Years ago I was engaged in a boys club of sorts, an exclusive Yahoo email address wherein four or five people engaged in thoughtful discussions – I’ve lost track of all of them, and was overshadowed by some tall intellects anyway. My only remaining connection there is a link to the right to a blog called “Sohum Parlance,” where Erik Kirk still plods along.
Sometime in those discussions I discovered that by association of various phrases, I could easily explore any topic on a search engine, thereby giving me an advantage over the others. I quickly learned that they had the same advantage, so that even with Google at my side (there were several available and Google was not the most used), I was still outgunned.
Worse yet, they easily spotted anything I said that was the result of a casual search engine query. Days would go by as my visits to that address became less frequent – it was just too much work. Each session would take at least an hour, as the comments strings were long and involved. Importantly, I was exposed to people of high intellect who brought different world views to my attention, most importantly that of the high-minded right-winger. This was Jim Versluys of Houston, who exposed me to what I regarded as heartless analysis of US foreign policy stripped of any pretenses of democracy or humanity. In the face of such a powerful force, my soft-hearted liberalism shriveled.
For instance, the photos below are of the infamous “Turkey Shoot,” or “Highway of Death” after the first US attack on Iraq in 1991. General Schwarzkopf gave the Iraqis permission to withdraw from Kuwait, and once they did, US bombers cut off the head and tail of the convoy, and destroyed everything and slaughtered everyone in between.
Reporters commented that fighter pilots, able to fire on an easy target without fear of flak, often had erections when returning from sorties. They were told that such a physical manifestation was a result of their deep “patriotism.” I wrote about the duplicity and barbarity of the event, and Jim laughed. It was simply standard practice in war, he said, to get the enemy to expose himself so you can destroy him.
I had to cede that argument, as there was no moral high ground, that is, the moral high ground was not something anyone cared about. It was simply an overlap of two worlds, mine of ethics and humanity, his of cold and cruel Machiavellian means to ends. He was impermeable to any soft reasoning, in fact laughed at it.
It was a good exchange, well worth the psychic pain such intellectual battering gave me. I saw the world from another viewpoint. It was cold and ugly, and I wanted no part of it, but I had to acknowledge its existence with or without my approval. It is there. It is how countries behave. It is how the military functions.
The Internet allowed me to know the gentlemen of that caliber, and to gain some self-awareness by doing combat with them. I didn’t win but I learned about how the other side thinks. It is good to know about them. I cannot be part of their world. It is too cold, but don’t get me wrong: It is not Sparta. These gentlemen appreciate the finer things of life, including art and humor. They are not thugs. They are simply men of the world.
I suppose it was inevitable that the Internet would degrade with such easy access. These past few days I’ve been engaged with Larry Kurtz and Big Swede, trying to pin them down, see what makes them tick. Where one time, long before it became the “Google” we know, I tried using a search engine to score some points with true intellectuals, I now see that The Google also operates as a flashlight for people who cannot read. Stripped of the search engine, neither Swede nor Kurtz have an ounce of native intelligence. They are also too typical of what the Internet as viewed through the blogs has become – a food fight among low brows and retards.
So many have left the blogging game, only a few left of maybe a score eight years ago. Those that stand have to put up with the likes of these two and Norma. I’m not issuing ultimatums or threatening to change anything, as my own desire to write drives me to carry on here. I am just offering some hard and cold analysis: Stupid people make blogging a chore. I am being careful here to avoid using names in the last paragraph so that the objects of scorn don’t know they are being talked about. What follows is a close to the opening paragraph that will assure us that the two in question do not see they are the object of hard and cold analysis.
I heard from Jim on occasion over the years, but lost track of him. No doubt he’s still kicking somewhere down in Houston, engaged in lively debate among people of his caliber intellect. I should Google him and see what he’s up to. But I cannot get drawn into debate with him, as he has a way of absorbing all of the light in a room into himself, as a black hole does. I need some light for myself. I cannot be in the same room with him, as I drown in his darkness.