I hate to get into current events, but I made the mistake of checking Twitter before work, and after scrolling past the first several dozen shameless ads for the new ✡Portman Jackie Kennedy movie disguised as news stories, I saw that there was another gun control event at the D.C. pizza place where all of the non-sexual child fetish appreciators hang out. For the purposes of this brief discussion, consider it irrelevant whether or not the restaurateur does or does not, did or did not, molest or want to molest anyone; and, whether his particular pizza place is the one successful and well-connected business in Washington, D.C. run by good human beings who don't hurt anyone else; and, whether this congregating site for powerful international politicians and financiers and orphaned children is not, unlike the Catholic Church or the British workhouse or the Japanese teahouse or the Chinese Hong or the later Roman Senate or anywhere else in human history where such groups meet, a font of bonding by rape and torture. Consider all of that irrelevant.
Better yet for philosophical purposes for this post alone, assume not that it's irrelevant, but that no one at the Comet Ping Pong is or ever has been involved in any way in child sex or child porn or whatever else you want to call it. No one--not the owners, not the customers, not anyone. All of the creepy stuff was randomly, inconceivably innocent, and it just looks weird to outsiders because the owner is into art-deco or whatever. No involvement.
So there's this decent person with decent customers who has decent late evening parties with powerful lobbyists and poor children, and somehow it's all cool and aboveboard, and out of nowhere, some assholes on the internet start this weird theory that it's about child porn. In sharp contrast to everywhere else that a white male has been accused of inappropriately touching a single child, every major media outlet in the English-speaking world jumps up to defend the man and his customers and his restaurant, totally and unequivocally, yet despite this, this poor man gets insults and threats from random people on the internet, who wrongly believe that there is something going on. Then, not long after the rumors start, a former movie actor goes into the restaurant with a gun, leaves another gun in his car because he apparently doesn't need it, very carefully shoots a single bullet into the floor, doesn't even get into the back room, and is peacefully arrested within an hour, after which special units from the D.C. police spend a careful four hours ensuring that nothing incriminating nor dangerous remains in the area.
Our hypothetical innocent restaurateur, who just wanted to have a cool, family-friendly restaurant, has seen his life turn from pleasant relative obscurity to near-victim of a mass-shooting around the employees and friends and customers he's always wanted to work with, and very quickly, he has a statement ready:
Remember, now: we're hypothesizing that this is a completely innocent person who is saying these things shortly after his life's work was threatened by a random madman who traveled from out of state just because of completely false internet rumors that he can't seem to stamp out. If you want to go read about conspiracy theories, they won't be expressed here; this post is simply about the hypothetical innocent person who was the victim of this tragedy. And that is what he says?
We've discussed here before the ways that otherwise-normal people have become, through twitterbook and other avenues, news-like in the description of their own lives. They sensationalize events, and they try to act like politicians by "expressing their deepest regrets" for a tragedy, rather than acting like themselves, like human beings. The words that they repeat to express their characters, like NFL jerseys bought from the store, are different words than their friends or families have said, or that they've heard firsthand; instead, they repeat horribly sanitized, politicized thoughts that they've read in the news a hundred times.
If this child porn pizza person is running a pedo ring, his statement makes perfect sense. Ironically, it makes it a little more human: maybe he's an utterly terrible pedo, but at least the prepared statement makes sense. Of course a bagman for the sick and powerful would have had a PR stooge crafting up something for him to use in advance of this staged event, and of course it would be verbal anaesthesia, designed to sound like he was a respectable authority figure and thereby pacify college-educated boomers everywhere. He might be the worst human being on the planet, completely a slave to his desires to mock his fear of death by destroying the vulnerable over and over, but however flawed, he is, at least, still human-like.
However, if this person is actually innocent of running his pedo ring, the distinct horror of his prepared statement is somehow worse. If you're a nice man who runs a pizza shop and thinks it's cool that you can make a living serving people something they like, and then all of this weird pedo internet stuff happens, and suddenly there's a man with a gun storming into your place, here's what you, a human being, would say when the news asks:
Again presuming innocence of the pedo-ring--he's an incredible weirdo with the decor, incredibly lucky in his clientele and the worldwide media protection, etc., etc., etc.--presuming that innocence, the prepared statement he released to the press is not merely viperishly smooth, passive-aggressive, and threatening. Rather, it is profoundly inhuman; it is dark, soulless, and monstrous.
Alefantis' threat in the real quote comes from a position of power, too; his threat is worded confidently, as from a great height, and--strangely enough, if the attack were not a false flag--the threat is aimed at those "fanning the flames," rather than at the attacker. A decent human being might indeed be pissed off at people on the internet, but should be more pissed off at the one who actually came into the restaurant. (Instead of the somewhat-sniveling statement I offered above, he could've done an equally-human angry one: threatening to sue the person, or to ask for the needle in court, or to sue internet posters who contributed to the rumors.) Here, Alefantis' statement is clearly honed for the media narrative that was to come out of this event, or (our primary focus in this post, where we assume he's not running the pedo ring), he is so empty inside that, rather than exhibiting a human reaction toward the person who threatened his place, his first response is instead to craft a prepared statement for the international media, meant not for the attacker but for the celebrity echo chamber.
If innocent of running the pedo ring, the act of making such a statement is like that of those archetypal modern Terrans who log into Facebook after work, find out there's been a bombing or a school shooting, and then type that their, "sympathies are with the victims of today's awful occurrence in [city]!" exhibiting how little independent emotional substance is there; proving how little they can actually empathize, since they don't possess the literacy or the character to do so outside of the mass media consciousness. Yes, Alefantis may be monstrous for running his pedo ring, and if so, his carefully prepared public-relations statement is itself monstrous. It is, though, in that case, a different sort of existential obscenity than the words exhibiting the hellish non-soul that wasn't actually ready for this because he was covering up the pedo ring.
It's a little bit like two ways of meeting God. If you encountered God, and said, "Why did you let leukemia kill my four-year-old niece? She suffered terribly, and never had a chance." And if God turned to you, halo shining gold, and answered, "I...I don't know. It was so big, so complicated, I lost track of it all! I hate it! I want to fix it, but I'm not sure how." If God said that, you could understand God in a certain way; relate to Him in a certain way.
If God, instead, turned to you, halo shining gold, and answered, in a flat voice, "My sympathies are with that particular individual in regards to this tragic and unforeseen event," it would convey something different about God. God the heartless; God the robot; God the autonomous torture-machine; God the Mistake.
Our understanding of human beings, their foibles and follies, their valor and sin, and our understanding of life itself, takes a curious turn when we forget how to speak about the world in any but such a sterile fashion. The God or the man possessed of goodness and love--who exhibited a non-ironic decency, or the slightest spark of vitality--this God, these selves, we could forgive anything. The automatic response, though, is so cold and horrible in what it bespeaks about the low quality of existence in our artificial future, that it would have been better if God had indeed been a dunce who didn't understand the workings of His own leukemia; of the darkness of His own imagination.