Monday, January 26, 2004


Mars of course, is the Roman equivalent of Ares, the ancient Greek god of war. As avid fans of Xena, the Warrior Princess would know, Ares is a swarthy, bearded deity who struts around in leather pants, engaging in semi-sexual banter with Xena while attempting to plunge the world into chaos and a frenzy of blood-letting. There are actually two gods of war in the ancient tradition. Athena represents righteous, intellectual warfare, an ancient equivalent of the Pentagon today. She is also the mistress of defensive warfare, inventing the ancestor of the scud missile, being the Aegis, a goatskin which when worn, had the power to deflect projectiles and other harm-bearing nasties. Not content with that, Athena is also the inventor of weapons of mass destruction. The Gorgon's head mounted upon her armour turned all those who looked at it to stone. So there you have it, a fundamentalist who believed war is justified in certain 'holy causes' and a damn dangerous one at that, was one of Greece's chief deities. No wonder the western world is feeling nervous about the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. This is especially so, given that other gods also have terrible terrorist tendencies. Take the chief of the gods, Zeus, for example. Possessed of a weapon of such potency that it was able to defeat the Giants and the Titans, Zeus was able to rain thunderbolts down in a very arbitrary fashion on all those who displeased him. Now that is undemocratic and downright un-American. The general way of life of the Olympians is also not to be desired, it being full of Middle Eastern, conservative and highly repressive prototypes. Hera, though head of the household was supposed to lie back and accept her husband's infidelities while Hestia was so ugly and be-moustached that she was relegated to home exile, not being permitted to exit her place of abode and so euphemistically became known as a hearth goddess. Dimitra was forced into being a goddess of cooking and food while in order to satisfy the patriarchal undemocratic males of the mountain, Aphrodite was forced to be a harem girl. It is small wonder then that Alexander the Great's distant descendants, the Kalash in Afghanistan adopted such role models for their ladies.
This lengthy exposition serves as mere background to the main contention of this article which seeks to explain why it is that all of a sudden, the august president of the United States of America is so urgently expressing the need for a space station to be built of the moon (Selene, another of lusty Zeus' girlfriends). This is to make the incursion on to the red planet Mars much more easy and efficacious. President Bush's advisors, holed up in their bunkers deep under the Pasadena space centre, all cloned so as to look like Woody Allen in that masterpiece "Casino Royale" have decided that Globalism doesn't work: everyone keeps on stealing their ideas. They have failed to gain a monopoly on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction and are considering that a change in philosophy is required. Who needs Globalism when you can have Universalism? The reason why a monopoly cannot be gained is because such matters are not man-created but rather, heaven sent and if we are to gain the means of destructions and distribute them fairly and squarely to all earthly comrades, we must seize them for ourselves, much like our ancestor Prometheus stole fire from the gods so many aeons ago, inventing the bushfire in the process.
So now Bush is preparing to take on Ares in the final showdown, the mother of all battles, the declaration of war on War itself. A good idea you say? Definitely not. What happened when our backward Middle Eastern Gods dethroned their ancestors by cutting off their moving parts with a sickle? Did they make the world safe for democracy? Absolutely not. In fact they introduced a despotism to the world unparalleled in history. If Bush does conquer War, will he not be transformed from a peace-loving Texan farmer to a gasping ignorant warmonger who, having seized the thunderbolt, will not hesitate to use it on such obscure an never before heard of targets such as, oh, I don't know, the Pannonian Plain, or Bet-Naharin or as translated from the Olympian, Kosovo and Iraq?
Another thing that has not been considered is the resulting civil war between superheroes. Our superheroes fight for good over evil. Who will take the side against evil when no one knows what this is anymore. While it is evident Spiderman, Superman and Wonderwoman will immediately be enlisted into the ranks of the Texans, the same cannot be said of more shadowy figures such as the Phantom or Dick Tracy. Other superheroes, such as Xena or Hercules, enjoying close relations with the Olympians will positively be torn in two. Do they comply with their movie contracts or defend their people? And what of Astro Boy, fighting for astral harmony throughout the cosmos? It shall be a sad day indeed my friends.At the end of the day, when Bush has occupied some 38% of the planet, that being the most dangerous and weapons-productive part, possibly the only solution, brokered by Mr Kofi Galaxannan, the secretary general of the United Universe will be to introduce a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation on the planet, with each side sharing the same Martian, war-mongering identity but ruling over its own, slowly building up a massive weapons stockpile until the move onto the next planet, which you guessed it, must be Uranus. This column is still investigating rumours that after the conquest of Mars, that great intellectual J-Lo, who is almost Olympian in stature will lead the attack on Uranus. J-Lo is actually an expert on the philosophical theories of Wittgenstein.
As Wittgenstein worked out that language is a structure whose basis one can only view from the outside, so J-Lo's fame is a structure whose basis can only beviewed from behind. Oh Lord, confuse our tongues, before we once more make the cosmos safe for democracy. Allahu Akbar!
first published in NKEE on 26 January 2004