When Free came out in 1993, “The Gun and Bible” was instantly my favorite track. It’s a funny and absurd song, funny and absurd in the way that genocide is funny and absurd, that manages, by twisting and repeating one bizarre sample (discounting the coda about drinking and shooting), to efface the cold objectivity of the text read by the speaker. Negativland pulled off a similar perversion by inverting the intention of a speech with their classic “Christianity Is Stupid” (updated with video added as “The Mashin’ of the Christ“).
Either way, I was reminded of this song when I saw how today’s Libération decided to portray American relief efforts in Haiti. Guns and water together make up the can’t miss combination of American disaster relief.
Past presenting this picture, I don’t have much to say about the earthquake, so I can just forward on how Greg Palast got suitably outraged over the U.S.’s militarized response, in which, as he says, concerns over security trump all. “Blackwater over drinking water.” Also, David Brooks got his (subconscious?) racist on for the New York Times, whereupon he was handily fleeced both by Aaron and by Taibbi.
Here’s another thing that the idea of a US ship waiting offshore until Haiti was secure reminded me of:
Once, I remember, we came upon a man-of-war anchored off the coast. There wasn’t even a shed there, and she was shelling the bush. It appears the French had one of their wars going on thereabouts. Her ensign dropped limp like a rag; the muzzles of the long six-inch guns stuck out all over the low hull; the greasy, slimy swell swung her up lazily and let her down, swaying her thin masts. In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent. Pop, would go one of the six-inch guns; a small flame would dart and vanish, a little white smoke would disappear, a tiny projectile would give a feeble screech — and nothing happened. Nothing could happen. There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding, a sense of lugubrious drollery in the sight; and it was not dissipated by somebody on board assuring me earnestly there was a camp of natives — he called them enemies! — hidden out of sight somewhere.