pteromys: Braaaaaaains... (ibrains)
Pteromys ([personal profile] pteromys) wrote2011-05-02 04:11 am

Sunday night

Last time, I was proud, knowing the extraordinary cost. I hated the individual who had died, though I have nothing to show that this individual ever wronged me. I resented those who condemned my hatred; and so I lashed out by celebrating brazenly, aiming to offend most those who had spoken the loudest. Maybe I felt a need to justify the cost, knowing that the recently deceased would be soon replaced. Maybe I felt at some level that I was powerless to do anything else.

The killing this time was, I suspect, much more justifiable than last time. Still, why the chanting? Why the vuvuzelas?

Pride, hatred, resentment, and futility?

There ought to be a better way to recognize the efforts of our government and military... or at least, one that doesn't leave me with such a bitter taste.

[identity profile] iampied.livejournal.com 2011-05-03 02:09 am (UTC)(link)
I find it weird that people are finding the vuvuzelas and chanting weird. It makes complete sense to me - sports are just a less costly war analogue, so the idea that sports and war would have the same ritual makes complete sense to me.

I didn't get involved. I didn't feel a sense of pride or hatred at hearing Osama bin Laden had died. I also took it as a celebration that this cliffhanger on a dark time in American history is finally over, as opposed to being about the death itself.

derp...

[identity profile] r33na.livejournal.com 2011-05-03 03:14 pm (UTC)(link)
I found the cheering and flash mobs kinda unsettling. I felt like the more appropriate reaction was like... somber relief or something... I dunno.
It has nothing to do with the fact that it's another life lost, or how much the guy has or has not wronged any individual, or how much we should be glad he's gone. By all means I think it's a good thing bin Laden is dead.

I think this explanation: http://isawyou.mit.edu/post.php?id=4486 (skip the trolling and go down to Comment 17, paragraph 2) is probably largely accurate, but also unnerving. After only 9 years, something in how people feel about 9/11 has already been distilled away.

It's because if bin Laden had been found and killed the day after 9/11, nobody would be mobbing and cheering, and I don't think time should change the reason why, no matter how hard that reason is to describe with words.

It could also be that I'm weird -- I feel no less guilty about stupid things I did as a stupid eight year old now than I did 10 years ago, so maybe whatever's supposed to happen normally to memories of emotions is broken in my brain. *shrug*

Re: derp...

[identity profile] pteromys.livejournal.com 2011-05-04 12:14 am (UTC)(link)
Relief or the end of a cliffhanger definitely feels more appropriate to me too.

I think there's a lot of truth to the explanation you pointed out. And it's more than just something having been lost about how people feel about 9/11, isn't it? It's more than people forgetting the gravity of it or ceasing to think about triggering painful memories. It's also the buildup of hate over time--the protracted chase that elevated bin Laden to boast-worthy status; and the defiant nationalism that grew from a resolve to recover, possibly amplified by there still being an identifiable enemy to defy. That's what I see in the commenter's phrasing of it as "He's evil. Get him. Never Forget. Never Forgive."

I suspect there'd still be people who'd want to mob and cheer but would exercise restraint out of respect for those still visibly trying to recover; and maybe there'd be a lot less of that want without the nationalism and without the inflation of bin Laden's status.

"Whatever's supposed to happen normally to memories of emotions"... well, I don't know what that is. All that really has to happen is that people gradually learn to keep the memories from interfering with life. I think it helps that in some cases life doesn't provide a lot of reminders; but when the reminders come daily, like they did about 9/11 (and for many people, still do), a little numbness may be unavoidable after a while.

[identity profile] chessbot.livejournal.com 2011-05-03 09:55 pm (UTC)(link)
> sports are just a less costly war analogue

People don't die in sports. And nobody celebrates if they do. The opposing team included.

[identity profile] pteromys.livejournal.com 2011-05-04 12:22 am (UTC)(link)
> sports are just a less costly war analogue

I think I also would like this explained. I could see it as being a less costly outlet for competitive tendencies, but I don't think competitive tendencies were our motivation for this war. It seemed more like a fear of bin Laden launching another attack and organizing more terrorists.

That said, maybe it's all the same to people separated from the war by half a globe or ten years. Or maybe the belief that the war is justified has to be maintained in some people by provoking their competitive tendencies. What would you suggest?

[identity profile] iampied.livejournal.com 2011-05-04 01:03 am (UTC)(link)
... it looks like you've misinterpreted what I've said? I didn't claim that people regularly died in sports.

Sports and war just share a lot of anthropological elements. There's competition in teams, a sense of importance, a prize to be earned (be it a trophy or freedom). I can try to dig back to the articles I've read in classes, but I imagine googling around for sports/war/anthropology articles will turn up interesting things.

(Or just look at people who are super into their sports. They often hate their "enemy" teams, and will actually feel very strong emotion with wins or losses that seem undeserving of something like balls falling into a hoop. Hell, they'll beat each other up in the right circumstances or riot in the streets. Really, I think these rituals are far more bizarre when applied to sports than applied to war. People's lives are far more important than basketball. But basketball happens more often than 9/11.)

[identity profile] chessbot.livejournal.com 2011-05-04 01:20 am (UTC)(link)
My point is that claiming that celebrating at the death of somebody is just as appropriate as celebrating at a sporting victory is a false parallel.

[identity profile] iampied.livejournal.com 2011-05-04 04:17 am (UTC)(link)
I claimed that there is reason behind having the same ritual for sports and war. I never claimed any morality either way, so if that's the point you were trying to make, I don't know why you made it as a reply to my post.

I also don't think, for most people, it's about Osama bin Laden's death per se. Certainly there was bloodlust out there, but I think it's mostly catharsis after the end of a rather traumatic arc. People feel like they won, because they have one less enemy out there.

For what it's worth, I agree with you - I don't think it's moral to celebrate a person's death. And if that's the only thing that's happening here, than I think it's very sad. But I don't think that's the only thing happening here. (If we disagree, that's fine. This post is mostly to make sure I'm not being misinterpreted.)

[identity profile] chessbot.livejournal.com 2011-05-04 05:35 am (UTC)(link)
I'm not sure I agree that it's not about bin Laden's death. Regardless, though, I think the main misunderstanding on my part, came from your first post: I find the chanting weird = disquieting as a representative of people, but not weird = unsurprising. Oh well, so much for language. I think that's most people's reactions, though? I don't find people surprised that there is celebration... just disappointed.

[identity profile] r33na.livejournal.com 2011-05-04 05:38 am (UTC)(link)
I think people's managing to feel like they won is definitely part of what I find bizarre / bewildering about all this. No matter how I look at it, it just seems to me like a whole lot of people lost, on all sides. Badly.