Is there a character called the Mad Punner in Alice in Wonderland? That’s what I seem to be turning into, under the pressure of events, trying to make sense of the senseless that apparently governs the behaviour of the few & the destiny of millions. I began with Brexit; I googled ‘break shit’, which lead to the Urban Dictionary telling me that it is a (synthetic?) phrase for getting ‘super drunk’, or ‘to be belligerent in your mannerisms and never take no for an answer’, or ‘to go get what you want and destroy all in your path’ – all without a single reference to Brexit, mind, talk of unconscious irony.
Whereas the question that occurred to me at once was: can you break shit? Dried birdshit, yes, it is called guano, which is a fertiliser, as we all know. But any other kind of shit, like Brexit? Look at London, Edinburgh and Brussels trying to break shit and failing miserably because the shit is still too fresh. They’ll have to wait till it has dried and turned hard so that they can break it. Not their fault, really, it’s not an easy task, by any means. Alexander the Great went into legend by cutting the Gordian knot – suppose he’d been given the task of breaking shit instead? Or worse still, of unbreaking it, as in Facebook? That could well be the fourth personal pronoun in third person, singular: he, she, it, shit. Shit happens, oh yes, (sh)it does and Brexit happens too.
Whereas Nice is not something one can pun about. Not even a Mad Punner. Even he tells Alice to run or to take cover when certain forms of 21st c. madness invade Wonderland. What happened in Nice is in some ways like the ultimate 20th cum 21st c. video game fantasy: Godzilla descending upon Wonderland to find that Lewis Carroll has forgotten to log out. Godzilla was originally created as a metaphor for nuclear weapons, I’m told. Is terrorism Godzilla Junior? There’s such a character, I believe.
And somehow it all goes back to the discovery of gunpowder & the flintlock, and from there to the capacity to make a lot of holes in a lot of people in the shortest possible time – we’re talking semi-automatics now, though we do NOT want to land in the middle of the most useless debate in human history, the one about the US gun laws which has stymied entire presidencies & presidents. They’ve got a new version of it now, inspired by Bob Marley & Eric Clapton’s I Shot the Sheriff & the Deputy As Well (before he could shoot me) aka Bury All Hope at Baton Rouge.
In the midst of all this, the Republican Convention has started but I, for one, am still mourning Nice. The site of Nice has been inhabited for 400,000 years, we are told; the name can be traced back to the Greek Nikaia, whereas the Romans arrived in Nice just 14 years before the birth of Christ. So the question arises: if a Roman charioteer were suddenly to go mad on the streets of Cemenelum and drive his chariot into the crowd on Cimiez hill, how many people would he have managed to maim or to slaughter?
It was not a chariot but a truck in Nice. I refuse to go into the history of the automobile as a weapon of mass destruction. Knowing the human race, they have the capacity to turn a baby’s rattle into a weapon of mass destruction, if they set their mind to it. Basically all I’m saying is that terrorism began when it became possible for a homo sapiens to kill a number of homines sapientes at one go, by making holes in them or running them over with a wheelbarrow or whatever. The amount of R&D and technological ingenuity which has gone into discovering the easiest way to kill the largest number of human beings is staggering. And that’s only because the Creator created the human being like a self-destroying message: ‘This message will destroy itself automatically after you’ve read it… Oh, you’re illiterate, are you?’ And so on.
I feel like a Greek minstrel from the ancient city of Nikaia who’s singing a dirge or a requiem for the human race using his tattered blog for a lyre – though Greek tragedy is like a Brazilian sitcom compared to what we are witnessing today. The killing of innocents is nothing new, but to raise it to the strategic level where there is only collateral damage in an undeclared war being fought mainly on promenades and in hostelries and on fairgrounds and soon children’s playgrounds (only a question of time) – wow, is about all I can say. It’s what the Creator said when they told Him. Wow, He said.
Regarding Turkey – are you still around? – it is difficult to understand just what is going on in the Most Muddled Country in the Meddle East. Maybe I’ll talk to Donald Trump about it but no, I shall never talk to Theresa May, even if she were to bring along BoJo as a kind of botched Trump imitation.
BoJo won the primaries for the British presidency & then scooted, remember?