What Is Wrong With You People?

I understand very, very little about the political implications of the Benazir Bhutto assassination. I’m of the general opinion that killing people is bad, and that murdering her and a dozen or so other individuals is pretty much just staggeringly fucked up. I just don’t know what to say beyond that. What I do understand well enough to talk about is the “what the hell is wrong with you people” factor of Time and CNN.

Time’s obituary for Bhutto uses the tagline

Almost an iconic figure in the West, the Pakistani politician never truly figured out how to exercise her power

What the hell does that even mean? I really want to unpack just that phrase, but I find it so convoluted, and in the context of a woman who was just murdered, more than a little victim-blaming. She never really figured it out? Like, she was just kinda slow on the uptake on how this “power” thing worked? Not that, you know, her power was seriously limited by the presence of people around her who were willing to go so far as to kill her in order to prevent her from “exercising” it.

And here’s the phrase from the obituary that fills me with boiling rage (emphasis mine):

However, in the final analysis, her career was an almost tawdry cycle of exile, house arrest, ascent into power and dismissal, much sound and fury and signifying little.

It’s like the American news media just has to see things as soap operas. Like their/our brains have been so addled by casual entertainment that exile and house arrest, the constant presence of violence (having seen multiple family members executed or murdered), threats, rampant misogyny and innumerable other insanities have to be slotted in to a narrative style that makes such things trite. Tawdry. Ho-hum. I saw that on Days last year–couldn’t you people write a better storyline? Exile went out with Napoleon.

Not to mention that again, there is some serious victim-blaming going on here. As though she actively engineered such a tawdry career. The woman was just murdered, and already we have to talk about why she wasn’t good enough, why she didn’t do enough, how all she could do was act as a figure, an icon. Sound and fury.

Well, this is a tale told by an idiot.


2 thoughts on “What Is Wrong With You People?

  1. izzy99 says:

    I rather ignored this headline news. Had no idea who Bhutto was, nor that she is female. Will go read about it now that I read this. I must say hearing Pakistan, I immediately think: GWB’s clan involvement in the assassination.

  2. purtek says:

    Re: involvement. I have no idea. The politics are so complicated, and so invested with personalities and history, that I just can’t begin to theorize on the issue. Obviously, those are questions that have to be asked–it’s an assassination–but my brain shuts down when the asking begins, because the information is not yet specific enough, nor is it in the realm of my place in the world to be able to access what information would be necessary.

    I remember learning Bhutto’s name via a Trivial Pursuit game when I was ten. I looked her up right after that. This is how I’ve learned many things in my life, actually.

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