07 February 2006

Two Items, and Men, of Interest

A couple of items have caught my attention recently and I wanted to share them.

First, a new online friend, Adam Philips, whose flash animation cartoons are wonderful. His character, Bitey of Brackenwood, has been winning prizes. Well deserved, too!

Second, we saw Henry Rollins' spoken word tour the other night. I've seen him a number of times over the year, and what always impresses and encourages me is his focus. He owns his anger and uses it for momentum, for activism, etc. I, on the other hand, somehow transform all my anger into melancholy and it only serves to quiet me. There's definitely something in the way boys and girls are socialised that forces our hand later in life.

One thing that Henry talked about is that he's now a "person of interest" to Australia. He got a call from a fan who works with (I think it was) the Australian Federal Police, and his name had passed over her desk. Evidently, the guy next to him on the plane to Australia dobbed him in for reading the book Jihad, a book on the NY Times bestseller list, written by a journalist from The Wall Street Journal and published by Yale University Press.... Not exactly a "how to" manual.

It occured to me this morning that perhaps the guy was less ignorant than Henry (dis-)credited him for. Perhaps he was being malevolent. Maybe he correctly summed up Henry as a (small-l) liberal, who was attempting to understand the root causes of today's terror. And look: if terrorism can simply be attributed to evil people "who hate freedom", then wars and our own brand of state-sponsored terrorism are justified. If terrorism is instead understood to be a reaction to our long-term destructive foreign policies, then we have a responsibility to reduce the root causes by changing our behaviours. And that is truly a dangerous idea.

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