Saturday, January 13, 2018

Random Barking: Your Illusion Of Normalcy Weekend

Get Out The Big Hug Mug
(A variant of this post has appeared earlier.)

Every morning, I wake up, pad into the kitchen and unplug the stupidphone from its charger, then check the UK Guardian and BBC websites to see what new outrage, what new rape of civil decency and the human spirit, which Trump has committed while I slept. It's my Daily Monster: What The Fuck Now?

I anticipate that, one morning, I'll discover the United States is at war. Or that Trump has fired four Supreme Court Justices. Or has finally had sex with a goat in the Oval Office before a delegation of Republican Senators -- all of whom will be unable to recall what Trump said and did in their presence, except the single Democratic Senator in the room.

And, Little Paulie Ryan will only remark that Trump's act of bestiality was "generally unhelpful". Sean Hannity will remind his many viewers that the President of these United States cannot be prosecuted for any "alleged" behavior while in office, and will call the Democratic Senator a "liar". The 'Jawhol Sturmfront For White Purity' website will post a demand that the Democratic Senator retract his comment or "face justice as a species traitor".

Still, I have a belief that things will change. They always do. Whether that will be a Same As It Ever Was change, or whether The Daily Monster becomes something more serious, who knows.

Recently I went through a True Detective / Season 1 marathon, and find myself drawn back to the lines Nic Pizzolatto had written for the character of Rustin Cohle, as delivered by Matthew McConaughey: Existence as bearing witness to the Unsolvable, the bottomless and apparently no-limit ability of humans to fuck with each other; the unfathomable What of all and everything. 

One of my favorite quotes: Episode 7, "After You've Gone"; Hart and Cohle interview an older black woman who winds up spouting about Carcosa and death is not the end, another link in the investigative chain leading them on, upriver, looking for Kurtz, the deep madness hiding in the Bayou.

McConaughey lights a cigarette and says to Harrelson, "Sure hope that old lady's wrong."  Puzzled, Harrelson asks, "About what?"   " 'bout death not being the end," McConaughey replies.

McConaughey's character looks at the Daily Monster and doesn't flinch; he wants, and doesn't want, an answer to the What question (an old Suicide Club acquaintance once said, preparing to do a handstand on the summit of the west tower of the Bay Bridge, an age ago, now: "You're scared, but you do it anyway"). 

In the end, Cohle has an epiphany of a kind -- in my imagination, he comes to some understanding that some days the universe is that bottomless, reductive, time-in-a-circle-eternal-recurrence, Dantean pit. On others, it isn't.

And on days of either kind, here in the vastness of 'Murrika, we can have ice cream if we want. This is okay, but I have some qualms about it. 

I'm aware that in other places, people don't have ready access to ice cream. They are being denied ice cream. They face hoots of derision and worse if they ask politely for their ice cream. Their ice cream is being stolen from them. They are getting into leaky, undependable boats and setting off on long journeys whose outcome is uncertain in order to find ice cream. 

I mean, what the fuck; all people want is some ice cream. Is that too goddamn much to ask? Hand it over -- or, never mind. We'll figure out how it can be distributed. Just get out of our faces, right now, before we start looking for lampposts.
RUST COHLE:  I tell ya, Marty -- I been up in that room, lookin' out them windows, thinkin' -- it's just one story. The oldest. 
MARTY HART: What's that? 
COHLE: Light versus dark. 
HART: Well...  I know we ain't in Alaska, but (looks up at the night sky) -- it appears to me the dark has a lot more territory. 
COHLE:  Yeah, you're right about that... but you're lookin' at it wrong.  
HART: How's that? 
COHLE: Once, there was only dark... You ask me, the light's winnin'.

-- Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson / True Detective (Season One, 2014)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, things are going to change all right--for the worse. Since 9/11, every time I think this s-hole country of mine has hit rock bottom, it starts digging. I don't think people around the world understand that Trump IS America, the unmasked, ugly face of the American id.

    Most Americans who travel overseas tend to be by far the most reasonable among us, but they represent only a very tiny minority. The vast majority believe the easy life is OWED to them as American citizens regardless of the pain and suffering it inflicts upon the rest of humanity, and sadly that includes even a substantial portion of the liberals (which is why alleged human beings as horrid and immoral as the Clintons and Obama have shared time in the Oval Office with the even more horrid Bushes and Trump).

    Just the other day, I saw two bumper stickers on the back of a luxury SUV--one that read: Trump/Pence and the other that read: Expand Guantanamo--Bring Back Waterboarding. Which, of course, wouldn't even be an issue had Obama upheld his promise to shutter our offshore Gulag that we stole from the citizens of Cuba.

    The faster the rest of the world wakes up to the fact that America's sickness is far, far deeper than Trump (who is merely a symptom of it), the better it will be for all of humanity.