By Rev. Chris Korda
I think we can all agree that violence is best left to the experts. The Unabomber killed people, and he didn't ask for permission first. He even made his own bombs. How do you suppose the economy is going to work if people start making their own bombs? When Nixon wanted to blow something up, he called up his pals at the Air Force and said "I've got a map of Cambodia here, and some pins, and wherever I put the pins, I want big holes. No need to tell Congress, though. It'll be our little secret, okay?" And his pals said "Can do, Mr. President," and pretty soon Cambodia looked like the surface of the moon.
Now when you bomb a country back to the Stone Age, you ensure that only the toughest, most ruthless people survive. So suddenly it's year zero, and the Khmer Rouge are marching everyone out of the city into the countryside, or what's left of it, to fend for themselves. People couldn't stay in the cities, because there wasn't any food. We bombed all the food. But that's okay, because--as the New York Times pointed out at the time--"the destruction was mutual." All over America, farmers are still being maimed by unexploded landmines. That's why President Clinton wants to outlaw them. Here in Boston you can hardly walk down the street without falling into a bomb crater. We never hear about it because history, as we all know, is written by the conquerors, not by us, the poor conquered Americans. It was a noble effort, but they beat us, didn't they. We slaughtered millions of them gooks, ravaged their land, and completely destroyed their way of life, but we lost the war. We didn't actually manage to make them love America.
So violence is best left to the experts. Like George Bush. He was no draft-dodger. He was an expert. No one ever questioned his credentials. When Iraq threatened America's inalienable right to control the price of oil, did George make a pipe bomb and send it to Saddam? He called up the Pentagon and said "pave Iraq." The Joint Chiefs sure do love a chance to test those nifty new weapons that you--the hard-working taxpayer--pay top dollar for. So they said "Can do, Mr. President," and pretty soon there were burning oil wells, and the bodies of a hundred thousand dead Iraqis were baking in sun. Kinda makes you thirsty, don't it? Pass the bottled water. It's hard work, but hey, we can't let those towel-heads tell us what to do. Wait a minute, they're the terrorists, we're just peace-keepers. We're on a mission from God! What are you, some kind of Communist? Do I sound like Noam Chomsky yet? Bear with me.
Sure the Unabomber was violent, and got away with it, but that's not so unusual. The peculiar thing was that he used violence to gain access to the media. And he didn't just want to go on the Jerry Springer show, he wanted 35,000 words in the Washington Post. Eight pages, in small type. Unmediated access, with no editorial clearance. This made reporters mad as hell. They have to deal with editors every day, telling them what to write, cutting up their stories, dropping them for no reason, and here this Unabomber comes along and publishes a whole manuscript, footnotes and all, right there in the damn newspaper. Who's his agent? I mean we can't have this, for God's sake, it's totally irresponsible. He could have said anything. He could have criticized our corporate clients. It's funny, I didn't see any advertisements on those pages, I wonder why. And what if everyone wanted access to the media, then where would we be? Out of a job is where. The American people need us to decide what's important and newsworthy. That's why the TV news is half weather. Americans have a right to know what the temperature is out there.
The Unabomber stormed the media fortress, and he captured the flag, but his strategy had a fatal flaw. In the end, most people skipped his manifesto, either because they'd already been convinced that he wasn't an expert, or because they just didn't care. Computer literacy is one of those oxymorons, like "sustainable shopping": why read when you can click on things? The average American is unlikely to read 35,000 words on any subject, not even sports, never mind the future of industrial society. Too many words, not enough pictures, and who reads the Washington Post anyway? He should have cut it down to a page and run it in USA Today, or better yet, made it into a screenplay. A Unabomber video game. Merchandise rights. It's probably just a matter of time.