(Note: The following was written literally months ago, and then just forgotten about. This is probably reflected in the fact that it contains more vitriol towards people who think living in “small towns” somehow automatically makes them virtuous or exemplary. They say you cannot go forward if you do not give what you are leaving behind proper consideration. So history might learn a lesson or two from what is in here.)
People who have read some earlier examples of my fiction and know me well enough will know that I have a lot of respect for persons serving in the armed and emergency services. They have one of the most difficult and essential jobs in our present world, and often they find themselves getting the least respect, both from their immediate bosses and the societies they serve. Do not worry, this is not a lecture about how our ambulance officers, police officers, or others in similar work deserve better pay. They do, but that is not why I am writing this article now.
I decided to start writing when I found this article on the website for the United Kingdom newspaper known as The Guardian. The Guardian is like any other paper in the English-speaking world with near to two centuries of history in that decades of deregulated competition and the results of that are cutting it down to bits. But all of that is irrelevant right now. The reason I am linking to this article that is more than three and a half years old is because in light of my recent bursts of anger at being confined to places with poor infrastructure and even worse social services, its content has brought a number of things to mind.
I am not going to repeat the worst examples I read in this article of what utter hick fukktards the people of Fort Ashby are. Oh, you are upset that journalists portrayed your village as a giant trailer park? You have two “bars”, two “banks”, a fire station, a “school”, and a “bookshop”. Please. Spare me. As much as I spew venom at the incompetent, self-satisifed, assholic idiots of the border town I call Cabullshit, it at least has multiple such bookshops. But I digress. This is not about comparisons between places, or the fact that I seem to have read about one of the few places that even appears to be on the losing end of comparisons with what I often derisively refer to as Cuntborough. It is about mentalities, and how the mentality of a person or group of persons can poison an observer’s view of the place they inhabit.
In the 2008 remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, Keanu Reeves‘ wooden interpretation of the Klaatu character encounters a semantic difference when talking to some of the U.S. military representatives. One polygraph operator asks him if he is aware of an impending attack on the Earth. Jennifer Connelly‘s character asks him a little later if he is a friend to “us”. He responds that he is a friend “to the Earth”. This is an important distinction, not only to the plot of the film, but to talking about people as we know them in the real world.
In the last thirty years, we have developed a mentality that everybody does everything on their own. It is a funny contrast to the scenario proposed in the 1975 film Rollerball, in which the titular sport was designed in order to demonstrate “the futility of individual effort”. The truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. Just as a good, complex film cannot be made by a singular person acting on their own, even the smallest village cannot be built by a singular person or even a small group of singular persons. Whilst I do not know every single element necessary for a civilised village, I do know that what we consider to be a very minimal requirement, sewage, requires at least a group of men to start and maintain the service. If a village wants to have its own medical care facilities, that is a few hundred people at minimum. I could go on for days about this, but the basic point here is that if you expect me to regard your village as something other than a “trailer park”, a couple of pubs and a couple of book stores is not going to cut it.
Okay, I am going to bite my arm hard enough to need stitches because of quotes like the following:
“Well, you know what?” England says. “In New York – I’ve never been to New York, but I’ve heard people say – there’s apartments there where people pay $1,500 a month for something smaller than a trailer. We only pay $200. And they look down on us. It’s like, you’re stupid.”
Lynndie England is the subject of a song by Pungent Stench. Entitled Lynndie, She-Wolf Of Abu Ghraib, the song makes a lot of exaggerated claims concerning perverted fetishes indulged during the events that were the subject of the scandal at Abu Ghraib. Although these little metaphorical horror-story phrasings are somewhat unfair to the real Lynndie England, quotes like the above make it pretty damned clear that she is a long way from being the sharpest tool in the shed. Yes, Lynndie, you look stupid to us. And the reasons for this are numerous. They also have nothing to do with apartments, their sizes, or how much is being paid for them.
(For those who need this important clue, in comparisons between two or more items, in this case rents for a place to live, the proper point of comparison is not how much you pay. It is what you get in return for what you pay. Maddox‘s charge that people live in other places in America than New York because they want reasonable rents (among other things) is therefore quite solid, but a claim that a person is somehow clever because they pay a mere $200 a month to live in a giant trailer park has more holes in it than a RoboCop corpse.)
Lynndie, I have to be honest with you. I have lived in places that, in spite of being in size terms only a tenfold upgrade over Fort Ashby (roughly), have people that demand New York-like rents in control. And they suck donkey shit through a straw. I do not know what causes people who live in hick fukktard villages to think they are somehow superior to anyone, but I look down on people who pay anything to live in a place like Cuntborough. Especially if they are forcing others who happen to be autistic to live there in the bargain (you know I was going somewhere with this).
You see, in fictions, whether they be filmed or otherwise, villages in remote areas are shown as having a profound intolerance not only for ideas that contradict their views of the world to any degree, but also people who are embodying those ideas. Regardless of whether those people embody the ideas by choice, or not (as is usually the case). In the 1950s, hick fukktard villes had a problem with the idea that people with different skin colours were allowed to exist. They still do, although they have learned to be a bit less overt about that. Matthew Shephard was not murdered in a “big baaaaad city” like Las Vegas or New York. He was murdered in a hick fukktard ville called Laramie, Wyoming. Yes, I know the Wikipedia claims Laramie is a city. Cities tend to be a bit bigger than a “metro” population of 36,299 as of 2010.
And this goes back to the point I am trying to bring forth. The city of Ulm is not merely a great city because it is home to more than six times as many people as the entire Cuntborough collective within its mere metro area. It is a great city because it has learned to tolerate and house strange ideas and a wide variety thereof. It is the site of a memorial to the house in the Bahnhofstraße where Albert Einstein, a man whose mere name is symbolic of intelligence, was born. Other than a reputation for fierce, hateful anti-intellectualism, what relationship with intelligence do places like Fort Ashby, Laramie, or Cuntborough have? I will save you the trouble of trying to think of an answer: none. None whatsoever.
Hans and Sophie Scholl were also born in Ulm, and are commemorated with a memorial near where their family’s home was once situated. They were members of the Weiße Rose, a resistance organisation opposed to the Nazi regime. And just to cap this off, there is a memorial to deserters in Ulm, commemorating those who took the bold step of deserting from the Wermacht during World War II. Going a little further, we have Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where the director of the greatest film ever made was born. By comparison, Cuntborough has a memorial to Helen Lyndon Goff. She moved out of there long before she wrote the Mary Poppins novels that I would go back in time and take her out to prevent the creation of. But the point here is that when that is your village’s greatest claim to fame, as opposed to oh, I do not know, being the birthplace of the greatest physicist who ever lived, being the birthplace of multiple resistance fighters, or being the birthplace of the director of RoboCop… you need to really, really rethink how great and wonderful you fukking think you are your little village really are. Seriously.
You also need to rethink how hard you are working to hold back a person from getting their shot at putting their stories into circulation and making the world a better place for his kind. Just saying. In other words, fukk you Cuntborough, fukk you Thomas Edwin McIntosh, and fukk you anyone who gives either the time of day.
But to get back to what inspired this whole rant, people have turned toward Lynndie England and aspects of her life in an effort to explain what she and her comrades were caught doing. “She says her mother once hit her so hard with a table tennis bat that it broke,” the article says, “but considers that normal for West Virginia”. Well, I have news for her. Beating children with solid objects is not an acceptable thing anywhere, and if I have find a random child abuser and bash them to death with a wooden scrubbing brush in order to help make the world aware of this fact, so be it.
You see, we live in a culture where it is considered acceptable to abuse first and ask questions later. And make no mistake about this. When you physically assault a child for doing something they can help less than the urge to scratch when they itch so much that it feels like their skin crawls, it is abuse. I really have to wonder if people like Thomas Edwin McIntosh think it is a coincidence that I wish I could be made into a RoboCop unit so that I can behead the people I catch abusing children red-handed with an open-handed slap. And when you teach people that it is a perfectly normal thing to abuse others, they abuse others in contexts that get not only them but their whole society in trouble. The Abu Ghraib photographs, and the events captured in them, have not merely made her and the people known to have been involved targets of hatred among people who are of Arabic origin. They have made people with commonalities, however tangential, with Lynndie and the persons in the photos, targets in the eyes of Islamic or Arabic extremists. Islamic or Arabic extremists who probably do not understand that there is a long road of distinction between a Westerner who grew up in Sydney, San Francisco, or Birmingham, and the kind that apparently grow in West Virginia.
One thing I would like to say here, and that I hope can be inferred from what I have been rambling up to this point, I would like to say to Iraqis and other Arabic or Islamic individuals around the world. Although my skin colour is vaguely similar to Ms. England‘s, that is about where the similarity ends. In fact, judging from her comments in the article I have linked, I would be unsurprised to learn that I have a minimum of forty IQ points over her. And thus, she would likely view me in the same way that she appears to view you. That is, as less than Human. In fact, given some of her commentary, I am pretty sure she would view me as less than Human merely for not spitting her feeble little mind back at her.
You may be forgiven for thinking that since the governments of America, England, and Australia purport to be democracies (and this word needs some going over in terms of definition), they rule with the consent of myself or people like me. A search online for entities like Autism Speaks or how the autistic are being treated in these societies should make it very clear that I feel differently. Whilst I love some of the things that these societies have produced, we are regressing to the serfs-with-kings mode of government that America was founded on struggling to leave behind. Hence, I am a lot like you in one respect that I feel is important: I am not on board with the manner in which these people rule.
I truly wish I could resign from this society, in fact. I did discuss the idea of doing so at least once with people. But of course, telling people who are only interested in keeping the different or the non-standard down that one is truly off the range, so to speak, only produces more effort to keep one where one does not want to be. So we revert to this situation again where I can say without joking anymore that if you give me a suit of dynamite and a trigger, I will smash the shit out of the button around anything. I do not care anymore. Hell, point me toward where I will find Thomas Edwin McIntosh and his precious little country boy world, and you can put a nuclear warhead in with me.
And on that note, I need to call it a night. How I will face through the coming days, I do not know. But love of one thing does not translate to love of another. I tried to love my male parental unit in spite of how pushed and shoved into a patently awful position I felt at his hands. That ended over the end and beginning of last and this year. After hearing him tell a group of strange people visiting my sister and her newly-formed family (it’s a long story) how baaaaad Sydney is and such, I wanted to grab his head and force him to ride on a bus with me from Avalon to Sydney. If the timetables I have read for the route are accurate, it is a forty minute journey. Sadly, my mother’s inability to accept that I hate him and for good reason is turning my relationship with her in the same direction. I am truly desperate for some manner in which I could make her grok what I am feeling when I feel like I am going to drown in my own snot just because of where I am residing, or when I encounter examples of sheer fukking incompetence in various aspects of society.
(Following paragraph is edited to better reflect my feelings in December 2012.) Some might be tempted to think that I fled Queensland just because I have some sort of prejudice against the place, but it is far more complicated than that. It is like when a prisoner smashes his teeth on a sink. He is not doing it for fun. He is doing it because something is making him desperate enough to get into the sick bay my any means necessary. I was willing to let a cancer grow in my face in order to help expedite my release from the prison that is Queensland. If that does not tell you something is deeply, woefully wrong with the place, I do not know what else I can say to you.