Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Let's All Try Not to Get Blowed Up Real Good

Recently I started reading in the Religion section of the Huffington Post, and participating in the debates in the readers' comments area of the same. Just today I read this post entitled "Nuclear Theolgy," By H.E. Dr. Mustafa Cerić, The Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA; and Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace. Their essay champions UN enforcement of the Nuclear Test Ban treaty, alrightythen, and bases this position in a very traditionalistic reading of the Judaeo-Christo-Islamic tradition, hey wait a minute!

As I have already mentioned in the comments section at HuffPo: the essay by the three eminent Doctors refers over and over to God's authority, supposedly offended by nuclear arms, environmental disaster, human poverty and the like; an appeal to God is hardly necessary to get people to oppose nuclear proliferation, this opposition having already been pretty much guaranteed years ago by scientists led by Carl Sagan; nuclear weapons, pollution, global warming and religion are all man-made, and while controlling the first three are essential to maintaining human life, and keeping the last alive is essential to maintaining the way of life of the authors and their colleagues, for the survival and well-being of the rest of us it's not a high priority, to put it mildly.

A little while later I was thinking about the movie Armageddon,and specifically about the montages of various scenes of humanity in that movie, which in their production style, with lots of very high-definition slow-motion shots of pastoral scenes, and their voice-overs, often the voice of a fictional US President, remind me very much of the sort of commercials one sees on Sunday on American network television, commercials where you don't know until the end, when a company logo finally appears onscreen, and the voice-over sonorously intones the company's name and a completely vague feel-good slogan like "protecting tomorrow" or "experts providing solutions," what exactly is being advertised.

Except that even then you don't know what the company does. The commercial didn't give you a clue, it just lulled you into a warm, fuzzy mood, and then perhaps later you learn from another source that, YAAAGHAH!! the company makes nerve gas or is a hedge fund. It might not be completely farfetched to suppose that those Sunday commercials, the ones that look like they cost a lot to make, with closeups of children's freckled faces followed by shots of idyllic meadows followed by shots of well-dressed business people nodding sagely in slow-motion in boardrooms with rain-spattered glass walls overlooking cityscapes at sunset, Ah say Ah say it might not be so farfetched to conclude that those commercials are above all camouflage. Put the commercials in front of millions of viewers of political-discussion shows and golf, get those viewers to associate the company's name with vague pleasant sleepy thoughts and not with quasi-legal hostile takeovers and huge defense contracts.

And then, perhaps strangely, I began to connect the HuffPo essay about nuclear proliferation being an affront to God with the expensive say-nothing commercials. Both are the products of movers and shakers. It's not so odd to think that a director of AIG or TRW or ADM might rub elbows outside the UN with a PhD or DD or three representing God's authority, while inside the NPT was discussed.

Perhaps the Doctors' essays are meant to do the same as the slick commercials -- and slick movies like Armageddon too, sure -- to distract. In this essay which champions non-proliferation -- who does not favor non-proliferation? You know who does not: people who make fatass bucks from proliferation, is who -- Ah say in this entire essay I did not notice one mention of the idea of the elimination of nukes.

It's very hard to know what is really going on in this world. It's hard to know who's sincere, who might be sincere but still be supported by the shadiest, least sincere and most scary sorts of people, because their happy horseshit and dogged superstition keep us busy.

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