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November 07, 2005

The Burning Bus

I'm doing some oddball things these days, having been temporarily overcome by absurdity. This evening, I watched about 10 minutes of Fox News, longer than ever outside of coverage of the Tsunami. Is it just me or does Bill O'Reilly wear entirely too much makeup? Anyway, it's something I never noticed before because I never watched.

so I'm watching O'Reilly banter with John McCain, knowing as I do some rightwinger's propensity to twist him for thinking for himself. And there's a bunch of "but he's a patriot" silliness. Pat Tillman was a hero and a patriot. I agree with you 80%, Senator, you're a patriot. Whatever. But just after the turn of the hour, the top pictures come on over the mess in Paris.

The montage was completely underwhelming. The caption, 'the rioting turns deadly'. What kind of class struggle is this? It takes eleven days for anyone to get killed here? What do the television journalists, who always go for the blood, have as their top picture? A burning bus. Jeez Louise. How pathetic.

I have in mind the story of the difference between Americans and South Americans. In America, if you're a passenger with your best friend who is speeding and he gets busted, you say, yeah he was speeding. In South America, you defend your friend against the cop. Basically in some other cultures, people believes consensus can defy objectivity. We tend to be more reality-based. "Dude, he was going 75 and everybody knows it", is what we'd say. We are resolved to resolution, others think consensus can suspend reality.

It must be that suspension of reality that's going on in the minds of the French government. It's a riot. It might not be a deadly riot, but it's a riot - the biggest they've had since May of 68. But perhaps they believe some consensus that it's something else might prevail. No such occurance could get by here in America. We count bodies and injuries and millions of dollars of damage, and we demand that something be done to restore order, NOW. Picture Ray Nagin screaming. Americans demand action. Cause, Effect. Action, Reaction.

But I imagine that so long as it's just cars that getting burned, the French feel they can dither. For this they will pay. That is, if the rioters are simply anarchic. At some point, perhaps when it becomes more deadly and makes the US headlines for 'objective' reasons, as opposed to merely Fox News, then we'll drink in some more prose and pass more judgement. But I predict that all anybody has to say is 'jihad'. Are we heading towards 1968 again? It feels like it.

Posted by mbowen at November 7, 2005 09:56 PM

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