In defense of the rotten Big Mac: prelude to a vindication of Joy

This writing is a response to previously published comments from The Central Scrutinizer.

Sometime in the last few days many, dare I say all who would read this blog, encountered news of a certain assassination. Some found this news at 4 am in sweatpants, hidden in pot filled basements — those secret caves where the liberal elite cloister in their fiendish cabal. 

The Moon Bog fears the response of society to this news, they fear themselves even. Looking in the mirror at a face slowly wilting with time and consumption they see reflected back a ghost of the moldy Big Mac they despise. They fear the culture of fear itself, drumming up the great whirring and churning, the sputtering fumish start of the war industries who waken at the smell of blood.

In this fear we are called to look at this spectacle of horror and consumption. We are allowed to fear Iran or fear those who fear Iran and all are terrified and all are the worse for it. 

I, however, am enjoying this sandwich from McDonalds. 

You may say I am a bastard who does not care. You may be right. But when we are given a false choice between fear or fearing fear, we are given over to fear. We are asked to choose between looking at the moldy Big Mac in abject horror at our gross society, or in nauseous, mournful entertainment. Through this false decisional dichotomy a third path may be plotted. Eat the sandwich.

Am I suggesting that this entire story of death, the possibility neigh likelihood of escalating destruction and violence, may be safely ignored? To an extent yes. We are operating in a view in which Iran is an enemy of equal value to us, or in a view in which we are a bully acting illegally against a free state. We call this liberals and conservatives maybe, but neither view the situation as it is. As it is, it is moving, deep and complex. It cannot be spelled out in what amounts to a Letter to the Editor. For now let it suffice to point out that we are looking at things fearfully. We are not looking at things well. 

What would a global war with Iran look like? It wouldn’t. Iran is capable of conducting an increased volume of “terror” limited by dissipating mission effectiveness relative to the distance from Tehran. They are most able to inflict pain in places where the American populace, for better or worse, has grown numb. What of the United States? A ground war? To what end? The lessons of 1980—a fully US equipped army mortaring chemical bombs into the mountains, bogged down by terrain and human wave attacks—offer a stark warning. And anyone with a careful eye sees another Vietnam.

No. The Terror Trap is not just for Trumpians to beat their chests and cry war. The Terror Trap is for liberals too. To think we should be afraid, to worry about a few deaths. We attribute 200 Americans killed to the advances in IED’s, molten copper slugs, Solemani “developed”. 50 Iranians were trampled to death at his memorial. Look at this. Look at the weight given to lives based on how we contextualize and process death and violence. This illuminates the effects of the Terror Trap on our empathy, on our fear. 

The Terror Trap plays on a weak stomach. It projects to the liberals a world in which we have cured all violence and fixed harm. All violence now, all suffering is the result of defects in the future-perfect system. In fact there is always friction. We cannot build a perpetual motion device of peace and prosperity. The laws of physics apply. 

If we want to eat the Big Mac we must steal our stomachs. The fearful reaction to violence does not end violence. The memetic double movement of ironic postulations does not distract us from our concerns in the present, it helps to manifest a parallel fantasy world in which these concerns are valid and may be acted upon. It creates a feverish hallucination of fear and violence and suffering no more real than the jingoistic naivety of the lambasted neocons, and equally as real in terms of its deployability and power.

So ultimately, ask yourself, “Do you feel good?” Do you feel better for having worried about the third World War? Did this save you from mental anguish? or bring you to a place of greater pain? And over what? The gruesome but not irregular workings of the great Violence Machine? Your worrying does not clog its gears or slow its progression. Our fear is oil to the vast nebulous cogs of death and pandemonium.  

Do not confuse my advice to be a promotion of some ‘strong-willed’ denial and suppression of our arising fear or feelings. I am not suggesting that we can will ourselves to not fear something. I am suggesting that we can make subtle shifts in how we care and what we consider to be efficacious that lead to a decrease in fear; or the recognition that we shouldn’t fear what we once thought we should. A key first step in this process is to see things as they are. It is the opposite of ‘self-mastery.’ It is a freedom born of acceptance and recognition.

The sandwich is gross. It is old and we know its secrets. There is no reason to treat it as a spectacle or mystery. Eat it or leave it alone.