Confirming My Cynicism 13-03-2011

Ignorant. Stupid. Insensitive. Myopic. Boorishly nationalistic and jingoistic. Absent-minded. Incongruous. Asinine. Ghastly. Vile. Hopelessly astray...

Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.

Those final three words describe the unfolding tragedy in Japan right now. According to the BBC, the death toll currently stands at roughly 1,500 but is expected to exceed 10,000 "in Miyagi region alone." Some 310,000 people have been evacuated to emergency shelters. Electricity, supplies, clean water, food: all in short to no stock in the affected areas. Tens of thousands of men, women and children are completely unaccounted for. A man's wife was swept away before his eyes as the tsunami struck precisely when they returned home to gather possessions following the quake. Pure and utter tragedy. Great sadness is all that I feel for Japan and its people. My heart goes out to all of them.

Apparently, many of my fellow American citizens do not share these sentiments because that first string of adjectives applies wonderfully to what has been sweeping across the Web in the past 24 to 48 hours; you see, according to them, the death and despair are merely "karmic payback" for the attack on Pearl Harbor!

What wonderful insight, you stupid, preposterous buffoons. It really takes a great deal to get me so outraged, but this did it.

A piece by Rosie Gray over at the Village Voice outlines some of the disgusting things being written. Seriously; this is really happening. According to the enlightened members of Facebook, Twitter, et al., no one should care at all about Japan because it is all part of the great Universal plan to levy payback for a strategic military strike which took place over 69 years ago. The linked-to piece has several more examples, but here is a sampler which I saw floating around the Internet:

Oh goodness why

This one sampling alone tell us that:

  • Imperial Japan was apparently Communist (didn't know that, thanks)
  • "Japan be gettin hammered from the earthquakes" (wonderful prose)
  • America is providing disaster relief to guilt trip Japan (brilliant idea, I must say)
  • Our education in the fields of grammar and history are just doing fantastic jobs

And of course it all makes sense, when you really break down the situation. Some 2,500 people in all were killed at a military base in the Hawaii Territory, an attack which directly lead to the United States' entrance into World War II, a conflict in which unheard of amounts of soldiers and citizens alike were mowed down and steamrolled into oblivion by all sides. It was a war which ended when as many as 250,000 Japanese citizens were killed by the swift dropping of two bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, perhaps the most catastrophic event in human history. Certainly the most frightening, one must think.

Well thank the heavens for these wonderful historians and philosophers informing us that apparently those quarter of a million lives were not enough to even the karmic balance, or some similarly meaningless concept. The tectonic plates have conspired with hydrodynamics to finally right what was wrong. To fix what was broken. To bring swift and just payback to those innocent civilians who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened in 1941.

And of course, it is not as though unannounced military strikes ever occurred before Pearl Harbor or since. No, that was the only one. I mean, the United States military surely has never launched a preemptive strike on a military target. Nope. Not once. Especially not in recent memory or anything silly like that.

And this sort of thing never happens in the United States. I cannot recall one single time in recent history when a devastating natural disaster leveled a coastal area and affected hundreds of thousands of lives in the span of mere days. Then again, I was asleep throughout August of 2005 so I cannot confirm this with certainty.

The sad truth is that many people really are just this antagonistically moronic. I know very well that it is not the fault of the platforms on which these people are voicing their horribly misguided opinions. I do not think that it is the fault of the United States or the majority of its citizens for the creation of these ridiculous world views. And as a staunch defender of personal liberties, I am happy to live in a nation where the most important of all freedoms protects even the most offensive speech imaginable.

And yet... I sigh. It really is just disheartening, is all.