The Easy Target

Easy targets used to be the poor, the crippled, and the alien.

Nearly every European society in the past few centuries used these unfortunates to contrast themselves and to deflect criticism from the ruling classes. If there was a village idiot, a blind or lame person, or someone who had any taint of the foreign about them ( religion, appearance, name…) they could be used to amuse and abuse.

As time went on it became less fashionable to pick on these – and ” respectable ” and ” disreputable ” became the categories that you could use – praise for one and damnation for the other. The shifting fortunes of war and/or revolution moved the sights back and forth but there always seemed to be someone who could be in them and blamed or ridiculed for some purpose. If it became harder to do so with locals, Europeans could look further afield and sneer at Americans, Asians, and Africans…in safety. These were places far away, filled with people who could not retaliate. Europe was safe from contempt in the 19th century.

Then came the 20th…and Europe paused their laughter against the rest of the world long enough to spend 45 years in an orgy of prejudice, war, poverty, and slaughter within itself. It spread much of this contagion to other places – wherever the various Empires had infected the locals. And then it was horrified when the process took hold and reversed upon them…cutting off their colonies and territories as people discovered how to cancel their European subscription. It became hard to target Asia and Africa because they were having none of it.

However, there was always the Americas to sneer at. Not the South American continent, you understand. That was still full of resources that might be exploited by Europe. Best not to stir the natives until the goods were loaded on the ship and headed north…

And not Canada. Whether French Canada or English Canada, it was still full of possible Europhiles who would gallantly support The Old Countries with kannonfutter and bulk foodstuffs when the next war broke out.

But the USA was there. Full of people with names which could be laughed at and television shows that couldn’t. Full of middle classes ( but not supposedly as good as European middle classes… ) and people with no culture. No official culture. No culture that they had to buy from Europe. Profitless culture. Their own culture. That they eventually exported to Europe…

Perfect easy targets. And with the aid of the Russian propaganda bureaus, didn’t Europe have a fine old time of it. Why, it was almost like the good old days of the 19th century when one could fire on the natives with no fear of them firing back. This went on for a further 50 years. It goes on now.

And we still think it fine and fun and sophisticated and smart. With Russian missiles raining down on cities. With Asian diseases filling the graveyards. It may be a fashionable danse but it’s starting to look a bit macabre…

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