Monday, September 17, 2012
The Middle East Exists Even When We're Not Thinking About It
Dear fellow Americans: I have something to say. It's very important. I need you to put down the blocks and listen carefully.
You know the Middle East? All those countries where we say we're sending our soldiers and religious tour groups? Pay attention; this is going to change things for you.
The Middle East has what grownups call object permanence. Let me explain. It's like the first couple hundred times you played peek-a-boo, and you were all like "Where the good goddamn is mom's face coming from?" Until you realized that mom's face never left at all. It's still there. So what I'm saying is that the property of non-contingent existence that your mom's face possesses is exactly what the countries of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula have too. And I'm pretty sure about Central Asia.
Most of us assume it's just a place for politicians and commentators to talk about, so we can know who's a Strong Leader and who is Weak. Occasionally we see some footage - cellphone footage if it's CNN - and we assume they did it with CGI or claymation or something. But you see, other people... they actually live there. Those people aren't - I hesitate to even say this, because I've laid so much on you guys, but here goes - they aren't Americans at all. They're not even Canadians. Those countries are filled with people who aren't part of our country. So, they're out there living their own lives, with their own histories, religions, cultures, and they don't even really care what they're doing to help the next president of the United States get elected!
So, just imagine this theoretical moment in time, when no one was blogging about the Middle East, or getting nasty on a comment thread about it, and Obama wasn't giving a speech, and Romney wasn't criticizing that speech, and Obama's team wasn't criticizing Romney's criticism, and CNN wasn't asking you what you thought about the criticism... That place. The Middle East. It would still be there.
I understand it's a lot to handle. Let's get some cookies and juice and just take a moment, okay?