Coded gray.

Thursday 13 September 2001

Comic book

Pic of the day: "Vektere" - the Norwegian translation of Watchmen. The original version is also still available, now in collection. Why did I think of that today?

Millenium, by Veidt

I listened to the regular news, and heard that NATO and Russia had made a joint declaration to stand united against the terrorists. And suddenly there was this flashback to near the end of Watchmen.

Watchmen, by Alan Moore, is by many considered the masterpiece of superhero comics. It is a limited series, which can now be bought in one book. It is very different from your usual superhero comic, like Superman or Gen13. It takes place in a world similar to ours but not quite the same ... it seems to have slowly drifted apart from ours some generations ago. There are superheroes, except they are not really super and not really heroes either ... just some guys who love to go in colored tights and look important. Well, mostly.

There is one bona fide superbeing, a guy who came back from the dead with some amazing powers ... but without most of his humanity. And there is another, one of the greatest geniuses of all time ... but with a very different conscience. It goes downhill from there, but in a fascinating way. The book probably leaves more questions than it answers.

If you haven't read it, I recommend finding it at your local comics store. Or if you can't, ask your nearest comic geek about it. (Not the collector, but someone who reads and loves comics.) I am sure he will evangelize about it, and you may even be allowed to read his copy if you promise not to take it out of his house. When you have read it, you will understand my reaction today, and the title of today's entry. And you will be deeply, deeply disturbed. Actually, you should only read it if you have a stable, healthy mind. But I guess the same goes for my journal, at times.


Friday has been declared a day of mourning in the European Union. Here in Norway, there have been memorial church services tonight. But even most of America's traditional enemies have condemned the attack and offered whatever assistance they may give. The live sight of New York in flames, of thousands of dead, have pulled the world together.

The process of unification is not entirely new. I think something happeend to us who were children in the 1960es, when we saw Earth from outside. So small and vulnerable, and without the border lines and color codes of our maps. Later, television has brought the world into so many homes. And now the Internet has brought the homes to us, too.

Norway and Denmark used to be at war with Sweden on and off for several centuries. But when the age of railroads and telegraph came, things changed. Today a war with Sweden would be meaningless. No one would support it, or even consider it anything more than a joke. We know each other too well.

On the other hand, we have the former Yugoslavia, where people knew each other so well as to be neighbors, or coworkers, or student and teacher ... and still killed each other. I personally take this to mean that a unity of nations cannot be forced, but has to move at its own speed, a natural process.

And so I wonder: This pulling together in the face of a man-made tragedy, is it the beginning of a final unity? Or is it just a short respite before something worse? To keep in line with the end of the Watchmen book: It may be in our own hand.

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