On Saturday evening, I sat down to eat dinner and turned on the news. Habitually, I tend to flick through the various international news stations in an effort to avoid programs such as Business Today, Technology Yesterday and Wall Street Tomorrow. Perhaps I am peculiar, as when I turn on a news station I like to watch something called news, which unfortunately for me tends to be much more difficult to find than it sounds. On Saturday, Whitney Houston’s Funeral dominated the news channels with CNN, BBC, Euronews, NBC, HBC, TSB, and the vast majority of the stations programmed on my decoder between channel 200 and 250 all showing the glitzy, star-spangled send off. It was therefore left to Al Jazeera to feed my appetite. After watching a documentary about the revolution in Tunisia, they unbelievably had some news. Strangely they didn’t start with Whitney, instead they led with a story about an Iranian Warship entering the Mediterranean for the first time in fifty-something years. Quite stunned by the fact there was some real news going on somewhere, I quickly flicked back to BBC and CNN to check what they were showing. I was delighted to see that they were still bringing us blow-by-blow coverage of Whitney Houston’s funeral, as I like the rest of humanity can see that there isn’t a greater threat to world peace than someone not singing someone else’s song, which was written by someone else, well enough to befit the memory of such a legendary voice. It’s with that thought in mind I have decided to create an exercise to try to figure out why the likes of the BBC and CNN chose to cover the funeral, as opposed to any actual significant news, like an act of aggression from a rogue state, or something. And to demonstrate just how intelligent this exercise is, I shall use numbered points.
- Whitney Houston dead is more dangerous than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is alive.
- Iran recently ordered the assassinations of a number of Israeli diplomats in India, Georgia and Thailand. Whitney Houston successfully assassinated millions of brain cells with the aid of a crack pipe.
- Iran is run by religious extremists, Houston was extremely religious.
- Iran is trying to develop nuclear bombs, Whitney Houston’s voice was ‘da bomb’
- Whitney Houston was on her journey to heaven, the Iranian battleship was only going to Syria.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is often paranoid, irrational and delusional. Whereas Whitney Houston was perfect. It’s a good job drug addicts don’t have comedowns.
It seems somewhat amazing that in the 21st century our obsession with celebrities now trumps world peace in the public domain. In death comes a massive loss of perspective. In any communal grieving process a pattern often emerges. It becomes something of a pissing competition as each person tries to bestow greater platitudes than the next. It is absurd.
Something has gone wrong with the world. We have taken our eyes off the ball and are content to be a race of Homer Simpsons just doing the best we can until the day we die. We have accepted our meaninglessness, so much so that we seldom use our brains. Our reality is bigger than we are. Our aptitude for denial is immeasurable. I am only trying to point out that we are doing it wrong. That somewhere in the shadows of the last century we left sanity behind and instead bought into cultural oblivion. An oblivion which we not only chose, but invested in with both our hearts and our credit cards. Obviously you don’t have to take my word for it, after all my funeral will never even be mentioned on CNN. But this guy’s might….
Are there any? Should there be some order in trying to put the world in order? Are there some can’t do’s and must do’s when inventing a system of guidance? I am pretty sure I can think of one.
If I declare myself King and demand that all monkeys start speaking to humans in English will it happen? Given them monkeys are independent beings who aren’t capable of vocalising their thoughts, it’s rather unlikely. To be able to put things in order you need power. So perhaps if I invaded England, dissolved parliament and declared myself Emperor on national television and gave the same order would it work? No. What you need in conjunction with power, is control or perhaps the tools of control. So what if took the same steps to become emperor, ordered the British army to invade the zoo’s and order the monkeys at gunpoint to speak English? It still won’t work will it. So what on earth is the rule of making up rules?
I am talking about the death of Baha Mousa and many others. I have absolutely no intention on delving deep into these cases. Last night I was watching a report on BBC about the circumstances surround this tragic case and was absolutely gob smacked by an American ambassador who claimed that the overwhelming cause was the failure of the soldiers in question to follow the rules of war. The first thing I want to say is that the death of Baha Mousa and the numerous acts of torture and murder which have been committed around the world in the name of war are wrong. The second thing I want to say is rules of war? Rules of fucking war? What is wrong with you bureaucrats?
We routinely send the mostly heroic young men and women of our nations to places where strangers try to kill them. When they arrive there we insufficiently arm them, often medicate them with amphetamines and blithely grasp in the darkness hoping that if we hang around long enough the baddies will stop. In the midst of these stress we try to subjugate them with often bizarre and banal rules which in many cases cause innocent people to lose their lives. Whether it be the U.N troops who were refused permission to engage without being fired upon in Rwanda or Srebrenica, the cost is the same. You cannot apply rules which require active participation from both sides of an armed conflict. Mainly, it’s due to the fact that they are in conflict. They are not going to stop and say ‘look here, you just broke rule number 42, you just poked me the eye you rapscallion’. It is not boxing.
The problem is not a question of breaching someones human rights or any Geneva convention. It is the fact that recent wars have been fought with 24/7 media coverage in a shameless effort to garner public support against an action which was unequivocally wrong in its beginning. Due to the close proximity of the PR machine to all aspects of modern conflicts governments are desperate to avoid being attached to any act which demonstrates the brutal reality of war. It’s as if the aristocratic officers of the first world war have been promoted one step higher and are now in government.
The basic rule which underscores the terms of war is its overwhelming objective. The complete destruction of the opposition. Another term synonymous with war is collateral damage. War causes thousands of people to die. Every time. The longer it goes on. The more people die. The higher percentage of innocent people die. It’s not rocket science. It’s a fact. If any statesmen was really serious about stopping the murders of innocent people in conflict zones they would only need to do one thing and one thing only. STOP FUCKING WARS! It does not matter how much smoke you try to screen it with. People still have their own noses. And they are very familiar with the smell of bullshit.
It seems to me that the rules of making up rules are quite simple. Rule number 1. Don’t be fucking ridiculous! Rule number 2. See number 1.