Tuesday, February 17, 2015

no taste

-- Penguins can taste only sour and salty food, scientists have discovered.
A genetic study suggests the flightless birds lost three ofthe five basic tastes long ago in evolution.
Taste is critical for survival in most animals, but may not matter in the penguin, which swallows fish whole, say researchers in China and the US.
-- I guess because I said I disliked being told of atrocities without some evidence that would allow me to judge for myself, a friend sent along a very slickly made video alleged to be the work of Islamic State and showing in edited detail the recent beheading of 21 Egyptian Christian Copts. The video is embedded in an article here. I watched it and felt my guts twist. Even edited, it was vile.

 I asked my younger son what he thought of posting it on my blog. "I talked with mom about that," he replied. "She said that posting such a thing only gives them (Islamic State power). Don't post it." And certainly that is one aspect. Other aspects include that it is in bad taste, it is inflammatory from a number of points of view, and, and, and ... it's awful and reprehensible from a human perspective.

But there is another part of me that thinks there needs to be some willingness to address the killer within and how fortunate anyone might be not to exercise it ... while keeping in mind that the possibility is very real and very present and very mine.

During the Vietnam War, television viewers were shown clusters of flag-draped coffins and occasional collections of body bags -- the natural off-spring of Mother War. By the time the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan came around, the politicians had learned their lesson and barred photographs of coffins "as a matter of consideration for the families." That was bullshit, but of course it sounded good.

With that as a contributor to my background, I am extremely leery of atrocities that are kept under good-taste wraps. If those who support those who create and maintain the latest war cannot look on what has been wrought in their name, in what way is their patriotism and courage and righteousness not suspect? Is it really credible to say, "I wouldn't do that. I am civilized."

True, I am not the Islamic State (yet). And true, I get as angry as the next fellow at ignorant slaughter under the whatever banner of righteousness. But to wall myself off from my honest potential as a human being ... well, how's that workin' for ya?

My gut says there is a human compact that lives deep within. Humanity is shot through with responsibility, one to the next. This accounts in part for the gut-wrenching nightmares that combat soldiers can suffer after their return home. What is within (never mind the ethical smoke and mirrors) says "don't kill others; that's just killing yourself."

But since the human compact is broken again and again, a part of me really does want to rub noses in what has been wrought and will be wrought again.

I wish good taste worked better. And I wish I had more of it. And I am dubious about posting anything so disgusting and wasteful and sad.

I hate it ... and, obviously, I did it.


  1. It comes under the "wish this wasn't" file, but i don't see how posting it supports isis. I'd think it would rouse opinion against them for doing it. I'm missing something here.

  2. Yes, Charlie -- it inflames sentiment against them. But simultaneously, ite brings attention and stature -- of whatever kind -- to an organization that would fall on its face without the disagreement and agreement it arouses. Building something fruitful does not seem to be one of their strong points. The fields they might sow are the fields they subject to a scorchec-earth policy.

  3. I think it is important that people actually SEE things like this. As barbaric and depraved this stuff is, I would rather actually see it with my own eyes than have some Government or News provider "minder" tell me that it is TOO horrible for me to see.