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Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Spirit of Volunteerism, or: You First 

We are perhaps not the first blogger to comment upon the recent eruption by Mr. Stu Bykofsky of Philadelphia, who has had it up to here with Americans "squabbling" over such trivialities as "whether the surge is working, if we are 'safer' now, whether the FBI should listen in on foreign phone calls, whether cops should detain odd-acting 'flying imams,' whether those plotting alleged attacks on Fort Dix or Kennedy airport are serious threats or amateur bumblers,"and so on; and who also believes that, in an ideal world, our lost "unity" would be restored in swift and salutary fashion by a lethal terrorist attack on "[t]he Golden Gate Bridge. Mount Rushmore. Chicago's Wrigley Field. The Philadelphia subway system." Alas, Mr. Bykofsky's laundry list of national treasures -- on which he made bold to include his hometown transit system, generating, we are sure, much hilarity in the dank dens where Al Qaeda picks its targets -- has created, in some quarters, the unfortunate impression that he is perfectly willing to see untold numbers of his countrymen killed in order to advance some shriveled, impractical policy goal that is barely worth pursuing. (Believe it or not, we have heard the same scurrilous charge made against supporters of the Iraq war.)

We sympathize with Mr. Bykofsky's impulse, but we do have one problem with his proposal: it smacks of needless excess. In the age of YouTube, there is no need to slaughter thousands of innocents. If Mr. Bykofsky really wanted to remind us of the ruthless barbarity of our implacable foes, why, he could simply arrange to have his head sawed off, on video, by a group of masked jihadi types -- or, if masked jihadi types for some sinister reason declined to get with the program, a group of swarthy unemployed actors portraying masked jihadi types. Just think of the number of downloads, and the cleansing, unifying hatred toward those "real enemies" who would like to see thousands of us dead, that would surely ensue. And if this act of martyrdom proved insufficient to stiffen American spines for all-out war on whomever? Then surely some of the commentators who have endorsed Mr. Bykofsky's effusions might be persuaded to follow his example and submit to the blade as well.

But, you may argue, what if the public tires of decapitations? -- to which we answer, the Harry Potter movie franchise is on its fourth sequel, and still breaking records at the B.O., proving that novelty is no requisite for success; and besides, the natural constituency for Mr. Bykofsky's outpourings never tires of decapitations. We are not at all certain how many of our brave, outspoken Bykofskian pundits would have to give their lives in order to rouse this discordant nation to the proper level of righteous bloodlust -- not, we would hope, every last one of them! -- but we do not doubt that from their self-inflicted sacrifice, some good would eventually come.

Sooner, perhaps, than later.

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