i Smell A Rant

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Mob fools

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During my more social days, I used to carry around – figuratively, not literally – a stable of jokes and sayings that I’d use at parties to try and win friends of the female variety.

Admittedly, it was a pretty lame strategy, borne out by its pathetic results. But, in my defence, it was a ploy endorsed and promoted by that bastion of social graces: Men’s Health. Six-pack abs conflicted with my lifestyle, but chick magnet sounded totally doable to me.

ANYWAY, one of the sayings I’d use was something along the lines of, “There may be strength in numbers, but real power lies with the few who choose not to hide within the many.”

I’d like to attribute this quote to someone, but my memory, alas, is a victim of my lifelong devotion to Doritos. The words may have been spoken by one of history’s great thinkers: Aristotle, Goethe, Homer Simpson, or even Tony Soprano.

I may have to hit the party circuit and bust out that little ditty of wisdom once more, because the whole Charlie Hebdo thing has me thinking about it.

Let’s first dispense with the requisite trite remarks: What went on in and around Paris was a tragedy; the events don’t make all Muslims terrorists; our thoughts and prayers are with France; and blah, blah, blah. Pick one.

This whole business of mass hash tagging and uber-branding of “Je Suis Charlie Hebdo” – although a noble idea and better-sounding than “F**k you Jihadi mutherf**ker” – only serves as a convenient and lazy way for people to shed any responsibility they may have to affect any meaningful change.

The universal reaction to any well publicized act of violence has become so predictable and routine, it’s taken on a feeling of normalcy. That would be a massive leap for humanity, if it led to any action. Actually, let me correct that. That would be a massive leap for humanity, if it led to any positive action.

I won’t rehash what I wrote about 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing – you can read that 222-word missive here – but suffice to say, wearing a T-shirt with a catchy buzz phrase such as “We will never forget” or “Boston Strong” emblazoned on it, doesn’t excuse you from acting like a chicken and having some of your basic freedoms taken away without so much as a fuss, even if you did pay $19.95 plus shipping.

Nor does punching in a few key strokes on your iPhone make you a defender of democratic values.

Anyone serious about honouring the memories of all those innocents murdered in the name of some terribly misguided cause, does the brave thing and sticks his or her neck out from the shapeless morass of the herd. It starts with being informed and then running the popular narrative of events through the most critical of lenses.

Why do Western armies have more foreign-based military bases now then ever at the height of World War II? And why are some of these bases on or near territory considered sacred by people of faith? What would Catholics think of a Muslim army putting up shop inside Vatican City? Why is there so much killing going on in the name of all religions, yet seemingly, only one grabs most of the headlines?

Granted, pondering these challenging yet entirely relevant questions isn’t as simple as buying clothes or forwarding emails. It’ll make you a total buzz kill at parties, too.

But then again, I hear that being popular is overrated anyway.

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This entry was posted on January 10, 2015 by in Life and tagged , , .
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