Practically every day in these Diary entries we mock investors, Democrats, Republicans, teetotalers, terrorists, anti-terrorists, economists… and almost everyone else.
We are equal opportunity mockers – insensitive to race, color, creed or body-fat ratio.
The mocked have only menaced us twice. Once, a journalist went off his head and sent a letter threatening to murder one of our children. We knew the sender personally; we judged him incapable of the act and recommended medical treatment.
The second time was in 2003. When we mocked President G.W. Bush’s attack on Iraq, a dear reader held his own tribunal and found us guilty of treason – a crime, he said, that should be punished by death.
Again, we brushed it off and continued making fun of the warmongers. We mock people. But we do not mock their gods. Who knows? Why take the chance?
Mocking the Gods
This week, mocking gods proved fatal to the staff at Charlie Hebdo, the Paris-based satirical newspaper. And today, all Christendom is in indignant mourning and solemn outrage. Our own hardened, satirical, cynical, ironical heart sinks in sympathy and solidarity.
“Satirist down!” screams the alarm in our own head. Duck! We say a prayer for ourselves… for the victims in Paris… and all the innocents in schools… churches… newspapers… banks… public and private spaces… rich and poor… droned… blown up… or gunned down by self-righteous world improvers all over the planet.
But the planet spins. And the media puts on its own spin. It has picked up the discourse of the very same George W. Bush… and flatters the perps. They are to be pursued not as the murderous clowns they are, but as soldiers.
The threat to our liberty, say our leaders and the press, comes from this tiny army of delusional fanatics, not from the very real armies – TSA, NSA, FBI, CIA, FDA, SEC, etc. – that pretend to suppress them.
A War on Freedom?
And so, we raise our heads again to mock our brethren in the Fourth Estate … their masters … and their customers.”The War on Freedom,” screams the headline in British newspaper the Daily Mail. And all over the blog-TV-newspaper-o-sphere the need to fight this “war.”
French politician Jacques Myard said, “We are at war … the Western nations – like Britain, France and Germany.” People come to think what they must think when they must think it.
The US heads a global credit-fueled empire, a successor to the British, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Holy Roman, Roman, Mongol, Arab, Persian – and all the other empires. So its opinion leaders must lead opinions in a direction that confirms and justifies the imperial narrative. It is a coalition empire at war with barbarians.
France’s president, François Hollande, described the attack as an “act of exceptional barbarity.”
But killing people is hardly exceptional – neither for the empire nor its enemies. It is routine. And great empires follow their well-trodden paths, too, no matter what mockery they encounter. That path leads in a familiar direction – freedom of speech is chilled.
But we know of no instances in which foreign enemies put it on ice. Usually, it is the empire’s own bureaucrats, snoops and protectors who do the chilling. And that cooling is already under way. So sayeth a report published Monday by the international literary association and defender of free speech, PEN American:
“Writers are reluctant to speak about, write about or conduct research on topics that they think may draw government scrutiny.
This has a devastating impact on freedom of information as well: If writers avoid exploring topics for fear of possible retribution, the material available to readers – particularly those seeking to understand the most controversial and challenging issues facing the world today – may be greatly impoverished.”
The US is an empire. Left and right … red states, blue states … black-and-blue states … the First, Second, Third and Fourth estates … must all think like imperialists.
That is, like blockheads.