Friday, February 20, 2015

Post Iraq Memory Pandemic



Recently, Mr. David Brooks wrote 800 words on yet another topic about which he knows nothing:  PTSD.

Which was predictable.  

See, ever since the war he championed so ardently from behind his keyboard at The Weekly Standard went tits up,  Mr. Brooks has had keep his massive hard-on for write big, gassy columns about Humanity and Morality and War stuffed in his pants.  After all, having failed so utterly and publicly at all three subjects, and having written endless, turgid sermons about the need for Other People to atone for their fuckups by contrition and penitence, who in their right mind would let David Fucking Brooks anywhere near a keyboard again to blat on about Men and War and The Meaning Of It All, without some monumental and public acts of apology and contrition?

Well, OK, the New York Times for one.

And National Public Radio.

And PBS.

And "Meet the Press".

Yale.

And...so on.  Because there is a club.  And so forth.

But since much of his column was copy/pasted out of a book on the subject PTSD, some of it was moving and eloquent.   This passage, especially, jumped out at me:
“Trauma destroys the fabric of time,” Morris writes in his book, “The Evil Hours.” “In normal time you move from one moment to the next, sunrise to sunset, birth to death. After trauma, you may move in circles, find yourself being sucked backwards into an eddy or bouncing like a rubber ball from now to then to back again. ... In the traumatic universe the basic laws of matter are suspended: ceiling fans can be helicopters, car exhaust can be mustard gas.”
I am very grateful that Mr. Morris is willing and able to write so clearly and beautifully about such a painful subject, and lend me his experience by proxy so that I can better appreciate what it is that people who have been traumatized in this way go through.

Since I have nothing to add to Mr. Morris's account but my appreciation for it, let me turn to a different condition that came out of the same, misbegotten war:  Post Iraq Memory Pandemic.

Post Iraq Memory Pandemic -- or PIMP -- is a much more rarefied condition than PTSD, which seems to strike mostly well-fed, sanctimonious pundits, Iraq War architects, college Republicans and a whole warped menagerie of Conservatives bloggers who spent the war as far as humanly possible from any actual combat, while exhorting War, Inc. to continue shoveling the nation's blood and treasure down the rat-hole of their fantasies of empire.

Like PTSD, PIMP destroys the capacity of the afflicted to perceive history and linear time, but in a much more selective and specific way.  For example, those who mounted up on their Very High Horses to demand in the name of Patriotism that other people's children be sent off to fight and die for their failed imperial dreams now just...can't...seem...to...remember whole swaths of recent American history.

They cannot remember what they wrote.  What they said on the teevee.


What public positions they took.



Or any of the details of the grotesque Faustian bargains they struck in order to advance themselves professionally during the Age of Bush.

Sad, really.

Oh, and the other big difference between PTSD and PIMP?

Those who suffer the former are known to wake up in a cold panic, thinking they are back in combat and that immediate danger is all around them...

...while those who are afflicted by the latter are known to wake up in a mansion with a job-for-life at the New York Times.

4 comments:

Rick Massimo said...

“Trauma destroys the fabric of time,” Morris writes in his book, “The Evil Hours.” “In normal time you move from one moment to the next, sunrise to sunset, birth to death. After trauma, you may move in circles, find yourself being sucked backwards into an eddy or bouncing like a rubber ball from now to then to back again."

Once again, I shake my head at the genius of Slaughterhouse-Five, describing PTSD decades before it was actually considered a thing.

D. said...

This is a thing of beauty, and thank you. I'll be linking.

OBS said...

There's one other big difference between PTSD and PIMP -- there's a good cure for PIMP. All it takes is a several solid PIMPslaps, applied liberally, until the condition dissipates.

Sadly, nobody ever seems to apply that cure.

Davis Statton said...

Well, I actually read*, for the first time, one of Brooks's articles in the Weekly Standard. That business about 20-year-old Joey was nauseating. No wonder you hate him so.

*OK, I skimmed through most of it - time is too precious.