That Saga #17 Line Revisited – The Opposite Of War Is…
By Alex Wilson
The gruesome mentality and action of war is, at the root, instinctual. What is the purpose of war? Some might argue to protect homeland, family, and a way of life. Others would argue war exists to further ideals into those who do not share them. The purpose of war, like so many things in this ever-tenuous world we live in, seems to be in the eye of the beholder.
Then what exists as the opposite of war? The obvious and most bolded answer would be peace. War, though, like peace, exist as tenuous terms. The old adage of one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter comes to mind. This state of conflict, again seems to be in the eye of the beholder so if war were to be boiled down to one core idea what would it be?
The late Jonathan Larson wrote in his award winning musical Rent "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation."
Larson seems to classify war as destruction, the opposite of which being creation. This doesn't seem like a far-fetched idea. Destruction seems at least to be a guiding overtone when the mind conjures up images of war. In particular, my mind drums up memories of photos depicting war torn Paris during the Nazi occupation. A truly desolate wasteland of destruction presents itself to the popular culture, doing so through video games, Hollywood movies, and in the shared collective identity of us all.
I think many people can identify with this assertion because it feels the most human, the most insightful. The opposite of war not being peace but destruction contains a poetic quality, becoming more apparent when you learn the idea comes from musical theater.
Brian K. Vaughn, the writer behind Y: The Last Man, and more recently Saga, poses a different counter balance to war. An idea universally present in war is inflicting pain, to do so for homeland, family, and even a way of life. These motivations exist as justifications but war does not bring about democracy, freedom, or independence. No, these noble endeavors come only after the fighting is done and the pain has stopped. The democracy and freedom or new regimes scab over the pain, leaving scars of conflict. The purpose of war, it seems, is to beat an opponent into submission.
Vaughn asserts in the 17th issue of Saga that the opposite of war is not peace, nor creation, but "fucking." Some might find the difference between creation and fucking to be a trivial one but I feel the choice of language is more deliberate. Creation obviously implies creating or making, taking something that didn't exist before and throwing it into the world. Fucking, on the other hand, appears to have a different intention. The act of fucking, as known in our more modern vernacular, is to inflict pleasure, on one's self or another, or several others. Oh course, fucking can lead to creation but, again, creation comes after the fucking is done.
Fucking stands different than the term "lovemaking" as lovemaking directs the mind towards a duo, a couple which cares deeply for each other. War, as presented in Saga, is chaotic, senseless, and does not care who it harms. Fucking, like the idea of war presented, is, more or less, blind like war, regarding not who pleasure is inflicted on but simply that it is.
Alex Wilson dropped out of cub scouts at an early age after he refused to sell popcorn for "the man." Since then his life has entered into a downward spiral. He lives in the sinful world of comic books, folk punk, and seedy tattoo shops. You can find him bare knuckle boxing to pay his rent or tweeting about Teen Wolf on his Twitter, @mralexwilson.