The diner sits in his chair at the Chinese restaurant having some spicy meal he's not used to. He coughs a bit after a taste of curry. A-heh, a-heh. It seems fine for a second, but then it's not. He tries to clear his throat again, a-hah, a-heh, and it doesn't really work. He sips some water, and no, that doesn't work either. He soon can't even hold the water tumbler. He's choking. He slowly rises to go to the bathroom to choke loudly in private, not wanting to make a spectacle of himself in the diningroom. In the cubicle he coughs and chokes and it gets worse and worse and soon enough he suffocates to death. His throat is swollen shut in reaction to the spice. Happens too often. People die of embarrassment rather than sit it out and get help and live and avoid curry next time. Whadda ya do?
We sat at the library last Thursday and asked why our own people in the West sit in terror of terrorism and murder and do nothing, turning their heads when someone is blown to bits on the subway train or in an office building. We don't want to make a spectacle of ourselves by being concerned and visible. We don't want to be seen to be involved in things at all because it's so uncool to show interest in life and Human doings. We dress down so we won't be noticed. We shuffle so people don't notice us. We hunch so we don't look like tall poppies. If anything looks like it might call attention to us we sneak off into the toilet to die of embarrassment.
Most of us have friends and colleagues who are more or less "liberal." Most of us mention the war in Iraq the way someone choking in a Chinese restaurant would cough. We don't usually make a big deal of our discomfort about anti-Semitism in a crowded room of people who probably sympathise with Hizballah. We might cough and wish we weren't so choked, and if we can't control ourselves we might sneak out and swear not to return. But when ones friends are doing the social thing it's hard not to follow. Most of us want to be liked ands accepted, and that requires following the crowd and doing as they do. Bringing McDonald's take-away to a Chinese diner to join ones friends for dinner is, take it from me, bad form. And bringing political disagreement to a party of any is also seen as bad form. Death? Well, better that than upsetting the social scene.
At what point do people stop swallowing fascist cliches that make people choke to death? At what point do we say out loud that this is totally wrong and we won't swallow any more of it? How many more people have to die before we get over our embarrassment about seeming to be anti-social?
We have met each Thursday evening at the library and other venues earlier since January to discuss the state of our nations and our approaches to combating Left fascism and fascist Islamic jihad. We never get attacked by fascists. It's not as dangerous as eating at a Chinese diner. But few wish to join us in sitting openly as we cough and choke over the state of things. We are not embarrassed. We are visible and known as the ones who choke in public. We do more than that. We show up at rallies the Death Hippies put on. We are out there, and we don't care who might be embarrassed. It's not important. What do our friends think? Mine think I'm nuts. Or, rather, they used to think I'm nuts. Now they don't say as much. They're uncomfortable about their previous positions. They even come round singley to wish me luck and to give encouragement and to say they're busy that day. And then there's getting thrown out of a store by the frothing and angry book-dealer. Do I care that a mild and nerdy guy who listens to discordant jazz all day is also underneath his meek demeanour a very angry guy who can't speak without convulsing when it comes to "the joooos"? What? The guy is a cock-roach. Do I care about his opinion of me? Do I want to give the man free reign to set the public attitude? Do I care if he goes purple over the Jews? Am I going to be so concerned about his opinion of me that I go into hiding and let other people die just because I'd be unpopular in social circles for contradicting the majority of vocal activists?
How many of us are embarrassed about ourselves? How many of us slink off to the toilet and choke in private? Your friends won't like you any more? You'll stand out in a crowd? People will point at you and criticise? What? Why would you even want to live a life of fear like that? Be unpopular. Your friends will appreciate it eventually. And if not you'll find new friends. I'd die of embarrassment if I couldn't find the courage to stand up and face a crowded room and tell them I'm choking to death.
Look at us. Are the histories of our time going to conclude that we died of embarrassment?
Thursday evening. Public library. 7-9:p.m. Your town.