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Return of the Knave
Drink It Black
Wednesday, 9 July 2003
Swells and eddies
We'll leave the purple-suited gent at this point and his costumed colleagues. Except to say that he has the best prologue of all. Remember those hype boxes that appeared in Marvel comics in the seventies and eighties that would give a capsule introduction to the protagonist? Well none surpassed the intro that has appeared in every Phantom comic book since it started, culminating with him being washed ashore after a pirate attack and swearing on his father's skull to avenge him by devoting his life to fighting crime (I suspect this origin is what also makes Batman such a potent character)Now read on...

Hate has been given a bad name. The Chinese have always been at the forefront in philosophy (at least prior to Mao and his Little Red Book) and their idea of needing both the yin and yang is sound.

I was brought up on the fringe of Christianity, a creed of selective intolerance masquerading as love and forgiveness. No wonder it was confusing.

Consider how Jesus commanded us to 'turn the other cheek' and 'love thine enemy'. That kind of thinking can get you killed - as he proved himself.

And why is someone who gets themselves killed considered wise? I know it was covered by the grandaddy of deus ex machina, care of the Deus of all, but would you follow a guru who advocated eight grains of rice a day and died of malnutrition? Would you appreciate the advice of someone who told you to give no thought for the morrow and ended up penniless and in debt up to his eyeballs? Taking Warren Buffett's tips on the stockmarket makes sense. Listening to Bill Gates' advice on building a corporation is practical, even if you choose to then offer a counterpoint to his approach. But delivering yourself up to the enemy on the advice of someone who came unstuck doing so seems a little daft IMHO.

No, if I didn't hate boy bands how would I appreciate The Fall and Captain Beefheart. Perhaps on their own merit but so much sweeter when contrasting them with uninspired pap.

More seriously, there is a real need to have a real hatred for child abuse, for terrorism, for warmongering. Hate becomes destructive when it defines us in our actions and attitudes toward others. We should be able to turn it on and off I feel. It does no good to be wholly prescriptive. It is possible not to hate all Moslems but to have a major grudge against the Taliban, female 'circumcision', fatwahs and the like. It is credible to hate some things in our friends and admire some aspects of our enemies. It may be more difficult to apply our intelligence and discernment to each given situation without falling back on the written word or the spoken edict. But that is ultimately worthwhile.

Posted by berko_wills at 4:04 PM NZT
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