Someone just died. Awesome!
Good, now we’ve got the terrorist out of our system and out of our lives. I can start making cupcakes now. Wait, what? Streamers? Beer? Reports of dope on the lawn of the Whitehouse? Obama’s a cool black guy, but he’s not that cool. Nixon would be shaking his gargantuan cheek muscles at the sight of the unmitigated hedonism on his old stomping ground. The footage of the crowd outside the president’s residence (say that fast three times) look more like a group of people taking their work as judges of a wet T-shirt contest very seriously. All that whooping and hollering, and for what?
I’m not sure how to put this delicately for those of you enjoying the celebratory influence of happy juice, magic fungi, fermented soda water or ’naturally flavoured’ chocolate cake, but it’s a bit, well, fundamentalist to go out and have a party when someone you don’t like dies.
It’s difficult to recall how I normally react to hearing someone has been shot in the head, seen their son shot to death or (been falsely accused of) killing a woman by using her as a human shield in a gunfight. Oh, that’s right; I tell my brother to pick me up a cask of goon and a packet of donuts and I tell my mates we are going to have one kick-ass round of Goon Of Fortune on the Hills Hoist tonight. At the news of his death, all I felt was a sad sense of relief. Cheering seems like a vindictive effort. As Sandra Korn pointed out in her article addressing the Osama news at Harvard Law Review, ‘celebrating someone’s death seems not only distressing but also hypocritical and decidedly anti-American’. Since she points it out herself and I don’t want to look like a complete bitch, she also notes, ‘[America] must not perpetuate stereotypes of American unfeeling.’
So, a party on the front lawn of the Whitehouse? Ba-bow. No no. Naughty Americans, get back into your heavily mortgaged houses!
Actively celebrating a death is in poor form. If Osama does it, then you shouldn’t be doing it. I should add though, that the actions of some don’t constitute the actions of everyone; my American housemate didn’t like the celebrations either.
As Bernard Keane points out on Crikey, Osama’s influence is a little bit like skin cancer; we didn’t nip it in the bud early enough, and while one terrorist is an easy focal point, bin Laden is not the only fundamentalist who has started his own jihad. It’s not as though the struggle against the ‘bad guys’ will ever be over; from the Crusades to Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Saddam Hussein, there’s always been a bad guy. While we might have been able to cut Osama out of our skin for the time being, it looks as though his number two is set to replace him.
Seeing Americans showing up on the front lawn of the Whitehouse, chanting USA and cheering at the death of Osama Bin Laden is a bit like Australians turning up at Parliament House (or, let’s face it, some other place in Australia slightly more iconic to Australians than Canberra), screaming ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!’ and having schooner-scolling contests, just because we finally beat the living kahunas out of the All Blacks at rugby. It’s mean-spirited, contrary to the spirit of human nature, and for fuck’s sake, have pity on the poor sheep-loving hobbits. If you were them, you’d need pity too.