NEW YORK – Social media hyperventilated as if all the chicken had vanished from Qdoba, Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Pancheros; descended as a giant 30-feet tall piñata in the shape of an inflated chicken with a golden coiffure, near the White House. It looked like an ‘angry bird’ alright, with furrowed brows, but was meant as a political jab at President Donald, who was not in town to relish his new fat birdy doppelgänger, anyway.
The man behind the stunt, which incidentally, required prior permission from the Secret Service, and was stationed at a park between the White House and the Washington Monument, is an Indian American political activist and filmmaker from Laredo, California, Taran Singh Brar.
Brar, basking in the media limelight, lambasted Trump, terming him as “weak”, and “afraid”; sermonized: “We are out here to criticize our president for being weak and ineffective as a leader.” He added for good measure, as if to wake up a world in slumber and still hibernating in deep sleep for the last couple of years: “He’s too afraid to release his tax returns, too afraid to stand up to Vladimir Putin, and playing chicken with North Korea.”
‘Chicken Don’, as he was termed, didn’t last too long though, to launch any fusillades: he lost air within two days, turned into crumpled, messy looking, deflated piece of plastic on the park grounds.
Brar isn’t finished though, as The New York Times reported. His next project: a mock military parade in Washington with dozens of Chicken Dons dressed in “Russian armaments.”
But here’s why stunts like the one pulled by Brar doesn’t quite brings the laughs and the rib-tickling comedy routine anymore, seems stunted in purpose and objective: the world is turning dark, sinister, with shadows of war emerging, lengthening like never before, this millennium.
Even when the US declared war against Iraq and then turned its sights on terrorist foes in Afghanistan, and ISIS, it never really counted as a war: it was more like effort to mow tall grass, tame it into a manicured lawn. It never really was a battle; unless you like the idea of unassailable fighter jets sending enough firepower down to make mashed potatoes out of folks running helter-skelter, stationary objects blown to oblivion. Those scenarios can be played out in the comfort of your TV console too.
War is when North Korea seems hell-bent on proving a point to the world about sending a nuke missile or two, to Guam or Alaska; becomes terrifying when you read that Trump is now in possession of the nuclear codes; South Korea and Japan get jittery, to the point of making the first unwise chess move.
War is when Russia starts to maneuver its biggest military exercises on borders with NATO; Germany and France warn Russia of any nefarious designs on Belarus; and US and Russia play a game of expelling diplomats; war is when US diplomats are hurt on Cuban soil; when Iran and Israel make increasingly hostile gestures to each other, threaten war; when tiny Doklam between India and China is on the verge of turning into an all-out war for terrain; Pakistan attacks India, in the guise of backing China.
War is when there’s economic misery, as the US and the world found out to their chagrin after the 9/11 attacks. With the escalation of tension with North Korea, after weeks of gains, the Dow backed down, nervous ticks appearing on its upward curve as realization of consequences sank in; ominous warnings emerge of a housing, tech and stock market bubble burst; fear spreads of tiny rumbles and cracks, which may suddenly crack open the verdant ground, suck up the happy world above, drain it of its vitality and energy.
War is also when there’s substance abuse gone out of control domestically; growing opioid addiction crisis which threaten to crush America’s young and its future – alcoholism which is sharply up among women and minorities, according to a new study; sleeper cells become active, home-grown terrorist cells emerge from their dormant status, as the FBI and the CIA turn their attention to fighting the president, not foes.
Mr. Brar, thank you for helping some tourists take selfies with Chicken Don. Really, nothing much accomplished, you know.
(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: email@example.com Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)