Sunday, December 16, 2012

tell me what to feel

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it? 
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.
--60 Minutes (5/12/96)
In 1996, Americans were told that they were responsible for the deaths of half a million children. What they weren't told, and this is very important, was that they should be upset about it. So they weren't. "Hey guys, is this a thing? Should we...? Touchdown! Boobs! Woohoo!" So that's how that went.

If, instead, media, who are essentially our tribal leaders slash opinion establishers, had sent different signals --these are our children, our children, our children -- the reaction would have resembled recent reactions to child slaughter, with all the requisite wailing and gnashing.

Media didn't, of course, and this because those children weren't ours, tribally speaking. Those Iraqi children "we" killed were enemies, but it's too awkward to say that. And just as you can't be both a lion and a giraffe, you can't be both an enemy and a child. So they were filed under "enemy" by tribal leaders and the forgetting is what followed.

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