An Irregular Column
for MRR 316, September 2009
"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.” --Winston Churchill
“As an Internet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” –Godwin's Law
“Those who study history are condemned to live in it.” --Mykel Board
I'm madder than a Klansman whose wife bought colored-- instead of white-- sheets. My fucking boss. Accusing me of sexual harassment because I ask a female student to sew a button on my shirt. Telling me what I can and can't say in class. He's a fascist.
“I'm gonna take a picture of him. Then, photoshop on a little mustache and comb-over,” I say, “Post it in the teacher's lounge.”
I sit in Jennifer's kitchen. The kettle on the stove whistles. Jennifer walks over to it. Using a Motel 6 towel as a potholder, she picks it up and pours the water over some green leaves.
“Oh Mykel,” she says, “cut it with that Hitler stuff. Everything is Hitler-- or the Nazis. If you get too much cream in your coffee, it's the Nazis. Somebody takes your seat on the subway. They're Hitler. Give it up already.”
News item: Will Smith finds himself in hot water with the Jewish Defense League. He told a Scottish newspaper that Hitler didn't mean to do evil, but rather, using "a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good.'"
The JDL denounced Smith's remark as "ignorant, detestable, and offensive."
In response, Smith issued a statement clarifying his position on Hitler as a "vile, heinous, vicious killer."
This column isn't (only) about Hitler. Though, he's probably the best example. Here are some others:
Wikipedia: The Armenian Genocide also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as The Great Calamity refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction (genocide) of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by the use of massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of Armenian deaths generally held to have been between one and one-and-a-half million.
Wikipedia 2: In God, Greed, and Genocide: The Holocaust
Through the Centuries, Grenke quotes Chalk and Jonassohn with regards to the Cherokee Trail of Tears that "an act like the Cherokee deportation would almost certainly be considered an act of genocide today".
“The Indian Removal Act of 1830” led to the Trail of Tears. About 17,000 Cherokees — along with approximately 2,000 black slaves owned by Cherokees — were removed from their homes. The number of people who died as a result of the Trail of Tears has been variously estimated. American doctor and missionary Elizur Butler, who made the journey with one party, estimated 4,000 deaths.
From the Internet: The 1831 uprising in Southampton, Virginia was led by Nat Turner, who was himself a slave. Slave rebels systematically went from house to house killing about sixty whites before they were disbanded. In the suppression of the revolt, about one hundred African Americans died and authorities hanged sixteen more.
In Turner's lengthy autobiographical statement, he says that God led him to bring judgment against whites because of the institution of slavery.
NEWSFLASH: The bloodbath began when an 8-year-old girl attending a Christmas Eve party answered a knock at the door. A man dressed as Santa and carrying what appeared to a present, pulled out a handgun and shot her in the face. Then, he began shooting indiscriminately as party-goers tried to flee.
By the time it was over, at least eight people at the party were dead and the house was torched. The gunman killed himself hours after exacting revenge against his ex-wife with the massacre at his former in-laws' home.
FLASH TO LAST WEEK: I'm at my nephew's Bar Mitzvah. I mine-sweep the tables for the dregs of the vodka bottles. Following me is my cousin, B_ who came in from Thailand. A man whose mind runs through the same trough as mine, he moved there after his wife dumped him. A new girlfriend (35 years his junior) later, he's in New York for the festivities.
“Hey B_,” I say. “Did you meet S_? She's over there and she's got a pair of lips on her that could suck a car engine out through a tailpipe.”
He looks over his shoulder.
“Yeah,” he says. “But I gotta keep away from her. We have a history.”
Flashback to 1487: It's 2 AM. You're in bed. You lay naked, face up, your knees pressed close to your ears. On top of you, Pablo lies with his tubular bell, pressed deep into your belfry. Your lips press against his. You feel each thrust, stretching that once tight sphincter into an open, welcoming ring.
Pain. Delightful pain, as Pablo bites into your shoulder, as
he grunts to hold back the inevitable. Your own arm reaches around the back of your leg to pump yourself from the front, while Pablo comes up the rear.
BLAM! The doors smash open. You hear a shout.
A clothed arm curls around Pablo's neck. He's wrenched off you, thrown back against the wall. You smell the stench of your own body.
Then two hands grab under your shoulders, pulling you naked out of the room. Your feet scrape against the cobblestones as you're dragged through the streets. Your naked body comes to rest-- face-down-- in the basement of the cathedral.
You struggle. Something metallic smashes into your face. A warm liquid drips from the corner of your eye to the corner of your mouth. You taste the sweet saltiness of your own blood.
You're face down, in chains, handcuffed to a kind of pedestal. It pressed into your stomach, and feels like it will tear your hips apart.
Voices in Latin speak above you. Again, you hear the word SODOMIA!
Then you feel it. The Pear. You know what it is without seeing it. It's been your nightmare for years.
Now you feel it, the metal... like a clamp... pear shaped... shoved into your already bleeding rectum. A fist-sized metal flower bud at the end of a screw. It's massive. You'll die.
But not too soon... That's just the beginning... The screw is turned. Slowly, the clamp expands. Its petals open inside you like a flower blooming from a bud. Opening larger and larger. Your insides rip. Then they shred. Death can't come soon enough for you. Stop! STOP!
Yes, STOP! Everybody's got their history. Everybody's got some saga that justifies being mean to someone else. Something 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 5000 years ago. Armenians, Jews, homos.
History is a grudge factory that justifies any atrocity in the name of one that passed. Conservatives want to kill Muslims in the name of 9/11. Palestinians want to kill Israelis in the name of land taken in 1967. Israelis want to ethnically cleanse Israel from Palestinians in the name of God who “gave them” the land 5000 years ago.
I'm writing about history. Its abuse at the hands of every vengeful despot. It provides the all-purpose excuse for the worst atrocities. Its erection rises to impale everyone who is close, but different.
History. A bunch of guys killing other guys... written by the winner. Words in a book.
The Bible, the single most deadly book in the world, is a history book. It starts on day zero, and goes downhill from there.
Find a Jew. there's a holocaust museum. Talk to Catholics in Northern Ireland and you'll wait ten seconds before Protestant Oppression in Irish History pops to the fore. Talk to an anarchist? The commies, what they did to us in the Spanish Civil War. In Africa, tribal histories resurface every few years, along with severed limbs, and spilled intestines. People hate people they've never met. Why? History!
The solution is simple... and very New York. FUHGEDDABOUDIT!
Yeah. Ignore that history. Let it go. Armenian's 3 million, trumped by Jews 8 million, trumped by Stalin's 9 million, trumped by Mao's, I donno a billion? It's over. Start again. FUHGEDDABOUDIT!
The CIA tortured. G.W. Bush conspired. OK, show us the pictures. It's important to know the truth, but then LET IT GO!
The future won't right the past. “Justice” is the drag name for revenge. Call in the Alzheimer’s! Start every day thinking about what's gonna happen tomorrow. What you do now will make that day. Yesterday's over. You won't change it. Forget it.
-->Whoever said cops can't laugh dept: Ex-suburban Chicago cop, Drew Peterson, called into a local radio talk show. Peterson, in jail on suspicion of the murder of his third wife and the disappearance of his fourth, suggested a new on-the-air game: Win a Conjugal Visit with Drew. He did not say, however, if the winner would be leaving the prison alive.
-->Sometimes capitalism is its own best humor dept: The Aggronautix company has released GG Allin and Tesco Vee bobblehead dolls. Called Throbbleheads, the dolls will be a “limited edition” (yeah right) collector's item. The Dwarves collection is next. I shit you not. (But does the GG doll?)
-->Al and the Xenophobes dept: An organization calling
itself Repower America is spamming email from coast to coast.
Throwing Al Gore's name around, they're sponsoring a TV/YouTube
commercial promoting “clean energy.”
The commercial features some hick-looking actor, shucking hay
and walking in front of a horse. The focus? “We've got to stop being
held hostage by foreign oil.” And “we're still borrowing money to
buy oil from dictators who don't like us.” How about we're burning
in ways that kill God's green earth"
Yeah, it's the new liberal strategy. Appeal to the worst in us:
Xenophobia and religion. Evil foreigners and God's earth. It' elected
George Bush, right? Maybe it'll work for the environment.
Sorry bub, I don't want to breathe clean air made for God and
against foreigners. You breathe it. It makes me sick.