March 22, 2003
Once upon a time, two giants stared at each other from the far ends of the Earth, with blackest hate gleaming in their eyes, each wanting nothing more than to stomp over there and beat the other one bloody. They both knew that if they ever went ahead and did it, they would probably wind up killing not only themselves and each other but also all the other folks that had chosen up sides and gathered around the two of them. Eventually, one of them died of natural causes, leaving the other giant alone with the title of He With The Biggest Club. Satisfied, he turned away and tried to go sit off by himself and figure out what to do with himself now.
But the others wouldn't leave him alone. They resented knowing that one giant remained, and that they could never be the biggest or strongest as long as he was still around. Some tried to band together, standing on each other's shoulders and shouting with many voices, "Look at me! I'm as big as you!" Others kicked him in the shins, spat in his face, and sneered, "You ain't so tough." The giant could have knocked down the pyramid or swatted away the bothersome annoyances, but he was oh, so very tired, and he wanted to see the others grow so that he might have friends who were his equals, and perhaps take on some of the responsibilities he had been shouldering for so very long.
So, he paid them as little attention as he could manage, which seemed only to infuriate the pyramid-builders. They didn't want to be ignored. They wanted the giant to admit that they had as much power as he did. Failing to receive such validation, they took it upon themselves to use what power they did have to make life as difficult for the giant as they could manage. The giant smiled weakly and continued to try to ignore them, instead focusing on other, personal matters.
Meanwhile, the same lack of attention emboldened the shin-kickers. They started kicking harder, at more and more sensitive areas, and watched the giant flinch and brush off the attack, then move on. This led them to believe they could do anything they wanted to the giant, look tough to their friends, and intimidate their enemies, without risking any serious consequences. Occasionally, they kicked too hard, or in a particularly sensitive spot, and the giant smacked them as if swatting a mosquito. However, the giant never bothered to work out where the mosquitos were coming from.
A few times, reluctantly and with great trepidation, the giant listened to the pleas for help from some of those who were being attacked by their neighbors and stepped in to put a stop to it. He did this not out of any personal stake, but because something needed to be done and he was best qualified to do it. He would have preferred that the parties involved worked things out among themselves, but that rarely happened. The task done, he turned once again to his own affairs and let the rest of the world go to hell in its own way.
Then, one day, while the giant was napping, some of the lowest echelon of shin-kickers, in the ultimate display of misplaced bravado, walked into the giant's house and hit him where he lived, so to speak. Shocked and furious, the giant looked around at the world he had been ignoring and saw what had flourished in the power vacuum left after the sudden ending of his conflict with his erstwhile foe. He was dismayed, disgusted, and distressed. So much had gone so wrong so quickly. He had saved them. They were supposed to be better than this. Yet all they had thought of to do was to compare themselves to him, and come up short in their own eyes.
The world was broken. There was only one thing to do about it. The giant would have to fix it. Not because he wanted to. Not because it made him feel good. Not because he wanted to take anything away from any of the others or subsume them into himself. Only this: Because somebody had to do it, and he was best qualified. Slowly, heavily, the giant picked up his burden once again and set off to make the world a better place and put an end to those who would tear it down.
And they all hated him for it.
Nicely said, even though it should be so blindly obvious as to be prosaic.
Wonderful story! Right on target, too.
Oui. Being France is very dificult work. But we do it from zee heart. No?
I want to add that the giant didn't not tend only to his own affairs and let the world goto hell in its own way. But rather, the giant built houses, provided food, and also protected the little people from wild animals of the dangerous world.
Being France is indeed very difficult. No nation on Earth had the courage to host Robert Mugabe, the one true humanitarian of our time. France' courage does indeed come straight from the heart.
Twelve years ago, a Detroit columnist said he got the uneasy feeling that Uncle Sam was "911 with call-waiting".
For "giant", read "soldier".
Wonderful...keep up the strong work!
Very Good, but lacking in the detail I so dearly wanted to read. Like the part about how the Giant selected the appropriate club, grabbed one of the tormentors du jour, teed him up, and then smacked him clear off the driving range. Now that would have been satisfying.
Excellent! You may also enjoy a recent post -- "FLOWER POWER - A FAIRY TALE FOR PEACE" -- concerning dreamers and appeasement. (Please scroll down to Sunday, February 16, 2003)
Brilliant... but you forget the part where he marched off to solve problems and the twisted dwarf 'Chirac', who had so helped those who attacked him, tried to trip him and got stomped!
One of the best I've ever read. Good on ya Gov.
Okay, wow. I never expected to get this kind of response for my little fable. I'm glad you all liked it.
I used to be the "no war at any cost" type. I grew up in the shadow of the mushroom cloud, and knew I was one cranky politician away from global death. I thought if that could be avoided, then I had a shot at living as long as I could imagine.
I have since accepted my mortality and come to realize that, sometimes, all that matters is how the end comes and what gets done until then.
I guess I grew up.
And that's when the Mighty Mitochondria defeated the nasty virii and bacteria that had attacked him and his fellow cells without warning and with no provocation...
Nah, it was a good story, I just felt the need to break the tension...Gomer!!!
David: Heh. Again, heh. YOU are bemused at how YOU have grown up, learned the ways of the world! I was a student at Martin Luther King Junior High School, Berkeley, CA, in the late 60s. Fervent opposition to the Vietnam war was a given. More than that, ALL war was illegitimate, unacceptable, for any reason. So we were told, that was the party line, and the school administration went along with it, letting us all off for the afternoon one day so we could go be in the protests and marches, if we wished. I did, we all did. And I'm sure few of us really thought about what we were doing.
Talk about growing up. With this background, how curious that after long and careful thought I have realized that this war is the best thing to do, under the circumstances. That at this moment, peace-at-any-cost is not only wrong, it's profoundly immoral. Removing a regime that is actively seeking means to kill us in large numbers is in our own interest, and no further justification for war is necessary. Removing a regime that feeds its own people feet first, alive and screaming, into industrial shredding machines is a moral imperative. To knowingly allow this to continue would be a stain on the soul.
This is something that Europeans and anti-Americans need to read.
Regardless of the overall truth of this parable (I think it is true), this is how Americans see themselves and the rest of the world.
If you want to have the higher moral ground, you need to actualy occupy higher moral ground. Those countries most obstructionist to the US recently, have obviously not been acting in moral ways.
Decrying war, while simultaneously invading another country and playing host to a murderous thug demonstrate one's hypocrisy.
Ron from Australia.
Very well-written, almost, dare I say, Lileks-worthy. Now do Dr. Seuss.
"I do not have anthrax in cans,
I do not have it, Uncle Sam!"
And so on.
WELL SAID !!
[that said, is it possible to have it displayed in a different manner such that it is readable by those with less than perfect vision, please...those of us whose eyes have been around for a while find this stylish display format most difficult to read for more than 2-3 sentences]
'clap clap' I can feel the love in the air...
All those European peacenicks how dare em, they should feel sympathy with the giant...
Sorry but this is so one sided that I wonder whether you are blind or just lacking knowldedge or maybe ignorant?o.O
The US and Russia never where inactive, they just transfered their bloody fights on the shoulders of those lil peasants. And that's where the anger came from and all those anti-sowjet and anti- americanism feelings. Well since one is dead, it's all focused on the remaining one. And that giant never stopped to engage into other countries affairs whenever it seemed to tangle his economical and strategical interests. He never stopped to spy out his allies for both reasons as one of his former spy chiefs admitted. He never stopped to slap his friends into the face whenever he felt like it and show them that his interests comes first. Oh well sure he did sometimes step in to help others, it's good he did that, respect. But he's not the only one who helps. It's just that he is a giant so he can help more than others. And so on and so on...
Of course, it figures that you'd upset the Germans, such as LC above.
It is one-sided because it is "My Perspective." (check the title) I am under no obligation to look at all sides of an issue when I am attempting to express my opinion on a subject.
Every nation puts their own interests first. Our interests include making sure no one blows up any more German night clubs or poisons the population of Paris. What have you done for us lately?
By the way, I am blind, and I find your comment offensive to the sight-impaired.
Just kidding. One eye works. I guess that makes me one-sighted.
'lol' Screw you, for a second I thought you were really blind. ^^"
I respect that this is your private opinion, still I think one should look at both sides in order to be taken serious by both sides 'shrugs'
I wonder what Robert would have said if I were an Iraqi or a US citizen... Btw just for your info, I know what it means to be oppressed and how it is when your interests oppose that of the US. Without em, our struggle for independence wouldn't have lasted 30 years. And no I'm not talking bout Germany but my former home country... judge people by their opinions and not by their origins.
Oh and to answer ya question bout what we have done for you... quite a lot, we never opposed you all the time during the cold war, always did what you asked as for. Of course you couldn't ask us for much since we are so little 'that's your fault, you shouldn't have helped the Russians crushing us in WWII XP'
Mhm and didn't we trigger the fall of the Sowjet Union by our reunification with East Germany? See we helped defeat the evil communists. We were the stick over which the second giant tripped and died. Ok it's oversimplified but still ;)
Okay, you're doing it on purpose. "Sowjet" Union? Is that German for "Soviet" or some perversion of same?
And I did say, "lately."
Must we have giants?
Gee, wes, should we give California and Texas back to Mexico in order to make you less uncomfortable with our size?
What happens when this giant pitches a hissy fit and splatteres every free-thinking individual's civil liberties all over the corporate cable news networks, pitching the gore as unfortunate casualties in the establishment of "Homeland Security"?
Very dramatic ... can you give a single example of "every individual's civil liberties" begin infringed? Friday at lunch my co-workers had a vociferous argument about the war ... some of them argued loudly and passionately against it, reviling Bush et al with some very personal insults, and generally railing against the US government. Somehow, I suspect that they will still show up to work today (the Gestapo that you seem so afraid of having missed its duty to snatch them up and cast them into a gulag somewhere). Simpering morons like yourself spout hate-filled nonsense left and right, filling the airwaves and the newspaper columns with America-hating drivel, day after day without being assassinated or suppressed. What gives?
No matter how big, a giant deserving of no respect is going to continually recieve blows, blows that over time will increase in severity.
Who gets to decide whether or not the giant deserves respect? I think you are smarting over the fact that this war has a large measure of support in this country and in others. Most particularly damning is the incredible support Iraqi expats living in the US give to ousting Saddam Hussein by any means necessary - that must just eat you alive.
Perhaps the most pertinent fact is that, if we wanted to behave the way you claim we are behaving, we could do so. And if we did, the world would look much different than it does now. Do you have even a modicum of self-honesty left in you to admit the truth of that?? Somehow I doubt it.
If slavery = economic success, the Sudanese and yes, the Arabs themselves, should have the most vibrant economies in the world. After all, there haven't been any slaves in this country for nearly 140 years. Sudan has slaves today; slavery was in wide practice in the Middle East for more than a millenium.
Yes, let's talk about this giant who demands obedience from the entire world. <sarcasm>For supporting evidence, see the smoking ruins of Paris; see the charred remains of Indonesian mobs; see the Turkish parliament beaten with fasces; see the German government seized by US troops stationed in Germany. Yes, you are right, RatInaHat, the evidence is overwhelming. Is that the sound of jackboots coming down the hall to grab you?</sarcasm>
- Begin with the axiom that the US is evil.
- It therefore follows that its actions must be evil.
- It therefore follows that those who support its actions must be evil.
Of course, all the empirical evidence makes this reasoning seem ludicrous (question: when is the last time the US actually seized and kept territory in a war ?? Hmm, maybe the war of 1812? It is certainly not a common occurence), but hey! why let actual facts get in the way of your cherished anti-US beliefs?
Funny how it is permissible for the anti-war left and right to engage in their simplistic, often irrelevant slogans showing no historical sense whatsoever, but an extended and well-written metaphor addressing most of the reasons and thinking behind the pro-war point of view is dismissed as "wonderfully simplistic." Read some of the signs at the war protests before you start throwing "wonderfully simplistic" around in conversation, folks. Actually, maybe "pathetically simplistic" would be a more apt description of that side of the debate. Or "suicidally simplistic."
Re: slavery and the economy, reliance on the institution of slavery in the southern US, and the near-indentured servitude of the sharecropping that followed it in many places once slavery was ended, severely retarded the development of an industrial economy in the Southern US. CatInHat's accusation doesn't hold water in the face of history. Then again, most of the anti-war position doesn't hold water in the face of history. But who reads history anymore - so declasse. Easier to just let the French and Germans tell us what to think.
And oh yes, let's not forget the tired old saw about the legitimacy of the current US president. Who is enjoying the highest approval ratings of his presidency right now, because he has the fortitude to stand up and try to take care of some business that would have and should have been taken care of 12 years ago but for the squeamishness of the international community.
Guess what, folks? Next year we get to vote him out of office if we're unhappy with what he's doing. When was the last time there was an actual election, in which people had a valid choice of candidates, without fear of death or torture, in Iraq? "Is the US as wicked as Iraq?" Tim Blair asks today. "Easy question to answer: just imagine by whom you'd rather be held captive."
http://www.timblair.blogpsot.com, for those who may be interested.
Show me a fable that isn't, on its face, simple, and I'll show you a damn boring read.
Good post... good story... keep it up.
Wonderful story, Aesop is smiling at the continuation of his fine teaching tradition.
"No. Instead he ate from all the dwarfs' plates and tried to starve them all, so that they could no longer form a pyramid and challenge his authority."
Huh? No, I don't think so. Instead try "He invited the Dwarves to his home, gave them a fine feast, asked them to stay an partake of the bounties of his home, and watched in horror as the ingrates trashed his home, killed his friends and family, and destroyed what he had tried to share...."
Kat, we can keep talking for days trying to find out who threw the first punch. I hope you agree that the main issue is to make sure the story goes on.
Very good. And what the 'dissenters' don't seem to understand is that that's probably pretty close to the attitude of most of the Americans who are in favor of the war. Including Bush's administration. Somebody has to do it or they will come back and kick us in our house.
I am also impressed by the number of comments before the 'dissenters' showed up. I am a little bit disappointed in their quality. I was expecting a better class, at least an honest one. Oh well.
Dissident? I am a 28 year old male from Thessaloniki, Greece who had a revelation the last few days. Angry as hell by all that I've been listening to all my life, I thought of Americans as idiots with machineguns. And believe me, Greece is not an isolated backwards country with a totalitarian government. I started reading your blogs, trying to find a place to pick a fight. Reluctant to actually do it, knowing in my heart that it would do no difference, I kept on reading. Guess what I found out? That you are not as I thought.
No need to bore you though. Same attitude here as everywhere. I guess we are so many on this planet nowadays that we can't stand each other any more. Alright, if it has to be so, let it be. Lets all sit and possibly watch the whole world go up in flames once more. Only thing I hope for is that the ones that will live through it have the memories and the wits to never let our numbers grow so many ever again.
And so the story continues.
It doesn't matter who "threw the first punch", as you say, what matters is that we will throw the last "punch" directly into the face of the evil bastards that want nothing more than to kill innocent men, women and children that have never, ever done anything to deserve the vile hatred being spewed in their direction. Is the USA perfect? Hell no, but what we have is a damned sight better than what the rest of the world has to offer, and not through anyone's efforts but our own. This marxist bs that the USA has what it does by taking it away from other countries is total and complete crap, and I for one am sick and tired of hearing it.
The story will continue *because* of what the USA is doing, not in spite of it...
What I think you have ommited in this fable, is that all those dwarfs were much older than the practically newborn giant.
And since when has age conferred wisdom?
Beautiful fable. Keep up the good work.
You know what? We don't care. Be like America, be unlike America, whatever. Pray to whoever you want, eat whatever you want, live wherever you want, wear whatever you want. It doesn't matter to us.
We sell our crap overseas because people overseas buy our crap. We export our culture because it's a good way to make a buck. Come up with something better and cheaper, and we'll import it. Then we'll put our own twist on it and Americanize it, because that's what we do. We assimilate and adapt. And then you'll start buying from us and get all upset again.
All we ask from the rest of the world is you stop trying to kill us. We don't care why you're trying to kill us. Just knock it off. Oppose us politically and ideologically. Ignore us. Marginalize us. Ridicule us as if we were French. But enough with the mass murder already.
There are countries that care that other countries may or may not be similar to them? Why is that better than every country being whatever it wants to be?
Who is trying to kill us? Fundamentalist Islam. Terrorists. People whose world views do not allow for opposing or differentiating viewpoints. And those who would aid these people out of a desire to see America falter.
Obviously, I can't say what Iraqi people think, not being one or knowing any. Once they have the freedom and safety to speak truthfully without risking painful nasty death, I'll ask one.
"Restrictive trade agreements make it very difficult for those struggling to survive to compete with artificially cheapened US imports."
What? Artificially cheapened US imports? The cost of labour in the USA is higher than any other country in the world (except possibly Japan).
"Who exactly is trying to kill you?"
Is this really a necessary question? If it is not obvious to you that Al Queda wants the giant to die, then I seriously question your sanity. And it should be equally obvious that Sadaam is a threat to a region that holds the lifeblood of everyone who lives in the West.
One last thing. We want to save the world. We perceive it as needing saving. Other nations attempting to stop us, we perceive them as keeping us from saving the world. Which, considering that they are all part of the world, we perceive as irrational behavior. None of the arguments you have used so far have convinced us. What else have you got?
(I say, "We," but I haven't consulted with the other 280 million of us.)
Thank you for reminding me that other people aren't worth talking to. Especially Brit.
You know, by the words and whining of the anti-war crowd I wonder how can any position be any less narrow minded and ignorant? As I read through the comments Iíve never seen such a total disregard of reality and facts. By what standard do you define a moral war or does it not exist? Certainly Europeans can remember the past events that lead to war and the reasons wars were fought. Maybe if someone intervened the wars could have had less impact and fewer would have died.
The UN signed the treaty how long ago? 12 years I believe. And what is to show for it? It was not writ to bluff Saddam into walking away and installing a democracy. It was writ because he would not comply, we new he would not comply and he has (if he's still alive) no intentions of complying. Therefore "Serious" consequences are to follow as signed by ALL the members of the UN. What do you think ďSeriousĒ meant? No more satellite feed of TV or imported Cokes?
Of course everyone will never agree on anything and there will always be opposition to everything and that's fine and good. But try to use arguments based on reality and fact instead of name calling and whining. Emotional response to war is stupid. People will die on both sides, some hideously and the worst is yet to come. Peoples lives will be ruined, traumatized and disrupted forever, but this is short term. In the long run, a better life is all but guaranteed for Iraq, and hopefully the countries involved in liberating them will benefit as well, but that is not guaranteed nor expected. Look to the future not to your emotion.
Here are some realities that are being ignored:
1.) The people of Iraq can not dissent, much less mount an uprising to the tyrant. They will be killed and tortured. Ask the Kurds they are the authority on that.
2.) USA IS the dominant power of the world. It will continue to be such until it falls apart from the inside, not from the outside. And it will eventually crumble as all do.
3.) USA is by far the leader in the world in humanitarian work including feeding the hungry, giving money and support to governments. And yes, we will give support to our interests before we give it elsewhere. That's not hard to understand, is it?
4.) USA has not taken over Kuwait, Afghanistan, Japan, Germany, the former USSR, Yugoslavia, South Korea, South Vietnam, nor have we secured their resources, enslaved their peoples or taken their religion from any. We have rebuilt or are rebuilding these "conquests" These realities are undeniable and refute the root of all the arguments of the appeasers.
The reason there is anti-American and anti-Bush sentiments is because USA is at the top. And Bush only makes it more powerful. We are so much more advanced than most countries and offer so much more to the world than most countries that we will be forever picked on and insulted because itís the way of the weak to name call. But it is the way of the strong to do something. The best the weak can do to appear strong is to criticize the strong in front of the world and point a finger and yell and curse and disagree because thatís all it can do. Get over it. There is room for the weak, the strong, the Christian, Jew, Muslims, Hindu, Black, White, Blond, Brunette, and all other differences.
Be a country of Men, not children. Pull your heads out of the sand and deal with reality, not fantasy. When someone breaks into your home, defend them and when your husband beats you into submission, leave him. And if he wonít allow it hope that someone with morals and courage takes the fight for you.
Lets hope for a quick defeat of Tyranny and a better life for the Iraqis.
My FRIEND David,
I am sorry for bitching at you. I wish that some other time we'll have the chance to meet again, when things won't be so complicated. Have a nice life till then :-)
Jesus fuck, Badger, if you read the sky was falling, would you believe that too? The Guardian is well known for it's anti-American slant...gee, quelle surprise they're slinging rumors around such as these.
And Brit, it baffles the hell out of me that you think your "arguments" are so persuasive that we'll all stand up and renounce our citizenship based on your word alone. The things coming out of your mouth are your opinions, as are the things coming out of ours. Not a single bloody one of us is in a position of sufficient power to know exactly what's going on, either in America or Iraq or the UK, etc. ad nauseum. You may think endless viewings of the BBC gives you an understanding of strategy, tactics or even diplomacy, but you'd be dead wrong.
There is no resolution to this argument. You think one way, we think another, everyone else thinks yet another. If you're not having any success persuading us to your point of view then kindly fuck off and stop hoovering up my bandwidth.
Right, that's it. The bar is closed. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. I hope you had fun while it lasted.
This entry is no longer accepting comments at this time. The comments that offended my sight have been deleted.
EDIT: I changed my mind.
What exacally is the purpose of this site? I have not yet figured it out. What is your desires of the outcome of this site and what is the message you are trying to send? I would appreciate a responce to my email if you have the guts to do so.
Do people really care about others? It is curious to see who will respond to this message. Or will anyone. My email is :[email protected] Email me.
I'm afraid I don't understand your question, Patricia. It's a blog. I write stuff that I want to write. If people read it, great. If they like it, better.
I have no greater purpose in this blog than that. It's called "What Was I Thinking?" because the posts that show up here are things that I think of. Other people are free to leave comments, but I like them to remain on topic. Posting a tale of woe on a random article is not what I consider good comment etiquette.
Do people really care about others? I'm sure some of them do. Some only care about the "right kind" of people. I care about roughly seven people, not counting myself. The rest of you can go to hell as far as I'm concerned.
That doesn't make me a bad person, but I don't expect you to understand why not.