FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Age of Absurdities and Atrocities

I’ve started pieces, several, abandoning each, feeling whiplashed.

I go to Microsoft Word, click Open Recent, then click New Document. I consider combining the paragraphs, and then think maybe it’s time to stop writing.

I began one, quoting Voltaire, referenced the Age of Enlightenment, saying: Today’s darkness is in stark contradistinction to the wisdom of Voltaire who said, among many “brainy” observations: “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” After these words, I keyboarded more Voltaire for possible use. “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Absurdities and Atrocities. We are living in the Age of Absurdities and Atrocities.

I started an article with a quote from the sheriff of Great Mills, MD, location of the latest school shooting: “On this day, we realize our worst nightmare, that our greatest asset, our children, were attacked in one of our places, a bastion of safety and security, one of our schools.”

Our schools, a bastion of safety and security? Where has this guy been? Isn’t he aware of the drills? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “nine out of ten public schools now drill students and teachers to respond to mass shootings.”

At this precise moment, there could be a school shooting in progress. Excuse me a sec, I’m going to check online news. No, there isn’t one yet today. (Still time though.) There was, however, a

shooting yesterday. Police shot a young black man 20 times who was in his own yard. They thought his iPhone was a gun. “The officers fired 20 times at Clark and he was hit multiple times… Officers then handcuffed Clark and began life-saving efforts, according to police.” So, they fired 20 shots, then handcuffed him, THEN tried to save him. The Age of Absurdities and Atrocities.

I began working on an article to mark the 15-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and linked to a Pew report that Americans are divided almost equally over this war—this crime. Lies led US troops, and the willing and coerced from other countries, to battle. George Bush said God directed him, told him to “end the tyranny in Iraq.”

This is the Age of Absurdities and atrocities.

Still another essay began with my telling you I’d watched a Netflix original about Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. After the series ended, I read portions of his manifesto. Recently, my dear friend G and I were emailing about the Austin bombings. I mentioned the Unabomber and she sent this link to an article about a professor, David Skrbina, who corresponds with Kaczynski. Obviously, Skrbina doesn’t endorse the means by which Kaczynski advanced his message, however he believes Kaczynski was correct: “In a sense he had this larger cause, which is a noble cause. If it turns out to be true that there is this vital threat to the planet or to humanity, there’ll be no doubt that Kaczynski was right, that the technological system is a kind of mortal threat.”

My mind exploded with ideas—the path of technology—which we perceive as progress, some genius’s concept that he or she can, and then does, develop an invention that makes life less complicated. Say the word processor or computer vs a typewriter. I certainly recall pecking away, making a mistake. No delete, delete, delete or moving paragraphs. Just BIC Wite-Out. Yet technology has that terrifyingly dangerous downside, the most frightening of which is ecocide.

I Googled how long it will take Earth to recover from global climate change. Some geologists predict 100,000 years. I picture someone or some Thing excavating, finding remnants, writings, a CD, a military drone. Help me here. What might be buried beneath soil and water that would generate a name for this particular Age that’s more appropriate than the Age of Absurdities and Atrocities? The Age of Hatred? The Age of Annihilation?

I’m going with the Age of Absurdities and Atrocities.

Dotard-in-Chief has tweeted a juvenile response to Joe Biden’s equally juvenile comment about Trump and the president’s hands-on approach to females. Biden was speaking at an anti-sexual assault rally and when asked if he’d be interested in debating Trump, he said, “If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.” This may be Biden’s official announcement that he’s challenging Trump for the 2020 title.

If they’re still alive. If anyone is.

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 25, 2019
Marc Levy
All My Vexes Are in Texas
Jim Kavanagh
Avoiding Assange
Michael D. Yates
The Road Beckons
Julian Vigo
Notre Dame Shows the Unifying Force of Culture, Grenfell Reveals the Corruption of Government
Ted Rall
Democratic Refusal to Impeach Could Be Disastrous
Tracey Harris
Lessons Learned From the Tiny House Movement
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Human Flourishing (Eudaimonia): an Antidote to Extinction?
Dana Johnson
Buyer Beware: Hovercraft Ruling Deals a Major Blow to Land Conservation in Alaska
Norman Solomon
Joe Biden: Puffery vs. Reality
Jen Marlowe
The Palestine Marathon
Binoy Kampmark
Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings
Michael Slager
“Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change
Jesse Jackson
Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars
George Wuerthner
BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail