Thanks to NPR for broadcasting the UN Security Council hearing on Iraq yesterday (live call-in show debating the war on NPR today starting at 1PM EST). In between meetings, I heard much of it, and man, did it bring me down – not because the rational, considered, reasonable pleading from France, Germany, China, etc, etc didn’t make sense, but because it did. This is not a time for “sense” – this is a time for “crazy.”
“Crazy” keeps popping up everywhere lately, or maybe I am just noticing it more. It’s the title of a fascinating new collection of Willie Nelson demos from the early 60s assembled by Sugar Hill Records. Willie’s version doesn’t top Patsy Cline, but it is moving and beautiful nonetheless.
But I’m not talking about the kind of love-blind crazy Willie is: I’m talking about he kind of crazy that is the only effective response to a bully. As father Hal said on Malcolm In the Middle last Sunday: “Crazy beats big every time.” Although it may seem absurd to talk about a single country, Iraq, or terrorist organization like al Qaeda, as bullies when they are aligned against the rest of the world, but that is exactly what they are.
Listening to the dignitaries’ orotund calls for patience and incremental action in the effort to disarm Iraq, sounded exactly like a discussion on how to deal with a bully: keep an eye on him, keep the pressure on, assure his victims that this time it will be different, one more chance….
This sane, incremental approach to a bully led to disaster in the novel I just reviewed, Half Mast: the main character/victim took a sane, containment approach to the situation which gained him nothing but hell until he finally snapped and committed a very private murder against the bully. Had the victim reacted to the bully as did his friend – an irrational, aggressive, crazy, PUBLIC counterattack – he could have nipped the nightmare in the bud.
What was needed against a bully on a micro scale is the same that is needed against a bully on a macro scale – crazy – the crazy of extreme, even unpredictable reaction to provocation that accomplishes several things at once: eliminates as many enemies as possible, scares the shit out of those who might lean toward the bully’s cause, intimidate other bullies into changing their behavior, let all know that we are slow to anger but when we do anger we unleash holy hell in our righteous wrath.
We need the bullies of the world and their toadies to say, “Don’t mess with them, they’re crazy.” The applause that greeted French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin’s cry for patience and peace was music to the ears of Saddam, bin Laden, and every other bully on earth against whom sanity will never work. Now is the time for crazy.