Today’s word is an old-fashioned noun that should be used more often, in my opinion. It’s been replaced with coarser phrases like “bullshit” or “assbanditery.” However, unlike bullshit and assbanditery, tomfoollery is supposed to be harmless silly fun. It’s defined as “foolishness, silliness, horseplay, monkeyshines.”
But while tomfoolery is meant to be silly and more or less harmless, it can be downright annoying. A recent example of political tomfoolery is President Obama having to produce his long form birth certificate in order appease the so-called birthers. He had this to say about the situation:
“We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do. I have better stuff to do. We’ve got big problems to solve, and I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them – not on this.”
Of course we all know now that the “better stuff” Obama was working was the kill-or-capture raid of Osama bin Laden’s fortified house in Abottabad, which ended in the death of Numero Uno on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitive List.
Because these events (the birth certificate episode and Osama bin Laden’s death) happened practically simultanously, they gave rise to a meme where the utter silliness of the first story is juxaposed against the seriousness of the other, arguably one of the most profoundly important historical events of the post 9/11 world.
So far this one is my favorite:
Sitting around making meme pictures is another example of tomfoolery.
This does not fill me with elation.
I feel like this shouldn’t be,
A cause for celebration.
And yet I know it is,
For those who lost a loved one,
Are thrilled that he is long gone.
And naturally they should be.
But I don’t feel very happy,
And I do not feel vindictive.
I kind of wish I did,
But I merely feel conflicted.
Today’s word is a feeling, one that I think a lot of us are experiencing concerning the death of Osama bin Laden. To feel conflicted is to be full of conflicting and often contradictory emotions or impulses.
Upon hearing that Osama bin Laden, FBI’s number one most wanted bad guy, the one responsible for the atrocities of September 11, 2001, the July 7, 2005 bombings in London (among others) had been killed in a surgical military operation, well, one can’t help but jump for joy and shout, “YESSSS!!!!!!”
But wait, is that really an appropriate response? I mean, should one be filled with joy over the death of a fellow human being? Even one with such a defiantly uncompromising and completely distorted view of reality? Evil or not, he was still a man, who unfailingly believed he was doing God/Allah’s work by ridding the world of the oppressive infidels. Just like Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden hid himself away, and he held on to his misguided convictions until the very end. And like Hitler, he would rather die than be captured by the enemy. And thus he did.
The fate of Saddam Hussein was undoubtedly a fate he wished to avoid at all costs.
More on this later…
Hoo. Hah. Bin Laden is dead.
Oddly enough, it doesn’t seem to lessen the loss, horror and complete nightmare that is 09.11. It’s not revenge. There is no retribution. How could there be retribution for the worst attack against our country?
There are three things that bother me right now:
- It took us over 10 years to do it.
- A bullshit war that destroyed all credibility in the arena of American foreign policy is still going on.
- Haters still gonna hate.
While the American attention span is not much greater than that of the ordinary house-fly, I have a distinct feeling that the blind hatred of Muslims will still be pervasive in our society. I fear that we will never move beyond our xenophobic ways and still target the innocent. I will be tremendously embarrassed by chest-thumping and flag waving of my fellow citizens as this is not an achievement. An achievement would be smiting him in 2001. An achievement would be getting our enemy without destroying other countries.
While it’s nice to see the evil dispatched to the gates of a non-existent hell, it is also nice to conduct oneself with a bit of humility. This admonishment is addressed directly towards the segment of American society that is now blasting Toby Keith at the top volume of its dated boombox.
Humility, folks. Humility. Think about it for a second before you rush to the streets screaming about our greatness.