|Scene from "A Taste of Armageddon" - I see where SNL got the Cone Heads.
Topics: Commentary, Existentialism, Politics, Star Trek
On a diplomatic mission, the crew visit a planet that is waging a destructive war fought solely by computer simulation, but the casualties, including the crew of the USS Enterprise, are supposed to be real.
Anan reveals that Eminiar has been fighting a war with the third planet of the system, Vendikar, for almost 500 years. But despite a hit, right in the city, Kirk and his landing party can find no evidence of war. No explosions, no radiation, nothing that would suggest the damage he is assured is occurring.
Spock finally deduces the truth: the war is fought with computers. Casualties are calculated, and the victims have twenty-four hours to report to a disintegration station so their deaths may be recorded. This tidy solution preserves the civilization, despite the cost in lives. Kirk is incredulous that people would simply walk into disintegration machines and never come out; Anan assures him that his people have a high sense of duty. And then Anan tells Kirk that when the Enterprise entered orbit, it became a legitimate target, and it has been destroyed by a tricobalt satellite explosion. Like the victims on the surface, Kirk's crew has twenty-four hours to report for disintegration. Kirk and his party are imprisoned to ensure compliance.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." Good Reads
George W. Bush: "Good evening. Today our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and Federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror." The American Presidency Project
S-hole president*: “He said he didn’t meddle — I asked him again,” Mr. Trump told reporters traveling with him aboard Air Force One as he flew to Hanoi for more meetings. “You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.” NY Times
That has been proven a lie in a sequence of colossal, Olympic-level lies with the thirteen indictments last Friday and the thirty-two additional yesterday. It is not a lie; not a hoax. It is the deluge of 2,000 plus lies that have pummeled us; stymied ethics specialists and statisticians tabulating political fact from fiction, alike from our faux chief executive* that has insulted "truth, justice the American way" and everyone BUT Vlad the Impaler of democratic republics.
It didn't result in deaths or casualties, at least not immediately. It didn't result in 3,000+ souls lost and twin towers crashing. It didn't result in the heart wrenching sight of people who decided between fires hot enough to turn human bodies into ash...and gravity as they fell to their certain deaths. Our deaths now are serial: to which we will naval-gaze and pontificate until we grow numb...until the next shooting.
No...what we're witnessing is the death of democracy. It's happening with every school shooting the NRA uses the silent treatment for us to forget (and likely channeled money to a certain campaign from Russian oligarchs). The colossal gun deaths that make it 25 times more likely to die of gun violence in the US only benefits our enemies. We slowly lose hope in the collective responsibility of governance with every march after every shooting, every call to our so-called representatives* that only answer to the whisper of bills from the gun lobby. It doesn't matter to the Russians who they choose for public office. A Florida mayor (a democrat) was indicted for laundering money from Russian benefactors. They could select a democrat in 2020. Holy HELL would break out on the right, and we'd officially have to admit we have no clear way to choose our own leaders without the interference of a hostile foreign power, that are NOT our friends! We'd question every result from city, county, state and national. We could see a Civil War in the 21st Century on American soil that would make dystopian science fiction writers blush. The educated, upper middle class, skilled and well-to-do would depart for Canada, Europe and parts unknown. Universities would lose talented professors that frankly don't want to deal with a country that produces violent citizens - they want to return home to their families too. Innovation would naturally start migrating overseas. The economy would limp along until it collapsed and the world market switches like lightning from the dollar to the Euro as the foundation of world currency. We'd be John Donne's island; isolated by our own hubris, prejudices and shortsightedness. The rest of us, still here would be left in a cesspool formerly known as the "United States" (a historical byword and oxymoron) with a Cheetos puppet emperor in a bad toupee, that's WAY beyond the normal narcissism of the presidency: it's obvious he wants to be worshiped, like a god. Some places online, he is called that.
Armageddon - even a taste of it - may not be with a flash, "but a whimper*."
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.
(Elliot's last, most quoted stanza)
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper*.