So I spent the last hour of work in the Batcave listening to Napalm Death, and I'm just kind of cranky and even more skeptical than usual. My cousin's posting all sorts of C-O-NSpiracy business, people I don't know super-well are telling me I'm a misanthrope for thinking that Patton Oswalt's platitudes about the awesomeness of humanity are nice words that ring false. Yes, there's one race, the human race, but I'm always amazed we haven't destroyed the world more than we already have, I don't think we're inherently good, and a continued reading of history only bears that out for me.We might refer other people as tribal, but we all are. We'll come together in some sapitude for a day or two and go back to pointing fingers and finding scapegoats in a little bit.
Someone said today "look how far we've come" since 9/11 and if anything I feel like it's more an issue of look how far we've fallen. I don't ever remember the definition of rape being debated ten years ago, or torture justified, or the treatment of Arab Americans as second class citizens being something that was totally okay. I wonder what planet these people live on because it's not mine.
I don't know how good it is to pat ourselves on the back about how great we are because we didn't bomb a large event when we're perfectly cool with voting for politicians who are perfectly fine with reigning terror on a daily basis elsewhere. One of the things that got me in the class I took last year on 20th century Europe was how people lived side by side in relative harmony and then when things unraveled, the butchery started and suddenly everyone starts drawing lines of religion and ethnicity and then people end up dead. By all accounts the perpetrators loved their family and were fine upstanding citizens. Basically good people. If there was such a majority of good people, where were they when things got real and their neighbors were getting hauled off?
Civilized "good people" colonize other parts of the world, advocate terrible ideologies, construct arguments that deny rights and basic humanity to others, enact policies that hurt people, stab each other in the back over trivialities when it's convenient, gossip about their neighbors, justify things like torture. That potential for hatred and cruelty is in all of us, it just doesn't always come out in ways that are so obviously ugly in part because we're lazy and not very powerful for the most part and our sphere of influence doesn't involve control over towns or nations. So much of our evil is banal, so much of it is sins of omission and ignorance either accidental or willful and that's before anything drastic happened, doing good is inconvenient or unthought of.
Some would say that evil is too strong a word, but I'm not so sure it is. And I wonder why anyone hangs out with me sometimes, because I feel like the queen of downers when I'm not laughing. My brain is always working overtime, I find myself deconstructing everything and questioning everything that others hold true, there is transparency and a lack of pretense that I think makes others uncomfortable. I don't even know what I'm saying anymore, I just feel like I did ten years ago, when I see things coming and no one else sees them or thinks it's a problem.