Archive for March, 2012
Electricity, as has been made well known in educational programming ranging from Crossfire to She’s the Sheriff, has one source and one source only: Zeus the Almighty, God of Thunder and expert at, among other things, impregnating unsuspecting villagers and throwing a fastball that would make Randy Johnson’s mullet turn yellow. From his great power plant in the clouds above the island of Crete doth the Almighty dole out that most valuable of nature’s resources which powers our alarm clocks, our Zune docking stations, and, for those bars lucky enough to have them, our tabletop versions of Galaga and Dig Dug.
As stated in the Pamphlets of Prestos, which outline how natural resources are to be procured from the gods, obtaining electricity for your home, car or various other tools of pleasure is a simple matter — in fact, there are only three things you must do:
1) Confirm that the product requiring electricity has been manufactured in Greece by the nimble-if-slightly-unmotivated fingers of any one of the 147 Great Greek Labor Unions, otherwise known as the Tornados of Chaos. Any product not manufactured in Greece, i.e. anything manufactured in Sweden, Sardinia or Cicero, IL, is forbidden to receive the quality voltage which Zeus provides. Any products found to be manufactured by those godforsaken Macedonians will not only be denied electricity, but their owners also summarily whipped.
2) Memorize the lyrics to the Metallica song “Orion”, homage to that greatest of all Grecian hunters, he who is ten-time winner of the Richard Dawson MVAK (most valuable ass-kicker) Award. If you did not within three seconds of reading this say to yourself “Aha! This is a trick request, for the song is an instrumental!” you are barred from using electricity and are hereby ordered to choose between kerosene and Soul Glo.
3) Ensure on the day of petition for electricity that you have properly attired any daughters aged fourteen to twenty-two in daisy dukes, six-inch pumps and tube tops sporting the visages of either Mark Slaughter or Kip Winger, for the Almighty Zeus will from time to time appear in person to approve an order and receive any tokens of appreciation for providing his shiny, crackling nectar. Yes, we’re still talking about electricity. For those who have sired only boys, all sons aged twelve to eighteen shall be presented for inspection by Dionysus for possible inclusion in his upcoming production of Caligula on Ice.
Thoth Trismegistus: Progenitor of the Line of Horus, Holder of the Global Zaxxon Record and Smartest Man Alive
If you ask me to explain what could break a man’s mind and cause him to slaughter unarmed women and children, I would submit to you that there is no humanity in modern warfare. When you are able to shoot another man dead from two kilometers’ distance, it is inhuman. When you are able to lay mines under a road and be miles away when your deed causes another man’s body to be blown apart, it is inhuman. When you can pilot a drone from a command base far distant from its human targets and, when the deed is done, simply shrug and say “looks like we got ‘em”, it is inhuman. When men are sent again and again into the same godless breach, thousands of miles from home and burdened with horrific scenes and increasing questions of “why”, it is inhuman. And the repercussions should not be surprising.
I have never seen combat, never enlisted in the army. But I have had a keen interest in war since I was a kid. I read books about military history. I play games which simulate famous battles, or whose goal is the conquest of foreign lands and people, whether fictitious or real. I am fascinated by the reasons why ancient battles were fought; engrossed with the strategies imposed by generals of old; rapt with the colorful characters that populate our planet’s military history. But when it comes to modern warfare (anything post-WWII), my interest is limited. The only two books I’ve read on the subject – In the Company of Heroes and Sebastian Junger’s War – deal almost exclusively with the human experience in modern war, as opposed to technology and tactics. There is, dare I say, no fun in modern warfare. No courage. No cowards. No chivalry. There is only technology, money, and a race to combine the two into the next grand killing machine.
Future wars, I hope, will be fought by non-human participants, i.e. robots, cyborgs, clones, etc. – who will either control themselves or be controlled by a soldier who operates in a capacity not unlike that of a kid playing a video game. But to continue involving human beings in a theater of war ruled by long-distance weapons and vicious killing machines, and thus force upon these human beings the ever-present fear of instantaneous death or dismemberment, is asking too much of the human psyche. Short of creating an army of super-soldiers who feel no psychological pain, it is my belief that human beings were not meant to participate in battles such as the ones currently waged, where one’s survival and success relies too much on luck and sheer force of numbers, and not enough on skill, cunning and bravery.
Technology has not made war more humane – it has only served to shatter the final barrier between the horrors of war and the protection afforded by a man’s mind who, in the past, could at least look the person he killed in the eyes.
This is one of my favorite songs, and the title always reminds me of the movie From Here to Eternity, which has something to do with this post: