Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Cloud of Hate

There's an old Fritz Leiber short story, starring his great sword 'n' sorcery duo Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, called "Lean Times in Lankmar," in which, in the mythical city (with elements of Alexandria, Samarkand, and the Lower East Side) where the stories are set, during a time of famine a new religion arises. The adherents gather together and chant a symphony of hatred, and their hatred is so great and the numbers so large that the hate actually takes ectoplasmic form, and flows outward into the city's back streets, in a smoggy cloud, seeking victims. It kills a child prostitute, incites a tavern drunk to the murder of his drinking companions, and looks like it will take over the entire city.

Until it encounters Fafhrd (the six-foot-six Norseman) and the Gray Mouser (the rapier-wielding short-statured thief), who are huddled in the street around a little charcoal brazier, largely untouched by the greed, anger, resentment, or spite that motivates lesser humans and makes them that much more susceptible to fascism's orchestrated hatred. The fog attacks with multiple swords, but Fafhrd holds them off, and the Mouser swan-dives into the center of the fog, driving his rapier through the heart of its source. And the fog dissolves, its weapons fall to the ground, and, miles away through the twisting crooked midnight streets, the crowd awakes and the priest collapses, bereft of the only energy that had animated him.

So here's what I have to say to Caribou Barbie Palin, Hizzoner Rudy Goebbels, Elmer Gantry Huckabee, Holy Joe Lieberman, Grandpa Simpson McCain, and the rest of those playing-to-the-base cynical heartless amoral hate-filled bastards:

Bring it, you bastards. Il Fascisti and the National Socialists tapped into the desperation-fuelled hatred of a generation of low-information out-of-work hoi-polloi and grabbed power by providing those desperate and ignorant mobs with lying, cynical scapegoating of powerless minorities, and they used those mobs to try to terrify more decent, tolerant, or diversity- and responsibility-accepting people into silence.

You're doing the same. You remember how long the "Thousand-Year Reich" lasted?

12 years.

Rove: your "Permanent Republican Majority"?

Less than 6.

The short-term result of incitement to fascism is short-term power.

The mid-term result is the persecution and murder of poor people.

The long-term result (12 years, 6 years) is this:
Bring it,: America and Americans (all Americans) are better than this--even the lily-white and aging crowd roaring in that half-empty hall in St Paul are better than this. You don't have to incite hatred. And we don't have to permit it.

Not this time. Not in our names.

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