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Friday, Apr. 11, 2003
For a couple of weeks now, Iíve harbored a burning desire to do an entry about our current world situation. I had a snappy title in mind, a pretty solid body of text and a lot of heart wrenching moments to share.

I guess Iíve concluded to myself that ďBaghdad Soccer MomsĒ is just not going to fly. I canít do it. I just canít. No matter how hard I weave words around the whole idea of trying to point out the obvious similarities of people the world over, the shared daily yearnings and love and cooking of small vegetables, it seems to trivialize the lives of women and children who might not wake to see one more day of soccer. Or anything else, for that matter.

I try to picture myself standing outside my house and watching a tank roll by. I try to think of any emotion that would allow me to accept the violent death of a neighbor. Or have any answer for my kids when they ask why the power is shut off, or the water. Or why large men in uniforms are pointing guns at them.

You know (and this may surprise you, given the tone of the previous), I support the idea behind all this. I support the removal of an unbelievably sadistic fuck of a dictator and the subsequent purging of his entrails in a public square. The expunging of weapons of mass destruction. Liberating a nation.

I just wish there was a way to go about all of this without seeing even one little girl without legs in a hospital bed.

Or hear one journalist knighting their profession as heroic when American soldiers are falling dead around them. Iíd like to give a nod to their bravery but Iím just enough of a cynic to know that thereís an agenda to a reporter in a war zone. A sort of ďHmmm. I ride around in a tank for a few weeks and takes my chances and when this thing is over I get fast tracked up to network anchorĒ sort of cynicism.

The surreal making of a real time video game. Thatís what this thing seems to be. You drop a quarter in and watch the day go by. You keep an eye on the scoreboard as we shoot the guns, fly the planes, drop the bombs. You get shot. You re-charge the ammo pack and go in for more. You get lost in a maze of tunnels looking for something elusive, you emerge and jump in your HumVee and get to shoot the big 50 caliber mounted on the back. By the end of the game youíre panting and mindless, wanting more speed and more targets and vaguely disappointed that the whole thing has to come to an end.

And if it truly was a video game, nobody else would mind.

But it ainít, and I do.

I mind very much that video-impatient people are demanding that we find WMDís right now. Right away, before the end of the show. As if theyíre something thatís hidden right behind that dungeon door, the one guarded by the big ugly troll. I mind that the pace of the war isnít fast enough for video people, as if speed would somehow lessen the horror, or satisfy the need to get it onto the 5 oíclock news instead of having to wait.

Iím sure that the little girl with no legs is just as happy as the video people that the war is happening with such startling speed. Iím sure she is plenty grateful.

It isnít what you think you see on CNN, my friends. Hell makes for a very poor studio in which to shoot video games. Serving up screaming, grieving people on a video platter makes a dish that no sane person wants to see.

Legless girls and grownups with a joystick in hand.

Thereís a dark side to our nature. A spectre of the irrational. A madman brought it on, and serious men have to take it out. And Dante himself couldnít paint a more awful picture of the Inferno that we sometimes have to fall into.

Even in these video days.

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