Killing Gays and Feminists in Gaza: America’s Boutique Morality; and, History as a Manufactured Event

“No use beating a dead horse,” they say, and there’s probably no horse deader on the planet today than that strip of God-forsaken land called Gaza.

It appears that not only have Yahweh and Jesus Christ forsaken Gaza, but so have the U.N., the E.U., the US, the Arab League and every other institution and congregation of arrogant nation-states that have mis-managed our post Cold War era.

Israel tied up its slaughter in Gaza with a ribbon and handed it to Barack Obama just in time for his Inaugaral warning to Muslims: Don’t shake your fists at us or we’ll defeat you! And our news-media Sanhedrin blessed the proceedings. Two days before the Inaugaration, Bishop Lester Holt on NBC managed to anchor 30 minutes of drivel about the “historic event” of handing the “reigns of power” from one pitchman to another—and never mentioned once the fact that both Israel and Hamas had declared separate “truces” on that very day.

But, why should this surprise us? We are in a celebratory mood because a single half-Black-half-White man, with exceptional oratorical skills, and a fair dose of charisma, is re-writing our “history” and persuading the world by potent example that we are the can-do people in the can-do nation where anything is possible. We are good, and we are free! Probably when the German emperors took over the Roman empire, the circus-loving citizens also convinced themselves that increasing poverty at home and loss of respect and territory abroad were really proof that things were getting better. Plus ca change, and so forth!

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way for the Gazans to have the American media take their dying and suffering seriously is for all the males to declare that they have suddenly become gay, and for all the females to declare themselves feminists. Obama’s Pastor Rick Warren would have to at least make some kind of public statement: Yes, Israel is exacting God’s punishment; or, hemming and hawing, maybe not. Senator Barney Frank might even offer a resolution in the Senate condemning the slaughter of so many defenseless homophiles.

As for the evisceration of so many Gazan feminists—Gloria Steinham might cart herself out of time immemorial and take a principled stand. We can even assume that Oprah will do a show on the subject. Perhaps she’ll invite Dr. Phil to reprise his “genuine, caring, witty doctor role.”

We Americans have always had trouble seeing the bigger picture. In the early days there was some justification: the land was so huge, and practically impenetrable. Torturously (and torturing the “savages” along the way), we pushed on. Still, who could comprehend it all? We bobbed along on currents of history like little dolls in a vast sea: behind us—600 years of the Holy Inquisition and a few hundred years of Luther’s Reformation; the barbarism of the Spanish Empire and the brutality of the British. British and French world wars that spanned continents–and somewhere a tiny outpost of colonials stands up and avers: We think we can exploit just as we ll as the King so why don’t you Redcoats get the hell out of here and let us maltreat our darkies just as we please? (Of course, we clean up the language for “history.”)

Just what is “history” anyway? During the recent commotion about the Inaugaration, our news prelates prattled on breathlessly about “the historic occasion.” And every Roman—I mean, American—who could articulate the party line seemed to appear on TV solemnly declaring his/her intention to “be part of history,” or “witness history.” Curmudgeon, I recalled what I’d learned in elementary school: history is what has been recorded. It began about 5,000 years ago with Sumerian (ancient Iraqi) cuneiform writing and today we are pretty much glutted with this history stuff. On the day of the Inaugaration, merely twelve miles from the center of it all, I decide d to participate in “history” by not going, but dutifully recording. Thus, my morning: “Arose late; checked my e-mails and the alternative news sites; concluded the world was still bad and sad; shat, showered,didn’t shave, ran around the block without trying to think of ‘history.’ (I failed.)”

Our excuse for not seeing the bigger picture now has quite metamorphosed. It’s not that we can’t take in the breadth of it all—most of us have seen the planet from the moon, after all—a pretty blue mothball swinging in eternity. The problem now is that we’re just overwhelmed—information overload. It’s all at our fingertips—a library on our computers. But, where to begin?

Hence, in the nick of time, the cavalry (or is that Calvary) of news prelates arrive to tell us what is history and what is not; what counts and what’s crap; whose lives matter and whose lives are scrapmetal. (Or, as Barbara Bush might say, Why bother our beautiful minds about all this unbeautiful bull-dinky?)

We’re left with a boutique morality. We no longer need concern ourselves with the “savage” red man. No point crying over spilt milk—even when it looks like blood! Let us pick and choose carefully—as in a boutique—the parts of the narrative that reflect well on us. You see, we have just allowed one hybrid to join the party—so, we can’t be all bad. Now we can rise and affirm our faith in the System once again. We will repeat the myths again: everyone can grow up to be president; everyone is equal. We will not say that the Class War will continue under President Obama, that the hard-won advances of the black, white and brown laboring classes have been annulled. We must excise those unpleasant, complicating stories from the popular narrative. Lincoln—good. Hitler—bad. Repeat: Muslims—terrorists. Must kill. Must maim. War bad … but, war often necessary. Evil-doers. … Etc.

We no longer comprehend “history” except as it is a manufactured event. And, as we have lost “history,” we have lost: our ability to contextualize, to see the bigger picture, to understand that causing suffering and not alleviating suffering are the great tests of our moral system; and, to understand that we have failed.

Gary Corseri has published articles, fiction, poetry and dramas at hundreds of venues worldwide, including, Dissident Voice and The New York Times. He has published novels and collections of poetry, edited the Manifestations anthology, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has taught at US public schools and prisons and at US and Japanese universities. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. Gary can be reached at: gary_corseri@comcast.net. Read other articles by Gary.

16 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. sk said on January 21st, 2009 at 11:30am #

    We’re left with a boutique morality. We no longer need concern ourselves with the “savage” red man. No point crying over spilt milk–even when it looks like blood! Let us pick and choose carefully–as in a boutique–the parts of the narrative that reflect well on us.

    It’s called Pecksniffery. Rachel Maddow, “this election season’s breakout star“, not to mention a “ballsy gremlin of the left”, exhibited it in spades during the latest Israeli festival of slaughter and butchery.

  2. Ollie M. said on January 21st, 2009 at 12:48pm #

    So after three weeks of bombing Gaza, Warren kicks off Obama’s inauguration with a prayer, “The scripture tells us, Here Oh Israel, the Lord is our God”. Is this some kind of message to Gaza that the Israelis and American share the same God? Seems like it to me. I felt like I was hearing a global statement to the world that Israel could do as it pleased and our common God would keep the US by it’s side no matter what. Three weeks of bombing, 1300+ dead and phosphorus bombs be damned, this is God’s work that’s being done.
    Obama’s handlers are no dummies. Everything is very well staged. I’d bet more than a wooden nickel that they went over Warren’s speech and gave in an OK, knowing full well it’s implications after the Gaza assault.
    Obama felt comfortable enough to comment forcefully on the bailout and the Mumbai attack. His silence on Gaza is very disappointing. His administration is already littered with so many Clintonites that it just looks like the White House has been hijacked by the Clintons. Now I learn that we’ve been mesmerized by the speech writing skills of a 27-year old video gamer. I’m kicking myself for having given the Obama campaign $200. I feel like I’ve been sold a barrel of lies. I feel like I’m getting ready to watch a replay of that puppet Reagan.
    It’s terrible.

  3. sk said on January 21st, 2009 at 2:44pm #

    I’m kicking myself for having given the Obama campaign $200.

    You could have tried recovering your money by betting on expected clichés in Obama’s first Presidential address:

    8/1 Change has come
    12/1 As I stand here today
    12/1 Fundamental belief
    12/1 Defining moment
    12/1 God Bless America
    14/1 Let me be clear
    14/1 War on terror
    14/1 Politics of hope
    14/1 Common purpose
    16/1 Crossroads of history
    16/1 I have a dream
    16/1 Pursuit of happiness
    16/1 I’m fired up
    16/1 Building a better America
    18/1 My civil liberties
    18/1 Same old politics
    18/1 Core Values
    18/1 Hungry for change
    18/1 It won’t be easy
    20/1 Honour for me
    20/1 Safe from harm
    20/1 Don’t get me wrong
    20/1 Decent shot at life
    20/1 They said this day would never come
    25/1 There are better days ahead
    25/1 Challenges that face us
    25/1 Make Washington work
    25/1 Hard to believe
    25/1 We cannot lose hope
    25/1 We can be one people
    25/1 We’ll have to make hard choices
    25/1 Make college more affordable
    33/1 For far too long
    33/1 Beacon of freedom
    33/1 All men are created equal
    33/1 Faith in simple Dreams
    33/1 Jobs to the jobless
    33/1 In the words of JF Kennedy
    33/1 All of them with a story to tell
    33/1 Divided, we are bound to fail
    33/1 Where North, South, East and West come together
    33/1 Washington has a long way to go
    33/1 Reshapes our economy
    33/1 Let us transform this nation
    40/1 Homes to the homeless
    40/1 A new direction
    40/1 Deepest Gratitude
    40/1 We all made this journey for a reason
    40/1 There is power in words.
    40/1 There is power in conviction.
    40/1 Willing to listen to each other
    40/1 We can work together to keep our country safe
    50/1 Abiding Faith
    50/1 Possibilities of this Nation
    50/1 Greatness of our nation
    50/1 Believe in what this country can be
    50/1 In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope
    50/1 Unity is the great need of the hour
    50/1 Serve as a model for the world
    50/1 The vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams
    66/1 Legacy of our forbearers
    66/1 Doors of opportunity
    66/1 Brighter day will come
    66/1 Where I learned the meaning of my Christian faith
    66/1 Disagree without being disagreeable
    66/1 Let us be the generation that begins that work
    80/1 Diversity if my heritage
    80/1 Promise of future generations
    80/1 Overcome the adversity
    80/1 We have more work to do
    100/1 Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
    100/1 An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind
    250/1 Let’s get ready to rumble
    250/1 Life is like a box of chocolates
    500/1 Always bet on black!

  4. Ramsefall said on January 21st, 2009 at 4:38pm #

    Ça c’est bien bon, Doc!

    That inherent problem of only that which is recorded being history, and the fact that it’s predominantly the winner who writes it, certainly throws a wrench in the wheel of reality.

    We all witnessed history being made yesterday though, as you mark, at least we get a hybrid in the office instead of another privileged white guy who we always knew would f**k things up. Godd*mn if he didn’t outdo Clinton in the fading art of articulation. The whole event captured all the drama and emotion of a meniecal

  5. Ramsefall said on January 21st, 2009 at 4:46pm #

    maniacal…(damn cat!!!) theatrical performance.

    It’s funny, I’ve got all these Swiss, German and Colombian colleagues who keep asking me what I think about Obama…foreigners tend to believe all they hype. I just smile and ask them, “Well, don’t you already feel the huge change, the world is completely different now!” But really, they all know where I stand on US politics.

    Thanks as always, Gary, keep crankin’ em out.

    Best to you.

  6. Hamas are Cowards, use children as shields said on January 21st, 2009 at 10:46pm #

    Greetings Dissident Fans;
    I came upon this site due to a misguided search.
    Nevertheless, once here, and seeing the attack on Israel, I see a need to respond.
    Your anti-Israel view does not hold up to the scrutiny of history.
    Do you know that Israsel literally called the homes of residents of Gaza prior to sending in missiles? While Hamas has intentionally targeted homes and schools, with no warning.
    The current notion of a “Palestinian” is not based in reality. It was cooked up a few decades ago, by persons seeking to destroy the Jewish people.
    The people who pose as such are no different from the other Arab and related middle east groups.
    They are not a “People”. The only thing they have in common is that they have been dumped by their Arab leaders, and left to the Jews for employment, care and tending.
    Everyone knows that infant and maternal mortality was better under Israeli rule then under Arab, Hamas, PLO, etc., etc.
    As for the accusations – the largest number of dead are directly due to the actions of Hamas and PLO / Fatah, as they ahve been kiling each other off, including torture.
    Also, Hamas uses civilian sites to store weapons and cover up military activities, including schools and hospitals. Thus, to destroy the weapons, Israel has no choice and the blame is on Hamas for putting others at risk.
    Hamas cowards were repeatedly seen grabbing young children and using them as screens, knowing that Israeli soldiers would not shoot.
    They – the Hamas cowards – have been seen literally murdering the children who you call “Palestinians”. Without a doubt, the Hamas and other radical groups are openly demonstrating child sacrifice. And now, Israel is providing – free! – top medical care to anyone who needs it.
    As Golda Meir put it decades ago, there will be peace when the Arab nations lover their children more then they hate the Jews.

  7. Hamas are Cowards, use children as shields said on January 21st, 2009 at 10:46pm #

    Harry is not home now

  8. Gary Corseri said on January 22nd, 2009 at 10:52am #

    Excellent comments–except, of course, for the idiot spreading the “Hamas/cowards–children as shields” B.S.

    In this world of slogans, bumper stickers and sound bytes, we’ve not only lost sight of what “history” is, but, what courage and truth are.

    I didn’t want to get into the subject of “cowardice” in this article. It’s a huge subject and requires a book like “The Red Badge of Courage” to do it justice. But, this tawdriness about using “children as shields” elicits a counter-comment.

    Men under attack will seek shelter where they can find it–whether it’s in forts or foxholes. That’s military doctrine. I knew it as a kid: “He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.”

    There is no evidence that Hamas fighters were hiding behind children or women during the recent slaughter in Gaza. The Israelis severely restricted journalists’ entry into Gaza. But, the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) recorded much of the action. If there were even one instance of a Hamas insurgent behaving in a cowardly manner, would we not have seen it plastered all over the complicit Western mainstream media?

    What we have seen–because it could not be hidden–was the cowardly IDF’s use of White Phosphorous–a weapon of mass destruction used to terrorize a subjugated population. We did see the cowardly IDF using American paid-for F-16′s, tanks and warships to pummel unarmed men, women and children. We did see Israel, during the 6-month “truce” that preceded the Gaza slaughter, closing borders, and using “checkpoints” as choke-holds to restrict the flow of food, water, fuel and medicines into the beseiged territory of Gaza. We did see Israel break the “truce” back in November when they killed 6 Hamas insurgents. We did see a relentless propaganda campaign conducted by and in the US mainstream media to constantly villify the democratically elected government of Hamas and dismiss their leaders and members as “terrorists.” We did see the so-called “rules of war” torn to shreds by the IDF, and any sense of proportionality of response totally ignored.

    A question to ponder in this season of silliness, hype and blood-letting: Were the Jews who boarded the boxcars to Auschwitz cowardly because they did not resist the armed German soldiers herding them like animals?

    What is truth, what is courage, what is morality?

  9. Michael Pugliese said on January 22nd, 2009 at 1:30pm #

    Um, you are aware that gay men are routinely executed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the theocratic totalitarians?

  10. Suthiano said on January 22nd, 2009 at 2:15pm #

    Michael,

    You are aware that gay men have profited lavishly off of the subjugation/eradication of “Others” living in the Third World?

    You are aware that many in the U.S. would kill a gay man for theocratic reasons?

    What is the point of your statement? Do you wish to suggest that this justifies the denial of Palestinians to basic rights?

    Do you call suggest their is no “heirarchy” to oppression, and that until Palestinians have an Arab version of “QUeer eye” it would be unacceptable for them to regain their land, to cease being bombarded, etc.?

    They may be more friendly to gays if more gays were standing up for their rights, instead of profiting off of their suffering. As is, gays (mostly from white backgrounds) have made significant inroads in North American politics, media, culture, and yet been unconcerned/or ignorant of the denial of other people’s rights in which they engage everyday.

    thanks.

  11. mary said on January 22nd, 2009 at 4:03pm #

    Well said as ever Gary. You have the ability to look right into the centre of your subject giving us illumination and a lot to consider.

    I wonder what the reader above was searching for when he/she happened on your article. Perhaps they thought it was some sort of GLB chatsite! But never missing an opportunity, they stopped by to plant a few of their usual lies and smears which you cast aside so ably. I am getting very tired of the Israel rah-rah brigade’s attempts to defend the indefensible.

    They would not be pleased to hear that Olmert’s spokeman, Regev, lost his cool tonight in a television interview. His statements became more and more preposterous so that in the end he was cut off. I think it is now accepted that their game is up and I wish ex Senator Mitchell the best of luck in his dealings with them.

    http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1184614595?bctid=8795440001

    The tiny chinks of light hardly visible three weeks ago are getting brighter and brighter.

  12. bozh said on January 22nd, 2009 at 5:40pm #

    how much do i know about urban warfare such as stalingrad, gaza, warsaw ghetto? not much!
    but that doesn’t mean i can’t ask questions. one of the questions about stalingrad is, Weren’t civilians evacuted from stalingrad as the german siege began, was it ’41. ‘god’ knows russians needed new fighters. dead fighters are useless.
    did they have a safe place to go to? yes, i think. mostly soldiers remained; so, they cldn’t hide behind children/women.
    well, i don’t know? maybe they did?!
    in any case, that wld explain why russia lost 15mn civs and 5mn soldiers.

    were gazans civilians evacuated from gaza leaving some civilians as cooks, medical people, et al?
    if most civilians and especially children weren’t evacuated was it because gazans had no free territory as russians had to evacuate civs to?

    ‘god’ knows, pals need future fighters; by saving a few hundred children they wld have obtained that many fighters/martyrs in less than a decade.
    are palestinians and arabs that stupid; stupid to aid israel by losing needlessly future soldiers; oops, militants?
    but there was that darn fence that even mice cldn’t find a safe place. or am i wrong? i think i better ask israeli army about this before i make up my mind.
    about those resistance fighters? isn’t a better to fight from tunnels, trenches and not from a kitchen windows with screaming, crying, hysterical children dangling in the open windows to protect the fighters?
    or were pals shooting back at israelis thru thick walls?

    as i said i know nothing about urban warfare or raids like the one against gaza. so let’s have a military analyst who knows
    a lot about shooting froms ky, warships, tanks, artillery against resistance fighters armed with machine guns, knives, etc.? thnx

  13. Gary Corseri said on January 22nd, 2009 at 6:42pm #

    More good comments since I wrote my last comment. Suthiano–you go to the heart of the matter. Bozh–wry and honest. Mary, as always, you enhance the work of others with your thoughts and your references. That link you provide takes us to some of the best 6 minutes of TV I’ve seen in years! The kind of sharp critique we sometimes would get here when Ted Koppell did “Nightline.” We’d also get it on PBS sometimes, but we’ve sunk low: not much information now–just lots of infotainment on mainstream media. I’m glad to see there is some real reporting, real journalism, on mainstream UK media. We can’t get it from the MSM here, but I thank the Universe there are brave sites like Dissident Voice committed to discovering and promulgating the truth!

  14. Suthiano said on January 22nd, 2009 at 9:15pm #

    Thanks for having the “courage” as it were, to discuss such a “touchy” subject, Gary. You also inspired me to take another look at Crane’s the Red Badge, as it’s been a while.

    And bozh, I just have to thank you for that devastating (and at moments hilariously phrased: “or were pals shooting back at israelis thru thick walls?”) rebuttal of the BS posted by that fool.

  15. The Angry Peasant said on January 22nd, 2009 at 9:30pm #

    This “Children as Human Shields” argument is getting to sound like a broken record. Is that all you pro-Israeli people got? You seem to leave out the fact that Israel has no problem killing the children.

  16. Ramsefall said on January 23rd, 2009 at 4:18am #

    Great link, Mary. Of course Israel is taking those allegations seriously, what else would we expect them to say. Their US cohorts take such allegations seriously as well. Monkey see, monkey do.

    Best to you.