Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Man Went Into a Bar

Guest Post by Susan Falkoff, sco will return Sunday

What happened to all the good old bar jokes? My father told this one, repeatedly: “A man goes into a bar. He orders crab and asks that the crab be boiled alive. The chef storms out of the kitchen, horrified at the cruel request. ‘But you do it to lobsters all the time,’ says the patron. ‘Lobsters are used to it!’ replies the chef.”

America, myself included, gasps at the horrifying massacre of 33 people at Virginia Tech. For those of us who are students, or former students, or the parents of a student, this hits close to home. Yet, I recognize with some embarrassment that neither I nor the media is able to sustain this level of outrage and attention to for daily life in Iraq, where 33 might be the civilian death toll on a slow day. From today’s NY Times: “Bombs ravaged Baghdad in five horrific explosions aimed mainly at Shiite crowds on Wednesday, killing at least 171 people in the deadliest day in the capital since the American-led security plan for the city took effect two months ago.” If we could, as a nation, acknowledge this reality, would it make a difference? Or would we just conclude that lobsters are used to it?