some secret dungeon. There they can drink iced teas on the beach with George Bush or have Department of Homeland Security agents use drugs and electroshock and needles on them. No bruises, maybe a fatal heart attack from time to time, but this is America! Democracy! We don't leave marks with freedom.
But these are the guys who blew up the World Trade Center! Yeah, that was quite a caper wasn't it? I know it scared the shit out of me. That would have been a good movie plot if you switched things up a bit. Replace the United States with evil alien overlords that walk around in mechanical suits and replace the Islamic Fundamentalists with a band of ragged freedom fighters led by Bruce Willis. He could have looked into the camera and screamed "FOR FREEDOM!" or something as his space jet flew into their citadel of evil. Although after that it would get pretty fucked up if you stuck with the plot because it wouldn't make much sense for the aliens to go blow away Mars or something because some human freedom fighters flew space planes into their future base.
I kid though. We're dealing with villains here, scoundrels, the Scum of the Earth. Why not hate them? Apathy. I find it helps get folks through a lot more than caring and long poems about the towers coming down in some girl's notebook next to a doodle of a unicorn. If you don't like what I'm saying up until now I bet the word "apathy" up there just validated all of your thoughts and you started nodding and going "mmmmhmmm" and if you had a sassy black woman next to you then you would high five her and say "look at that, girlfriend". Let me tell you where you went wrong. Some bum approaches you and he looks like five miles of bad road sown with mines and covered with concertina wire and a layer of filth professionally applied by the invisible artisans of homelessness. He asks for some spare change. You feel sorry for him, but then you start thinking "well I bet he's going to spend it on drugs" or "I bet he's going to stab be me and sell my skull to the Chinese". Me, I just see if I have spare change. If I do, he can have it, if I don't he's out of luck.
"Oh my god, you did NOT just give spare change to that man!" You say in your incredulous voice. "He is a professional pan handler! He drives to this corner in a Lexus!"
Whatever. You see, I don't care. I shrug it off. It registers on me, no change for that guy again, but I'm not going to let myself lose sleep over it.
What does that have to do with Iraq and me being sick of it? The world needs more apathy. I'm thinking specifically of Israel and Palestine here but it has a direct correlation on the Iraq issue. In Israel if there's a terror bombing what do you expect the Israeli government to do afterwards? Occupy and attack, right? What if an Israeli Hellfire missile flies in through the window of some two story shit-hole in Gaza and blows the bones right out of a couple Hezbollah nuts? What then? What do Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad or Al-Aksah Martyrs Brigade do next? That's a lot of question marks but the answers are always the same; attack, destroy, kill. It's circular, and we just got served up a hot cup of it.
While teenage Flash animators around the globe were firing up their tweening tools on rough approximations of the World Trade Center, George W. Bush and his clan of scoundrels were in the bunker drawing bold red arrows across maps of Afghanistan. I admit, I was right there with them. Attack, destroy, kill! Give them a taste of what they just fucked with! And we did! We lit that little dirt ball of a country up like it was a marquee for the final showing of "Cats" on Broadway. Paveways, Hellfires, Tomahawks, JDAM's, daisy cutters, gatling guns, and that big fucking cannon on the AC-130. All of them went tearing ass through a country with a power grid about as sophisticated as one of those potato radios. Why couldn't those worthless bastards have just given us a nice big skyscraper to send crashing to the ground? Something satisfying and cathartic.
It was over. It was anti-climactic. We didn't get our masses of people running in terror or huge Al-Qaeda edifices crumbling into clouds of dust. For a few days it was silent. Thump, thump, thump.
"No!" I cried. "No, this is what they want!"
Amazingly the television didn't respond as our president began writing checks with his fool mouth that our country will be attempting to cash for generations.
"Axis of Evil!" He said.
"We must disarm Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein!" He insisted.
"Freedom loving people of Iraq!" He explained as best he could.
I stifled a second bout of outrage at what I was seeing, instead sitting mutely at what I perceived as the beginning of the end. The first steps in a slide into obscurity, enmity, and eventually nothingness.
That was weeks ago, when this shock and awe - to use the favorite term of the Pentagon - was fresh in my mind. Thump, thump, thump. Any time I turned on the TV it was beating, like the Telltale Heart beneath my floorboards but I could not hasten to silence it. I shut it out as best I could and watched the parade of goofy faggots around the world, the anti-war demonstrations never failing to bring out the biggest losers this side of a "Magic: The Gathering" tournament. I watched France and Germany, hilariously standing together in the face of American aggression. What a pathetic tag team to have in my corner, speaking my mind. A country as duplicitous and unctuous and pathetic as could be imagined matched up with a country that had invaded them twice and had a legacy of ultimate brutality. Philosophers and luxury sedans to our nation of technology, prosperity, and violence. No match, not even close.
Oh look, there's China in the corner looking smug. Hi China, how many of your own people were put to death for petty theft while we were listening to that speech? Veto? Oh, faaaaantastic.
I had to face facts, there was no stopping us. The good guys in this fight were no better than us, and for reference we're the bad guys, and we're going after the really bad guy. Throw in North Korea for a wild card and the party never stops. My righteous indignation boiled, seethed, and then the pilot light went completely out. Apathy. 24 hours a day the drum beat, news alert e-mails from CNN that might as well have just contained "thump" repeatedly, talking heads that described in almost sexual detail how the new biggest bomb that is even bigger than the last biggest bomb would send a mushroom cloud high into the sky over Baghdad. Shock and awe. Shock and Awe!
Barely a whisper as black sedans in cities fill their back seats with suspected terrorists and drive them off to a location so secret that even God is in the dark about it. Maybe they caught one. They'll tell us they did either way and we'll feel safe. All big news if it weren't for a war, great ratings on this one Tom! They're sending some of our field reporters out with the troops, we've got three Hummers tricked out with live satellite feeds. Live from the previous location of Baghdad! It'll be fantastic. Show some tracers, few explosions, maybe a twisted tank and a charred corpse for the "war is hell" angle. Close on a fresh-faced GI handing his special non-melting desert Hershey bar to some kid that lost his dick to a guided bomb. Perfect! Golf tomorrow at nine, right Tom? See you on the links.
Fuck it, get it over with. No, I don't need a blindfold, just a last cigarette, a Miller Lite, and photons beaming across my living room Live From Iraq.
Not Quite Hollywood
It is with a great sense of pride, or at least something resembling a great sense of pride, that I introduce to you an all new feature here at Something Awful. Lowtax recently started corresponding with Mark Polonia and Jon McBride, the creators of such fine movies as "Feeders" and "Feeders 2", and hit upon the idea of offering them a column here at Something Awful. The duo immediately agreed! Honestly, what else could they be doing? It takes like half an hour for them to make one of their movies. Get inside the creative process of some of the worst movies you have ever seen with our new feature "Hot Off Hollywood".
THE ALIENS - Okay, okay, okay, so they aren't Stan Winston quality. Okay, okay, okay, so they aren't Chari Lewis finger puppet show quality, but they are charming in an inept sort of way. The one with the long head that looks like a scrotum is sadly, not with us anymore. The one featured more prominently, to no better effect, is still lurking in my basement somewhere. It has had years of abuse being "tossed and thrown" at non-actors in "FEEDERS" and has now been retired to the "Abused Puppet Hall of Fame" where it resides next to Hermie from "RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER" (which is sort of ironic since Hermie and Jon have the same hairstyle
If you don't go read this right now I swear to God and Jesus and Allah that I will brutalize your colon with the business end of a phone book.
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.