Satire? Serious? Sunday Times prints column asking to ‘give war a chance’ & attack CHINA
Published time: 12 Aug, 2019 22:48
Edited time: 13 Aug, 2019 09:19
A French nuclear bomb test in Polynesia dubbed "Operation Unicorn". May 1970. © Getty Images / Galerie Bilderwelt
Life in Britain has become far too easy and it's high time for another war, an eye-catching column in the Sunday Times argues, prompting both outrage and confusion about whether it was meant to be satire or the new normal.
“I was wondering, idly, recently if maybe it was time for us to have another war with someone,” journalist Rod Liddle’s provocative column begins, giving readers a disturbing taste of what’s to come. No, he doesn’t want a "hi-tech war" like the invasion of Iraq but instead is hoping for an even bigger event which "impinges on us all."
It gets worse. Dismissing France as an "obvious candidate" for British aggression, as that war would be over "too quickly" – a none too subtle dig at the French collapse of 1940 – he muses that the best bet is to attack… China.
War “reduces personal dissatisfaction” and "increases social cohesion and integration,” booms Liddle.
His record shows him no stranger to feeding on controversy and outrageous, click-baity opinion pieces, who clearly doesn’t care that his supposed humor doesn’t translate well into Chinese – or any other language, really. For some, this was already too much to take.
“Even as satire, this is offensive and extremely not funny to those who have experienced war. Sorry that my sense of humour cannot be stretched to encompass the death toll in Iraq,”tweeted historian Moudhy Al-Rashid at the end of a series of scathing (and not-safe-for-work) comments.
Others were also incensed by the newspaper’s decision to publish the piece, with one writer Musa Okwonga suggesting it was time people began to "interrogate the editorial policy of the Sunday Times."
The irony or sarcasm, if intended, went right over the head of people who were dumbfounded by the "stomach churning" article.
There was more, however: Liddle’s piece went on to make digs at millenials, the Extinction Rebellion, the demographic crisis, and even the New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern.
“We have become softened and prone to be frit at everything, perpetually discombobulated in our pacific affluence and our ease, to the extent that we would throw it all away,” Liddle writes, reaching to texts from 1897 and even the 5th century BC to prove “the beneficial social effects of war.”
There were, of course, readers who assumed the author was simply trying his hand at some social commentary on our troubled world, and came to defend the columnist’s free speech and satire.
The overwhelming response, however, seems to be that of deep disturbance and disgust. Was that someone probing the ground for an actual war cry of tomorrow? Could this be an actual way of thinking for “the establishment?”
Have the two world wars taught us nothing?