Friday, March 21, 2003

Shock and Awe

I wonder if anyone dwells on pictures like this? They are certainly closer to the hellish war than news graphics. Do people who are pro or antiwar see this and ever think - people are burning, dying, hurting. (Or on the other side - were the people out of harm's way?) We'll never know. We're so distanced, and again, the ripple of horror and fear shivers across humanity like a horse shudder. Something is going on. Something horrible. Something we cannot comprehend. Something we cannot undo. Yet this is spectacle. It's noise. It's show. It's business. It's an action movie with deeper political meaning than you can concieve of (because it will have a ripple into the future so far reaching it comes back to us).
This eerie detatchment from shock, this remote hurt and amazement reminds me of Laurie Anderson's Song "Night In Baghdad", about a journalist stationed during the Gulf War. I think it's somewhat fitting since we're just getting bits and peices of the war and yet we're trained to look below surfaces... Here's the song.

Night in Baghdad - Laurie Anderson, Bright Red

And oh it's so beautiful
It's like the Fourth of July
It's lie a Christmas tree
It's like the fireflies on a summer night.

And I wish I could describe this to you better.
But I can't talk very well now
Cause I've got this damned gas mask on.
So I'm just going to stick this microphone out the window
And see if we can hear a little better. Hello California?
What's the weather like out there now?

And I only have one question: Did you ever really love me?
Only when we danced. And it was so beautiful.
It was like the Fourth of July.
It was like fireflies on a summer night.