Last week, a Chinese man died after an eel was inserted in his rectum. In his defence, it wasn’t his idea. Some friends thought it would be funny, which I find to be more frightening. I could have excused this had it been the actions of a lone man. People have been known to insert all kinds of animals into all kinds of places when acting in isolation. The problem here, for me, is that it wasn’t one man alone in his home reacting to the come-hither glances of a creature from the deep.
Several men, all no doubt laughing hysterically while coaxing the unfortunate eel into committing one of the more unique forms of murder of this young century, thought this was a good idea at the time. What makes it even more frightening is that this happened in China. By all educated accounts, the 21st century is the Chinese century. This does not bode well. The world will already take a long time to heal from the scars inflicted on our collective psyche by the American century: reality television and chicken nuggets.
Now we have to prepare for a China that will give us cheap knock-off cell phones and arse-eels. All this makes me worry not for myself as much as for my poor daughter. What world am I leaving her with? I was prepared to hand over a world that was more violent, corporatised, corrupted and environmentallydamaged than the one I got. But that would be balanced out by things like increasing bandwidth, Apple products and Twitter. Instead, it seems, I am leaving her a very strange world indeed. Just take the top stories of the last week as evidence.
Chinese eel fetishists aside, the headline space was full of pronouncements regarding the return of Hakimullah Mehsud from the dead. This means that the drones that America loves using because they specialise in precision kills, missed. Or, and this possibility is more frightening and yet no one seems to be considering it, the Taliban are capable of reanimating the dead. How is this not a point of concern? Why aren’t security analysts on television screaming at each other about the inevitable march of the Zombie Taliban.
An army of stiff-armed, undead appearing out of Fata, demanding American withdrawal from Muslim countries, the closure of all music shops and “braaaaaaaaiins”. Remember, only a headshot or decapitation can kill Hakimullah Mehsud if he truly has risen from the grave. Drones can’t do that. Meanwhile, America is about to be swallowed by an oil-spill, an environmental tragedy with karmic resonance. It’s like the souls of a hundred thousand dead Iraqis are pushing that oil straight towards the Gulf coast.
It would be more satisfying had it not been for the tragic destruction of an entire underwater ecosystem. But still, if you strain to listen over the strangled cries of crude-soaked gulls, you can hear the wind carrying the voice of ‘shock and awe’ victims chanting, “Enjoy the oil you wanted so bad! What’s the matter? Don’t want it anymore? Well too late!” The dead can be sarcastic. So now what? Where do we go from here? Well, if you’re Pakistani, not very far.
Thanks to the combined efforts of Ajmal Kasab and Faisal Shahzad, your passport just became a free voucher for cavity checks. And, because our image wasn’t bad enough, there is a new terrorist group calling themselves the Asian Tigers (a name that would have been better used by a local golf/ swingers club) that consider Jaish-i- Mohammad and Lashkar-i-Taiba to be sell outs.
How extreme do you have to be to consider those two groups “not extreme enough”? When you consider all this, maybe inserting an eel into your lower intestine isn’t so strange after all. Maybe, it’s the only rational reaction to an irrational world.