01 August 2008

01Aug-self-indulgent post on existentialism
Here are some headlines from CNN.Com that I read this evening when I got home and prepared myself dinner:
-Bus rider beheads seat mate, witness says
-Guilty verdict in videotaped torture death
-Police:Preacher killed wife, put her in freezer
-sexual assault in military called "epidemic"
-Street fight turned fatal or ugly ethnic clash?

How does one blithely continue slicing away at zucchini while reading that, hours before, someone was blithely slicing away at the neck of the guy who was sleeping next to him on a bus?

I don’t pretend to understand existentialism (anymore. Ahh….college) but there are a couple of ideas espoused by the “-ism” that I find interesting, from time to time: Alienation and absurdity. The former plays with the idea of when the individual can’t play well with others because of the shallow and depersonalized state of society (read: Stanford and Milgram experiments, reality shows, Grand Theft Auto) and the latter is about how incredibly disparate things can happen in the same life, like zucchini and neck slicing.

I come home and I live my life and I complain about how there’s nothing interesting to eat and nothing interesting to drink and my back hurts and how I can’t find a pair of black dress shoes I really like and how I can’t sleep and how I abuse run-on sentences and then, hundreds of miles away, there’s Joe Headless who was just closing his eyes for a second so that he can be fresh for his arrival at Wherever, USA and the next thing he knows he wakes up with this insistent being-beheaded feeling.

What a world. What a cold, indifferent world that leaves Luis Ramirez convulsing on the ground after a vicious beating while I confirm that a bottle of Minervois is, indeed, corked and I see that a good bottle of something be brought out.

And what’s wrong with the bad guys in these scenarios? Why are they the way they are? What makes a person so detached from humanity that they can casually kill as they have? Some chemical imbalance? Childhood abuse? In five hundred years will social mores make a question like that immaterial?

What a weird world.

On the other hand, come eat at Baan Sawan!

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