Just Another Voice, Braying Amid the Din
That’s one of the handful of things I believe to have actually, probably occurred “as written” in the otherwise motley hodgepodge of boring-ass accounts known as “The New Testament”.
If Jesus didn’t weep, He damned well should’ve wept. Who would fail to weep, a little, after taking a gander at this fucked-up existence? This world did not spin into being—one infinitesimal offshoot of an ancient, unfathomable BANG—to favor the weak or the torpid or the slow or the stupid or the lazy or (Jesus is REALLY crying, now) The Good.
Some researcher who earned my respect in the past (fuck it—I can’t remember his name at this late hour) once emphasized that humans are a surprisingly forgetful species, in terms of the generational retention of important events. Whether it be the original insult or squabble that started a decades-long family feud or the factual reason(s) why millions of people perished in world wars, plagues, or other natural disasters, human brains—left to their own devices and without access to up-to-the-minute documentation—tend to get very murky about serious sociological details after 40–50 years. Even after 20 years, crucial “lore” begins to break-down without unimpeachable back-up. Oh yeah.
And let’s face it: How unimpeachable do you think your “back-up” will be in 10 years? 20 years?
Facts get skewed by the average human mind within hours of witnessing “acts” that have genuinely taken place, much less the recollections of yesterday and youth. Don’t even think about giving an accurate account of some event you did not behold with your own eyes or hear with your own ears, ever.
The irony is that humans do this all the fucking time, concerning matters that have absolutely nothing to do with their own, frequently myopic, world “views”. Humans claim to see things they never saw, to have been connected to events far removed from their immediate experiences, to possess insight regarding matters that might as well be stuffed up the darkened assholes of undiscovered sea snails hoovering the sands at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.
We lie. We twist. We misspeak. We distort. We … lose perspective.
Often with the biggest smiles on our faces and the finest intentions planted in our frontal lobes.
What was my original point? (SEE! TOLD YA!)
Humans are not reliable witnesses, in general. We are not reliable memory-keepers when it comes to even the most important matters, without aid of unimpeachable documentation, and quite often our “documentation” (I’m looking at you, Old Testament and New Testament) is rather sketchy. This is why humans have, over the centuries, devised contracts and ledgers and promissory notes and judicial bodies and cameras and tape recordings and videotapes and computers and secret SPY CAMS and sundry.
And even when we see something happening, collectively, as it happened, as captured by some visual recording technique, our harebrained species will still fucking come-up with twelve different interpretations of what we are all able to witness over and over and over again with our very eyes. Different spins. Various delusions. Political assertions. Denials.
Why do I bring this up? Why do I mention this opinion, this well-researched observation about the capacity of human memory, individual and collective? (Oh, and it was historian/philosopher/theologian John McGuckin who “turned me on” to this principle—I did indeed just remember that without Googling or toggling. But, hell, I may be mistaken.)
I bring this up because we are a species in particularly serious trouble, at this point in Time.
Not that we have ever been out of serious trouble, ever, at ANY particular point in time, but some “moments” are better than others and it seems we fare best in the “moment by moment” framework of existence. I think we can all agree on that point, in the depths of our little blackened & grilled aortas.
We are in deep shit.
Our own ingenuity, as a species, has brought us to a point wherein the very protons and electrons within an atom can shudder or explode at our command. We have more power over and workable understanding of natural resources than at any other time in recorded human history, more access to such resources. We have greater sway over the horrors of disease and injustice and troublesome engineering than ever before in the annals of our kind. We have swift access to more useful and broadly disseminated information at our very fingertips than any civilization could have ever dreamed possible.
And we are still fucking everything up. Amid such thrilling promise, we nevertheless stand, tip-toed, on a precipice before the Abyss.
The kicker? This is hardly the first time such a thing has happened to us, as a species. Not by a long shot.
Ask the bloated, gluttonous Romans of Late Antiquity.
Ask the ancient Egyptians at least seven or eight earth-shattering times in their long and astounding empire.
Ask the Renaissance.
Ask the Russians.
(Don’t ask the Chinese—they already have this latest interlude mapped-out and whistling.)
In our day, as in every other “day,” those who should be held the most accountable are the least accountable.
Those who ought to “know better,” forfeit their knowledge in favor of personal and political agendas—which are always, ultimately, personal.
In an age where absolute freedom of expression has never been more accessible to the masses, those freedoms are being “canceled” by sanctimonious dogmatists on both ends of the political peanut gallery. More to the point, humans are utilizing this amazing new access to expressive freedom in reckless and damaging ways.
Let us be frank: 70% of the contemporary and glorious Information Highway is used for pornographic purposes. Tits and dicks and people fucking … well, everything they can fuck, apparently. “Things” have gotten to the point wherein I cannot stomach the daily news reports online. Reports of previously upstanding citizens snagged in base and even barbaric cyber-rings of wickedness. One level of depravity seems to replace another, day by day, week by week, month by month, and the media seems breathless to report such things. Women, children, animals, vegetables, and, yes, men abused and trafficked, abusing and trafficking.
I guess the media must indeed reveal such things. It behooves a society to know, even if the same society doesn’t really do jack-shit to address the core horror. After all, we have a pill and a plan and publicist for everything. A cornucopia of resources.
Just like Bacchus.
Well, all of that is what it is, and some would say: “Power to the People!” in that regard, and I echo that statement. I’m not against freedom. No way, baby. In fact, there is no such thing as a lack of freedom.
If people “feel” they are not free, they have been and continue to be free to overthrow their oppressors by all sorts of ways and means, justified and unjustified. I support that. Some throughout history have killed themselves to escape intense pain, oppression, daily agony, and the reasonable knowledge that their fortunes are unlikely to change. I support that, as well.
I certainly prefer so-called happy endings, wherein outside individuals of courage rise to the challenge and fight to free the oppressed and the captive and the suffering.
But if the courageous are in short supply and the horizon is one bleak, obsidian night for any individual with control of his or her faculties … escape as best you can. Even unto death. What greater freedom can there be? To reject and outwit one’s oppressor, against every probability and without recourse, and escape. Escape and run for your life, even if you are shot in the back as you run.
I believe that every civilization has the right to destroy itself and then be refashioned amid the slog of a merciless Dark Age. Go for it.
I was personally devastated by two more tragedies in the news this week—the adult piece of shit who “allegedly” plowed into the Christmas parade in Wisconsin (WISCONSIN, for Christ’s sake!) and the “kid” who “allegedly” shot and killed three other kids and a teacher at his high school.
Two different circumstances, different individuals. Who knows what made the adult do it? Psychosis? Well, if so, the powers that be saw it coming, and coming, and coming.
But let’s just coddle. Coddle coddle coddle.
That’s always a great solution with human beings. Forget about the time and effort it takes to instill character into a child as a parent—let’s just coddle, instead. Whether your parents are merely “present” or your only parent is the government … coddle away. Psychoses flourish like algae in such circumstances. Look at all the pretty colors! The phosphorescence. The DIVERSITY!
The kid who ”supposedly” shot those individuals in Michigan—they are killed DEAD, they will never be seen again in any world or existence, not as they lived and breathed—what made him snap?
Well, even a cursory glimpse at the heartbreaking affair affords a major clue.
Crumbly. Ethan Crumbly.
Jesus Christ Almighty. (And I type that with antagonized reverence)
What chance did that little sonofabitch have in the public school system in Michigan with a surname like that?
Think of the decades of neurosis built-into a clan with a name like that. Especially along the merciless Northern tier. I’m not making light of anything, either. My mother hailed from a family whose French surname translated into “Little Idiots.”
Oh, they were wonderful people, but also known for “issues.” The surname got attached to them at some point in the past, for a big smacking reason, probably.
But at least they could hide it because most people on the U.S. side of the border would rather be impaled than speak the Quebecois that 80% of their own surnames belied.
CRUMBLY. How the hell does the name “Crumbly” get attached to you in a family history? In the 20th Century?! You’re sentencing your kids to DOOM by keeping that name. Don’t buy guns and marry dominating fat women who will only make you and your spawn look weaker because she is desperate to overdo everything in order to overcome the burden of taking-on the name CRUMBLY. Change the surname! Everyone’s surname has been altered or twiddled over the centuries. Change it, assholes.
(And don’t scoff. The emperor Caligula had senators tortured and killed because he heard they rolled their eyes when he introduced his horse as a member of the same Senate. Little details get NOTICED.)
People—parents—-in these coddled times think that their offspring are pure as the driven snow. Angels, every one of them! Look at their faces and poses on Instagram! See how they smile on my Facebook timeline? Their teeth are shining white, as well! Oh, fake-adore me vicariously by “liking” this photo of my CHILD.
Children are, for the most part, feral little fucktard monsters. The ones born and bred into the public school systems since the grievous infiltration of post-Structuralism were/are even more devious and savage than the pre-World War specimens, by far. There has been a massive disconnect, but that’s another essay.
Suffice it to say that, today, in any public or private school, there exists an emotional disorder for every fucking pimple.
Trust me—I know. I grew up in the milieu that gave birth to this insatiable Hydra. If anyone thinks that most children are cherubic, delightful bits of fruit dropped from the steamy womb, think again.
I had a lot of strikes against me as a kid: born into a successful business family on the border of Quebec, where the vast majority of your youthful peers were hulking farm-kids and, frankly, products of inbreeding.
I wasn’t popular in my own home (!), so it was paramount that I find a way to become popular in school, where we were sent for eight hours a day while Dad sold cars and Mother ogled soap operas while pushing the occasional appliance-button, both of them working-up resentment to pile upon their kids when everyone got home sweet home.
I was lucky that I looked good. All apologies for admitting that ugly children exist in this world, but they damned well do—you know it, I know it, we ALL know it.
Certainly, when I was growing up, routine plastic surgeries and invasive cosmetic makeovers were not an option for any child dwelling outside of Manhattan or Beverly Hills, so kids had to live with what happened to explode and subsequently sprout from the birth canal.
Spare a thought for ugly children. I saw them being tortured mercilessly by other, better-looking, inherently vile children at school, and I remain stunned that our high school remained free from gun incidents, because our region was Gunny Gun-Gun Guntry.
Another thing must be said: in my experience, all children are bullied in a public school system. There’s always a nemesis or two, always a gripe, always a conflict that must be dealt-with.
I was raised by wolves, but they were smart, sarcastic wolves, so I had a few weapons at my disposal and adapted when the going got really tough. Overcompensation. Be the smartest but also be the most aggressive and pushy, if you sense the sharks circling—and sharks are always circling.
If someone pushes or hits you—sorry, you weak-wispy weebies of Today—hit them back and right in the nose, even if they eventually overpower you and you lose the fight. The fact that you scored a bloody nose will be THE ENTIRE STORY passed around the lunch-room over sloppy joes and “tuna burgers.”
And don’t pick on kids who truly don’t have the wherewithal to defend themselves. If you make it into the “safe,” “un-pickable” crowd, just walk away or tell a teacher. Seriously. If you try to intervene, as a child, on behalf of a bullied child, you’ll lose all your status and be bullied, too. Children, as shifty and wicked as they are, should not have that burden on their shoulders.
Unfortunately, and quite contrary to the Happy-Dizzy “thoughts” of today’s (and yesterday’s) nincompoop parents, 80% of the teachers in any given school suck HIND TEAT when it comes to talent or oversight, and they couldn’t give a half-hearted fuck-in-the-night about the fruit of your loins. They don’t. The remaining 20% of truly kind and dedicated teachers are GOLDEN, even if they’re a bit drunk as they give their lessons.
(Hey. You’d hit the gin at breakfast, too, if you had to deal with the Neanderthal crotch-fruit being trundled into our bumfuck high school, all of them as eager for an education as they were for acute acne. I do not hold it against Mrs. Anderson, Mr. Storn, Mrs. BoShard, and Mr. Privy that they were a bit tanked every day. They were excellent teachers, despite the hooch, and they cared, goddamn it!)
At the same time, it was wonderful, as a child, to see parents who attended school functions, art shows, sports events, and “parents night” extravaganzas, etc. I could see the love and pride that other parents displayed for their children, and it was a happy, if wistful, feeling. These were working-class people taking the time for their kids. Compared to the rest of the demographic, my parents were wealthy (although only upper middle-class in the wider estimation of the world) but they attended nothing. The one time my Mother drifted through a Parents Night, my science teacher told her: “He’s amazing and brilliant and a pleasure in class, but I think he’s depressed underneath the exterior and I think you’re the problem.”
Well, that was the end of parental school-venturing in my ancient days.
One point I wanted to make, I suppose, or one question I wanted to ask is: WHERE are these troubled kids getting guns and why do they turn to guns as a solution to their agonies?
My father was a gun-owner and gun dealer, in addition to his primary work. We saw guns around the house only in locked cases. Maybe we saw them being cleaned with precision in my father’s workshop, but only under the strictest allowance of observation. My father was many things, but he was an impeccable handler of firearms. The abject seriousness of firearms was ingrained, at least in me. There was a healthy fear. Some might prefer to call it “respect,” but I think that “healthy fear” is more suitable. I’ve never met anyone more responsible with guns than my father.
My Grandparents (to whom I was much closer than my parents) were the exact opposite. My Granny kept a loaded .57 in her knitting basket, and the mothball-ish depths of the immense hall closet was stacked with rifles—all of them loaded.
But my interest in guns was ambivalent, as a child. I was not obsessed with them, nor was I disinterested. I fired my fair share in strictly controlled target practice episodes, as a youth. Hunting traditions were dying-out in my region, as I came of age, and I left the area permanently just before coming of age.
I certainly experienced troubles and conflicts as a teen—a botched love affair with a slightly older woman and a clandestine terminated pregnancy sent me off the rails, but in spite of all the rage that could be mustered by the testosterone flooding a 17 year-old brain and body, a gun never occurred to me, even in the darkest depths.
Why not? What makes one reckless-ass kid choose a gun to “solve” issues and what keeps another from not even considering such a thing in his (or her) remotest thoughts?
Looking at the issue from past personal experience combined with many subsequent years of observation, I can only come to a few conclusions.
First, no child, however unformed his brain, chooses a gun to solve conflict unless he has already been taught that use of a gun is a viable and effective way to solve conflicts. Period. Either parents present that model to children—in a manner that allows for gunshot as a means of settling disagreement—or children have indeed been influenced (without harsh warning and guidance from parents) by the twisted “romance” of teen school-shooters/murderers who have accrued a kind of bizarre, gothic notoriety over the past three or four decades, in all the morbid, blazing, and attendant “glory.”
I have to admit, as well, that the escalating goriness of mainstream entertainment plays a major part, though the contextual presentation of violence in media was not always subject to the tender mercies of moral relativity.
Stir all of that into the current cauldron of shitty parenting, staggering narcissism fueled by social media and—a presto!—welcome to the Age of the Deadened. A huge swath of civilization that eschews character in favor of “characteristics.” An army of idiots that forsakes imperative for impulse. A teeming mass of soulless flesh-bags that fears lack of notoriety or some flicker of fame more than it fears death and annihilation.
But take some cold comfort in the fact that it has happened many times before.
Whatever you do, don’t open a history book. You’ll risk seeing how it all ends and how fragile and uncertain an eventual recovery can be.
And given the current ability/potential of the human race to destroy its own sanity, in addition to the earth’s environment and even climate via excess, neglect, and nuclear weapons (gee, remember those old bugaboos?) the very idea of “recovery” may be erased.
One thing is certain: there will be excruciating tears shed at the sight of empty seats around holiday tables this month.
Are we living to embrace the often unfair yet unquestionable beauty of our world, to leave even a small ”something” of kindness and beauty as we pass through?
Or are we living to consume and die? Fuck the world being left to the future, or to children.
Whether one has children or not, as vile as many of the little fartlings might be, the future belongs to so many kids who will grow-up to be Admirable and True.
They deserve something proper to work-with, though we seem to be doing our best to turn so many magnificent resources into desolate ruins.
(This entry is dedicated to my celestial partner in misanthropy, Florence King. Make me a Cosmo, Flo’—I’ll be there before you know it. Possibly with friends.) ~Jonathan Kieran
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