Saturday, November 22, 2008
The banality of evil
Hannah Arendt's phrase aptly describes this exchange of emails. The tone and substance of this dreck reminds me of the testimony of the vacant-eyed teenagers at the trials that followed the beating and drowning death of Reena Virk. Or the fatuous comments, made as part of a plea bargain, of the young savages who microwaved a family's pet cat and listened to it scream in agony for ten minutes:
"I'm really sorry for what I did and I can guarantee you it will never happen again."
"It's even an embarrassment to sports teams that I play on. I'm just sorry."
The thing that appalls is the commonplace, not the nightmare visions. How very ordinary Adolf Eichmann was. Leonard Cohen put it perfectly:
All there is to know about Adolph Eichmann
EYES - Medium
HAIR - Medium
WEIGHT - Medium
HEIGHT - Medium
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES - None
NUMBER OF FINGERS - Ten
NUMBER OF TOES - Ten
INTELLIGENCE - Medium
What did you expect?
It would be reassuring indeed if the perpetrators of these outrages had the appearance of monsters, to distinguish them from the rest of us. Wouldn't that make us feel safe, about others--and ourselves?
Posted by Dr.Dawg at 10:59 AM