globe of terror
September 18, 2001

Once upon a time there was a small boy. He knew nothing of the world, short of what he had seen with his own eyes in the town he grew up in, and what he had heard from his parents, relatives and friends, and from the glimpses of life he'd seen on the TV. As he grew older he discovered computers and used them to see more of the world, with email and the web, and so forth.

He knew that Bad Things went on, but they always seemed like aberrations to him; they were like little spots of black scattered across a colourful landscape. They were there, but they didn't spoil the picture. And as time passed, the colours seemed to fade them, to overlap them and make them pretty again.

But as he grew older, he noticed that these spots appeared more and more. He noticed they were getting larger. And he noticed they faded less. But he didn't know what to make of them. So, he went travelling. He didn't see the world - but he saw parts of it. He went to Europe, England in particular, and saw where the West came from. He saw Trafalgar Square in London - perhaps the centre of the world, for a time - and watched the traffic whiz around; each person on a mission of their own, yet each of them, at a crossroads.

And as he spent some time in that city he noticed that this landscape had more black spots than what he was used to. At first, he was confused and tried to run away. But then he realised, England is a more mature beast, therefore it will have more mature spots. He looked again. He realised these spots were all over the world. He looked around - and everybody else was realising it too. He looked on their faces and they told him, those spots are spinning me out.

So he used his computers to see why the spots were there. He started with the most recent and most obvious spot he could find - the destruction of the World Trade Center in September 2001 - and asked of his computer: Why did that happen? And the magic engine to which w1zards such he have access told him: Someone was upset. So he asked the magic engine: Who was upset?

And then the small boy became ever smaller. Because across his screen scrolled the most disgusting and terrible list of atrocities that he had ever seen. And worse, it simply did not stop scrolling. He clicked and clicked, and the more he clicked, the more disgusting and terrible it got.

He walked away from the computer. In fact he got up and went and smoked a gigantic joint.

Unfortunately, the drugs didn't make the scrolling hypocrisy disappear. Nothing can do that. It's history. It's done. That's one of the things that small boys have got to learn. That they must face the realities of the past. That they cannot escape from the consequences of the actions of their forebears - or even their contemporaries. That they must seek to be as wholesome and true as they can, such that their descendants shall not have to face the same horrors.

And so then, the boy redoubled his efforts. His efforts at everything. Twice as curious, twice as outspoken, twice as cynical, twice as critical. Twice as intense. Because while the boy was aware that while many of his fellow citizens had in fact, died for their cause, he was also aware that there was still breath in his lungs and life in his legs and even maybe a spark in his brain somewhere - so he wasn't going to sit around and wait for the next black spot and come and kill him too.