January 02, 2016

A Few Thoughts

I offer this genuinely sincere wish for all of you individually in the New Year: that you find peace and happiness in your personal lives. I would offer the same thought in a more general sense, but that would obviously be worse than futile. On the broad cultural level, it's most likely that nothing much will change, except perhaps to get worse (but not, of course, for the most powerful and affluent, for they are never subject to the laws that govern the rest of us, in any sense). And this is, of course, a presidential election year, so God help us. The mounds of bullshit will be far larger and higher than usual, and they will frequently threaten to topple over and suffocate us all. So I say: fuck 'em.

There may be a few issues relating to the election that will merit discussion, although that subject deserves far less attention than most will give it. It ultimately matters not at all, but dear Lord, almost everyone will endlessly shout about how important it all is. If Trump makes it to the general election, that could be somewhat interesting. I do find it fascinating to watch the commentariat (of every stripe) as they try to grapple with the Trump candidacy. What does it all mean?, they ponderously intone. It's always instructive to watch our prominent debaters when they consider any event or person that deviates in any significant way from the usual script. They have nothing to say -- except what everyone else says, beginning with everyone else in their particular political tribe. So I suppose I will need to address the Trump eruption, and at least try to make some sense of it.

As for the election: I continue to wish fervently that most people would do what I describe here. I had never intended that fable to be a blueprint for political action, certainly not when I wrote it or for several years afterward, since I recognize that reality is hardly likely to follow a peaceful script of that kind, not if history is any guide. But as I noted a few years ago, when I consider events of the last 10 or 15 years -- many of which neither I nor most others (including most others much smarter than I am) ever dreamt we would see in our lifetimes -- my imagined scenario seems less fantastical to me by the day. Events just might unfold in that general manner, if what I describe occurred. I'll put it another way: voting, that is, taking part in a grotesque, meaningless charade designed to camouflage the hideous, ugly truth of the system that rules us, represents the abandonment of hope. By contrast, from the perspective that informs my fable, not voting is a deeply hopeful act. (Thinking about this also causes me to reflect that it would be worthwhile to consider the overall cultural and psychological effects of the ghastly later stages of a corporatist system like ours. In fact ... hmm. I almost blurted out further thoughts about that, but I think this might make a swell new article, so I'll keep those thoughts to myself for the moment.)

I'm still determined to write a series of essays that I've been mulling for months now. That series, thankfully, has nothing to do with elections, at least not directly, although I think some of the themes in that series may help to explain the Trump phenomenon, too. Among other issues, the essays will consider how most of our lives and virtually all of our "national debate" revolve around colossal lies. Lies are the staple of our existence; unfortunately, that remains true even for many of those who profess to be opposed to the lies.

As regular readers know, I've been slowed down, and almost entirely absent from this space, because of my awful health. It remains awful, even though it's been blessedly cool here for a while now. But my body simply doesn't recover any longer, at least not to any substantial degree. So I'm in pretty terrible shape. It's horribly difficult for me to get anything done, even the simplest of tasks. A trip to the corner store wipes me out for a good part of the day; taking out the garbage constitutes all I'm capable of for a morning or afternoon. A pathetic state of affairs. Ah, well.

But it's a New Year. So I will try my best to get some writing done. I certainly want to; I can only hope that my body won't stop me entirely, as it did for most of last year. (And honestly: thank God that year is over.) And despite the fact that I absolutely loathe doing it, I have to begin the year by asking for donations. (I couldn't do it yesterday, on New Year's Day, for that would have been just too ugly.) I only have half of what I need for the January rent, and damn it if January isn't actually here already. If possible, I need to pay the rent by Monday or Tuesday. The rent isn't considered late until after the fifth of the month, so I have a few days to try to raise the funds. And I also have to pay for internet service, as well as a long postponed electric bill, plus food and the like. And if I can raise enough, my darling Sasha needs to go to the vet. She has a small lump on her left side, just behind the front leg. I hate writing that; seeing the fact in print gives it greater weight. But that is the fact: she has a small lump. I hope it's nothing, just a little cyst or something else easily dealt with. But I would want to kill myself if it turns out to be serious, and especially if it turns out to be something serious that could have been addressed successfully if only I had gotten her assistance sooner. So I should try to get her to the vet in the next couple of weeks. She seems completely fine otherwise, so even if it is something serious, we can hope it hasn't advanced too much.

So that's where I am at the outset of 2016. As always, I offer my profound thanks to all of you who are so unaccountably kind and generous. This weekend, I will begin some serious work on the new series; I already have lots of notes, but now to the actual writing. I will try to complete the introduction this coming week, wherein I will explain why the "Amityville Horror" is more significant in terms of what it reveals about our culture than you might think upon first consideration. Like me, you might have long regarded it as just another weirdly stupid manifestation of a certain kind of idiocy. It certainly is that -- but I also think it's much more than that, and far more disturbing.

I will see you all here again, and soon. So let it be written, so let it be done!