My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Current Wars, Explained

I have been looking for an analogy for our ongoing wars that cuts through the buzz words and talking points of our politicians and media. The best that I can come up with is a couple of boys fighting during recess.

On one side we have a popular instigator who thinks that someone is doing something that he doesn’t like (say, flirting with his girlfriend). So the instigator confronts the guy who has flirted with his girlfriend and punches him in the face. Believing that he’s proved his point, he walks off and accuses another boy of the same thing, ignoring most of his friends who say that this newly accused boy didn’t actually flirt with the instigators girlfriend, and instead sides with the one or two people who think that they heard a rumor that he did. Once they are fighting, the girlfriend shows up and tells everyone that the newly accused flirter never actually flirted with her and that it was original boy who is now back on his feet and brushing himself off that did it alone.

But instead of stopping the fight, the instigator decides that this guy who he is now fighting with is a jerk and needs to be taught a lesson anyway. And besides, if he walks away in the middle of this fight, this newly accused boy will just want a rematch. He says so as loudly as possible for all to hear. The cheers of, “Fight! Fight!” drowns out the larger group of people who are complaining to each other. The two boys roll around on the floor, punching each other, and knocking over a couple of younger kids, hurting them in the process.

The yells of “Fight! Fight!” give the instigator a surge of energy and he starts doing better. During all of this, more and more people, and who were originally cheering for the guy who instigated the fight, start to turn against him because they realize that he shouldn’t have started it in the first place and is now continuing it for a bad reason. Moreover, a couple people in the crowd are now beginning to realize that the instigator is a complete jerk and that they should see if the guy wrongly accused needs some help in avenging this uncalled for fight (besides, they never liked him in the first place). The few people who want to see the fight continue, turn on anyone who says that it should stop by saying, “But he’s winning now! His surge is working!” Unhappy that there is still a fight going on, but thinking that it might be over soon anyway, most people just watch the fight and say, “this better be over soon. I’m really tired of having to watch this”.

So the fight will continue until one boy wins, they are separated by an authority figure, or until they run out of time. In the end, the accuser will be angry and see the instigator as a jerk with whom he needs to get even with. The instigator will still have to deal with the original boy who flirted with his girlfriend. And girlfriend will probably leave the instigator while he tries to rebuild his reputation to the entire school. People will take cheap shots at him because they believe that he deserves it for his past action. And the instigator will have little to no support in the school for a long time while he tries to rebuild his heavily tarnished reputation.

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