Jewish World Review Oct. 8, 2001 / 21 Tishrei, 5762

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

War time lite -- AS part of our ongoing war effort, the powers that be in their infinite wisdom changed the name of the ongoing war effort from Infinite Justice to Enduring Freedom. Supposedly, Infinite Justice proved offensive to certain Muslims, among them no doubt the certain Muslims we wish to eliminate. We're nothing if not polite here in war time lite.

Fine with me, Infinite Justice sounds like the O.J. Simpson trial. Just goes on and on, like the Energizer Bunny, only with lawyers. Justice SHOULD grind to a halt at some point. All trial, no verdict sounds like a attorney's dream, but as for the rest of us cannon fodder, I dunno.

And the new name, Enduring Freedom? Can't say I think much of that either. It's ambiguous. Does it mean freedom endures, that is, abides, that is approaches infinity in its own special way, or does it mean freedom is something to be endured, like an uncle who drinks too much at a party and gets a little obnoxious, but you can't say anything, because you don't want to be cut out of his will?

I have the same problem with the word "tolerance." We're supposed to be tolerant of other lifestyles. Does that mean, understanding, compassionate, caring-- or does it mean toleratant, the way you tolerate a five year old banging on your head with a Jar Jar action figure, because you're trying to flirt with the five year old's very attractive single Mom?

Speaking of tolerance, can we go back to being ironic yet? I've been left out in the cold here. I feel like Bill Maher at a cruise missile convention. If they even have conventions. What do I know? I'm ironic. I'm hopeless.

I was ironic during the Viet Nam War, in the eighties, during the Gulf War, before it was fashionable to be ironic, and I will be ironic beyond the grave, a sarcastic ghost appearing to those I am haunting just so I can say, "What are YOU lookin' at?"

Without irony, I'd be just another cranky middle-aged guy who drinks too much coffee. Shouldn't my precious way of life be preserved? Or at least tolerated.

Without irony, how can I even consider the daily exhortations by the media to come on, get out there and shop, show these terrorists we're not afraid. Get on a plane, America, it's your patriotic duty!

The thing is, like many Americans, I'm still stumbling around in shock, kind of depressed, out of work, facing bankruptcy, watching dotcoms drop like flies even as I'm e-mailing my resume to them.

Right now, I just don't feel like window shopping at the mall, all right? And I have nothing against getting on a plane, but where would I go? Without disposable income, what would I do when I got there? My name is Ian Shoales. And I am ironic. Won't you please help?

JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.


10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales