Thursday, 24 July 2008

the elementary particles - special guest post

a guest post quoting and commenting on the elemntary particles by michel houellebecq from my younger brother, omri perez, who just got back from a month of reserve duty in the west bank.
i think that even houellebecq himself couldn't envision or concoct this scenario - a reserve soldeir in a west bank check-post reading, quoting and text-messaging his conterversial novel. in more than one way you can call it the updated '08 version to meir ariel's song "islands in the stream', where he quoted ernest hamingway while standing on guard in the suez canal during the war of attrition:

“As a teenager, Michel believed that suffering conferred dignity on a person. Now he had to admit he had been wrong. What conferred dignity on people was television.” Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles.
I just got back from a month of reserve duty near the west bank. We did check posts in major junctions, guarded jewish settlements and in general tried to uphold the law and the order in this lawless land, certainly, it is no country for old men.
During this month I read the excellent book by Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles. As my dear sister says, the man knows the truth. He looks at our modern society and sees through all the bullshit (It turns out that bullshit is a legitimate philosophical term these days). He describes the rise of personal gain and narcissism over relationships and families. Love and intimacy, as Houellebecq would say, are nothing but a means to achieve narcissist confirmation and gratification. Depressing stuff.
Back to the west bank. It wasn't long during the last tour of duty before I noticed that my fellow soldiers had a compelling urge to take photos and put them on facebook and every other web 2.0 outlet they could put their greedy little mouse pointers on. It's not the service to their country or their care for their brothers in arms, nor for their valiance, that dignity is conferred on them, But their exposure to the world. And damn, if the t.v. crew isn't coming, well that's what web 2.0 is all about.

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