In October 2001 I published “The Death of Irony: Reports are Exaggerated.” Here is a prime example:
Wouldn’t it be ironic if America remains in thrall to the Arab countries just because of its stubborn, paranoid refusal to acknowledge that industrial hemp is no more a drug than alfalfa is? If willful stupidity about one species of vegetation is the only reason the oil producing countries have us in a chokehold – wouldn’t it be ironic?
Today we are still not seeing a big increase in the number of hemp biofuel facilities. Back in 2001, I read someplace a fact that, when I told it to people, caused them to say “Pish-tosh”or the equivalent, and dismiss me as a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist. Yet it turned out to be true:
There’s an American business called Unocal that wanted to run a gigantic pipeline through Afghanistan to bring oil from central Asia to Pakistan and the sea. And the Taliban promised to fix it so they could. (Why is it that when some kind of really dirty dealing goes on in the international scene, so often what lurks behind it is the lust for oil?)
For this next item, maybe ironic isn’t the right word. After the attacks, the American Red Cross offered psychological survival hints to Americans, such as: “Ask for help if you need it.” My reaction, which still holds true today, was:
Here, some degree of help is available for most people in dire predicaments, even if a series of bureaucratic hurdles must be jumped in order to qualify. Elsewhere, there is no help. Ask for it all you want, need it desperately – it’s simply not there.
Another comforting and orienting tip was to spend time with your family, and also to find a quiet, peaceful place “to reflect and gain perspective,” to which I replied:
Most Americans could probably make it to some chapel or nature spot for a spell of meditation. Elsewhere, there are no cars to jump into, no buses or trains in which to escape. Find a peaceful place! Hordes of people are trying to do that very thing. They’re called refugees, and there are millions of them… Elsewhere, “spend time with your family” is a bitter joke because all your relatives are in a stinking mass grave.
***Compliments to Paul Virzi for the title, which is a meme in the true and original sense of the word (not the kind with pictures. Though it could also be one of those.)