Monday, June 30, 2008

As Boorish a Bunch of Idiots as You’ll Ever Meet

Bowdlerizing the reality of who they really are is a habit Europeans have had for some time. They lead the world to believe that there is some sort of magical supra-gentility and humanity found in the engineered ‘human systems’ that dominate everyday life. There is the notion that these “well-raised/educated/socialized” individuals are the elixir of this miracle, when in reality (for now) it’s feeding off the former habits of the family-centric nations they once were.

The social glue now is the loose collection of positive habits that are endangered but remain in a ‘bowling alone’ society like no other. The comparatively feeble state of enduring marriage and the number of sole children speaks to a social narrative that is leading into a desperately untrusting and lonely state. One whose only convenient and emotionally un-risky remedy is more of what used to be the realm of the individual or the family’s doing toward those of collective ‘human systems’. We find this in relying on hired-in expertise to raise children from the crèche to the employment office. Cooking the family mean has become take-away or par-prepared, and so forth. People are not better for it.

See any symptoms? Janet Levy points out the obvious to outsiders who don’t pay attention that nothing could be further from the truth, and that people quite primitively seek comfort from this in the “robust, socially unified seeming” past that never was for very long in Europe when it wasn’t also barbaric and diseased with broadly shared vile hatred:

In recent years, soccer crowds have gone so far as to simulate the hissing of Nazi gas chambers, pairing the sound with Nazi salutes. In Belgium, Muslim fans at a soccer match between Israel and Belgium shouted "Jews to the gas chambers" and "strangle the Jews," while waving Hamas and Hezbollah flags. Freed from the restraints of acceptable behavior, with inhibitions loosened by alcohol consumption and the intense camaraderie of team spirit, soccer fans freely unleash anti-Semitic slurs with abandon and without fear of retribution.

This alarming behavior prompts questions as to whether anti-Semitism is becoming acceptable again in a Europe that has forgotten its Nazi past, and whether guilt has been supplanted by denial. Is the era of Nazism being re-examined and re-framed in a more positive light that contributes to such gratuitous and ugly outbursts?

Two recent disturbing incidents appear to support this idea, raising legitimate concerns that Europe is indeed repainting its Nazi past.
First there were few siblings. Then there were few cousins. Then all they had for human warmth was a mob of one flavor or another to choose from, (social action/ sporting head-breaking /political head-breaking/ dangerous thrill-seeking...) making solitude and distance, if not emigration the only remaining reasonable option. That brave new world is on its’ way.

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