Isolation’s Children

I realize that the US media fell down on its job by not reporting all the bombings from the week before the Paris attacks — but — there is a bit of apples and oranges on this one. Every country has major cities. Even historically important cities. But there are just a few “capitols” of the First World. And Paris, like Tokyo, London, New York, Rome, Moscow, Hong Kong, and few others — represent something else. They are shorthand for the modern world. The industrialized world. The West and The East. Breaching any one of those capitols is not just a big story — it’s a whole different KIND of story, on a symbolic level with attacking the religious/economic capitols of Jerusalem, Rome, Varanasi, Bodhgaya, [Lhasa,] or Mecca. Reporting that ISIS has openly attacked a city in the violence-infested Middle East is not the same kind of story as attacking one of the current-and-historical capitols of the world. Successfully attacking Paris, which is not at war or revolution or engulfed in indigenous civil upheaval, is a horse of a different color. This is war on the modern world.

The aggressor may be the same; people may have died by violence in all the various attacks; but, the story, and the point made, are different. ISIS openly attacking its own historical culture, a Muslim city or group of a different ideology, or its neighbors, is status quo apples. Invasion of some perceived enemy of its agenda hundreds/thousands of miles away? Oranges. Rowboats. Lego mini-figures.

So yes. Be critical of the media/press when it falls short of its mandate. But keep your eye on the ball when it comes to parsing the impact of world events. War against the modern world is emotionally the screaming, shrieking, and scratching of those afraid of everything not like their own small and isolated existence. Note that it is men/women of ‘small and isolated existence’ that ISIS so successfully recruits.

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