Monday, September 20, 2010

Jesse Lou Bagget 1997?-2010

On Saturday, September 18, 2010 at approximately 2:20 pm EDST, Jesse Lou Bagget passed away from a lethal injection of anesthetic administered humanely at Hudson Highland Veterninary Hospital in Hopewell Junction, New York. Mr Bagget suffered from degenerative myelitis which had progressed to the point where he could no longer rise up on is own power and which caused him considerable suffering.
The circumstances of Mr Bagget's birth are shrouded in mystery. He first appeared to his ultimate adoptive family, the St Georges, as a fully adult dog in the summer of 1999 in Edith Welty Park in Yonkers, NY. Mr Bagget was a denizen of the park and the surrounding neighborhood in the Bryn Mawr section of Yonkers. He eluded dog catchers and would be adoptive families for over two years. He often joined neigborhood dogs and their families when they were on their walks in the park. He was particularly fond of Bob Geriak and his German shepherd Princess and would wait for them outside the Geriak apartment each morning.
In some parts of the neighborhood, Mr Bagget was known as Hobo. In others, he was Pal. He enjoyed the genersoity of many households who did not begrudge him table scraps. In the block where the St George family resided, he was known as Jesse. Mrs St George made a bed for Jesse on the porch for very cold nights and rainy weather, and it was to this bed that he retreated after being struck by a car and seriously injured. This led to his becoming the fourth dog in the St George household.
Mr Bagget was known for his dignity and good looks as well as his dog aggression and hatred of cats. He rose through the ranks as the St George dogs aged and passed away and assumed the position of alpha dog in 2003 on the passing of Sundance, the last of the beagles from the Washington, DC era. He governed Wm Jasper stone, a pit bull, who joined the family in 2003.
Mr Bagget is survived by WJ Stone, his underdog, and DA St George of Stormville, NY and Ellen St George of Jersey City, NJ.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Time to Get Over 9/11

Every year as September 11th approaches, Americans ramp up the ritual of narcissistic self pity about the terrorist attack on that date in 2001. I hear cries of "9/11 changed everything!" and "Never forget!" as if 9/11 actually changed anything and as if there were any possibility that it would be forgotten. Yes, the attacks on September 11, 2001 were terrible, and it is a pity that so many died, but let's try to have a little perspective.

Londoners in World War II endured rocket attacks and death and destruction without wallowing in bathos. Half of Europe experienced devastating bombings, and today little is made of it. Japan was nuked, for crying out loud, and the Japanese do not define themselves by their victimization. The Old World endured those monsters Stalin, Hitler and Mao with tens of millions dead and tens of millions more in agony. And yet life goes on and moves forward in a way that does not permit the monsters of the past to define the future or the present. Even today, there are places where suffering and death occur on a scale which renders 9/11 insignificant. Indeed, Americans have inflicted far greater suffering and death in their reaction to 9/11 on victims who had nothing to do with 9/11 than occurred on 9/11.

Where's our stiff upper lip? Why do we display such an obsession with 9/11 and surrender to a stupid eliminationist reaction? Is it because Americans are terrified? If so, the terrorists have achieved their aims.

Do you hate and fear Muslims now when before 9/11 you didn't even know they existed or didn't even give them a second thought? Then the terrorists have succeeded with you.

Are you ready to shred the Constitution and surrender your liberties for the illusion of security? Then the terrorists have succeeded with you.

Do you buy into the irrational notion that Islamist extremists pose an existential threat? Then they have you right where they want you. You are afraid of shadows.

9/11 changed nothing for me. I am not afraid. You should not be, either. Take a good long look at the figures in the media and in politics who stoke your fears. They are doing the terrorists' work; their interests are aligned with those of the terrorists. They want you afraid, because when you afraid you are stupid. And when you are stupid, you will support them. Don't be afraid; don't be stupid; don't let 9/11 change anything.