Are We All Animals?

This is probably one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever read: the account of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan . The piece is based on a report, smuggled to the Times, regarding two detainees who died in 2002.

The details make me wonder why it is we even bother, as humans, to attempt to better ourselves when such abhorrent behavior is allowed, even encouraged, to exist anywhere on this earth:

“At the interrogators’ behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

“Leave him up,” one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.

Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen. It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time.”

Seems Bagram is where prisoners start their long and, literally torturous, journey through the U.S. system, with many heading on to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Bush Administration decided the Taliban do not deserve the rights accorded by the Geneva Conventions.

This is what we have become.

“One of the coroners later translated the assessment at a pre-trial hearing for Specialist Brand, saying the tissue in the young man’s legs “had basically been pulpified.”

“I’ve seen similar injuries in an individual run over by a bus,” added Lt. Col. Elizabeth Rouse, the coroner, and a major at that time.”

I could quote from it, but it really must be read in its entirety.

Everyone must read this. How long will our complacency allow this?

Paranoid? Me?

So it seems “the Donald” is no longer content spending his days bashing those willing to bend over in public for prime time abuse, and is leading an effort to rebuild the Twin Towers pretty much as they were.
I can’t say I have a problem with that. In fact, compared to the bullshit airy-fairy crap they’ve proposed so far, it seems like the most fitting idea. Call me crazy, but this is New York we’re talking about. Some ephemeral skeleton-like contraption that does nothing more than hurt the eyes and murder nearsighted birds hardly fits with the tough, aggressive Big Apple I know.
Of course, bad ideas abound regarding post-Sept. 11 life in America. Within three years we shall all be forced to carry, at all times, our lovely National I.D. card , which can be read by the government, your local identity thief and the pimply-faced punk cashing you out as you buy condoms (who’s to say an image of your last one-night stand, complete with caught-in-the-act digital still of the ensuing walk of shame won’t pop up on the screen for identity verification?) with one swipe, scan or, more likely, wireless beam.
And should those condoms fail? Forget it: The Right Wing born again pharmacist won’t even blink when he tells you–after pulling up your records showing you’re unmarried to the guy who, upon further examination, is actually married with a child, adding adultery to your litany of transgressions–he will not fill your prescription for the morning-after pill due to his moral objections . He may, however, after looking at your bank statements, purchase records and last health exam, suggest some prenatal vitamins.

I’m Too Plugged In

No really, I’m not dead. I swear. Nor undead. Fear not… in fact, the truth, the awful, hideous truth behind my electronic absence is as mundane as can be: the TV.

I’ve allowed myself to be sucked into the void for days now, just watching, vegetating, bonding with my Friends.

Allow me to explain my transgressions:

Work sucks.

Having no work sucks more.

Having no work, knowing you need work, having no money and attempting to bide the time while a tsunami-sized wave of depression washes over you, forcing you to ruminate on the fact that yes, you do indeed have lots of skills and education, yet the dude down the street drying off cars at the drive through car wash has more disposable income than you, and possibly far less stress, can kill any sort of urges – creative or otherwise – that might attempt to manifest themselves in your cerebellum.

Thus, I have taken up temporary residence on the ground floor and parked myself on the couch, in front of the tube, while attempting to get through a book my ex-roomie Lydia suggested to me: What Should I Do With My Life?

Of course, in my poverty-stricken state, I well could not afford to run down to Borders and purchase such a frivolous waste of paper when the question I need to be asking is What Corner Should I Stand On To Make Enough To Pay The Rent?

Ironically, though, I’ve had it in my possession – a leftover from my newspaper-editor-free-deluge-of –crap-in-the-mail-on-a-daily-basis days. So, I’ve drug it out, cracked it open… and learned nothing except I cannot fill out the book meme, as Mags requested, as, well, I’m an idiot and do not read books.

But, hey, Will & Grace don’t seem to mind…

I should confess, however, that I am actually working as a temp, which is somewhat entertaining. Especially today, when I was asked to photocopy a bunch of things. I smiled, said sure, and laughed all the way to the copy room at the fact that the woman who handed me the stuff has no idea the company’s paying an outrageous sum of money, the cost of a good pair of shoes, per hour for me to walk down the hall and press “Start” for her.

Ah, yes, the master’s degree means your temp agency makes a bigger profit on your coffee pouring skills…

But, back to the important stuff. The quest: it goes on, and on, and on, and quite frankly, I do not want to have to go through arthritis, menopause or a broken hip while still looking for the proverbial thing I want to do when I grow up.

I swear it’s the one steps forward two steps back rule, and at the rate I’m going I’ll be taking the SATs again before too long.

However, I’m getting closer, a combination of reasons, a bunch of stars aligning, and maybe, just maybe, a little bit to do with the stupid book forcing me to remember why and how I started on this crazy so-called non-traditional journey in the first place, how I’d always imagined myself when “I got older” (ah yes, that phrase is starting to get as outdated as my wardrobe and should probably be replaced with “no time like the present”), what I wanted to do, what I love to do, and how I can make it all work without uttering the dreaded BFA-holding worker bee line, “You want fries with that?”