Sunday, September 16, 2018


Do you find this at least faintly amusing?

You monster.

I'm not kidding. You've just revealed your ability to desensitize to another person's misfortune. For the time being, it's reasonably tolerable to do so in reaction to random viral videos. But that same degree of desensitization in certain realms could outrage mobs, get you fired from your job, and have your life (and your family's lives) entirely ruined.

Don't you dare ever post even something as mild as "Ha!" in response to such a video. Don't ever go on the public record as enjoying Road Runner or The Marx Brothers, both of which will surely soon be taboo - a shameful relic of our barbaric past. Can you believe people used to laugh at other people's misfortune???

While I sound acidly critical, I'm actually slightly ambivalent. I crave Utopia as much as the next guy, but I defy you to envision a human utopia that would tolerate a snorting guffaw. We claim to yearn to do away with bullies and violence and intolerance and "negative emotions", but that's an empty precept not one of us embodies - or, truly, even wants to embody. As I once wrote:
We want monsters and stress and drama and loss and violence, along with laughs and love and bliss. We have an innately abusive relationship with the universe, and, as with every abusive relationship, we subconsciously choose this dynamic 'cuz the making-up part is so, so good.

This world is exactly what you asked for: a huge, collaborative story ripe with exciting joy and sorrow, and it perpetually churns for our entertainment. If it were all cookies and pixie-dust, we'd be bored out of our skulls, and build even more chilling video games, movies and rollercoasters
It's trendy to excoriate desensitization and intolerance with every screechy bone in one's body. A sanctimonious wave of neo-Sovietism relishes identifying and punishing transgressors. A certain crowd is so deluded by their pious precepts that they imagine themselves to exist on higher moral ground...even as they channel the exact same dehumanization (ever seen "Dexter"?).

I don't know where we're going as a society in the long run. While I can feign seamless sensitivity as well as anyone, honestly, I don't think I'd enjoy utopia, nor would any of you. I must reserve my right to guffaw. But one thing's for certain: it's easy to sit in one's cell of snark, surfing the cyber realms and thundering piously at those failing to embody the precepts one flouts, and feeding off the staunch mob momentum that's become the extreme left's surrogate nationalism. Mark my words (I first predicted this just after the 2016 election): the Trump backlash will be worse than Trump. Soviet or fascist, either route leads to tyranny.

Will we human beings ever learn to react to extremism with enlightened moderation rather than with reciprocal....ahhh, screw it.

If this Slog had an order of magnitude more readers, I'd be fucked for having posted this, much less this. As with Trumpian fascism, the neo-Soviet current I'm describing is no longer latent; it's fully in play. So be careful out there. 

What? You’re already measuring your words much more carefully these days? You do understand, don’t you, that this shows we’re already in the thick of it?

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