EVIL CLOWN APOCALYPSE
Today we talk about evil. Again. But since I don’t think we’ve beat it into the ground like some other subjects, we can do that. First, however, a few odd notes I can’t make into complete articles. As I just said, the Jack In The Box Apocalypse is coming October 7th. Jack In The Box is a western region fast food place, unavailable to you unworthies east of the Rockies. Oh, you won’t die if you never eat there, but it certainly is much better feed bag eating than places like Popeye’s. At one time, in a faraway fantasyland of my childhood where getting the most recent release GI Joe accessory was the most important thing in your life outside the next episode of Mister Magoo or Bugs Bunny ( the cool accessories to the one foot high dolls, not the gay ones only a few inches tall that later polluted the folk culture ), most fast food was about the same. McDonalds and Burger King and Jack In The Box all catered to kids. The toy was what sold the meals. So, Jack In The Box was obviously itself a big toy, I suppose the thinking went. But today they differentiate themselves by having much better quality food ( the difference being relative of course- I wouldn’t want to eat at any of them on a regular basis ). And I crave their deep fried tacos, two for a dollar. As taco’s go, these things are a big greasy slice of heaven. So, because I actually WANT those tacos, and because obviously it is indeed all about me and the universe itself is aligned against me, it just makes sense that as soon as those tacos are dangled in front of my salivating face the entire country will collapse and deprive the local Jack of needed taco supplies. This stuff is simple math people.
I went on my monthly rent-a-car trip into town three weeks ago or so. And bought my usual two hundred pounds of wheat. Usually I buy 100 pounds and buckets, but most of this year I’ve been getting 200 pounds each month as I envision the countries drought continuing and I have no idea if wheat will ever be available at affordable prices real soon ( even without a drought if oil gets too high the supply can’t be affordably transported anyway ). However, last weekend I got this really weird down in the gut feeling that wouldn’t let me relax and read, and I went back into town and rented a car again. And bought an additional 600 pounds of wheat. It had nothing to do with the Syrian circus or anything else. And that was before I knew the Evil Clown Apocalypse by date ( they just posted the open date two days ago ). It was just a feeling. Well, now that I’ve quieted that reptilian voice I can focus on other stuff. I really need gunpowder, and the solar cooker issue is bothering me. I’ve ordered a book on do-it-yourself solar cookers ( the water heater doesn’t seem to cook food, and I refuse to buy one for $250 ) and come the end of this month when I visit my folks for their twice a year graced with my presence I plan on hitting the gun stores down there and buy a few hundred bucks worth of powder. After that, I can’t think of anything I’m behind on and should be able to relax marginally.
Russell reviewed the Eden book over at his site:
He was NOT pleased with it, to say the least. I commented saying I loved it, and he replied I was blinded by the shiny bauble of the stories info dump. I laughed at that one, since it is so true. Just as others are blinded by the shiny and bright toy of the AR-15, ignoring tactical or logistical realities, give me a story I can lose myself in and I’ll love the thing regardless of its faults. Now, I can’t argue with Russell on the small details as I’ve read so many novels between Eden and now I’d have to reread it to jog my memory. But I will say that I don’t think the author is necessarily evil ( or his story, anyway ) as just confused or lacking imagination. It seemed to me his story was one method of exploring options in dealing with resource scarcity, to include minimizing harm done to others. Where he went wrong was ignoring the needs of those outside the tribe. You are allowed to harm those outside your tribe. By definition you can’t escape that since you are literally fighting for your life and this will be a zero sum game. But what you shouldn’t be allowed to do is harm them in an evil way. Dead is dead, you say, right? Wrong.
My definition of evil is harming others to maximize your profit, or because it minimizes your struggles, or to maximize your baser instincts. You WILL harm others. You can’t have a harmless apocalypse. But you must harm others in as humane a fashion as possible. The obvious example is cannibalism. If it comes to that, eating dead people is okay ( the Donner Party, the Andes plane wreck, the Chinese swapping dead babies to avoid eating family ) after all other options are gone. KILLING people to eat them is just evil. It is okay to fight to the death on the battlefield, but it is evil to take prisoners and then later killing them because you can’t feed them. I think the big bone of contention in this novel was the prisoner execution. Sure, you can’t feed them as prisoners. And the thinking was you can’t feed slaves ( this is where my memory fails me on the story. I can’t recall why they weren’t taken as slaves. Fear of a rise up? They never heard of chains, and worse but better than nothing, hobbling? ). So they were executed. This is why I say a failure of imagination. You need to treat those you harm better than that, obviously. Slavery sucks, but it is less harmful than execution after surrender. Killing infants is evil, unless the alternative is leaving them to slowly die in the cold from lack of food. Is it less evil to put women in a harem that to kill them outright after you killed their husbands in a village raid? Without the husband they can’t defend themselves, possibly can’t provide for themselves. You are still harming them. You just make sure you do as little harm as possible. To me, that is the difference between good and evil. You either sacrifice to do as little harm as possible, or you do evil because it is easier.
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