“I’ve had all I can stand”: The Joseph Stack letter

They’re still digging out the rubble from where Joseph Stack crashed his plane into the IRS building in Austin, TX. And they’re still poring over the letter he allegedly wrote that appeared on his website earlier today, where he detailed the “American nightmare” of economic marginalization he’d endured across the last quarter-century.  It’s fascinating to watch the web try to make sense of Stack’s own words. Some of the more specious debate centers on whether the man was a right-wing nut or a left-wing nut; another line of ‘analysis’ is aimed at trying to decide whether or not he was a terrorist. As if we even know what that term means:  “causes terror” is a little too broad, yet anything less than that, and one’s own ideological prejudices come into play.

Which is, I suppose, the point.  We’re so eager to categorize everything into our taxonomy of preconceptions that most of us never even wonder just how logical that taxonomy is in the first place.  Stack will be called ‘insane’ and ‘mad’, and he clearly was:  but his so-called rant threw a lot of issues into sharp and uncomfortable relief.  At a time when the labels of Left vs. Right are ever more useless for describing the contemporary United States in objective terms, Stack is the anomaly.  And the greater tragedy is that we’ll be seeing a lot more of his ilk:  the way in which those forced to the brink by an unravelling social order articulate their predicament is far more likely to resemble Stack’s primal cry of rage than any politician’s manifesto.  Labelling something means you no longer need to think about it.   In the age of the web’s firehose-blast of information, that’s ever more important in allowing us to handle tomorrow the same way we handled yesterday.

2 Responses to ““I’ve had all I can stand”: The Joseph Stack letter”

  1. Brian Says:

    Insanity doesn’t negate validity.

    Terrorism doesn’t negate validity.

    (And it’s only called terrorism because it didn’t come by way of the MIC and it’s easy to rally the troops around the word. A word that’s caused us more harm and less solutions than anything else we’ve ever done to our republic.)

  2. Mirik Says:

    Very well said, sir.

    It’s scary how our ‘talking point’ culture of fast-food, fast-news and fast-fear/fast-euphoria is distorting reality of practical life.

    Examples of false talking points;

    Dietary hype; zero calories, anti-oxidants, etc.
    Political hype; terrorists, patriots, right/left, global warming? but it’s cold!
    Christian hype; teach the controversy, we aren’t monkeys

    Those few words are the ‘all you need to know’ on the respective subject to be informed according to the average standard. It is scary!

    I feel it’s all some corporate marketing line to sell a product and make some (already rich) folks very rich. Feels like slavery never went anywhere, just stopped being exclusive to the unfortunate blacks. “Slavery evolved”, maybe.