Don’t believe anything? Why would you? You’re a cyborg. Donna Haraway, described at times as a feminist primatologist, now Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness program at UC Santa Cruz, wrote a famous article about how our identities need no longer be slaves to history or past myth, rendering us freer than the old human species: cyborgs.
Although the idea offered a great deal of empowerment in the early-to-middle decades of postmodernity, she was obviously a premature ahistorian, as was the sloppy Francis Fukuyama. The difference with FF was that his declaration was triumphalist rather than empowering. It was meant to disempower the collapsed communist bloc through gloating, so that their betters might dictate the terms of their next incarnation. The gloating was unwarranted at best, at worst willfully ignorant.
There’s a lyric from the Beatles’ Abbey Road album, from a track about a scientist who is victimized by a serial killer: “Joan was quizzical, studied ‘pataphysical science in the home.” ‘Pataphysics, for those unaware, is the science of imaginary solutions. It was created by a unique artist, writer, and cycling enthusiast working in the late 19th Century, Alfred Jarry. The aesthetic descendant of Russian absurdists and pre-cursor to the DADAists and Surrealists, his most famous character is Pere Ubu, which inspired the name of the David Thomas post-punk band. His most famous play, Ubu Roi (King Ubu), sets the Ubu character’s grotesquely omnivorous id to navigating the palace intrigue and battlefield horror of a chaotic history play ending with Pere and Mere Ubu escaping in a ship that happens to pass near the kingdom where Prince Hamlet met his fate.
If any character from literature embodies the myriad flaws of the United States 45th and most impeached and indicted President, it is Pere Ubu. DADA and MAGA were sired by the same type of father: a bloviating, voluminous, avaricious, and rapacious thing never meant by the Heavens to reproduce, let alone breathe life into a movement.
If ‘pataphysics is the science of imaginary solutions, MAGAphysics is the cult of imaginary problems. This raises an obvious question. If DADA, operating according to ‘pataphysical laws, and MAGA, slobbering and spasming under the force of MAGAphysics, were to have a fight, who would win?
The first round begins as a traditional boxing match. DADA, in this corner, is clad in traditional boxing trunks and gloves, and wears the traditional mouth guard. She intends to subvert these traditions as the fight progresses, but one cannot thus subvert without illustrating the staid conventions one intends to deconstruct, thus giving both the fighter and the crowd stable ground from which to launch themselves into space, or anti-space, as circumstances develop. The difference is that all her boxing gear is made of cheese. That fromage of Alsace: Munster cheese.
In that corner, MAGA. She wears no mouth guard, as she believes they cause one’s saliva to build up in the mouth to toxic levels, weakening one’s punches and maneuverability and causing tooth decay. Big toothpaste has pushed the mouthguard on athletes, she says. She wears no hightop boxing boots nor padded gloves, nor any foot nor hand covering. She has decided unilaterally to invent the sport of mixed martial arts, although she lacks training in even one martial art. And in the octagon, which this square boxing ring is emphatically not, fighters wear no gear on their hands and feet. Not even of the fromaginary genus.
A bell signals the beginning of the bout. Bouncing on the balls of their feet to indicate readiness to evade blows, the fighters dance toward each other. MAGA makes two low-effort feints with her right. DADA answers with similar motions. Now MAGA lunges with a roundhouse left to DADA’s face! DADA’s face comes off, spring loaded, smacking MAGA in her own surprised mug. DADA’s gloves launch themselves on cartoon springs into the surprised MAGA’s face and chest. Other parts of DADA’s grotesque form – her breasts, her knees, her belly – all launch themselves on springs at their opponent, pummeling her torso and physiognomy.
MAGA staggers on rubber-band legs, the first creative effort at metaphorical movement she’s attempted so far. But it may be too late. She falls against the ropes, keeping herself from sinking to the mat with her arms hooked over the top rope as if supported by a cut man on one side and a coach, Burgess Meredith, on the other. Very evocative and bathetic.
Now four-and-twenty crows fly out from inside DADA’s open body, pecking MAGA’s eyes and mouth and pulling at her hair. The crowd goes wild. MAGA’s blood spurts out of her eye sockets like fountain jets. The blood turns to little MAGA corpses in the air, falling to the mat like hail. The little corpses rain down, their pitter-pats as they hit the mat so numerous they can be heard above the cheering crowd. For a solid minute the transformation of blood into corpses that could fit in your hand continues to shower the ring with tiny deaths.
The cheering of the crowd fades as the grim vision before them starts to evoke less sportsmanlike scenes. MAGA falls to the mat, utterly defeated and dead. All is silent now except for the celebratory howling of jackals.
DADA’s hand is taken by the referee, who is a great blue flamingo. The announcer’s microphone descends from the ceiling. The announcer, a steampunk robot made of mechanical parts from century-old farm equipment, declares DADA the winner of the fight by almost instantaneous murder. “How does it feel, DADA, to have won this historic fight so easily?”
DADA speaks, “All is despair and decay. I’m going to Disneyland. Syphilis returns to bite us in the balloons. Whom do we blame and whom praise? What truth is there when all stories, true and false, must compete for clicks and coins on the Golgotha of ever-present high-resolution mushrooms and donkeys kong? If the Passion be considered as an uphill bicycle race, cannot the cross be borne and reborn as a tale told by an idiot, or even as a science video narrated by Neil DeGrasse Tyson? And who shall lay the pipes? And once laid, who shall pay the piper? And once paid, who shall lay the plumber? And once plumbed, who shall pay the abyss? The abyss looks into your accounts and finds you double-cooking the books. And we all shall pay. So why not make it worth the paper we no longer need print on? All is nothing; nothing, all.”
By now the entire arena, walls fallen, is one vast landscape of corpses, from horizon to horizon, picked at by crows and hyenas, who have massacred the jackals. Above the ground, the arms and legs of many of the dead dangle over high-tension wires and sway in the hollow wind. The walrus and the carpenter face the setting sun from the shore of the dying Earth. They are the last to breathe. The soup is done. But there is no one left to dunk the bread.
I was fascinated to read in a social media post that Biden had shown no evidence of mental decline throughout his term in office. Had my eyes and ears deceived me? Was he not having more trouble than in the past following complex sentences and ideas to a comprehensible end? Had he not, during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, tried to encourage a recently deceased colleague to rise from the audience and be recognized? Was he not slower and less confident than even at the beginning of his term?
Had he not been falling down more than a person with full cognition and coordination would be expected to? A fake showed him bumping his way face-down the full length of the Air Force One debarkation stairway, leaping to his feet at the bottom none the worse for wear. The right wing has collected all his real stumbles and tumbles with Shapiro and Carlson voiceovers mocking him, whereas I’m sure Trump would’ve burst like the sewage-filled balloon that he is on contact with the ground, but are falls themselves something we should complacently accept? The public’s perception is important, as the public has been vouchsafed the key task of voting. If they worry, I worry about them worrying.
The last president who fell a lot, Gerald Ford, ended up pardoning Richard Nixon, an act of abject mendacity that has redounded to crisis proportions in the present day. I’m not saying there was a direct relation between Ford’s falling and his utter paucity of moral, ethical, and civic judgment, but even not having sustained a brain concussion, an elder person’s tendency to fall can both indicate and exacerbate cognitive debility.
Should one dare ask these questions, one is not only barraged with rationalizations, but accusations of agism and ablism on top of it all. So be prepared for that. I wasn’t. For some reason the lessons of 2016 and its aftermath had faded into the vanishing point of my rearview. I forgot how practiced doctrinaire Democrats are at denying reality. They’re almost a good at it as GOP supporters and fossil fuel cheerleaders.
I had forgotten how Hillary had infused them with self-delusion, leading by example: having sabotaged her own chance to win in three key swing states with her refusal to heed her campaign staff on the ground in those localities, she had limped off into the woods to contemplate her humiliation by a cheaply spray-tanned demagogue, and emerged blaming Bernie Sanders and his followers, failing the tough test of self-awareness. She tended to elide the internalized misogyny of white women, who voted for Trump in numbers far greater than reason would allow, unless one’s reason included the ability to think critically about oneself, and she had plenty of enablers among her Hill-pilled pundits.
Assuredly, both racism and misogyny contributed to Trump’s win, but those two diseases were always going to play a large role. It didn’t take a Ta-Hanesi Coates or a Rachel Maddow to figure that out. Only Hillary could have brought her supporters the introspective self-criticism they would listen to, and she demurred. She didn’t feel like it. She opted instead for explanations that cost her nothing but historical accuracy. Identity politics allowed her to strike her own deficits out of the historical record.
The spray-tanned stupor villain bets on the other side of the identity politics coin. Nationalist white, anti-left, respectably racist, and proudly deplorable are all identities, too. We now have the great luxury of naming them, more succinctly, MAGA. It’s possible, as the 2020 win of Joe Biden might indicate, to sway and peel off the less left-phobic members of that group, at least the ones in Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, to name some of the obvious so-called purple states.
Regarding that manifestation, expect to hear how great Biden is for the working class. Now, if I couldn’t admit that his regime is substantially more union-friendly than Trump’s, I’d be writing off the advantages to labor, not insignificant, of living under a far more union-friendly National Labor Relations Board. But be on your guard, for should you appear vulnerable enough to acknowledge that fact, you’ll also be flogged with pro-Biden propaganda that beatifies him with far more credit than is due.
To the majority of the labor-conscious public, Biden’s most memorable action in relation to unions was subverting the strike power of the railroad workers last December. He quite patronizingly “helped” them get the deal that was mostly the one management had favored and the unions had rejected. Then in May he took credit for getting them the sick days they’d been unable to bargain for, sick days the unions nevertheless had had to continually to beat the drum for in the interim thanks to Biden’s own interference in the first place. Further, not enough if any credit is given for helping win the sick days to the across-the-aisle effort of two Senators, one a Republican and the other an Independent who caucuses with the Dems, Mike Braun of Indiana and Hillary’s scapegoat, Bernie Sanders, respectively. But it’s natural for the Biden White House to spin it as a Biden victory, if only as bleach to remove the stain of forcing the railway unions to capitulate to management last December.
Also swept away like worthless crumbs off the bargaining table, amid all the Dems’ rhetoric of helping the workers, was a repeal of Trump’s actions, on behalf of the railroad owners, that allowed them to fire a full one quarter of their workforce in 2016. Such a repeal would have brought back regulations to make hours and workloads more humanly manageable – and by most understandings could have prevented the toxic freight disaster in East Palestine, Ohio.
But the Dems’ give-with-one-hand, take-with-the-other approach doesn’t negate the reality that Biden’s NLRB makes better soil for the seeds of a labor resurgence to germinate in than Trump and his overt fascists did, or would do again if we’re terribly unlucky. Biden’s mealy mouth is a far cry from the iron fist with which Reagan clobbered the air traffic controllers in a key moment in the right’s project of turning working class proto-MAGA sentiment against unions. Another Trumptatorship would only set the stage for labor to be bludgeoned backwards even further. So, when responding to blue-pilled Dems, if for some reason you want to remain on good terms, that’s one point on which you can justify, cautiously, with reservations, giving ground: Biden would be tangibly better for labor than Trump.
I admit that I plan on voting for Biden in order to prevent a return of Trump or anyone like him to office, because we may be seeing the beginnings of a labor movement rebirth and I believe Biden and the Dems will present weaker barriers to overcome. Yes, that’s voting for the lesser of two evils. Well, I prefer lesser evil to greater evil, go figure. I also think handing MAGAts any form of victory is to be avoided for myriad reasons. I don’t want them to feel bold. I don’t want them to feel good about themselves. It makes them think they can subvert elections with intimidation and violence.
I do worry about Biden running again, if only because the pubic seem worried about him running again and I fear a self-fulfilling prophecy situation. And anyone who isn’t worried about Biden being too old or possibly in mental decline is in the fog of the blue-pilled. Anyone not worried that the public worries he’s too old or possibly in mental decline is blue-pilled. Anyone who tells you that what you see is something other than what it looks like is relying on gaslighting the public rather than convincing them with actual evidence. They want us all to view Biden through their blue wave-shaped cataracts. And that worries me, too. For the next year, I want to feel every day, at least for a moment, like Trumpism has no chance. I’m just looking for that single-issue dopamine bump.
But if I were in the habit of giving advice to the DNC, I’d advise replacing Biden with a younger and less worrisome entity. Maybe someone comfortable being more vehemently pro-labor in deed and not just word. And were I to be advising the DNC, a habit I don’t have, I might also suggest, if I thought for a moment they might listen, that they consider replacing themselves.
Everyone okay out there? Have you laid in a supply of necessities, just in case of disaster? All of us here in LA have earthquake bags filled with things that might be in short supply in an emergency: fresh water, water purifiers, first aid kit, matches, dry goods, abortion rights, voting rights, police accountability. The recent earthquake in Morocco, which killed about 3000 by current count as of this writing, brought all this to mind.
Ouarzazate City, if you can call it a city, is the capital of Ouarzazate Province in Morocco. The province is part of the area that most suffered destruction from the earthquake, though less so than neighboring al-Haouz Province, in which the epicenter in the High Atlas Mountains was located. I spent about a month in Ouarzazate thirty-four years ago. These are some memories.
Preceding that I enjoyed my set up in Marrakesh: a rundown shack on the rooftop of a two-story apartment building off Marrakesh’s Jemaa el Fna, run by a matriarch named Mina, which turned out to be a common name for Moroccan matriarchs. But a few annoying run-ins with locals, cops, and, worst of all, tourists led me to seek a less trafficked home base. This was one of those weird years when the Hijri calendar landed the beginning of Ramadan in early April, so I’d already endured a week and a half of the Islamic Holy Month and its effects on Moroccan psyches. Laborers in Marrakesh abstained from food and water from sunup to sundown, and from sex, alcohol, and tobacco all month, around the clock. Not a recipe for a contented working class in a busy city.
I decided to go southwest, over the High Atlas Mountain range, into the Sahara to Ouarzazate. I was told it was far less touristed there and very quiet. In Ouarzazate, the pace of life was supposed to be much more relaxed. Farmers walked almost imperceptibly slowly as they tended their fields. Most of the other business in town took place out of the sun, in shops, cafes, or administrative offices.
It was the year 1989. I arrived in Ouarzazate in mid-April. When I got to town I was immediately greeted by a friendly man who wanted to know where I was from, where I was staying, what was my good name, and what I planned to do there. I had often been greeted this way, and to my surprise it was rarely because anyone had something they wanted to sell me. They might of course have a relationship with a small hotel or restaurant, possibly getting a thirty percent kickback, but the genuine curiosity stemmed from their relationship with the entire rest of the community. Who is this stranger? We’ll be gossiping about him. Is he polite? Is he clean? Is he friendly? Is he a cheapskate?
We ended up sharing a leisurely round of mint tea in his carpet shop, agreeing in the end that we would be friends with no business, as I would neither be lugging nor shipping any carpets, no matter how beautiful. My entire budget for what turned into a two month stay in the Maghreb and Spain – this was 1989, remember – was about $2,300.
On Ramadan, one fasts from the rising of the sun until it sets, though Morocco’s tourist destination status insured that most eateries would be open during the day. I learned how to count in Moroccan Arabic – classical Arabic, closer to what they speak in Egypt, uses a different word for the number “two” – so I could understand when the shopkeepers discussed the prices they planned to charge for things, what the Moroccans themselves were paying, and target my bargaining thus informed.
Living and traveling more amongst the people than most tourists, due to my low budget, I was subject to hostile looks and sometimes even a sarcastic “bon appetit” when caught breaking the fast before sundown. Not wishing to offend, I kept any eating or drinking to my room, when I had one, and often fasted the whole day like a regular Muslim. After sundown, the custom was to have a bowl of soup called “harira,” made with lamb broth, chickpeas, lentils, and aromatic spices. In Ouarzazate, I stayed in a small room in a two story building I suppose might be called a hotel, though amenities were minimal. It was off the main road through town, but behind it was a small, nameless (at least to me) restaurant. The harira there was better than I’d had anywhere else.
One evening I was seated at a table by myself. A man at the table next to mine had an artificial leg plated with the most elaborately embossed or engraved steel I’d ever seen used for such a purpose. In my memory he also had a leather eyepatch with a stitching of wheat-colored thread all around just a couple millimeters in from the edge. He was bearded, as was I. When we were each served our soup, he reached over and handed me a couple of dates.
This wasn’t the first time I’d had a stranger share fruit with me for iftar. It happened at bus stops, on buses, in parks – any public space. I also found myself in conversation with random Arabs and Berbers. Many conversations were in French, which I spoke only haltingly, though by the end of a month I seemed to have become conversationally comprehensible. But just as frequently I was spoken to by an elderly person in Arabic or some Berber dialect without any care that I couldn’t understand what I was being informed or questioned about. Sometimes my interlocutor and I resorted to improvisational sign language.
Everybody was always in everybody else’s business. If an argument broke out between two people, everyone within earshot was instantly part of it. At one point in my travels I companioned with an ethnological linguist named Paul Castella from St. Etienne, France, who had a theory that the communal participation had to do with the Islamic metaphor that we all live inside God, rather than in Christian epistemology where a piece of God lives in each of us.
We met students who attended the high school, the Grande Lycée, there in Ouarzazate, and they introduced me to their teacher whom I was told wanted to discuss Freud and Pasolini with me and of course my professor friend Paul. Eventually we learned the teacher’s curriculum was part of the dramaturgy for the Lycée’s student production of “La Machine Infernale,” Jean Cocteau’s retelling of the story of Oedipus the King.
On opening night of the performance the theater was packed. Paul and I were lucky to get seats. They were in the very back row, up against the windows through which the overflow audience who couldn’t get seats inside watched, squatting on the windowsill or hanging onto the window frames. This was clearly the hottest ticket in the northwest Sahara’s administrative hub. Audience members were vocal, shouting out comments, a wisecrack now and then, to which an actor, sliding out of character, would briefly retort.
In general I was able to follow the story. It helped that I’d read Sophocles’ version and seen Pasolini’s, too. And that it had long ago been injected into the Western theatrical bloodstream. What Cocteau brought to it was out of my reach, except where his stylistic sense influenced the mise-en-scène, I guess.
I visited casbahs and donkey markets, and got as far into the Sahara as the desert town of Merzouga, close to the northern border of Algeria. On a trip to the Todra Gorge I saw an unfinished shell of an apartment building that was named for President Jimmy Carter, who saw to it that US funds were directed to that structure and other housing for the Moroccan people. Reagan no doubt put a stop to that project.
Now, as the death count from the earthquake grows, I remember the people who were so friendly to me despite my being a touristic disappointment.
Many of the outer walls of the buildings and some entire homes were made of the northwest Sahara’s pinkish mud fortified with fibers and sticks. Some buildings I remember, including the one out of which the restaurant operated where the man with the embossed metal leg shared his dates with me, I imagine did not fare well in the quake. The casbah just south of town was hundreds of years old, and made mostly of earth baked under centuries of sun.
Nothing lasts forever, but things I’d assumed were made to last, like a desert fort or the right to an abortion, are crumbling in these latter days. As if the world is sweeping the vulnerable away with more malice than usual. In any case, my heart is with the herb growers, rugmakers, shopkeepers, cooks, bus drivers, innkeepers, ditch diggers, construction workers – all the people of Morocco as this tragedy washes over them, the way events in history always have over all of us.
Garbage seems to follow me everywhere. When you wash your shirt with some weird-colored cocktail napkin in the pocket, and for the next week you find little magenta dreadlocks in different pants pockets and socks. It’s the sneaky rightwing libertarian agenda disguised as neutrality and objectivity. And it is an infestation of crawling, nibbling, chittering vermin.
I started writing SuperTruth® items for this show as a way to comment on the mishmash of half-truths, misleading distortions, and flat out lies that have become the cultural currency of the steroidally pro-capitalist, regressive “sovereign citizen” movement. This movement, by my mapping, has given us such malignancies as anti-union Right to Work laws, the Clinton deregulation of media trusts, and the Tea Party lunatics, which have bled into diverse policy failures like Obama’s refusal to put a public option to health insurance on the table, usurious credit card interest rates, and the Golem of securities-dicing and debt-bundling which, joined with lax rules on bank capitalization, led directly to the cratering of the global economy in 2008. It’s the neoliberal discourse I’ve been fighting against since Chuck first asked me onto This Is Hell!
But I have to admit failure. I have failed in the sense that a drowning man fails to swim. In the sense that a prophet being burned as a heretic has failed to smoke a pipe or grill a hot dog. I am overwhelmed. The liars are too numerous and duplicitous for me to keep up with anymore.
Beware libertarian think tanks. They skew to the right. And many such larvae have hatched out of the nationalist anti-progressive movement that got Q-pilled and Trump-pilled in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic response.
Beware of new think tanks swarming from stagnant breeding ponds such as The Brownstone Institute, founded and populated by the framers of the Great Barrington Declaration, that screwball screed against the institutions struggling to manage a public health crisis after Donald Trump discarded the Obama Administration’s methodically developed pandemic response playbook. Trump is such an infantile character that he made it his mission to destroy anything with Obama cooties on it. The results of the orange windbag’s scorched earth policy toward Obama’s fingerprints were catastrophic for the public. The worst Covid case and fatality numbers in the world going into the summer of 2020 were the two countries with the most ignorant, clownish, fascistic chief executives: Brazil under Bolsonaro’s misrule and the US under Trump’s. And by a long, long way.
The CDC, the WHO, and other established and formerly trusted institutions followed the best guidelines they could, given how little was understood about the virus. The logic behind the lockdowns was “better safe than sorry when a virus spreads so far so fast and causes unpredictable symptoms.” And they did take seriously the idea that it had been engineered or accidentally released from a lab – and finally rejected the idea for lack of evidence, as did most of the medical community who are nevertheless still under attack from overconfident crackpots. And the crackpot faction keeps pushing the Created By Fu Manchu in a Lab accusation, along with the myriad other inanities they spin like drunken Fates in an inanity-spinning frenzy.
The Barrington brotherhood or cult or whatever pejorative you like decided after no consideration to take the apeshit approach. They went along with the reactionary segment of the public that went mitty over every damn thing that prevented them from carrying on business as usual. Their response was similar to Trump’s, and echoed his crackpot public statements in their delusional ignorance and know-it-all Dunning-Krugerism.
So, thanks to these triggered xenophobic sovereignty lunatics we are left without a public option; with a UK whose economy is mangled from Brexit; with a public sector being drained of funding by the neo-liberal thirst of privatization vampires; neo-Nazis and quasi-neo-Nazi Confederacy throwbacks banning books, shooting black people, Jews, LGBTQ-plussers and other scapegoats; and a planet in the process of being laid waste by corporate and war priorities. Oh, and on top of that, I was forced to write the following sarcastic letter, due the incident described therein:
Dear Southwest Airlines,
I was very pleased to hear my captain aboard flight #805 from Las Vegas to LAX on August 30, 2023 come out in favor of a judgment striking down mask mandates. “Thanks to the judge who struck down mask mandates,” he announced over the intercom, and added, “it’s nice to see all your faces.” He didn’t show us his face, but it is irrelevant whether or not he would look better in a mask than without! Free speech and body sovereignty! Or something equally heroic!
I had no idea what ruling he was talking about or if even he himself did, but it’s the thought that counts: neither the government, nor any authority, has the right make me wear a mask to prevent the spread of disease among the public! I can be as selfish as I want! They’re MY germs, to spread as I please!
It's unfortunate that this brave aeronaut works for a company that doesn’t support his admirable point of view. Not long after his noble announcement, the flight crew demonstrated – on orders from the Deep State, I’m sure – the procedures for donning the oxygen masks that would drop out of the ceiling in the event of a loss of cabin pressure. Look, you can’t make me wear a mask, Southwest! Nice try!
Not only that, but we were told to look at the safety literature in our seatback literature compartment. Literature! Look at these cartoons! Not only is the female sheeple shown obediently putting on her mask, but in the final panel she’s even forcing a child to wear one! “Literature?” Since when is child abuse “literature?”
I’m sure a company like yours, Southwest, which peddles this kind of child pornography, will not hesitate to censure or even fire an outspoken pilot for simply exercising his First Amendment right to cast public doubt on the seriousness of a pandemic and the efficacy of masks in slowing or preventing its spread. Sure, the data shows that COVID hospitalizations are spiking again, but that’s no reason to shirk one’s duty to be a selfish, plague-spreading dick! Leave our brave, selfish, patriotic plague-spreading dicks alone!!
Yeah, I had to write that letter. And it took me away from doing other things. I could’ve been watching such in-flight entertainments as, Are You There God It’s Me Margaret or Superpets. I’ll tell you, this is just another way civilization is collapsing. They nickel and dime you till you can’t pay attention to the bigger picture, you’re too busy plugging up the stab wounds in your own body. And you certainly don’t have time to cut off the replenishing heads of the personal sovereignty hydra.
It's like being pinched to death by baby crawdads. Like being Gish galloped by guppies, trampled by a cacophonous chorus of argumentative sea monkeys. Like death by never-ending paper cuts. A million little pin pricks. Like being bled out a drop a day.
It was a she was a he was a they were a miserable sea felk. Swimming slippery in the weedy shallows, bobbing out deep amid the white-capped seas, looked down upon by the selkies, mermen, and loch monsters. Unlike their meadow-grazing cousins, the land felk, sea felk are smallish, legless sea snakes covered with oily dark brown fur. They are technically ungulates and ruminants, sea ruminants who chew their cud, even though their food often consists of jellyfish, mussels, young herring – or herringlings – and the large carcasses of pelagic creatures. So, not particularly pleasant cud, even by cud standards. The felk are often scavengers of sunken or floating corpses, and thus looked down upon by other sea cryptids.
A felk is technically a werefelk. Slippery dark-brown fur snakes, that’s what felk are, about the length of an average sea otter, but if they were to transform back from their furry state they would be limp flesh tubes, swimming phallic sausages. But they don’t transform back. They are always in their furry felk form.
And the felk in question was miserable, like Lawrence Talbot as portrayed by Lon Chaney Jr in The Wolfman. This one was a her at this point in her life. The sex of felk changes over their lifetimes, which are measured from when they first see the moon – before that they are felk larvae, proto-werefelk, milky-colored worms about the size of a forefinger – until the day they end their lives as felk and take on human form.
How do the felk adopt the human form? By wearing it like a costume. When a felk is ready to metamorphosize, she slithers up the rock rivulets onto land. A felk can slither up a vertical cliff face with ease. But even this ability doesn’t alleviate the felk’s misery. All sea felk are miserable, and every last one of them has an excuse. But more on that later. Sea felk can not only slither up a vertical rock face, they can slither around on the underside of a rock overhang. Basically, they can crawl on the ceiling. Felk have this super power and are still not cheerful. Cryptozoologists are mad frustrated about it.
Are you familiar with the small anus ball? There’s a Japanese river cryptid, the kappa, which likes to steal the small anus ball out of human swimmers. This small anus ball is like the ball on a roll-on deodorant, and Japanese cryptosupernaturalists understand it as a part of the human anatomy that seems to appear only when a kappa wants to steal one.
Like the kappa, the felk enters the human body through the anal aperture, which, lacking any anus ball, small or large, allows ample ingress without the nose or eyes that could aid a human in detecting such an invasion and thus having a chance at thwarting it. Trousers cannot prevent the infiltration, and certainly not skirts nor the kilts frequently worn in the Highlands. There is no anus ball, small nor large, when a felk sneaks up your hole. All they want to steal is your identity.
The felk sneaks up your GI tract and its hairs branch out through your nerves and blood vessels. It uses you the way a hermit crab uses a new shell.
Now if you are a Scotsman, as you are likely to be, living so close to where the felk do their morose form of frolicking, you might be wearing a kilt. Such a garment, notorious for lacking modest coverings of its wearers’ undercarriages, offers even less resistance than usual to the entrance of the felk. And should said Scotsman be plying the sheepskin cephalopod known as the Great Highland pipes, the felk is likely to pass through the labial embouchure of the piper, through the mouthpiece of the chanter and blow pipes, into the bag. From then on the bagpipes are to be considered haunted. Most pipers testify to the superiority of haunted pipes, but double-blind experiments have failed to reach a definite conclusion.
However, in the event the felk enters a non-piping alimentary canal and takes over the body and mind of its host rather than the host’s musical instrument, thence begins an attempt at social integration not always successful. And in the case of our miserable felk – let’s give her the name “Nelly”— the results were predictably deplorable.
Nelly entered through the out door of the digestive tract of a Scottish poet named Malcolm. Malcolm had already been given to fits of melancholy, as befit a poet of no literary success, so much so he was known as Mopey Malcolm. Once possessed by Nelly the felk, his melancholy nature took a shockingly obvious hard plunge forward into nihilistic negativity. Nelly herself had been miserable before, as a werefelk, and now in her guise as a human, she found herself utterly disgusted with life and the world of human activity.
She grew ever more introverted, as if that were going to alleviate her emotional suffering. Isolation only stoked her distaste for life. Luckily, the human world offered a medical remedy for passively sinking into despair: alcoholism.
Is this all an allegory? Is the miserable felk a metaphor for a lowly-born lumpen prole for whom an improvement in social status inflicts even more torture than the previous incarnation? No. This story is merely to illustrate that it is natural for the ranks of the discontented to grow. May they spread their bleak outlook throughout our species. Negativity moves humanity ever closer to rejecting the foolish pretension that things will ever be okay. There are a growing number who hold that humanity is a mistake. Even a swimming furry fecal eel, the Charlie Brown of the cryptid community, finds inhabiting the world of a human Charlie Brown even worse than life as its earlier self.
The pooka know it. The ancient werewolf who first bit the inaugural felk larva way back in antique days even before reality had been proposed knew the curse that was being initiated. And yet all that is only aggravated by transforming from a brown, furry worm into a human being.
This story is merely an insult to the cosmic embarrassment that is the human species. Plainly and simply, it exists to derogate Homo sapiens. Even though the storyteller finds himself in an unusually positive mood, facts must be faced. All would be better had we never stained this beautiful, violent, endlessly creative planet with our manipulations and desires. On some level we all know it.
Sunday night last week I stayed up as late as I could to watch the Perseid meteor shower. I couldn’t really stay up as late as I wanted to, because it got cold out, and I was exhausted from traveling most of the day. But I stayed up as late as I could. The Earth passed through a cloud of loose debris. Bright streaks flashed, trailed briefly, and faded in the starry sky as the upper atmosphere was pelted with space gravel.
My brother, sister and I were on the beach on Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, just north of the 45th Parallel. Let me tell you, the American Dream actually happened to my family. My grandparents fled anti-Jewish violence in Belarus. They arrived in the US as children, my grandfather established himself first as a house painter, then as a contractor. My father went to college and became an architect, started his own company, and now we have a vacation house on Lake Michigan, on land purchased when I was around thirteen years old. I don’t think we ever complained as kids when we were brought to the unfinished house, with its floor of bare concrete, heated by a Franklin wood-burning stove.
Over the decades my parents have made it a masterpiece. Though it’s not as large as most houses in the area, with the extra accommodations of a camper trailer parked in the driveway, a few people sleeping in my mother’s art studio attached to the garage, and me sleeping in the enclosed gazebo on a wooded bluff overlooking the beach, we had the entire clan up there at the eponymous Barb and Sam’s House of Wine Drinking and Chipmunk Training: my parents, me, my brother and sister, my brother’s five kids, a wife of one of the kids and a girlfriend of another, plus my brother’s two dogs.
My existence has turned out to be relatively privileged thanks to friends and family, despite my best efforts, conscious and unconscious, to fail at life. I can’t help comparing my oddly fortunate outcome with that of my friend Michael, who recently died of pneumonia at 62 after some years suffering from aggressively progressing early-onset dementia.
In three chairs on the beach, my brother, sister, and I sat next to the dying fire in the firepit. The burning pebbles above at first appeared only grudgingly but soon acquiesced to our demands for a show. We swept our gazes across the sky like lazy satellite dishes, south to north, hooting happily when we saw a flash or a streak, cursing out the others and the heavens if one flared while we were looking elsewhere. We’d each seen over a dozen before we hit the cots.
The following night it stormed. In the gazebo, on an Aerobed® brand aerobed, in the adequate warmth of an unzipped sleeping bag (the zipper didn’t work), at midnight in gale-force winds with rain coming down, ghosts of Odawa Indians and Wendigo swirling about, I felt the presence or essence of Michael.
He had dropped out of high school and left home at sixteen due to friction with his father, which led to friction with the rest of his family. For a time he supported himself by card-counting and playing poker. He had a good head for statistics which developed into magnificent card-playing skills. I met him in Ann Arbor, where he’d moved from the East Coast to follow a woman. His friend Ken Jordan, son of Fred Jordan of Grove Press, introduced him to the crowd I now call “us.”
Most of us were in The Residential College or other schools within the University of Michigan. Michael never attended but was active in the cultural, intellectual, and card-playing life of the university. He appeared in and wrote plays, made music and literature. He participated in and initiated creatively disruptive protests. He dated the women. He played in the bands. He played tennis at “our” tennis tournament, Wimpleton. He fretted about ethics, including those around winning money from habitual Residential College gamblers. He told me that what he’d seen of developing-world poverty on a trip to the Dominican Republic led him to vow never to travel in such places again, so he was one of the few of us who spent no time in Asia, Africa, or Central and South America.
An athlete, he took fastidious care of himself to the point of obsession. At least that’s what I would call it. Of course, to me, an exercise regimen one strives not to depart from, or what to me qualifies as a barely subsistence-level intake of calories per day rigidly scheduled and adhered to, qualify as obsessive. I’m a fat lazy ape with few identifiable scruples. Michael and I were opposites, despite the similarity of at least part of our families’ ethnic origins. And our common interests in Truth, Justice, and the tortuous American Way.
We were friends and I found him to be sweet and brilliant and just a lovely man. And neurotic, so, maybe not entirely opposite. He had a blog of his remarkable writing, oblivio.com, where he explored his thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. He was fascinated and annoyed with America, as in the USA, as concept and wish and mild-to-severe disaster. And with love, beauty, and truth and their manifest expressions in life. On the Oblivio domain he very kindly and even enthusiastically hosted the Moment of Truth until This Is Hell! procured its current website.
You really had to be in the presence of Michael to get the full effect of his Michaelness, of course. His voice was calm. His consonants were tasted as much as enunciated. He did not lose his cool often, so when he did it was shocking and painful to see, because he was typically strong without effort, and then suddenly he was vulnerable and vexed. He wasn’t always reasonable, but when unreasonable he was aware of it. He made fun of himself – not in a self-deprecating way, like a self-hating comedian, but in a gentle way, as if he had the affection for himself one might for a misguided child. He stood up straight and was economical in his movements.
And then he lost his short-term memory and some of his cognitive ability. He tried to behave as if it weren’t happening, which was difficult for those around him, though he might have thought on some level that he was doing it to keep from upsetting them. Our great friends in Chicago, David and Mickle of Theater Oobleck, aided him at this time, along with an extraordinarily kind neighbor of his, and our sports journalist friend Dave Waldstein, to attain and maintain a living and health care situation in Brooklyn. He was well looked-after in his last years.
I’ve always associated him with a dark army green color of garment. Sweaters and toques and chinos. I’m not sure why. I guess he wore them a lot, but maybe I connect him somehow with Radar O’Reilly. He wasn’t much like Radar O’Reilly except in a vague way. The same way our friend Cindy always reminds me of cinnamon and the color Harvest Gold (Pantone 16-0948).
In the dark gazebo with the rain and wind and ghosts swirling and whipping around outside, I had an image of Michael in a transparent protective eggshell swept by currents amid the storm. Lightning couldn’t strike him as he rose through and above the storm clouds into the star-spangled space under the arch of the Milky Way. Space gravel couldn’t pelt him, stars couldn’t fall on him. Maybe he’ll meet the Perseids. Maybe he’ll become a Perseid. And people will say “there’s one” when he streaks across the sky or “dammit” when they’re looking the wrong way.
We will one day soon memorialize Michael in Brooklyn, where he lived what would be the too few latter decades of his life. And then maybe someone will tick off everything I got wrong here. But so much of Michael was always in my reveries, because I didn’t see him often, I can’t imagine there’ll be much to debate.
The two most canonical science fiction works when I started high school in the mid nineteen seventies were Dune, which around then was still a trilogy, and the Foundation series, also a trilogy. Dune was written by Frank Herbert, and Foundation by Isaac Asimov. Both authors were born in 1920. Herbert died in 1986, Asimov in 1992.
In both trilogies, humans have established themselves on planets all over the galaxy. In both trilogies, the organizing model of the galaxy is The Empire. Empire is, in fact, the name of the cloned multigenerational triumvirate ruler in Foundation. The head of the galactic empire in the Dune universe is The Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV of House Corrino.
I wonder how much those seminal science fiction trilogies – the Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia of science fiction – influenced the galactically imperial daydreams of today’s crop of eugenicist utilitarians calling themselves “long-termists.” I love the quotation from Vonnegut I keep seeing on social media that may or may not be a rebuttal to these would-be space edge-lord conquistadors: “To me, wanting every habitable planet to be inhabited is like wanting everybody to have athlete's foot.”
“Why do you find it necessary to call them edge lords,” you might ask. I didn’t. I called them Space Edge Lords. Because all three of the highest profile examples of over-privileged jerks only went to the edge of space. Richard Branson is the third, in case you forgot. They’re lords of the edge of space. Space edge lords. Also, ultimately the edge lord’s signature activities eventually end in ejaculation. This alludes to my earlier labeling of Foundation and Dune as perhaps seminal influences on these space edge lords and their lusting after planetary colonization. It’s all conjecture at this point, though, I admit.
You might not know this, but Vonnegut wrote a humorous story on the subject of inseminating the Andromeda galaxy. He wrote it for an anthology Harlan Ellison, the bad boy of science fiction, was putting together called Again, Dangerous Visions, an appropriate title for a follow up to his first such anthology, Dangerous Visions. Vonnegut’s story was called “The Big Space Fuck.” Read it and then see “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I guarantee you’ll laugh when you first see the ship, Discovery One. Or just look at Bezos’s edge-lord rocket. There’s a visual joke for you.
In Vonnegut’s story, Earth is going to launch a rocket ship full of semen into space to spread the seed of humanity. The rocket is called The Arthur C. Clarke, named after the author of the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey and the co-author with Kubrick of the screenplay. It’s very, very short. The Vonnegut story, not Arthur C. Clarke’s “rocket.”
Here’s the link: https://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/big-space-fuck-kurt-vonnegut/
It's only fitting that our three paragons of space edge lordship should be supremely vain and neurotically worried about the way the public perceives them. They are the most obscenely obnoxious clown mascots of capitalist overreach. They represent everything wrong with the way our species is being piloted toward its destiny. They are drunk drivers of a third-millennium falcon squirting from their joysticks as they zap into hyperspace.
It's the utterly wrong thinking and behavior they themselves exemplify so comically that dooms us humans never to fulfill their asinine ambition. We’ll be lucky to survive to the end of the twenty-first century, let alone continue our turgid rush toward the unreachable limits of knowledge and endeavor.
I see us, assuming we survive, ten thousand years in the future. Our numbers have been whittled to maybe a dozen small tribes. We strive to maintain our languages, but it’s a losing effort. We as a species are on our way out. Whenever they can bring themselves to look upon our disgrace, the neighboring polar gorillas, who have mastered the art of making fire, eye us with pity.
But one or more of us happen to salvage copies of The Foundation Trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation; and Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune. We strain to read them to each other in the eternally cloudy dusk of the last temperate forests at the South Pole, but we are successful in spite of the waning of the light and of our intellectual powers.
Do we laugh at the hubris of imperial speculation? Do we snicker: how funny these people were to believe that their worst impulses would somehow lead them to spread themselves across the Milky Way where they would thrive, rather than drown in an ocean of their own filth on the tiny, parochial planet they barely strayed a few million miles from. Isn’t it rich?
Is that what we’ll cackle?
Or will we believe those books are ancient historical texts describing the once glorious history of our decayed species? Will we weep and rend our garments like the people of Israel by the rivers of Babylon remembering Zion? Will we flagellate ourselves in penance? Will we cry out in atonement for the failure of a once great galactic civilization, a failure of which we are the last, evaporating stains of evidence?
More fun than that, will we perhaps celebrate a holiday during which we revile the errors of old? Will we maybe invent three hundred sixty-five such holidays, one for every day of the year? We’ll sing songs about not going down that road of poisoning ourselves and the world this time, siblings. We’ll not allow lords to lord it over us. We’ll not merely exclude ambitious warriors from our peaceful societies, but anathematize their overweening desires for domination.
We will cut every egoist down in their prime by drumming into them their own humble humanity. Every winner will be taught they are not better than any loser. The value of every human, every animal, every plant, every mushroom, every slime mold, every river, every rock, every breath of air will be drummed into these wannabe Alexanders, Picassos, Genghises, Buckleys, Shakespeares, Edisons, Leonardos and Einsteins. Oh, what you create is beautiful, Picasso, and your equations sublimely elegant, Einstein, but look at the opalescent drool of the legless, brain-damaged twisted human born of fetal alcohol syndrome. Are you better than this?
Is your life worth more? No, we’ll admonish them, a thousand times No. The beauty you create is as the drool of human gargoyles, and their drool as sublime as your most treasured masterpiece.
And I know this sounds, superficially, like the story “Harrison Bergeron” from Vonnegut’s collection, Welcome to the Monkey House, but it’s not. Non-rights-depriving achievement contributing to the common good and joy will not be hindered, just put in its proper perspective.
And then we’ll end the year by burning in effigy the three space edge lords, and dance around the flames chanting, “Not this time. Not this time. Not this time you naked emperors of nothing!”
But why wait? Why oughtn’t we try this out right now, before the worship of overfed wealth-hording self-pleasuring chew-pizzles takes us all the way down to ignominy and ruin. Burn them in effigy. Although, as long as they’re contemporaneous with us, why waste effigy stuffing? The better future loves a good human sacrifice. The better future loves the smell of burning imperial flesh.
Do we dare dream of a better, non-imperial future? Let’s. Let’s dare.
There’s a vicious circle, or cycle, eating its own tail in the West. Here’s the mechanism: people protest, civilly disobey, subvert, argue, and generally struggle against a status quo that oppresses them. The status quo reacts, overcorrects to prevent not just the change but even the possibility to struggle for change. The resistance has to rebuild, refashion its tools, explore new options for struggle. By the time they’ve almost clawed their way back to their former visibility and power, the status quo has reiterated so many outrageous lies against the resistors’ counter-arguments that it forces them to reframe the discourse. But eventually even the reframing starts to suffer from the law of diminishing returns.
Meanwhile the status quo has pounded home the argument that “everyone’s sick of the resistance” and weaponizes whatever public opinion they can along those lines. This makes the resistance fight harder, resort to more rigidly doctrinaire arguments, harsher tactics, ad absurdum, which the status quo in its turn uses to further discredit them in the zeitgeist.
By this time, though, the status quo has divided into two sides: on one side blandly ineffectual representatives of the resistors, funded by the blandly ineffectual “reasonable” rich who water down the true resistance’s arguments, aims, and strategies; and on the other side, funded by openly undemocratic wealth hoarders and corporations, the ferocious and exciting cutting edge supercool badboy violent authoritarians who take discrediting of the resistance to utterly insane lengths. For the lulz. And money. They accuse their “enemies” of the most sexually perverse varieties of violence in order to justify the violence they themselves want to use to extinguish them.
Maybe the violence turns into a war. Or maybe it subsides for a time, though the root problems don’t get fixed, or get half-fixed at best, keeping hostilities kindled.
We’re at a moment where everybody’s just damn fed up with each other. Those in various groups on the left are fed up because they can’t believe they have to fight the same battles all over again. They shriek louder and fight harder because they want to make sure once and for all their grandchildren don’t also have to fight the same battles all over again.
Groups on the right are fed up because they’d thought they’d assassinated enough left leaders and slaughtered enough followers that the left was finally dead. They’ve had to pretend for decades that they were okay graciously refraining from a repeat of the assassination and slaughter. Interestingly, these days no new left leaders on the revolutionary end have stepped up to the pulpit. Evidently the assassinations were enough to warn away any would-be leaders. Possibly, though, the people have chosen not to sacrifice their best and bravest spokespeople to the spectacle this time around. So the violent right has no choice but to take out their hatred on innocent non-combatants they delusionally see as soldiers in an army the right itself has rendered leaderless.
The left’s anger at the police stems from their recognition that cops maintain the status quo by protecting the rulers from the aggrieved masses. The rulers are either corrupt and evil by choice or are situationally trapped, reluctantly acting out repetitive injustice in an unjust gilded hamster habitat.
These wealth hamsters, situationally trapped, strive to be generous and good and have grown annoyed at being called out for their privilege. They begin to repeat the right’s arguments about the left’s rhetorical and tactical overreach. The more vehement the left feels its arguments and strategies have to be in response, the more vituperatively these well-meaning situationally trapped wealthy souls argue to have their goodness recognized as distinct from, and mitigating of, the unjust roles they are sort of forced to play. And the more vehement the left’s arguments and strategies, the more the violent and conspiratorial right’s outrageous arguments are viewed as valid and acceptable by the well-meaning rich.
So we’re really spinning three vicious circles in the air right now:
1, the circle where the high-fallutin’ employ violence and threats of violence, using cops and vigilantes, against the hoi polloi, who must up their diatribes, threats, and demands in response;
2, the circle where high-fallutin’ academics, artists, philanthropists, and art and fashion consumers are engaged in a war of rhetoric against subversive intellectuals, underpaid creatives, the middle-to-lowbrow consumer, and investigative journalists, in a feedback loop of ever-crescendoing internecine bourgeois antagonisms; and
3, the circle where, in the middle, the people simply trying to survive and live pleasantly are pulled and pushed and battered and threatened by lies and – less frequently – uncomfortable truths from the extreme points of view they feel surround them, which feeds an increase in mainstream paranoia and corresponding violent outbursts.
Throw in guns and broadcast it to the rest of the world in a twenty-four-hour infotainment cycle, and you’ve got the three-ring circus known as the USA.
Back in the days when the Roman Empire was getting ready to fall, the populace was placated with what we call today, in English, bread and circuses. And it’s fair to posit that the more spectacularly violent and frequent the circuses were, the lower the quality and the less abundant the bread needed to be.
Think of the USA as a twenty-four-hour, worldwide, streaming-on-demand gladiatorial arena. The Colosseum of postmodernity, if you will. In social democracies in Europe – and the UK, which I guess isn’t Europe anymore, if it ever really was – the bread comprises popular rights and services, which are currently being chipped away, even as the USA becomes more performatively violent and nakedly insane. The bread diminishes in abundance and quality while the circus increases in thrills and kills.
We thought we were done with Henry Ford, the fascist führer ringmaster of industry, when his military flagship, the Third Reich, shot itself in the head in a Berlin bunker. But now has arisen Elmo Skum, the apartheid beneficiary of an emerald city, leaning into full neo-Nazi messaging; we have the megalomaniacal authoritarian crusher of thought, Peter Thiel; and assorted other astronomically wealthy Citizens Kane, dancing their buck-and-right-wing and hoof-in-mouth choreography in the spotlight.
And no one wants to work. Why? Because the only jobs left at the circus for the vast majority of us is cleaning up after the animals. Yes, for peanuts, thank you for that. You’re very witty. Following donkeys and elephants around with shovels is not an attractive option, even if it employment in the heart of the spectacle.
Or, alternatively, maybe we’ve all become Norm from Cheers.
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!
We are all Waco. The nefariousness and misplaced priorities of government actions have eroded the people’s trust to the extent that doomsday paranoia begins to make sense as a viable possibility.
When I say we are all Waco I really mean just me. And by Waco I mean the Branch Davidians specifically. Is it Branch Davidians or Banch Dravidians? It’s Davidians because of David Koresh, right? Or just because David? And it’s branch because … banch isn’t a word.
Koresh is supposed to be from Old Persian, meaning “forward-looking” or some such nonsense. Why Old Persian I wonder? Oh, because Cyrus in Old Persian was Koresh. Those Old Persians pronounced things in inebriated fashion. “What’s ‘at guy’s name, Cyrus, Kyrush, Koresh. He was a regular musheeyugh, for letting the people of Ishrael rebuild their besh ha migdash.”
When I say I’m like the Bench Dravidians, I don’t mean I’m a cult, following a charismatic leader who marries ten-year-old girls. And I don’t mean I’m amassing weapons in preparation for the final war of Holiness against Evil, Heaven against Hell.
What I think I mean is, the corporate, military, and government three-headed hellhound has set my teeth on edge. It seems to be fulfilling all my most paranoid doomsday fantasies. Sure, I may follow questionable lines of reasoning, pickle my own turnips, operate in a clandestine economy, and practice unsanctioned sex, but why would you come to me with war machines and enough ordnance to wipe out thirty My Lai villages unless you truly were the prophesied Beast of Destruction? Why massacre 82 children and other innocents and quasi-innocents unless you were hellbent on stamping out a godly message from godly people?
I know, the metaphor is still too blurred with my own identity to make sense. Let me see if I can compartmentalize. I mean, I really need to. I’m not an apocalyptic messianic Christian, though I sometimes like to pretend I am.
I inhale from a few different quarters of the information atmosphere lately the idea that the greater the power and wealth disparity between the few at the top and the vast majority in the relatively normal world, the greater the likelihood for paranoid conspiracies to develop among the people, or the greater the likelihood the people can be manipulated into pursuing paranoid conspiracies that foster destructive emotions. Destructive emotions that can lead to destructive behavior. Mass destructive behavior.
Seems like the rulers want the people to pursue destructive behavior. Or at least believe things that might lead them to behave destructively. Like, why would you conspire to murder a sensible socialist community leader like Fred Hampton but leave a slippery snake oil peddling conspiracy monger like Louis Farrakhan alive unless you wanted to instill for generations of Black people a suspicion of and hatred for the cops? And why would you conspire to fill law enforcement with white supremacists who keep lynching Black people under the cover of law unless you wanted to continue to confirm their suspicions far into the 21st Century?
Why would you torture, massacre, and burn villages and forests full of Southeast Asian civilians unless you wanted to confirm their conception of The West as a profane poison of the soul?
Why would you try to cover up your high crimes and make up obvious lies to justify invading Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, or Iraq if you didn’t want people to come up with idiotic theories about the moon landing being faked or the Earth being flat or Parkland being a false flag or Covid being a psy op? Why sneak Nazis out of Germany to work for the US government? Why allow Kissinger to reach the age of a century when you murder in their youth labor leaders, forest and water protectors, people marching for their rights, children playing with toys? Do you want me, fat little old me, to suspect that crime pays and nice folks get buried alive by those who own the dirt?
And why, if your contention was that there was no coming war of the government against them, would you descend on the Branch Davidians at their Mt. Carmel compound outside Waco, with all your choppers, military armor, tanks, guns, grenades, bombs, and gases, and ultimately burn them alive? You acted out their fantasy for them.
Now those sympathetic to the idea that the socialist multicultural woke government wants to kill sovereign Christians in an apocalyptic war feel confirmed in that belief. And you killed the barely-known niche charismatic David Koresh but left the very world-famous dangerous charismatic slippery snake oil peddling conspiracy monger Donald Trump alive, so he could go hold a rally at Waco and capitalize on your brutality by feeding the lunatic white supremacist sovereign citizen crowd exactly the elixir that will get them to try to overthrow the government for him.
Why would you do that unless you were arming fascists for a war against the people, as many of us have every reason to expect? Where’s that nice FBI negotiator played by Michael Shannon to talk them all down from their fear and rage? Hell, to talk me down from my fear and rage? Why don’t I have a deep-voiced, slightly lispy Frankenstein looking but nonetheless intensely captivating negotiator of reason to assure me and the other side that “this can all be resolved peacefully?”
Ask yourselves this, listeners: if this isn’t Hell, why are they making it look and feel like it is?
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!