The Needle Returns To The Start Of The Song And We All Sing Along Like Before

The same cycle of news, analysis and meta-analysis, and nothing changes

Hideous news from Las Vegas. It’s the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States.

Reading the coverage and the commentary, I’m reminded of the song ‘Nothing Ever Happens‘ by the Scottish band Del Amitri.

The song is 28 years old now.  Some of the lyrics I find too simplistic, like a sixth former berating the world (“Ignorant people sleep in their beds, like the doped white mice in the college lab”). But in other ways it feels contemporary:

Nothing ever happens / Nothing happens at all / The needle returns to the start of the song and we all sing along like before

Some times it is ISIS. Sometimes it’s the Far Right. Every time something like this happens, we trot out the same analyses.  In recent years, we do not even have to go to the trouble of actually writing anything new: we just share an old blog post we wrote after the last one, or share a pre-written tweet like this one.

Or this hardy perennial:

The needle returns to the start of the song and we all sing along like before. At least now the song is at a quicker tempo and our discussions are marginally more sophisticated.  There was a time when it would take days for someone to point out the differences between how Muslim terrorism and white terrorism is covered by the media. Now it happens within minutes of the ethnicity of the shooter being identified.

After the Charlie Hebdo massacre I wrote about the ritual of condemnation: politicians have evolved very specific way of responding to terrorist attacks. They know they have to say the same thing after each one, lest they be accused of belittling the crime or disrespecting the dead.

Even this kind of blog post, the one you are reading now, is recycled. The points I make here might usually be termed ‘third-day’ analysis—commentary on the commentary of the news. And yet I am able to post this just a few hours after the atrocity has happened. This is because I originally drafted this post after the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016, but never quite manage to finish writing it. So these paragraphs have sat in my blog ‘drafts’ section for many months, waiting for another outrage to hit us. As certain as a seasonal storm.

Update

Or to put it another way:

2 thoughts on “The Needle Returns To The Start Of The Song And We All Sing Along Like Before”

  1. There is a difference between Muslim terrorism and lone wolf terrorism, lone wolf terrorism stems from an individual’s personal mental defectiveness, whereas Muslim terrorism is based on a shared mental defectiveness (a.k.a. a literalist belief in and support for some rather fuzzy medievalist inspired theocratic delusion of restoring the ‘Caliphate’). That previously unthreatening lone wolf attackers choose to kill due to their delusional mental defectiveness is scary, but that millions of otherwise unthreatening people support the principle of delusional mental defectiveness, even if only a small number of them are carrying out the frequent killings, is even scarier.

    1. I disagree with this. The White Supremacist ideology is just as lityeralist, just as fuzzy. Its not medieval, but certainly antiquated. And there are worse words than ‘Caliphate’ to describe the state of dominance over other people, that they once enjoyed would like to restore.

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