Saturday, April 14, 2007

POO-TEE-WEET? The coincidence of massacre promo video and Kurt Vonnegut's demise

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times printed an excellent obituary on Kurt Vonnegut.

One citation from Slaughterhouse-Five was poignant.

"I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee," wrote Vonnegut.

"I have also told them not to work for companies which make massacre machinery, and to express contempt for people who think we need machinery like that."

Also during the week, the Military channel's Futureweapons show was in reruns.

Repeatedly broadcast was a segment themed around "weapons that strike total fear into the enemy." The channel aired its bits on the USAF's Sensor Fuzed Weapon, a super-automated cluster bomb for the engineering of a massacre.

That a show like Futureweapons, one devoted to manically enthusiastic expressions of delight over the machinery of slaughter, is successful, would probably not surprise Vonnegut.

Twenty-five years ago, Textron's promotional video on the Sensor Fuzed Weapon in Iraq would have looked like science fiction, another piece of unusually terrible technology described in a Vonnegut satire. Now it's deadening mainstream entertainment.

"This is an animation explaining Textron's [Sensor Fuzed Weapon] in Operation Iraqi Freedom," writes its YouTube uploader. "This is awesome! Your tax dollars well spent. You wold [sic] not want to be an enemy of the USA on the receiving end of these things. Obviously the B-52 can carry a whole bunch of SFW-loaded cluster bombs. That must be why a lot of pinhead nations want to ban them."

"Low collateral damage, no duds or live warheads," proclaims the video.

Poo-tee-weet?

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