72 online
 
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 36 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Joe and Vlad in the Land of Stories

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   1 comment
Follow Me on Twitter     Message David Swanson
Become a Fan
  (139 fans)

In a children's book by Chris Colfer called The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning, a Napoleonic French army of soldiers, guns, swords, and cannons arrives in the fairy tale land where Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and all sorts of similar people and fairies dwell.

The girl in charge of the place immediately begins organizing armies to fight the invaders. What choice does she have? Well, there are a number of reasons, somewhat unique to the story, that this is not the unquestionably smart move that no doubt the author and almost all of his readers assume.

The girl magically transports an enormous army in a matter of seconds to a location to fight the invaders. The possibility of transporting the invaders to a deserted island or anywhere else is never considered.

The girl transforms weapons near her into flowers. The possibility of doing that to all the guns and cannons is never considered.

The girl, who is also a fairy, and various other fairies disarm the soldiers at will with bits of magic, and even bewitch plants in their garden to do the same. The possibility of doing that en masse is never considered.

Only after the two sides have engaged in an orgy of mass murder, does the girl's brother mention to the opposing army that the magic portal they arrived through took 200 years, so that fighting for the French Empire of the 19th century is not possible anymore. The idea of saying anything at all to the invaders prior to the war " anything to dissuade or enlighten or frighten or anything else " is never considered.

The need for there to be a war in this story, as is typical in real life as well, is not merely assumed; it is silently assumed. The very idea that one need have any justification for a war is not mentioned at all or even hinted at. So, no questions or doubts are raised. And there is no obvious contradiction when various characters in the story find moments of pride, courage, solidarity, excitement, vengeance, and sadistic pleasure in the war. Even less than unmentioned is the deeper secret that, while the war is of course in many ways not desired, in some ways it is very much wanted.

The war itself, as is typical in real life as well, is largely invisible. The main characters organize massive killing fields in which, in the end, most of the victims are killed with swords. One identified minor character is killed as a token death. But otherwise the killing is all off-stage even though the action of the story is physically exactly where all the killing is happening. There's no mention of blood, guts, muscles, missing limbs, vomit, fear, tears, curses, madness, defecation, sweat, pain, groans, howls, screams. There's not a single wounded person to be triaged. The large number of dead are mentioned in a single sentence as having been "lost," and later there is a "beautiful" ceremony to honor them.

The girl who had already organized one side of the war, in a moment of anger at being betrayed by her boyfriend "hurts" a handful of soldiers by magically and violently blasting them to who knows where with a magic wand. Despite the thousands (silently and painlessly) dying in sword battles all around her, she has a very emotional moment of self-doubt as to what sort of person she has become who could physically harm a handful of soldiers who were attacking her.

This is the deep level of invisibility achieved by war: moral invisibility. We all know that if Joe Biden or Vladimir Putin were filmed punching a female news reporter in the mouth their careers would be over. But fueling a war that kills by the thousands is not see-able. Even the war in Ukraine, more visible by far than most wars, is kept largely out of sight, and is understood as to be regretted first for its financial cost, second for its risking of global nuclear apocalypse (though even that is of course well worth it to stand up to Putin!) but never for being a festival of mass murder and destruction.

In the Land of Stories, you can wave a wand and turn rows of approaching guns into flowers. One doesn't do that, because war is the mostly highly prized story; but one could do it.

In Ukraine, there are no magic wands. But none are needed. We need only the power to cease blocking negotiations, the power to cease providing unlimited weapons, and the power to take verifiable steps toward demilitarizing Eastern Europe and submitting to the rule of international law in order to credibly negotiate a peaceful way forward. None of these are magic.

But shaking off the enchantment of war-worship that permeates our culture: that would be magical indeed.

Must Read 2   Well Said 2   Valuable 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

David Swanson Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

 
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Obama's Open Forum Opens Possibilities

Public Forum Planned on Vermont Proposal to Arrest Bush and Cheney

Feith Dares Obama to Enforce the Law

The Question of a Ukraine Agreement Is Not a Question

Did Bush Sr. Kill Kennedy and Frame Nixon?

Can You Hold These 12 Guns? Don't Shoot Any Palestinians. Wink. Wink.

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend