World Gone Mad

20 Aug

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I’m thinking this will be my birthday.

It’s been a beautiful summer. At least in New York. Winter was harsh, and all the predictors and prognosticators foresaw a summer perfectly representational of global warming: hot, humid, a regular morning commute armpit soaker. That’s what we’ve been getting the past few years. A decent May. A June that is just a bit too hot, and which you know is just a taste of the wave to come. Sometime after the Fourth things get bad. By August, most are praying for snow and for football season. But this year it didn’t happen. It’s such a nice summer, and I am shocked so many people find it necessary to pour ice water all over themselves. The perfect summer. Weather-wise. Everything else, and I mean Every. Thing. Else. Sucked. Or sucks, since it’s still going on.

Ukraine. ISIS. Gaza. Boko Haram. Border crisis. Airplane crashes. Asshole cops. And let’s not forget the worst: Germany won the fucking World Cup. And that stupid ice bucket thing. Besides the gorgeous weather, the world seems to have gone to Hell. Like, up until about a year ago we were in the Third Circle, and now we’ve gone down to the Fifth. And that’s only half-way to the bottom. I’m assuming there’ll be a school shooting next week, just to satisfy Satan’s bloodlust.

I have basically tried to zone out of the news this year. Of course there isn’t any real news, not really. It’s just opinions. The other day I walked about twenty blocks through Manhattan and encountered both a pro-Palestinian rally and a pro-Israel rally. I was sitting on the subway over the weekend and a couple of cops walked by. When they were out of earshot the guy next to me muttered “Fucking pigs.” And really, don’t get me started on the ice bucket challenge, which I am sure has raised some money, but is just another way to play into our Selfie-infused narcissistic culture.

Even the death of Robin Williams was polarizing. Because if you talked about his death but not what was happening in Ferguson something must be wrong with you. “You people mourning Robin Williams, should get your heads out of your racist asses and look at what happened to Mike Brown,” said one former Facebook friend.

We are surrounded on all sides by misinformation, rumors, hearsay, and steaming piles of bullshit. Everyone is trying to find an angle to exploit. I find the snark, cynicism, and outright hatred of those whose arguments I agree with to be nauseating. Social media – the closest we now have to political discourse – is inundated by flame wars, name calling, pettiness, and the tyranny of ALL CAPPED COMMENTS.

I am right and you are wrong, is how an argument is begun before any facts are discussed. News programs book their most vitriol-spewing lefties and righties. And to top it all off, people are dumping ice water on their fucking heads..

And all of that is just the reaction to a really crummy few months (though not with regard to the weather, which is currently sunny, high-70s with a nice northerly breeze, no need for ice water here). But  the reactions make events that are merely horrible somehow worse. Part of this is the solipsism of the commentators. The story is all about them. Here is my opinion on this tragedy/war/strife/bucket o’ ice, and because it is me saying it, it must be important. (And yes, I realize that I am writing a personal blog, and am therefore a fucking hypocrite. You can stop reading now if you like.)

Under normal circumstances, I would write about all of this shit in detail. But the more I think about what’s been going on in the world, the less sure I am of viable solutions. Take ISIS. On the one hand, they are some crazy motherfuckers who are beheading people and who, by all accounts, are well-organized and effective. On the other – I don’t want to go back to war in Iraq. Nobody does except for Zombie Dick Cheney and his Flesh Eating Neocon Revue. But then Pope Peacepipe came out in favor of ISIS intervention, so who the fuck knows?

But I’m not smart enough to figure this stuff out. Or maybe, like others, I don’t have the balls to admit that we have to do something difficult, though that could be 1. Go back to war, or 2. Let the crazies take over. I honestly don’t know.

But the crazies have already taken over. And we’re them. Something bad happens, and we react, or overreact because that is the only way we know how to react to anything anymore. We don’t stop. We don’t listen. We don’t think. Our minds are made up. There is no nuance. We must go into Ukraine to stop Vlad. We must bomb the shit out of Iraq, again. That (first) plane is on the Lost island. We should deport all the kids. We should amnesty all the kids. All cops are racist thugs. He had it coming.

It seems as if the entire world has gone mad. It seems that way.  Seems. Each week brings something more depressing, more horrific, something to which we can all go apoplectic and self-righteous about.

But the world isn’t going mad. It’s always been mad. There’s always something horrible happening. And most of what’s been happening this year has been fairly predictable.

  • Vladimir Putin is a megalomaniac who’s had eyes on Ukraine for years.
  • Planes crash, especially those that fly over war zones.
  • ISIS is just filling the crazy Muslim void al Qaeda has mostly vacated.
  • Israel-Gaza. Well, I’m sure nobody thought that would rear its ugly head again.
  • Police are in positions of power, that power can go to their heads. Racism, while diminished in its overt form over the past few decades, still exists in a more subdued, subconscious manner. Add to that a locality that has no idea how to deal with media scrutiny, and you’ve got the clusterfuck of Ferguson, MO.

None of these things should surprise us. Just like 9/11 should not have been a surprise. It was inevitable.

This year, it’s all happening at once. It’s been such a nice summer that we put all of our fans in storage, unfortunately that storage is a shithouse.

I am no longer surprised by police killing unarmed black teens. Or Israel and the Palestinians doing their best Punch & Judy impressions. Or Vlad being Vlad. Or Muslim extremists beheading westerners. Or Rush Limbaugh being an asshole. Or people getting self-righteous about their positions. One reason I said above that I can totally believe a school shooting will come soon is because, er, duh! Of course it will. It always does.

But this isn’t your normal shitshow. This is an All Star Classics Shitshow. All the worst possible things that can occur are happening at the same time.

And then Robin Williams has to go and die, and that sucks because – no matter your opinion on the man – the world is a bit worse off without him. I’m sure he would have loved getting drenched in ice water.  

Now let me just say something about the Ice Bucket Challenge, which all but my cave dwelling friends probably know about. The premise is that you dump a bucket of ice water on your head, which goes to fight ALS. Someone challenges you, you dump a bucket of water on your head, post yourself doing this to every social media outlet possible, and then you challenge someone else. Here’s the catch, however. The rules are: you either dump the bucket on your head or you donate $100 to ALS funding. So to get out of being charitable, you can post a video of yourself dumping ice water on yourself. I know that the challenge has raised a considerable sum, but not necessarily from those who actually do the challenge. Rather, it’s the people who opt for the grueling task of writing a check as opposed to displaying their awesome ice-resistance to the world. I’ve not seen any videos of people writing checks, but that’s probably because charity is not something one brags about but something one simply does.

So to those who dumped a bunch of cold water on yourself but did not write a check, you’ve done nothing. To the celebrities who fall into this group, fuck you, you fucking fucks. And if you’re thinking of challenging me, all I have to say is this: I dare you. I double dog dare you.

It’s been a lovely summer. Crisp breezes. Birds singing. Subways not stinking of battered souls and New York heartbreak. Soon it will be fall. Kids will go back to school and hopefully be safe. Baseball will end and football begin. Time will move forward, events shall unfold against our will, and we will continue to tune in or turn away, depending on our own level of sanity.

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