Even within the bio and the “about” page at his Common Wonders website, Robert Koehler, columnist for the Chicago Tribune asks the deeper questions. Pointing out that we are a society “geared toward weeding out” by implication-- humans, via accolades and awards that claim superior accomplishments competitively earned in a process that necessarily excludes others. As an alternative, Koehler speaks of his life mission unmasked—that of “undoing the mythology of violence.”
He is troubled by the 24/7 mainstream media “that flushes through our lives, peddling horror and fear as though they were… sex. News and ‘entertainment’ have lost much of their reflective component and become almost purely reactive.” “Violence,” he astutely asserts, “is an industry, shrouded in mythology and consensus. We’re stuck with it apparently. To my mind, working to undo the mythology of violence is the most responsible act a writer can commit.”
In the 3rd edition of “Words and Violence” Bob brought us “Bugsplat” an essay where he examined the Pentagon’s name for a program that calculates collateral damage—the predicted number of civilian deaths in any military action. It’s an op-ed question about the dehumanization inherent in wars waged against humans: http://voiceseducation.org/content/project-bugsplat
Calling himself a “peace journo,” Koehler helps us to roll backward reflectively instead of catapult forward mindlessly so that we may widen the lens of our view to encompass all humanity, grasp the planet and examine our contribution to this collective called “the world.” For the 4th edition of “Words and Violence and its theme about “Bullying the Planet,” Koehler offers us a trilogy that expands the landscape even further with those wider and fuller questions that pull us deeper into the region where all thought and action originates—the neighborhood of the soul.
Robert has given us permission to reprint a trilogy of his works for this 4th edition of “Words and Violence.” It was hard to pick just 3 from his repertoire of thought-provoking existential questions for humanity masquerading as essays.
~B. Kaufmann, Editor