A week of reading the mutual threats of Donald Trump and Kim Jung-un have convinced me that a song excluded by Randy Newman from his recent album “Dark Matters” should be dusted down and released as a single, which would surely rise immediately to the top of the world charts:
My dick’s bigger than your dick / It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true / My dick’s bigger than your dick / I can prove it too / There it is! There’s my dick / Isn’t that a wonderful sight? / Run to the village, to town, to the countryside / Tell the people what you’ve seen here tonight. CHORUS: What a dick! What a dick! What a dick!
Newman excluded it on grounds of its vulgarity, but it remains a beacon of discretion when compared with the traded insults of the two great leaders. The North Korean people at least have an excuse for being ruled by a nutter in that he is a ruthless dictator who’s not about to ask their permission, whereas the USA actually chose its nutter. This suggests that the nuttiness coefficient of the US population is higher than that of the North Korean.
The tendency of the North Korean leadership to magnify any of their pathetic achievements – they have never succeeded in feeding their population for example- would be comic if they weren’t messing about with stuff that could make Hiroshima look like a smack on the wrist. As it is millions of North Koreans bow down before the splendour of their huge shiny penile weapon. The USA is more sophisticated of course, merely promising to unveil fire and fury of a size never before witnessed in the world. The sooner the white vans arrive to remove these leaders to institutions where they will be well looked after, the better. Because if they are in charge too long there may be no vans, no institutions, no people, no life.
Well not quite no life, as I’ve learned from the public discussions about who or what might survive a nuclear war. Here it’s also clear that size matters: only the smallest of creatures have much chance of eating breakast the day after a nuclear attack. Connoisseurs of this topic know that the common cockroach is often said to be ideally suited to survival due to its tolerance of radiation, but recent thinking favours the Tardigrade or Water Bear, a minute creature 2mm in length that can survive all extreme events – flatten it, eat it, freeze it, boil it, irradiate it, it always comes back smiling. Then again, animals however small are nothing like as perfect survivors as bacteria, which due to the speed with which they can share their genes, are able to adapt with astonsihing speed to almost any environment. Such humble creatures with their ability to absorb punishment and gift of communal adaptation are much more likely to survive disaster than complicated macro-organisms like homo sapiens.
Amongst human beings of course, presidents and prime ministers however stupid and culpable are much more likely to survive nuclear conflict than the most intelligent and moral citizen, hidden as they will be in protective bunkers. It seems to me an elementary requirement of living with nuclear weapons, that those who can decide to use them should be sure that they will have no special protection at all. That might concentrate their minds.
Jesus advised his followers to become small, like children, if they wanted the best life. He taught them that although in the way of the world, leaders lorded it over their subjects, they must have very different communities in which the true leaders were servants to the rest. This strand of Jesus’ teaching is not unimportant, as it was his readness to identify with the small people of his society that so aroused the enmity of the big battalions who got rid of him. He would have known the critical words of the prophet Zechariah about the rebuilding of the ruined temple: “not by might or power but by my spirit,” says the Lord, along with the prophet’s question about the tentative beginnings of restoration, “who can despise the day of small things?”
The day of small things may be the day of the tardigrade and the microbes who survive the nuclear war unleashed by leaders who wanted to prove theirs was bigger than his.