Friday, September 3, 2004

Tick, tick, boom

Chechen terrorists just killed about 300 people, mostly schoolchildren. Yeah, Russian commandos stormed in and will probably get blamed for setting off the bombs the terrorists had planted (or firing bombs of their own). Knee-jerk conspiracy theory aside, if you kidnap a group of children and their parents, starve them and dehydrate them and space them out in a gymnasium rigged with bombs on tripwires and deadman switches at regular intervals, you bear some responsibility for bad outcomes. Russia’s oppression of Chechnya doesn’t enter into it. The Russians are sumbitches. Fine. That's besides the point.

In other words, this is an unambiguously BAD thing to do. A !@##$ evil thing to do. There’s no positive spin, no evenhanded way to look at it.

This was running through my head as I listened to the report on “Democracy Now.” I’m thinking, Amy Goodman always bends over backwards to not slap “terrorist” labels on terrorists. They’re brothers and sisters in the struggle. How the hell is she going to put a happy spin on this one?

So, she made her report in an undramatic, journalistic sort of way – to be fair, not sugarcoating the description – but not dripping with outrage either. The report comes to an end and I’m thinking, Shit, I don’t believe it. Amy Goodman just said a bunch of terrorists did something bad without a countervailing fact about how Americans or Israelis kill children, too. It’s a report about terrorists on “Democracy Now” that actually said terrorists did something bad without a “yes-but” qualifying statement. A world first.

Then the music break came on.

And it’s a mournful dirge.

A mournful dirge in Arabic.

Eee-yaaa. Madyadyadadya adeyeadeyaaaa.

Or sumpin like that.

Well, why not? I mean, heck, some Muslim children were probably killed in Beslan. Some Muslims are probably mourning the whole incident in Chechnya, or wherever. Yeah, Muslims feel sad, too. You think they don’t?

Well, no. It's just -- how the hell do I put this? Bad taste.

It’s like reporting an IRA bombing in the London subway and cutting to a music break of some mournful Gaelic keening.

As an alternate example, following up a report on John Wayne Gayce with "The Tears of a Clown." Because, after all, not ALL clowns are serial killers who lobotomize their victims with icepicks and put their body parts in the freezer.

The brilliance of it. The !@#$ nerve.

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