Monday, August 19, 2019

"Go Back to Your Country"

A Chinese-American friend was approached in a parking lot by a tight-faced older woman who snidely told him "Go back to your country". He replied, naturally, that he was from Brooklyn.

He's been telling the story to everyone in his circle like a war story - a traumatic experience demonstrating the hellscape we currently inhabit. He found it deeply wounding.

But, as I frame it, the fact that this encounter seems like a horror/trauma proves he's living in Paradise. One can almost hear peels of muffled laughter from graveyards around the globe as generations who sacrificed to bring humanity to the brink of Paradise watch their descendants feel completely wrecked by mere trifles.

The woman was neither performing nor threatening violence. She was wearing no uniform - i.e. in no position of authority. No bloodthirsty mob arose to egg her on. She just got into some grim crappy car and drove away. Was this pleasant? No, it was not. But if brief unpleasantness was the worst thing that happened to my friend on that day, it can mean only one thing: he's living in Paradise.

Practically only yesterday we strode around savannas, bashing each other senseless with clubs for no good reason. One brief generation ago (I still remember it from my childhood!) it was considered perfectly acceptable - even admirably "manly" - to occasionally slug people in the mouth if you didn't like something they said. Now that we've reached a point of ultimate civility, safety, and pampered comfort, some rando uttering an unkind sentiment can aggrieve us just as much as famines and plagues and warlords and lions and 46% child mortality once did.

As I wrote here:
By the time we're down to our very last Nazi (some geezer raving and saluting from his electric scooter), we'll all be so unhinged by his presence that we'll jump in the ocean and drown en masse like lemmings.

"If this is the worst thing that happens today, would that mean it's been a good day?" That's always the key question when rich, comfortable entitled people (i.e. everyone in the First World) feel compelled to frame trivial slights and discomforts as The Worst Thing Ever. This question, which I treasure as a magical amulet, is a red pill with the power to reveal that we're princesses increasingly vexed by smaller and smaller mattress peas. I've lived through heart attacks and heartbreak, sadistic authority, curses, and more, but I've never had cause to not answer "yes" to the magic question.


Display Name said...

I need to order my fainting couch.

Anonymous coward said...

I think your are correct not only in the USA but in other parts of the world. Take the Hong Kong protests. Can you imagine a peaceful demonstration of that scale a generation ago let alone two centuries? I don't think the protests would be peaceful to say the least. A warlord would have violently ended the protest by now.

Trump is not that bad as you've said in previous posts. For example, Trump supports the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

"President Donald Trump on Wednesday tied a U.S. trade deal with China to humane resolution of the weeks of protests wracking Hong Kong, hours after the State Department said it was ''deeply concerned'' about reports of movement of Chinese paramilitary forces along the Hong Kong border. Grace Lee reports."

As per above quote Trump is supporting good.

Display Name said...

I found myself in a predominately black neighborhood today and my eyes beheld a Popeyes. I don't have a twitter account but I heard about the chicken sandwich smack talk going on. I had to go for it. I waited in a looong line where everyone was complaining about the wait. I was the only non black customer. I tried not to grin in anticipation. I pulled the spicy chicken cutlet off the roll. I try not to weep with joy as I slowly ate that chicken. I got this warm feeling of happiness. The chicken exceeded my expectations. I kind of thought it would. Does this make me a racist? Hope not. But damn.

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