The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'genocide'
A French artist is working on a Nintendo DS game about the Holocaust. Titled Imagination is the Only Escape, the game will place players in the role of a young boy in Eastern France who uses his imagination to escape the horrors of war during the German occupation of World War II. (Sounds like a real barrel of laughs, doesn't it?) That is assuming that Nintendo sign off on this; the New York Times reported that they had refused to release it in the US, though this report has since been denied.
From the BBC's On This Day section:
1971: Calley guilty of My Lai massacre
Lieutenant William Calley has been found guilty of murder at a court martial for his part in the My Lai massacre which claimed the lives of 500 South Vietnamese civilians.
And further down, it is revealed that he didn't get the death penalty, or even serve out his life sentence:
Freed on bail in 1974 his sentence was then cut to 10 years but he was paroled later that year after completing one third of his sentence.
It doesn't say what he went on to do after that; unfortunately for him, FOXNews hadn't been established yet, thus depriving him of a possible future career path.
Also on this day in 1971, failed Monkees auditionee, psycho-killer cult leader and subsequent role model to a thousand teen nihilists across McWorld, Charles Manson was sentenced to death; also never carried out.
A few choice quotes from Winston Churchill, the great man who was recently selected as the Greatest Briton Ever (beating off a strong challenge from Lady Di, no less), and who is widely held to have been the George W. Bush of his time.
I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.
Writing as president of the Air Council, 1919
I do not admit... that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia... by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race... has come in and taken its place.
Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, 1937
One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations."
From his Great Contemporaries, 1937
A sobering interview a professor of psychology who has studied the psychology of genocide, or why ordinary people commit atrocities. Eye-opening, and not optimistic; basically, his thesis is that the line between everyday civilisation and genocide is rather thin; that it's very easy to dehumanise an "enemy", thus enabling ordinary people to commit atrocities against their now no-longer "human" foes and still see themselves as good people, and that genocide is not, as is widely believed, an intrinsically male specialisation.
And in the Holocaust you had incidences of this, too -- I'm thinking of Jan Gross' book, entitled "Neighbors," about a small village in Poland named Jedwabne where the Catholic half of the village killed the Jewish half simply because they were given permission to do so. You realize how thin this veneer of civilization is that we put up. We say we live as neighbors and in a community, but when something happens structurally that says now you have permission to persecute, to take from, to even kill people that you've lived with for years, the relative ease with which people can do that is incredible.
It's one thing to understand killing, but killing with brutality and killing with zest and killing by taking trophies as American soldiers did with massacres of American Indians, is another thing. Why is that necessary? You'll even notice that in executions throughout World War II, the person's back is always toward the executioner. There really is no logistical reason for that in terms of ease of killing, it's more just a psychological defense of not having to see the victim.
And, according to Waller, genocide and other atrocities are likely to increase as more people compete for fewer resources.
Recently declassified top-secret files have revealed that renowned Australian microbiologist and Nobel laureate Sir Macfarlane Burnet urged the Australian government to develop biological weapons to depopulate Asia, in case the swarthy nogooders decide to invade us.
The minutes of a meeting at Melbourne's Victoria Barracks in 1948 noted that Sir Macfarlane "was of the opinion that if Australia undertakes work in this field it should be on the tropical offensive side rather than the defensive. There was very little known about biological attack on tropical crops."
This week's Onion has some good pieces, such as God Finally Gives Shout-Out Back To All His Niggaz, and Plan To Get Laid At DragonCon 2001 Fails,
"I imagined some girl and I talking about the new Lord Of The Rings movie," Melcher said. "Then I could say, 'Oh, I have the trailer on my laptop back in my hotel room if you want to see it."
Though a distinct minority, some females were present at DragonCon. "There was this one girl dressed up like Black Canary. She had the boots and the fishnet stockings and everything," Melcher said. "I couldn't really talk to her, though, because there was a pretty dense crowd of guys around her at all times."
not to mention this gem: Oh, Girls Are No Good At Genocide.
The Khmer Rouge picked Pol Pot because they knew he'd be good at murder and torture and all that other boy stuff. A girl probably would have planted flowers in the killing fields.
What do spelling checkers say about modern culture? The spelling checker in Microsoft Word 97 has some telltale gaps in its lexicon:
Your computer knows baddies Lenin and Trotsky, but not peace lovers Lennon, McCartney, and Starr. It remembers Auschwitz but not Woodstock. Your spell-check will gleefully accept Ku Klux Klan (try typing it in lower kase, your komputer will gently suggest that you kapitalize your k's). Ominously, Word 97 acknowledges German politicians Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schroeder - we may not know exactly what these men are up to but we can assume, from the company they keep in our spell check, that they are bad, bad men.