Saturday, October 28, 2006


No Disintegrations

When I first stumbled upon James Lileks, I thought he was a bit of a funny guy. I flipped through excerpts of The Gallery of Regrettable Food, and found it both hilarious and disturbing. Then I found out about some of the political "screeds" he started putting up on his blog. Leonard and Chad did a good job dissecting them, but compared to the rantings of Little Green Footballs, I didn't consider them anything dangerous.

And then Matt dug up this. And now I see that James Lileks wasn't just driven rightward by 9/11, he was driven absolutely insane. I mean, read this:

I have a solution. It’s time to institute Disintegration Chambers in our major America cities....Here’s the deal. We decide what constitutes torture, and identify it as the following: insufficient air conditioning, excess air conditioning, sleep deprivation, being chained to the floor, and other forms of psychological stress. The United States is free to use these techniques against hardened terrorists. Those who disagree with the techniques sign a register that records their complaints. When the terrorist finally spills the details of a forthcoming attack, on, say, Chicago, the people who signed the register and live in Chicago are required to report to the Disintegration Chamber. Very simple. Everyone’s happy.

Isn't that the kind of thing you expect the evil dictator to say in a Hollywood movie? "If you stand for your beliefs so much, then let me see you die for them," says Lylex the Unwavering, laughing maniacally before blowing up Alderaan.

Maybe Lileks exists in a different world than I do, but here, if one's rhetorical arguments are proven to be false in a series of repeated trials, they are meant to defer, apologize, and, if their rhetorical arguments directly led to the suffering of other people, put themselves up for judgment. They are not supposed to commit mass seppuku just because you got lucky one time. And that is what scares me the most about this-- the idea that this man, who states on his blog repeatedly that he loves his family, that he loves his country, that he is a decent man, wants his ideological opponents to sign themselves up for the self-cleaning equivalent of the gas chambers because they don't agree with him.

I hope for nothing more than James Lileks waking up and realizing just what the hell he's been defending since 9/11.

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