Firefighter. Photo by Nick Perla on Flickr
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A great metaphor for a society that has turned upside-down: An arsonist becomes chief of a fire department (real news story)

Here is a weird coincidence, and I’m not sure whether it’s funny or sad. In November I published an article on the “Firefighter Effect” in International Political Anthropology and I argued that this world was actively promoting a reversal of values at global scale (e.g. healing vs killing, protection vs aggression etc.).

My paper was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s 451 Fahrenheit, a dystopian sci-fi novella where the Government orders firefighters to burn all the books in the world. Firefighters turn into arsonists, just as today we see medical doctors turning into serial killers and police turning into criminal gangs.

About a month later, a story appeared in the Washington Post about a man who had been convicted of arson and was recently named chief of a fire department in Illinois. Accordingly, 10 out of 13 firefighters resigned in protest. Reality is stranger than fiction.

Here is the original link in the Washington Post. And here is a link to my paper on the “Firefighter Effect”.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful 2022, everyone!

(Photo CC: Nick Perla on Flickr)

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