I'd hoped to never see it again, but of course, here it is.
This isn't about the terrible events at Fort Hood
. They are what they are.
This is about the phenomenon described by the late poet Charles Olson
in which the element that drives society and history is mythology and mythology is, literally, he says, from muthalogos
i.e.,"That which is said about that which is said."
Meaning the event is only a factor and the press reports describing it is a secondary event..What drives history is what is said ABOUT the description of the event. And that's important because THAT is what we connect directly to our own lives.
It's been 31 years since I have seen the press so excited, slavering in anxious joy, November 27, 1978, when Dan White murdered Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Member Harvey Milk in City Hall.
And the press? Same crap --
Then: "How could this happen HERE, inside City Hall? How could we think a City Supervisor would go a-murdering in this place that should be safe?
Now: "How could this happen HERE on a military base here in America? How could an Army Officer -- a Major, a doctor, a mental health professional -- go a-murdering in this place that should be safe?"
(It would probably be inappropriate and tasteless to point to the fact that the business of a-murdering is what they all do for a living.
The next day, right now, I'm listening to the LIVE press covering shootings in the Gateway Center in Orlando Florida..
NOW how much insanity and panic can the scribblers and chatterers create?
Of course, in 1978, the magnitude
** was in the other direction --
Only 9 days earlier, more than 900 people were killed in the Jonestown
mass murder with cyanide-laced grape Flav-R-Ade***. It was a gigantic Deathday cake. And many people knew some of the people who went to - -and died -- in Jonestown.
I have MSNBC on right now -- and the excitement and weird creepy joy in the voice of the woman reporting from Orlando? Rings a strange bell. I've heard that voice before --- and so have you -- but in a different and much more enjoyable context:
"Oh yes, oh yes, I'm coming, I'm coming --OH MY GOD! AHHHHH! I love you I love you."
And what they're saying is what is being said.
And even now, they're already up to saying what is being said about what is being said:
"No place is safe."
"An OFFICER?! And a Doctor?! A Psychiatrist?! You can't trust anyone!!"
and of course, playing with his name but not explicitly saying what they mean, although mentioning that it sounds Arabic, but not explicitly saying what THAT must mean -- and what everyone else knows they mean. His name?
Nidal Malik Hasan
Do any of us need to have someone spell out what is being said about what is being said when they mention his name?
And the fact that it took place in the Fort Hood Deployment Center, where he and the others were being vetted for their shipping out to Iraq or Afghanistan and that Major Hasan didn't even like to go to the firing range -- that's the ironic grist in the mill.
And oboy oboy -- the shooter in Orlando has an Hispanic name -- more grist for the panic mill, for the "THEY DON'T BELONG HERE" mind-set (the fact that many many Latin American people are at least partly Native American doesn't register-- not in a world where pictures of Jesus show a man with blue eyes and blonde hair and an aquiline nose)
Charles Olson: Projective Verse
Charles Olson: Life and Work
**On the other hand, given that EVERYONE in the San Francisco knew who Moscone and Milk were, their celebrity might make the magnitude of their deaths increase. Admittedly, more than 900 people dead is a true monstrous massacre, and even though it was a sensational melange of men, women, and children, they were more or less anonymous people. Compare that to TWO locally and internationally known and loved men with the murderer -- a clean-cut American Boy -- looking them in the eye and pulling the trigger. The Moscone-Milk Murders were the icing and the cherry on the top of that Deathday cake.
*** Flav-R-Ade, NOT Kool-Ade