27 October, 2005

Lex Does It Again

Lex puts his mastery of the english language to work once again, with the usual provocative effects... This time the subject is that "magic" number of 2000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq.

I waited to link it because I hoped to find some worthy way to introduce it, thoughts of my own that would further illuminate. But I can't. It's too well-said, too rich to allow for summary. Here's a bit to whet your appetite.

There’s a power in round numbers, a kind of symbolism. Certain people have been waiting for this inevitable death. It is the initiating death that sets their plans in motion. His life was his alone, but his death they have claimed for themselves. He had a life. He has become a name. And more than that, he has now become a symbol.

And even though I am aware of the power of symbols, I find all of this somehow intrusive, unseemly and inappropriate, this branding together of a man and a number. It smacks a little too much of that old murderer Stalin, who famously exclaimed, “One man’s death is a tragedy, one million a statistic,” because it tries somehow to reach a dialectic synthesis between the man and the number and in doing so immorally overreaches the form.
Read it all.