Monday, December 05, 2011
Something Else Happens
This is Saigon.
I'm sorta old. When I was young, I'd sit in the living room in my footie pajamas while Huntley and Brinkley counted the day's dead for us on the evening's news. It was like some insane football score from a game that never ended.
There are a lot of pundits who like to invoke the law of unintended consequences to explain everything everywhere. They are mostly mistaken about everything, because they don't understand what's going on, and they misapprehend very intended outcomes as unintended collateral damage. The flip side of this sort of thinking is just as confused -- always spotting a plan cooked up somewhere, designed by cabals if you don't like it or heroes if you do, in random, or at least widely dispersed, individual activity. It's tiresome sorting through this sort of thinking. It's an opinion onion with no center. I'm especially weary of a commentariat that tells me they are experts at everything because they can half-remember more of the misapprehensions they just read in newspapers, all written by partisan dullards, than the next guy.
I wonder (no I don't, I'm lying my ass off, I don't wonder at all) how so many people can be so very wrong about so many things, and have that wrongness demonstrated to them over and over, and in such a lapidary manner --incontrovertible-- and they still never draw any sort of sensible conclusion about their worldview and the faulty approach to analyzing things that gave it birth. The average, educated person has an internal ruler that's missing two or three numbers and they keep using it to measure time, stir their porridge, beat their dog, and set their oven temperature anyway.
I don't subscribe to the law of unintended consequences because it's like saying you obey gravity or think capitalism works. Like there's any choice in the matter. As if you're choosing not to fly off into space. Like the natural behavior of humans to barter and accumulate is something you're ambivalent about, and have a manifesto you're working on to replace it.
I subscribe to Something Else Happens. That's generally what happens. That video is a long way from black and white footage of napalm and helo extractions and Dean Rusk and Ho Chi Minh and Abbie Hoffman. There have been legions of men and women lecturing --hectoring-- me for a generation about what it was and why it was and what it meant and who was to blame and they're still rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic of their opinions and hoping no one looks at what they said last week about it. But there it is. Something Else.