24. July 2011 · Comments Off on Something Happening Here · Categories: Ain't That America?, European Disunion, General, World

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down…

Exploding cars, and a Beslan-like massacre of teenaged campers, plus a claim of responsibility from the usual suspects (until the full horror perhaps persuaded the be-turbanned goons that perhaps they’d better walk back from that one) nothing says long hot summer and interesting times more than what happened last week in Norway.

I visited there once, in 1970 – Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger, as a Girl Scout doing that youth hostel and backpack thing. Lovely country, very wet and rainy, even in summer it seemed to drizzle about forty-five minutes out of every hour, and it was a miracle to me that anything but moss and lichen had enough sunlight to grow along the coastal rocks. We stayed in a sailboat, which had been converted to a Youth Hostel, ate fish pudding for dinner once (it’s white, gelatinacious and completely without taste), had wonderful smorgasbord breakfasts and saw Edvard Grieg’s home – being raised on classical music, I very much fear I was the only one of our group to really appreciate it. And we took a long train ride to Stockholm, sharing a long open rail car with a touring chorus from an international music camp on the US/Canada border. It was about a three-hour trip, and we sang all the way, having between the chorus and our group, several guitars and a considerable repertoire of folk songs, summer-camp songs and other musical arcana. I have no idea what the regular passengers thought of all this, by the way. That was then – this is now, and sometimes the summer of 1970 seems as far away . . . well, another time-space continuum. The horror of last week on Utoya Island would have been inconceivable, then – in Norway or anywhere else in the Western World.

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down…

So, on past form, just about everyone over the sentience level of a mollusk assumed it was one of those horrible, unexpected outrages perpetuated by an unrepresentative member of the religion of peace who hadn’t gotten the word about being an adherent of the religion of peace or given any consideration to the backlash such an act would ignite against innocent coreligionists. Hey, it’s not cynicism, it’s just good pattern recognition – when something goes boom among noncombatants in a fairly major way of late, usually there’s someone named Mohammed involved, no matter if the venue is Afghanistan Thailand, Bali, Somalia, Iraq, Spain, Britain, India or Israel. It’s just how this has worked out. And flog that line about the IRA, Tim McVeigh or assorted small abortion-clinic bombers as hard as you like – the sheer quantity of the occurrences of kabooms involving gentlemen named Mohammed (as well as the numbers of victims involved) are kind of overwhelming.

So here – as it turns out – we have another freelance nutter, supposedly from the conservative and supposedly anti-Islamic immigrant side of the political aisle, going all mad-dog and deciding that his particular mission is to slaughter teenagers and young twenty-somethings at a political party-sponsored summer camp . . . careless of the fact that by this particularly vile act, he will have alienated just about every potential ally and sympathizer towards his particular concerns – which might (or might not) have had a chance of a fair hearing, up until July 22. Strange days, indeed – strange and brutal days.

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down…

Of course, the eventual truth about Anders Breivik will eventually out – although I fear, not before the meme/conventional wisdom will congeal about him. But there are so many contradictory notes, so many . . . not quite wrong, incomplete, contradictory or curious things about him, as he is being presented by the mainstream or even the new media. Businessman, well educated, plenty of guns (Hey, I live in Texas, supposed to be bristling with free-lance gun-slingers.) Supposed to be a Christian, supposed to be a freemason, supposed to be . . . well, a lot of things. A manifesto cribbed from Theodore Kacznski’s writings, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that come and go. Nutter, stooge . . . or what? Definitely a stone-cold killer; for which he may serve 21 years in the Norwegian equivalent of the super-max; and if it doesn’t be violation of his civil rights and upon being formally found guilty, I hope that he serves a bit longer. The parents of the murdered campers may have hopes for even longer than that. But all I really know about this is what I read in the newspapers. Or on-line.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down…

I can’t say that I really know Norway, after all – the closest I came were those nice people that I met in various Youth Hostels and train stations, and on a motor-boat ferry ride between Stavanger and Bergen, all those decades ago. And what I read in various venues, of course. It’s comfortable to assume –a nutcase with delusions of glory and Wagnerian grandeur, even perhaps a brain tumor, a la Charles Whiteman, the UT Austin sniper, or a Ted Kacznski wanna-be. But what if – just suppose – he is a kind of Nordic John Brown, frustrated beyond all patience, feeling marginalized and insulted by the ruling political elite with regard to his particular concern . . . and deciding that the perpetration of a horrific crime would be worth it, just for the opportunity to make an unmistakable and irrevocable gesture. What then, oh wolves?

Much more comforting, I suppose, for the transnational political ruling class to write this off as the act of a brilliant but unfortunately deranged actor. For the other consideration would be just too unbearable to contemplate.

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