Friday, November 23, 2018

small stories, big picture

In a time when the Liar-in-Chief -- the man who never met a lie he might not embrace nor espoused a truth he would defend -- has thrown a spanner into the worldwide mix [Brexit, a migrant caravan knocking from Mexico on U.S. doors, wild fires in California with a smoky pall stretching to New York, corruption, collusion, lies, etc.], it is perhaps understandable that individuals like me might back up (should I used the word "cower?") into lesser, more graspable, more individualized formats.

Such a story, one that Donald Trump has not yet turned to his personal advantage, is the tale of the come-to-Jesus Christian slain on an island that was off-limits by law to outsiders. John Allen Chau, 27, traveled where he was prohibited in order to spread the word of God. He was "killed by North Sentinel islanders who apparently shot him with arrows when he trespassed on the isolated island in the Bay of Bengal."

Is someone any less an asshole because s/he and s/he alone decides what is more important?  Why is it that smarm-fed Christians cannot seem to even consider the short and sweet, "your Jesus? My ass!"

A sense of virtue is something Donald Trump asserts without palpable evidence, but that doesn't mean he's the only one: It seems that anyone can contract the virtuous-intentions-are-equal-to-virtuous-outcome bug: If it's for Jesus, it's OK to break the law and exercise your ignorance gene.

Still, Chau's story is a relief, somehow -- a bit of humanity writ clear. It's a story far easier to ingest and digest than the Dust Bowl of confusions and prevarications Trump offers. A bit of clear sailing before a return to the storm. A one-man story ... yes, I can dig it.

I like small stories as we circle around the glug-glug drain.


  1. I might be wrong of course but, in my view, Jesus would have known better than Chau. The Sentinelese have already shown in the past they'd rather be left alone in their island and the way they live isolated has no bearing or effect on Chau's individual or social life. Jesus, on the other hand, acted in his own social environment, fundamentally questioning the way basic Jewish tenets had turned into laws and were being enforced, such as by stoning women to death for the crime of adultery, an example that blatantly contradicted one of its 10 basic tenets; don't kill. For this reason, and again this is only my view, some people mistake Jesus with some peacenik that totally rejected the use of violence. I hold a different view, since biblical stories tell us that his apostles carried swords, presumably for self-defense against criminals since roads could be very dangerous in such times. No abrahamic faith denies the right to self-defense.

    Chau, with due respect, was very foolish, however good his intentions were. Not only he ignored the obvious danger to his own life, given past records of violent contacts with the Sentinelese, who obviously feel threatened by outsiders, but also since he apparently neglected that his presence on the island placed the whole tribe in danger of falling ill to pathogens he might carry and to which they are not immune.

    As for finding a reason to break laws, it seems that these days breaking laws is the norm and to single out Jesus as a reason is - respectfully - merely your bias. What about the Tibetan businessmen arrested in China for possessing images of the Dalai Lama. Is it ok to break the law then? Are those Tibetan businessmen less of an asshole for deciding alone that possessing an image of the Dalai Lama is more important than the rule of law, however ridiculous this law may seem to you and me? Some use Jesus, others the Dalai Lama and others even Lucifer or Thelema; "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law".

    Anyway, aside more or less ridiculous laws, when government officials and big business so often and blatantly do it with impunity, expecting common people to be 100% perfect is just wishful thinking. I was reading today how a Spanish court cleared two men of rape, after considering that forcing a woman into non-consensual sex could not be considered "use of violence", when violence in law means the unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force. If she was forced and the act was unlawful, how can it not be violent?

    When even those who have been elected and are paid to hold the law in Courts of Justice show so much carelessness for the law, to the point of denying justice to a raped woman, might it fair to say the center of the glug-glug drain is right where the Courts of Justice stand?

    1. It's much because of this feeling that corruption and neglect for the rule of law abound even where it's the most fundamental tenet that I'm more than ever inclined to feel "fuck this shit, I'm out". Sometimes I even think that's the only sense in what is being done in the western world; to frustrate people until they have had enough and move out by their own will. If that is so, I just wish someone had told me sooner. I wouldn't have wasted so much time trying to adjust to something broken hoping to make it somehow better. I've given up. Over and out.

    2. Apparently Chau took fishing lines and a soccer ball as gifts to the Sentinelese. I might have taken better bows and arrows.