Friday, August 20, 2010

I tried to come up with a witty title but the best I can do is "Shut Up, Jacob Davies"

It's funny that Jacob Davies kicks off his summary of the 20th century with a mention of Africa, because he then proceeds as if the continent doesn't exist. Of course, the mention ("The twentieth century kicks off with the wizard invention of the concentration camp by the British in South Africa"), in addition to using a really weird noun as an adjective in a just completely strange way that I hate, doesn't have anything to do with Africans themselves directly, and really just serves as a background (factually incorrect background, but background nonetheless) for an element of European history. After all, as Davies tells us in his next paragraph, it's "just a warm up." European colonialism in Africa, just a warm up--because then Europeans started being violent to each other in Europe. I say wow.

There's a lot of use of the words "everybody" and "everyone," for example,
Everybody learns a Valuable Lesson about the Importance of Peace, which they all put into action in the same way: a determined effort to ensure that this time they will be the ones with the biggest guns, goddammit.
And you know, I think it would come as a surprise to the vast majority of the population of the fucking Earth that they "all" were trying to get the biggest guns. Seems to me that was an activity of the elite of the elite, the richest, most powerful members of the richest, most powerful countries. As always, by definition, I mean duh.

"There's a brief period of glorious economic euphoria and excitement in the rest of the world" again, would come as a surprise to most of the rest of the world, especially that continent that I vaguely remember discussing at some point recently. I can't quite remember the name of it. Does anybody live there? I don't think so, so never mind.

The grossest thing about the whole essay is that you can feel this kind of self-satisfied I'm-brilliant air dripping off of the words. Davies clearly thinks he's approaching the 20th century from a perspective never seen before, when really he's just regurgitating the eurocentric racist vision of it that's jammed down all American and European throats from birth.

"I think our children are going to think we are nuts," he says, towards the end if you can make it that far. I sure hope yours do, Jacob.

PS Ha ha ha, read the second comment on the post.


Randal Graves said...

I'm traumatized by Obsidian Wings. And I only read the first third or so before I started staring outside the window.

zencomix said...

I'm going to assume Davies is American, for no other reason than he didn't mention the Philippines.

Ethan said...

He's actually British, which is consistently hilarious to me for a number of reasons, one of which is what you just said, zencomix.

Randal, while you're staring outside, you might as well go out. Get some fresh air, or whatever your closest local equivalent is. It'll do you much more good than reading frickin Obsidian Wings.

Ethan said...

British-living-in-the-US, I should say.