Ninety-eight years ago on this very day the so-called Great War (aka, the World War, aka the First World War) “broke out,” as wars are said to do. How did this misfortune come about? Through an unstoppable cascade of double-dog dares, to wit:
A Serbian nationalist assassinated an Austrian (aka, Austro-Hungarian) duke;
The Austrians (aka, Austro-Hungarians) demanded some stuff from the Serbians for reparations;
The Serbians said, No way, man;
The Austrians (aka, Austro-Hungarians) said, You don’t give over, we’re going to attack;
The Serbians said, So attack, we double-dog dare you;
The Russians said to the Austrians (aka, Austro-Hungarians), We be friends with the Serbians and if you be attacking them, we be attacking you;
The Austrians (aka, Austro-Hungarians) said, So attack, we double-dog dare you;
The Germans said to the Russians, We be friends with the Austrians (aka, Austro-Hungarians, though we prefer the Austrians) and if you be attacking them, we be attacking you;
The Russians said, So attack, we double-dog dare you;
The French said to the Germans, We be friends with the Russians, since their dukes and duchesses and stuff all speak French, and if you be attacking them, we be attacking you;
The Germans said, So attack, we double-dog dare you;
The British, who more or less wanted to stay out of things–or, truth be told, wanted to play all these other folks off against each other so they could scoop up the pieces–said, We don’t really have a dog in this fight, but we do be friends with the Belgians so if anyone (and Germans, we mean you) thinks to march through Belgium to get to, oh, let’s say France, perchance, well, you see, it would be a terrible bother, but we can’t see how we would have any choice other really, than to come to their aid, what with it being impolite to do otherwise;
To which the Germans said, We double-dog dare you, you irrelevant English swine (which was fisticuffs-provoking insult to those British who were not English).
All the double-dog dares being in place and ignored, the attacks and counterattacks and countercounterattacks and countercountercounterattacks ad nauseam began and forty million (40,000,000) dead people later they ended. Along the way, Japan and the United States entered the war, also as part of the double-dog-dare cascade, to wit:
Japan saw an opportunity to pitch in with the what were called Allies and scoop up German territories in the Pacific. They double-dog dared the Germans to try and stop them, to which the Germans muttered, We cannot stop you, all our dogs are in other fights.
The United States just wanted to make money and when the Germans started fucking with the money-maker by sinking United Stateser ships, the United States said, Stop it or we’ll pitch in with the what are called Allies and we will show you a thing or two.
The Germans said, You are degenerate Americans and we double-dog dare you.
So the degenerate Americans from the United States Thereof pitched in and the what were called Allies won and the decline of Western Civilization, which began on this date ninety-eight years ago, continued apace, with the American Empire coming along after yet a second world war (they couldn’t get it right the first time?) to shine and burn brightly as the final efflorescence of what for a half-millennium had been a powerful civilization pretty full of itself but quickly at its end going to the dogs.