Teenage Wasteland

We were fifteen in 1974. It was, in retrospect, maybe not the beat time to be growing up in America. Our political memory began with a pair of assassinations six years earlier. Drastic measures were taken to stabilize the economy three years after that. The first of several gas crises struck a couple years later. And, oh, a President resigned that August.

A month later, we started high school. We were fifteen, after all.

High school was, well, high school. Nothing special about that. We went to class, we participated in band and drama, we did what kids do.

Funny thing about that: Not once, not then, not before, not later, did it ever cross our mind that some idiot might walk in and shoot up the place.

And never could we imagine the people running our country not giving a shit if someone did.

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Careful What You Wish For

Facts, as we know them, haven’t been around very long. It was only a hundred and fifty years ago that science, literacy, communications, and availability of written material started kicking in, providing the distribution of knowledge beyond previously limited enclaves.

It was exciting at first, knowing the world as it is, instead of what we thought it was. New discoveries! New understanding! New breakthroughs! All with the promise of more amazing things to come, soon as we got more facts under our belts. Finally, humanity was being liberated from millennia of superstition!

Yeah, funny thing about that: Folks stopped caring.

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Less Than Nero

The span of recorded history stretches back some five thousand years. Which isn’t that long, really, considering that we as critters have been walking around some 300,000 years. And it’s not even as long as it sounds, since that five grand includes cuneiform tablets.

Really, three thousand years, tops. That’s how far back we can go before things start getting really vague. Blink and you missed us.

That’s the continuity of the world we live in, the world of our language and culture. We speak of vast amounts of time, of a universe billions of years old, of the immortality of fame, but in the West we have no names before Homer. To be among the Immortals is to have your name written down somewhere, to enable passage from generation to generation.

All of philosophy, it is said, is but footnotes to Plato. You don’t get that without Plato being handy on the shelf.

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Aggressive Ignorance

It was at some point during the Eighties that we realized America is fucked. We don’t recall the occasion, but given the era — the Reagan era — it would have had something to do with Our Fellow Citizens preferring lies to the truth.

Because we were sweet and adorable, this came as a shock. Somehow we had grown up thinking truth was something to be valued, that facts trumped fantasies. Somehow we were under the impression that this was a value we shared with other sentient beings who lived under our flag, that of course everyone was interested in the truth, that of course we all wanted to know the facts at hand.

And then, as we cast our first national vote, Americans elected a charming liar as President, and the wheels started coming off.

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Selected Excerpts

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DECLASSIFY ON: 20271231

January 6, 2017

What follows are notes I typed in the vehicle immediately upon exiting Trump Tower.

I said the Russians allegedly had tapes involving him and prostitutes at the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow from about 2013. He interjected, “there were no prostitutes, there were never prostitutes.” He then said something about him being the kind of guy who didn’t need to “go there” and laughed (which I understand to be communicating that he didn’t need to pay for sex).

January 28, 2017

I had dinner with President Trump in the Green Room at the White House last night. I explained that he could count on me to always tell him the truth. I said I don’t do sneaky things. I don’t leak. I don’t do weasel moves. I imagined that Russian hookers likely have expertise in both departments, but I did not raise this point in conversation.

At about this point, he turned to what he called the “golden showers thing” and recounted much of what he said previously on that topic, adding that he had known supermodels who craved the opportunity to “polish his brass” (which I took to refer to massaging his testicles and/or penis), and that he had never paid for intimacy, although the aftermath was occasionally expensive.

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A Few Civil Remarks for Our Friends on the Other Side of the Great Divide

You know, we tried to help.

We tried to provide access to healthcare. We tried to preserve inexpensive access to higher education. We tried to keep unions strong. We tried to keep you in your house.

We tried to help you survive.

We tried. We really tried.

But you didn’t listen. You voted for liars who wanted to line the pockets of their wealthy masters. You voted for warmongers who stuff your kids in tanks with cheap armor. You voted for hustlers who praise Jesus from the Cadillacs you paid for.

We tried to help. But you were really, really stupid.

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Impeachment Alternatives

  • String him up by his nuts.
  • Imax Pee Tape.
  • Soylent Orange.

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