The following online journal entries are from September 2001.
WEDNESDAY. 7:20 PM. "Operation Infinite Justice?" I'm sorry -- call me unAmerican or yellow-bellied, commie pig-dog -- but, come on, it's laughable. The hubris, the jingoism is right up there with the Miss Universe Pageant (remember that Amazing Stories where aliens came to Earth to set the humans right about their little world-bound beauty pageant?). I haven't heard something so horribly misnamed since Lucas decided to call the second installment of the new Star Wars trilogy Attack of the Clones. Come on!
For the first time in a long while, I have completely ignored my television. I have also stopped reading the news online for the most part except for the occasional dip. But as with other disasters or tragedies there is a lot of "our lives have changed forever" or "we must stand as one people" or "take nothing for granted" or "we will learn from our mistakes." I wonder how long before all of this fades and we abandon the altruism and the compassion for the routine and the status quo?
It frustrates me that my world makes me so cynical. But there are currents in the world that are attempting to turn the tide, to sway the unswayable, to shed some light, some perspective on the past, present, and future.
Everyone must read the transcript of an interview by Radio B92 in Belgrade with Naom Chomsky on the terrorist attack on the US and the ramifications of going to war. He says about the US move on the Middle East, "The initial response was to call for intensifying the policies that led to the fury and resentment that provides the background of support for the terrorist attack, and to pursue more intensively the agenda of the most hard line elements of the leadership: increased militarization, domestic regimentation, attack on social programs. That is all to be expected. Again, terror attacks, and the escalating cycle of violence they often engender, tend to reinforce the authority and prestige of the most harsh and repressive elements of a society. But there is nothing inevitable about submission to this course."
I agree that action must be taken but action does not necessarily nor should it mean absolutely war or more violence. In fact, as the days progress, I am beginning to lean more and more toward a peaceful and practical solution. I also think we need to focus internally, within our own borders, and size-up and process the psychic, cultural, and ideological ramifications of the attack. We must also must face how much of our own culture prizes, promotes, and perpetuates violence. The United States has a long and strong arm (for the time being) and we are certainly willing to speak loudly and carry a big stick. But the destruction of life and quality of life here and abroad needs to stop somewhere, somehow.
I am not naïve. For all the petitions I sign, the signs I wave, the emails I write, and the posts I make online, I know "Operation Infinite Justice" will bulldoze on. The hope is then that at some point the current "reality" will change and be replaced, no better yet evolve, into a fairer, effective, and truly just one.
Till then, I will just be aghast and angry over the people who get attacked, killed, shunned, ruined, or simply suspected simply because of their skin color, their dress, or some heretofore spurious "terrorist" quality that fucking ignorant, racist, ludicrous, paranoid people use to hurt others.
To those people, I say get a life and a brain.
Operation Infinite Justice, indeed. How about Operation Infantile Justice? Or Ignorant Justice?
But on to good news...
On Monday and Tuesday, I got new ink! My friend Kara and my boss Elana at my temp job both recommended Black and Blue Tattoo, a lesbian owned and operated shop in my neighborhood (14th Streeth @ Guerrero). Rocio, a soft-spoken but friendly shavy-headed grrl, was the artist on both of my pieces. I designed both tattoos. One is a quill, the Tellings quill actually, on my right inner forearm. The other is a sword on my left inner forearm.
I'm really happy about the pieces. I had been wanting to get new ink done for a long while now. Now I can say I have tattoos from San Francisco and in way they have helped me feel like I've made a tangible, tactile connection to The City. I also wanted to update my image a little, to "harden" my aesthetic. I have always wanted a more visible tattoo and I knew that my arms were the next place I would put art. Strangely, the week before I decided to get the new tattoos, the tribal dragon on my right calf was itching. Some tattoo lore told to me by some inked sage in the past said that if your last tattoo itches it means it's time for a new one. And as soon as I decided to spend the money George W. sent me, the dragon stopped itching.
They're healing up nicely. I'm still getting used to seeing them there. So far, the reaction to them has been overwhelmingly positive. I'm happy.
© 2001 Edmond Y. Chang. All original material. All rights reserved.
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