Monthly Archives: April 2003

All of a sudden… it's over? PS. NOT REALLY!

Can someone explain to me why, if the war is basically over, they need to send an emergency “upgrade” of 100,000 more troops to the Gulf? More troops = bigger war, right? Does this mean that Iraq is far from won, or does it mean expansion? (more)

News about Iraq is going to be very hazy and muddled for some time now, and I expect that the media on the whole will make it go the same place Afghanistan did after that war was “won”… Out of sight, out of mind. After all, the US has said that, just as Lincoln overhauled the South's school system after the civil war, the US plans to scrap one of the few good things Saddam did for that country — the education systems (more)… Remember, this is the horror of WWII, not the horror of Vietnam, as if one is “better” (more). One of the things all of this killing of indie journalists and restriction of embeds has shown is just how much modern war is as much a war of world media as it is of blood (more, more).

So what's happening to the last of Saddam's loyalists (more)? There are a lot of theories, but Brigadier-General John Kelly (more) describes,

"They stand, they fight, sometimes they run when we engage them... But often they run into our machine guns and we shoot them down like the morons they are. They appear willing to die. We are trying our best to help them out in that endeavour."

It must be very disturbing to be fighting in Iraq if these claims are even half way true… US and UK troops have described being “forced” to kill hundreds of effectively unarmed and defenseless Iraqi troops.

Anyway, there are of course still no signs of WMDs (more), and even though the media seems on the whole to be declaring the war over, Rumsfield does promise that many more will still die (more). Saddam may well be sipping Mai Tais with Milton on a beach, but much of Iraq is still under hostile control (more), and as much as multitudes celebrate the fall of Saddam, Arabs around the world are seething as well (more).

Then of course there's Turkey threatening to attack the now “free” Kurds in Iraq (more), setting the stage for continued war across the Middle East and beyond, especially as returning Iraqi “leaders” are finding themselves murdered by crowds of people opposed to his views (more). America: ask yourself: how many of your peopled died in WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, and so on all added up. Now ask yourself: how many of your people died in your Civil War? Now run that per capita.

In other news, even as the Afghanistan war is still far from over, and the Iraq war is really just beginning still, everyone is already asking “who's next” (more, more). The US has told Iran, Syria (more), and North Korea to “learn from Iraq” (more), Syria being the most likely target since it's the weakest of the bunch (more) and probably easiest to drum up “80% support” for. That said, I stand by my prediction (so far I seem on target) that Syria will not be invaded as the US knows that it could get in over its head soon — it's very over-extended right now.

Money money money… Who get's Iraq's oil? You thought it was going to be the Iraqi people, right? Guess again (more, more)… (Do you really think America won't be a major terrorist target if the world watches Iraq's oil reserves get handed to Israel?) Well, $80 billion in pork has been spent (more); now it's time to start handing out the big contracts. After all, that's what this was about, right? Welcome to corporate war, round one. America 1, Russia 0.

In Crazy North Korea news, they've again threatened to nuke Japan (more) and, thanks to the debacle in Iraq, are interpreting calls for UN inspection as a prelude to war (more)… As a result, the US is stepping up its own nuke program, breaking the moratorium on nuclear tests that it's maintained since 1992 (more). Damn the Democrats for messing with America's nukes! Go nukes! War forever! All Hail King George Jr.!

PS. Change the channel (more)! Change the channel (more)! Don't look (more)!

Ah… that's better…


OK… So if the war in Iraq is suddenly over (more) and Iraqis are free (more, more), and the entire Iraqi army just “disappeared” (does that not seem odd?), and the whole staff of the government (more, more), including Saddam (more), Chemical Ali, and that kooky information minister guy, are nowhere to be found — maybe with the Russians (more) — that's just too weird. I mean, I might as well be listening to the kooky guy I just mentioned… I have been saying that all of a sudden everyone would just say “it's over” and we'd change the channel while who knows what went on… but yeah… weird! I didn't really think it would be quite that close to the conspiracy prediction…? Talk about a weird Hollywood month.

PS. They are saying in “small print” that parts are still “hotly contested” and “will be for some time”… That is, as they say, move along folks, nothing to see here!!! (more… but more)… I should be a fortune teller.

Petty Narcissism?

I'm working on a new article right now, but I got “warmed up” for writing by doing this little interview… It's kind of like doing stretches before you run a marathon I think. Dunno if it's of any interest to anyone. Probably not, but hey, this is my diary page, so I can insert it here for my own records if I want!

How did you first get into body modification? How many years have you been “modifying” your body? Why do you do it?

It's been almost twenty years now I suppose, although I don't think I realized it at the time because I didn't know there was such a thing as “body modification” in any cultural sense of the word. When I was a kid, I remember biting holes through my lip and feeding through “rings” of electrical wire (which I never shared with anyone at the time), and constantly drawing tattoos on myself. My father had a panther tattoo on his arm that he'd won in a wrestling competition (he was, among other things, Western Canadian Greco-Roman champion), but I never got the impression that anyone else in the family admired it — but he certainly did, and I'm sure that there was an influence there.

When I was in my mid teens, my girlfriend at the time went on vacation to San Francisco (as a point of trivia, her father was a friend of Anton LaVey's as he'd been the zoo official in charge of taking away his lions). When she got back she told me stories of having met young people with pierced tongues and other things that seemed totally outlandish to me at the time. Even though I understand now I'd been acting on the same impulses, I swore I'd never do such a thing myself.

But, of course, I did continue down that path and loved every minute of it. It's been massively rewarding to me and I don't regret any of it. As far as why, I probably don't have an answer that's meaningful, but I can tell you that it's made me very happy… I hope that's good enough!

What do you think is the biggest problem with society's take on body modification?

The mainstream — let's say 80% of people — are, for lack of a better way of putting it, stupid. They'll believe what they're told to believe, and they'll hate who they're told to hate… Because people interested in body modification are of course the minority, they are automatically the outsider: the “bad guy”.

What I mean is that the problem that people have with body modification is not so much a problem with body modification itself, but a problem with anything that exists outside of their range of acceptable norms. Most people have a great deal of difficulty accepting other people's personal decisions if they are different than their own. As such they'll eagerly listen to any self-proclaimed expert that props up their bigotry, but immediately discount any verifiable facts that denounce their lies.

What would you say is the biggest misconception people outside of the modification community have about body modifications?

The biggest misconception that people have about body modification is that it's a symptom of a problem. Body modification is usually something that psychologically healthy people do to enhance their lives. Sometimes troubled people do use body modification to hurt themselves more, but this is no more representative of “what body modification is” than drunk driving is representative of what it means to own a car.

Why did you first decide to start up BME?

I've always enjoyed communicating — as long as I can remember I've published my own comics, zines, music, art, and so on. In 1994, BME was just my homepage on the newest medium, the WWW. It had pictures of my mods on it, along with a note that said “if you'd like to send in your pictures, I'll post them here as well”. At the time I didn't even have a computer that was able to publish the site and had to visit my friend Saira's house to use her scanner!

Anyway, people started sending in their photos and stories. Piercing studios helped out as well… It was a very exciting time to be running BME because everything was so new — piercing and the Internet exploded at the same time, so every month things doubled in size, and new innovations were coming in non-stop.

How big of an impact do you think BME and its community of IAM has made on mainstream society's take on modifications?

Honestly I have no idea. It's really quite impossible for me to tell… The only way I can gauge BME's influence is in the ideas it's spread — techniques first showed by BME are commonplace around the world, and most of the “second generation” of piercings were named by BME and those names are accepted as “official”. So definitely the impact is world wide and surprisingly universal. Other than that there's really no way for me to tell what the scope of the influence is.

Looking around at the other larger “body modification” sites on the net, I see very little that isn't either designed to promote a specific studio or isn't a thinly veiled attempt to sell jewelry or make money in some way. BME — and IAM — never came into existence as a business venture. BME exists because myself and hundreds of thousands of people around the world “needed” it, and cared about its goals enough to bring them to fruition.

It's my hope that BME does a fair job of equally — and responsibly — representing all forms of body modification, and works hard to create a world where people who choose this path can do so without others using it as an excuse to hurt them. Body modification is a glorious thing and people should be encouraged to indulge in it…

Baby killers? Not if they survive!

Well, according to British intelligence, Saddam isn't dead after all. Lots of other people are in that residential neighborhood they bombed, but not Saddam (more). Let's take a hard look and ask ourselves if this “good try” was worth it. Look hard. Feel free to save this picture and email it to everyone you know along with the quotes, along with your representative in Congress (more):

"Can you help get my arms back? Do you think the doctors can get me another pair of hands? If I don't get a pair of hands I will commit suicide..."

"It was midnight when the missile fell on us. My father, my mother and my brother died. My mother was five months pregnant. Our house was just a poor shack. Why did they want to bomb us?"

- Ali Ismaeel Abbas, 12

"Before the war I did not regard America as my enemy. Now I do. War should be against the military. America is killing civilians."

- Dr Sadek al-Mukhtar

Not cool America.

Thanks to US “liberation”, plenty of Iraqis are horrifically mutilated (more) and militia groups are now terrorizing small towns, looting, stealing, and raping (more) as any semblance of order Saddam had imposed is eroded. The CIA and the Pentagon bicker about who to put in charge of their war spoils (more) as the entire Arab world seethes in fury as it readies to unleash its anger on the people of America (more), the people that, willingly or not paid for all this horror to occur.

Back at home, the few Americans who have the bravery and foresight to stand up to the evil1 Bush regime are brutalized by the US police state (more) — three Roman Catholic nuns who trespassed on a missile silo last year now face five to eight years in prison for their act of defiance against the military monsters that run their nation (more). Did you know that America now has over two million people in prison (more)? Did you know that living in America you are more likely to be imprisoned by the state, executed by the state, and beaten by state-sponsored para-militaries than in Iraq?

Think about it. Think about it when you pay your taxes in a few days. Think about where that money is going.

1 Look at that picture above and then try and tell me that “evil” isn't the right word to be using.