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It's Hard Out There For A Deity

Suprisingly, I'm not going to mention the Oscars. I bet you thought I'd have something to say on the topic, but frankly, I just didn't care. As I saw a grand total of "zero" of the movies that had been nominated, I figured it was a waste of my time to watch a three-hour award show filled with self-congratulatory praise, smarmy, off-handed political commentary and in-jokes that end up falling flat but still eliciting a polite titter from the self-proclaimed royalty of America. All I know is that Best Picture was won by a movie that less that .135% of the world bought a ticket to see and Best Song went to a bunch of thugs whose members include an individual named "Crunchy Blac", (whose previous hits included "Where da Cheese At?" and "Knock the Black off yo Ass") and subsequently is the only Oscar-winning song in the history of the Academy to include the phrase, "Because a whole lot of bitches talkin shit." Who said art is dead?

No, I'm here today to talk (briefly) about the most ridiculous "protest" movement I have come across. Oddly enough, I first heard about it while searching for a webcomic called "Sock-Monster." Don't ask. Anyway, when I got to the site, I was met with this message . For those of you too apathetic to click, here's the message in it's entirety:

From February 15 to March 20, I am participating in an electricity fast called Lights Out Chicago. I will be joining friends and family in refraining from using electricity in my home for 33 days in order to raise awareness of the lack of reliable electricity in Iraq. Over the past fifteen years, Iraqi civilians have had to deal with two U.S. invasions, sanctions, bombings, a ruthless dictator and a powerful insurgency. It is time we start helping our Iraqi counterparts rebuild their lives and infrastructure. Because of this fast from electricity, I will not be updating Sock-Monster for a month. On March 21, Sock-Monster will be back with new cartoons, but until then, I encourage you to spend some time getting involved in helping people whose lives have been burdened in our name. Lights Out Chicago is a part of Voices For Creative Nonviolence's month-long protest, the Winter of Our Discontent, and has been organized by members of VCNV, Peace Action, and the Allium Collective. For more information go to http://www.vcnv.org.

I know, I couldn't stop laughing either. A guy who draws a webcomic highlighting the adventures of a poorly drawn sock-puppet is going to "raise awareness" about the abominable living conditions in Iraq by not using electricity. And he is going to tell the world of his desire not to use electricity by using the Internet. Which, as far as I can tell, uses electricity.

Remember the good old days when people who had a political statement to make did so by actually doing something? Writing articles and essays, picketing, chaining themselves to a tree, immolating themsleves in full view of a CNN camera crew? For god's sake, this guy is a cartoonist; wouldn't drawing a series of political cartoons accomplish his goal of "worldwide awareness" much more effectively than doing nothing at all?

The electro-fast is being led by Voices For Creative Nonviolence, a Chicago-based grassroots(read: pointless) group of do-gooders hell-bent on ending a war that they know close to nothing about. Their website, (updated two days ago smack in the middle of their War on Electricity I might add), details their namby-pamby crusade against violence with the following planned (in)action:

Fasting: an open-ended 33-day fast, possibly including a relay fast, with individual activists fasting all or part of the period.

What? A relay fast? Part of the period? Where's the dedication? In 1963, Thich Quan Duc, a Buddhist monk set himself on fire to protest the Vietnamese government's oppression of the Buddhist religion. That my friends, is the ne plus ultra expression of allegiance to a cause. Turning off your iPod for thirty minutes hardly qualifies.

But that's par for the course for this generation of couch potatoes and video-game zombies. Apparently to them, inaction is action. Any idiot can sit in a room with nothing but candles and an acoustic guitar and call themselves a "rabble-rouser", but quite frankly, if you aren't willing to put yourself in either extreme discomfort or danger for your cause, then your cause is inconsequential.

And I won't bother even pointing out the fact that 99% of this country's resources are hardwired; directly or indirectly, these peaceniks (read: unemployed art students) will be consuming electricity whether they like it or not. The only type of "awareness" that going without food, or water, or gasoline or power for any period of time brings is that there are an awful lot of people in this country, nay, this planet, willing to take the easy, illogical way towards "bettering" the world.

But don't think they haven't made me sit up and take notice. On the contrary, for the next 33 days I'm going to to double my energy usage to make up for whatever miniscule effect the Voices For Creative Laziness might have had on the country's electrical usage. Right now, I have three televisons simultaneously playing the FOX News Channel while every single light in my apartment is blazing away in hopes that I may become a beacon of rationality in an otherwise dark, stupid world.

I think Maddox said it best when he penned, "For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three..."

Comments

Anonymous said…
“Where's the dedication? In 1963, Thich Quan Duc, a Buddhist monk set himself on fire to protest the Vietnamese government's oppression of the Buddhist religion. That my friends, is the ne plus ultra expression of allegiance to a cause.”

What about a priori maxims and Natural Law, which dictate that the individual’s survival takes priority before all else?

I mean, hippies are goofy, but is self-immolation any more rational?
Moni said…
You're still laughing? That pisses the hell out of me. Our boys are still over there repairing, restructuring their utlities and some Greenpeace, tree hugging, Birkenstock wearing A-hole has the audacity to say he's upset. He feels for the Iraqi's inadequate electrical facilities? What the..?!

Turn out the lights, bring our troops home and Sockman can stick a sock in it.
Avoid Yaar said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Avoid Yaar said…
Regarding you distasteful comment on my site. I would like to say that for being a "God of logic, order, and justice" You don’t have much logic. Women are not stoned to death in Dubai for wearing shorts. Dubai is a tourism haven and there are women there from all over the world and they are free to wear what ever they want. So get your facts straight before you come at me again.

Regarding comment left of east-unleashed.blogspot.com
Anonymous said…
You misunderstand Valannin, Mr. Yaar. He is not an actual god of logic, order and justice. He only pretends. He's a person who pretends to be what he is not, for his own online amusement. He pretends to be better than he is without really being so.

To give him the benefit of the doubt, his expectations about law enforcement in Dubai might naturally be colored by his many years living in Cairo. You know in Cairo they immolate women for wearing Emeraude.
Avoid Yaar said…
True... thanks for backin me up
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Valannin said…
Ooh, I've created my own mini-cabal of muslim apologists! Neat. Hope I can collect them all!

And if we're trading links on UAE travel hints, check out some of the tourist destinations at:

http://www.uaeprison.com/index.htm

Bring the kids, strap them into camels and whip them into submission while oil millionaires whoop with their own personal amusement! But make sure your wife is ten to twenty feet behind you...

And, "anonymous", if you're going to drop ad hominem attacks, at least register and make up a user name. All I know about you is your IP address, hometown, house number, phone number, etc, etc...so impersonal...
Anonymous said…
No ad hominem attack was necessary, since your claims were simply wrong. I think you're a perfectly swell and clever person. You simply pay fast and loose with your accusations.

You ignored the opportunity to indict the United Arab Emirates for real injustices in their legal system. Instead, you chose to erect straw dogs -- simply goofy-looking straw dogs, by the way, that had no legs to support them. Then, when we snicker at your straw dogs, you point to bears.

You refer your readers to a “UAE Prisons” website full of authentic horrors. It includes a US Department of State report that serves as a list of injustices. The UAE is ruled by an unelected body, which fails to allow citizens to change their government. The UAE recognizes none of the human rights that appear in the United States First Amendment. Their courts fail to bring drug traffickers to speedy trial. The government often interferes with the registration of businesses by women. And the legal system fails to protect foreign workers. Flogging remains among punishments to which convicted criminals may be sentenced. (But does anyone here in Valanninland object to a well-earned flogging?) The “UAE Prisons” website elsewhere claims widespread trafficking and murderous exploitation of children in the sport of camel racing, and insists no one in the UAE enforces new laws which require that jockeys be above the age of fifteen.

Those are real-life injustices, and a rational man pays attention to real injustices. You prefer instead to use them as license --to make up fictitious horrors freely -– and who cares what’s true or false, we all know Arabs are evildoers. Yan yan yan.

You claimed women in the UAE are stoned for wearing skirts. That’s a false statement, according to the aforementioned US Department of State report. Stoning remains on the books as a legitimate punishment for adulterers, but the punishment is not used. Apparently at the end of the ‘90s, a woman convicted of adultery begged the courts for the traditional stoning punishment, and did receive the sentence – but an appeals court interfered, commuting the sentence and expelling her from the country. It would be deceptive to call the laws and attitudes in the UAE “relatively cosmopolitan among Arab nations” -- but if your woman wants to get stoned in the Middle East, she should commit adultery in Iran or Sudan. She won’t get stoned for it in Dubai.

Surely you see a difference exists between the UAE and Iran.

Valannin, I am no apologist for the UAE. I'm just so disappointed by a "god of logic" who cares nothing for the accuracy of data. It's a bad example to all the little elves. How you 'spect to raise them up and get them out of their little elf ghettos?

**You also said something about a UAE embargo against Israeli pastrami. I must assume you intended that wacky statement as an analogy -- or as wit?
Anonymous said…
Valannin, I began commenting on your blog before I became familiar with "blog etiquette."

My apologies for treating your blog as a public forum. I realize now it counts as a semi-private space that "belongs" to you in some sense.

Goodbye, good luck.
Valannin said…
No apologies neccessary in the slightest. I appreciate any and all comments, especially if they DON'T agree with the platitudes I sling into cyberspace. One discovers more that way.

However, I stand by my statements. Any country that lists "stoning" in its constitution as a punishment for any crime (whether enforced or not) is a country the world can do without. I don't need data to be logical, just common sense.

Straw dogs...sounds like a pet I'd like to have.
Moni said…
Okay Val, What's up?

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