Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What do you call an eight-year-old Iraqi kid with no arms, surviving family members, or unblackened skin below his waist?

I quoted a six-word short story by Alan Moore in the prvious post. Who is Alan Moore? In my humble opinion Alan Moore and David Simon are currently the two greatest living authors on this planet.

Here is a great interview with David Simon, including this quote:

"There's two little pieces of the American myth that get sold a lot. One of them is if you're more clever than the next guy, if you build a better mousetrap, if you're slick, if you're smart, you'll succeed in this country. And I think that's true. That part of the American myth is not myth. The business climate has changed a lot and the economy has changed a lot, but that's always true. That's capitalism. The other part of the myth that I think has been proven a lie in the past 20, 25 years is that if you're not smarter than the next guy, if you're not slick or clever, but if you're willing to get up every day and work your ass off and come home and be a citizen and be committed to your family and your job and whoever you work for, there will be a place for you, and you won't be betrayed. And I think that has been proven to be a lie."

Truer words have never been spoke.

And here is a great piece (written in 2003) by Alan Moore, on the war in Iraq. Moore begins with:

"Here's a joke: What do you call an eight-year-old Iraqi kid with no arms, surviving family members, or unblackened skin below his waist?"

Click here for the punchline...


Anonymous said...

Nothing - NOTHING - in this world is 100% true all the time, and to assume anything is, is childish. By and large, if one does work one's "ass off," get married, stay married, bear children only within that marriage, and generally abide by the law, one can have a pretty good life in America. It's child-like to a fault to respond to this post by telling a story of some guy who, despite all this, ended up on the Bowery, so that's not a valid response. And Moore's choice of language reveals an entitlement attitude misplaced in an adult: "you won't be betrayed." Your nation owes you nothing; strangers owe you nothing. One can only be betrayed by those one reasonably "trusts." Moore is wrong to think part of the American "myth" is that one American can reasonably "trust" all other Americans to provide what he or she believes is promised (a comfortable and secure living), and that if it is not provided, then that one American is "betrayed." Since Americans don't owe each other a living, one's "trust" is misplaced if one expects those Americans to provide such. Finally, Moore needs to reread his high school history textbook if he thinks that prior to 20-25 years ago it was always true that working hard and playing by the rules provided one a comfortable and secure living. I'm sure I don't need to mention, for example, the depression (1929-35), or the travails of those who ventured out during America's expansion westward seeking a better life only to often find great hardship (many years prior to 20-25 years ago). You call this guy one of the "greatest living authors on the planet"???????? I call him a whiner, a child-like product of overabundance, a product of the "me" generation, if your quote accurately reflects his sentiments in full.

Ben Guest said...

Two things:

1) You are referring, I believe, to David Simon’s quote, not the link to Alan Moore’s essay on the Iraq war.

2) It seems like you’re angry at someone who you agree with. Simon argues, as do you, that trust in an institution is misplaced. Simon’s quote was about Bethleham Steel but it could be about any number of companies. People worked at Beth Steel for 25 years (building the ships that helped to win WWII) and retired with the expectation of a pension and health insurance. That expectation, that trust, was betrayed. The company filed for bankruptcy and all the retirees from Beth Steel lost their pension and their medical benefits. They worked hard, put their trust in the company, and they were betrayed.