The above image is an aerial view of a 100’x70′ vinyl banner entitled “Not a Bug Splat,” depicting a Pakistani girl said to have survived a drone attack that took the lives of her parents and either “two siblings” or “a sibling” (the information at Democracy Now! is inconsistent). A product of collaboration between French, American, and Pakistani artists and activists (or activist-artists or artist-activists), the work takes its title from jargon referring to computer-generated bomb damage models.
Our friend b psycho asked for comment, and my twitter response was that “as a political gesture it’s pointed, possibly late” and that “there’s a second order of intention or meaning to it.” I now have some time to expand on the thoughts, if not yet to incorporate them into a theory of The Drones, a project whose urgency has subsided along with the frequency of drone attacks1: thus the “possibly late” part of the reply tweet.
Daniel Silliman, in his post “Beyond theodicy, in the days after Sandy Hook,” tries to remind us that people of faith generally responded to the Sandy Hook killings in other ways than by turning the victims into messages from a vengeful God. After collecting statements from Christians other than Mike Huckabee and Bryan Fischer, Silliman offers his own faith-inspired perspective:
Still, the only place to start, the only acceptably human place to start, with any theological response [to] dead children, has to be in mourning. Has to be in solidarity with the suffering. Unlike those who rush to God’s defense, and in doing make claims for the divine rationality of such irrationality, the Godly sense of such violence, most of the ministers wrestling with how to respond to the sort of overwhelming despair that comes with such tragedies did try to start with empathy, whether that was enough or not.
As for the aforementioned Huckabee and Fischer, Silliman links one article each, but my attention was drawn to the one on Huckabee, in part because he is a much more mainstream figure. I think the piece, by Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon, is the kind of thing that’s just about exactly, or anyway symmetrically, as bad for the liberal left as crank theodicy is for the socially conservative right.