“Civilization began when a person threw an argument instead of a rock”, says old-age wisdom. Which is to say: wisdom from people who never lived to see the Information Age. Say what you will about those pretentious, rambling and incomprehensible French post-modernists (I’m looking at you, Derrida!), but they were spot-on about language being more of a weapon than a medium.
Take the current state of affairs in the Middle-East, or most precisely, Israel and its occupied territories, where *SPOILER ALERT!* war now is even more everyday business than usual. For the record, I’m hardly in the mood to take sides here. Asking me whether I favor the brutal regime of Israel or the terror-state of Gaza is like asking me which one of my ex-girlfriends I resent the least. But if you really must know: I don’t like the side that’s surround by enemies, shows blatant disregard for civilian casualties and gets shitloads of military aid from allied nations fighting a proxy-war. I’ll leave you to figure out which one it is.*
But while we have long since gotten used to reports about high-explosives between tossed back and forth over the Israeli-Palestinian border like a brütal version of volleyball, the 21st century just snuck up on us and gave us something that humanity does not often see: mid-war on-line thrash-talk! When not actively trying to murder each other, both the Israeli military and members of Hamas exchange passive-aggressive insults via Twitter.
If you forget the whole people-dying-underneath-the-rubble-of-what-used-to-be-their-home business, this is kind of funny, if not downright hilarious.
Now, this kind of rhetoric is far from new. Remember the part in 300 where the Persians demand that the Spartans lay down their weapons, and those bad-ass muthafuckin’ Spartans be all like: “Come and get them!”? That really happened. Though the producers of the movie took some liberties with the truth (according to my history teacher, Spartan military attire was less about showing off your abs and more about covering almost every inch of your body with steel plates), it is actually a lot closer to factual history than you’d think upon seeing it for the first time.
But despite psychological warfare being nothing new and today’s written out lashes being far from original, they sure take the cake when it comes to banality. In a dazzling display of ‘sign of the times’, this was also the month when we heard from the most notable Dutch(wo)man in South America after Joran van der Sloot: Tanja ‘Eileen’ Nijmeijer, because now we finally have Marxist who isn’t a boring old man with a two-feet beard. For those who care: here is the modern public-pretty face of terr… er, I mean: freedom fighting:
Despite having been an outspoken left-wing activist and a squatter in the past, Tanya deals mostly in Marxist terror these days as a member of FARC, except when she puts out a toe-curling video of her sing-rapping to an acoustic guitar. My Spanish vocabulary doesn’t go much further than “Dos cervezas por favor!” but I’m sure it’s about the coming utopia of the socialist state and about how the Colombian government can choke on a dick for all she cares. If this kind of thing is the new frontier for political change, then I for one opt to go back to the good old shoot-and-stab-until-one-side-wins times.
I suppose all this is bad enough as it is for now, but I fear for humanity’s capacity for more war-related idiocy. What’s next? Bashar al-Assad singing I Will Always Love You at a karaoke bar? A video of Kim Jong-un beat-boxing? The reanimated corpse of Stalin juggling with chainsaws and kittens on a unicycle while reciting a dirty limerick?
Wait, that last one would actually be pretty fucking awesome.
*Trick question: either one will do (and no further comment on the exes). Cue for the flame-wars in the comments section!