Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Rock Against Rerrorism!

Thank God! Another rock concert! Betcha this was the last thing the terrorists expected!

Of course, one does wonder a bit at London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s way of putting the need for it. He said today: “The bombings that took place last week indiscriminately attacked Londoners irrespective of race, culture, religion or age... This free gig will show that London stands firm and celebrates its status as a city of all races, faiths and cultures, the very thing the bombers hate.” The first sentence there is a little bit confusing, I find. Makes the terrorists sound rather good, actually. As though the Mayor were bragging: we might have terrorists but, by God!, they’re broadminded terrorists! That, or maybe he sees some kind of (annoyingly unexploitable) injustice in the fact that the terrorists didn’t discriminate. ( ... Wow! And did you hear him use the word ‘gig’ in a plausible context?! Cool guy! You get the impression he’s been to a ‘gig’ or two in his time! Right on! Are his ears pierced too, do you think?)

And some might find the second assertion a little troublesome, given that it seems to suggest that rock music (or a rock concert, anyway) is that to which all the faiths, races and cultures can be reduced ... I know the idea's making my skin crawl.

In any case, Ken, let’s try to get a couple of things straight. ‘The very things the bombers hate’ is London! That’s why they bombed it! (Before—it would seem to go without saying—your little idea for a concert.) There’s nothing more you can do to make them hate you; all those bases are firmly covered. London still stands, and they still hate it! And, indeed, far from doing ‘the very thing the bombers hate’—which, like I say, you’ve already done simply by being London, and by continuing to be London—you’ll be doing the thing that Londoners and Westerners will themselves hate (or should anyway) by throwing the thinnest, most insubstantial veil possible (of pop music and all the attendant superficialities of a rock concert--interspersed with the clichéd and air-headed musings of, of all people, rock stars) over a very, very serious business indeed!

I mean, by all means do something! But why not use the occasion to remind the terrorists (hell, and us!) of what are the greater and, more likely, indestructible treasures of the West—as opposed to its flimsiest, and (ah! most dubious virtue of all) most fashionable?

I should tell you that I had a vision yesterday: of a little cave hidden away in a mountain range somewhere. In the cave there sat a man with a long-beard and kind eyes and a smart white turban atop his head. Beside him, standing against the wall, a large and imposing Kalashnikov rifle. He was surrounded by a group of men—each clearly his admirer and devoted follower—and they were all laughing. Finally one of the group asked him:

“And how do you think they shall mourn? How shall they commemorate their dead? Will they hold one of their cross-worshipping masses?"

“Perhaps,” another offered, “they shall all quietly embrace one another, during what they call “a moment of silence”? Then, exchange platitudes from their heathen literature?”

“Or will they riot against infidel Islam and save us the trouble?”

The man smiled broadly.

“Much, much better than all of these. They shall have a rock concert. Without fail.”

And they all burst out laughing again, nodding their heads wildly.