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Hallelujah: The Messiah Has Arrived

has the messiah brought redemption or the apocalypse?

has messianic era brought redemption or apocalypse?

Well, not quite the Messiah, but the messianic era.  It’s been affirmed by Barak Obama, leader of the free world.  In his pre-golf speech about the beheading of James Foley, the President stated

“One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.”

This remarkable declaration of faith holds that it is the date, it’s our history of moral evolution that determines the behavior of people.  Mankind has been redeemed through its adherence to religious values such as social justice, equality and peace.  And it’s not just western liberals who hold this point of view.  Obama continued

“Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values…”

We do?

As thousands of young men flock to Iraq from all over the world to join in ISIL’s barbarous ways, it seems the terrorists do indeed have a place in the 21st century.

And what’s this common set of values Obama’s referring to?  Democracy?  National integrity? Respect for individual autonomy?  Respect for life?  How about honesty?  Surely everyone would agree with that .

A quick look at China, Cuba, or North Korea shows that there are many people who place no value on democracy.  The Ukraine and Tibet have sadly learned that respect for another nation’s integrity is far down on the list of their allies’ priorities.  In West Papua, Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy repeated Neville Chamberlain’s strategy, of sacrificing one nation to appease an aggressor’s demands and threats.

Is there individual autonomy in a country that tells people what they are allowed to write, what they are allowed to think, or eat?

If we want to talk about respect for life, look at the Palestinians, who cherish death.  Look at what Assad has done to the Syrian people; look at what the Syrians do to each other.

Honesty?  Dorian Johnson, the key witness whose testimony led to days of rioting and looting in Missouri, was arrested previously for lying to the police.  But according to an official of the National Association for the

What did Sharpton find in the Attorney General's pocket?

What did Sharpton find in the Attorney General’s pocket?

Advancement of Colored People, his track record as a liar didn’t hurt his credibility as a witness.  Nor did Al Sharpton’s record of deceit diminish his ability to agitate the population, and keep him in the press spotlight.  Eric Holder, the individual responsible for the American Justice system backed up Johnson, Sharpton, et al.

Honesty?  Many Americans, whether Muslim, Jewish, Christian or devout secularist have no trouble treating blatant lies about Israel as the gods’ own truth.  They happily lie to themselves, because the fabricated stories are more appealing to their sense of justice.  Their legitimacy is irrelevant.

It seems that the world has a different set of 21st century common values; ideals such as arrogance and entitlement.  Responsibility is shunned, power is feared, life is debased, and truth is malleable.

ISIL and its ideological allies appear to have many places in the 21st century.  The leaders of Western society must abandon their messianic dreams about the enlightened status of contemporary civilization.  If our leaders don’t have the courage to identify the enemy and attack, our century will belong to these medieval savages.  We’ll have an apocalypse, rather than messiah.  ISIS knows that President Obama is right; it has no place in the 21st century.  That’s why it’s taking the world back to a more savage past.

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Angels of Jihad, Angels of Apathy

Muselmann- at the edge of becoming angels

Muselmann; original art by Esti Mayer

Electricity has made angels of us all…  Unlike print, TV doesn’t transport bits of classified information.  Instead it transports the viewer.  It takes his spirit on a trip, an instant trip.  On live shows, it takes his spirit to real events in progress.

But here a contradiction occurs: though TV may make the viewer’s spirit an actual witness to the spectacle of life, he cannot live with this.  If he sees a criminal making ready to murder a sleeping woman & can’t interfere, can’t warn her, he suffers & is afflicted because his being is phantasmal.

So he participates solely as a dreamer, in no way responsible for events that occur.
-Edmund Carpenter

Disembodied Angels

The photojournalist/ advocate James Foley was brutally executed in a scene grizzlier than anything on Game of Thrones.  Just as in the television series, people were both enthralled and appalled by the scene.  And as in the television series, the viewers were unable to do anything, as they were present only as disembodied angels.

Are we all helpless in the face of Islamist brutality?  Is there anyone who can do something to stop these beasts?  The United States revealed that it had launched a rescue mission this summer, but the kidnap victims weren’t at the anticipated location.  President Obama denounced Foley’s executioners, saying “they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior.”

Then the President returned to the golf course.

On network TV, everything gets equalized.  News, drama, comedy are all subject to commercial breaks.  The viewer is immersed in emotional turmoil, and then told how to improve his golf swing.  Sometimes there’s more drama in the ads, especially when they’re fundraising for abused pets, sick or hungry children.  If they’re too disturbing, we don’t even have to get up to express our apathy by changing the channel.

Golf and Beheading

Specialty TV programming is more relentless.  There are no commercial breaks, no escapes in Game of Thrones.  You don’t witness a beheading, and then return to golf.  It’s literary quality drama in a fantasy setting.

It’s much better entertainment then the Palestinian-Israel conflict.  While the former stage cheap melodrama, Israel pushes reality and facts.  A missile strike in Gaza is a theatrical production, with “corpses” wiggling under sheets.  Bloody photos from Syria or even Israel are captioned as Palestinian victims under fire.  Israel doesn’t engage in theatrics, and so when rockets  land they aren’t worthy of the news. For a generation that doesn’t relate images and programs back to the real world, the melodrama carries the day.

Was James Foley’s execution something to be taken seriously?  Was Daniel Pearl’s beheading twelve years earlier a turning point?  How concerned was the President, if it didn’t interfere with his golf schedule?

Angels of Apathy

Unlike their parents, the young are less anxious to validate images by reference back to observable reality.  That need arose largely from conditions unique to literacy, and literacy exercises little control in their lives.  Today’s images are self-sufficient.
-Edmund Carpenter

Carpenter published his observations in nineteen seventy-two.  The “young” he describes are now old, or at least seriously middle-aged.  It’s a series of generations that doesn’t have to relate the images, the programs, even the news back to observable reality.  Since the sounds and images are from a phantasmal world, it’s easy to be apathetic.

Game of Thrones, James Foley, ISIS, the massacres of the Yazidis (replicating some of the scenes from the novel Quantum Cannibals), Breaking Bad… which are more capable of holding our attention?  Dr. Jay Corwin, commenting on Foley’s beheading, states that “People with no common sense at all think it’s just a video game.”  Will James Foley or Daniel Pearl reboot, and start again?

Video Game Jihad

Perhaps the video game metaphor is appropriate for the Jihadis coming from western countries, such as Great Britain

Golf after the beheading

Golf after the beheading

and Canada; they get to play for real.  You can’t smell the blood of your victims on X-Box. Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, Medal of Honor may be greater inspirations for Muslim youth than the Koran.  And if they die in the course of the game, they reboot to paradise with seventy two virgins- houris, a specialized form of angels.

Carpenter’s “young” must learn to relate the images confronting them back to observable reality.  They must learn that the threats to their civilization, to their lives are more than angels, phantasms.  If the people of the west treat the images confronting them as a dream on a TV channel, or abandoned for a game of golf, they will be responsible for the nightmare that descends upon them.