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Random link o' the day...

...with a nod to grey_evil_twin:

The Monkeysphere

But think of Osama Bin Laden. Did you just picture a camouflaged man hiding in a cave, drawing up suicide missions? Or are you thinking of a man who gets hungry and has a favorite food and who had a childhood crush on a girl and who has athelete's foot and chronic headaches and laughs when a friend farts, a man who wakes up in the morning with a boner and loves volleyball and fusses over his spoiled children and haggles over the price of a car and who goes on Seinfeld-esque rants about too much ice in his drinks?
Something in you, just now, probably was offended by that. You think I'm trying to build sympathy for the murderous bastard. Do you see the equation? Simply knowing random human facts about him immediately tugs at our sympathy strings. He comes closer to our Monkeysphere, he takes on dimension.
Now, the cold truth is my Bin Laden is just as desperately in need of a bullet to the skull as the raving four-color caricature on some redneck's T-shirt. The key to understanding people like him, though, is realizing that we are the caricature on his T-shirt.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 8th, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC)
whoah. good shit, man.
Mar. 8th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
The Monkeysphere is a great read! You can also find some entertaining essays on video game evolution on the same site...
Mar. 8th, 2005 08:21 pm (UTC)
One of the best reads I've had in a long time..

*lights a cigarette*
Mar. 8th, 2005 08:53 pm (UTC)
That's brilliant. ;-)

On a side note I wonder if that is why people seemed to take more of an interest in each other and help each other back in the day. Towns and/or socities were smaller so it was possible that the majority, if not all, of your town/society/bookclub/whatever fit within your monkeysphere. Hmmmmm.
Mar. 8th, 2005 11:39 pm (UTC)
That article must not be for me... I wasn't offended at all. In fact, I was nodding in agreement. Maybe I need to resub to PF just for this flame war... :-)

But then I would have way too many things on my plate.
Mar. 9th, 2005 12:43 pm (UTC)
Very cool! I was not offended. Westeners have been the BOOGEYMAN to middle eastern children since the crusades!
Apr. 11th, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)
Understanding Bin Laden
I agree with your cold truth as to Bin Laden needing a bullet to the brainpan. However, I do not feel the need to understand him any further than finding some way to be absolutely certain of two things: 1) he was behind the deaths of 9-11, 2) he is made dead. Being the caricature on his t-shirt is immaterial.
Apr. 13th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Understanding Bin Laden
I'm reminded of the scene in the movie Aliens: "I only need to know one thing. Where... they... are."

Still, I think it's a mistake to assume that we do not need to understand a vicious, coldblooded killer like bin Laden. There is a benefit in understanding him: by understanding him, we help ensure we do not become like him.

It's comforting to believe that people like bin Laden, or the people who worked the Nazi concentration camps, or the people who commit genocide in countries like Cambodia, are not like us. They're inhuman, they're monsters, we are good decent people who could never, ever be like them. But the uncomfortable and frightening truth is that these people are human beings, just like we are, and that the capacity to commit atrocity exists in all of us. If you deny your own capacity to commit atrocity, it becomes easier for you to commit atrocity, because you will not recognize it when you see it.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )