Tuesday, July 12, 2022

How to Plan an Alternative Timeline While Remaining Momentarily Complacent (Part 1)

I'm guessing many/most/all Jews go through a stage where they ponder what they'd have done if they were living in Germany in 1933...or 1936...or 1938.

German Jews back then were as assimilated as Jews in today's America (we see newsreels of super jewy-looking Jews - with curly side burns and massive beards - in concentration camps, but those were the Eastern Europeans). They were largely doctors and lawyers and teachers and such, and pretty secular. They identified primarily as Germans, though, alas, the feeling wasn't mutual.

They were complacent, so once the scheisse really hit the fan, there was disorientation and panic and impasses galore. Lots of leaving-all-your-possessions-behind-while-hustling-your-family-through-snowy-mountain-passes-to-get-to-the-border. I'd like to think that I'd have seen it earlier and gotten out sooner.

So as a child I gave it thought, and came up with some counterintuitive ideas. I've kind of spoiled it with the title, above. I.e. it's possible to prepare a big ship for a prospective major turn without obligating yourself so that if/when you reach that juncture, you have a comfortable choice, without having to, say, drag the family over the Alps. That's Little Jimmy's Fantasy Nazi Plan. But more on that in a minute.

By chance, I'm about to move out of the country. My reasoning is only partly a matter of politics, but it did figure into my decision. You know, the whole impending civil war and autocracy thing. And there’s also a bit of a Jewish aspect. 

I think there will be a serious conflagration of anti-Semitism here (those who insist it's already begun are hysterics who need to ground themselves into a more rational perspective). As I wrote way back in 2017:
The infectious smoldering of economic populism, of xenophobia, of white supremacy, and of vitriol at "coastal elites", media, "Wall Street types", etc., is not being pushed forward, I don't believe, primarily by anti-Semitic people (though plenty of rabid anti-Semites are, of course, conveniently enjoying that tide). However, The Jewish Problem is like super-dry, crackly, hyper-flammable kindling, lurking adjacently to it all, just out of frame.
I don't think we'll be stuffed in ovens. History doesn't repeat, it merely echoes. I don't expect anything nearly as bad as extermination/genocide. But I do believe it will grow more unpleasant, and here's a funny thing about me: I prefer "pleasant".

Adding to the unpleasantry, I roll my eyes at the Right exactly as the Left does, but also vice versa. So while everyone else enjoys a tribal affiliation to huddle with for warmth and for mutual hatred of the "Other" (plus that distinctly American sort of sanctimonious moral superiority), me, I got nobody. I'm just standing here, like a shmuck, poxxing both houses.

Adding further, I've been gaslit my entire life on a plethora of fixtures (I've been taught to never mix metaphors, so, goddammit, I see them through). And right now Americans are gaslighting each other 24/7 (you probably only notice the "other side" doing it, but I see both). My perfect hell.

Plus my house is worth nearly twice what I paid in 2011, and I'd love to realize that gain. And also cut overhead.

Plus I've always loved Portugal. Here's what I wrote for my personal statement to the Portuguese government as part of my visa application:
In the 1980s and 1990s, I was a busy New York City-based jazz trombonist, arranging foreign tours several times per year. I often performed in Portugal (many appearances in Lisbon’s Hot Clube, and various clubs and cultural centers in the north) and taught seminars for conservatory students in Seixal. In all, I performed in thirty countries, and Portugal was always my favorite. I traveled there many times in this period.

At that time, Americans had barely heard of Portugal. My friends asked why I loved it so much. Here is the answer I gave: Spain and England lost their empires, but still act as if they rule the world: with macho swagger and a false sense of superiority. Portugal, by contrast, lost its empire, and developed saudade. It *evolved*. Everyone’s a poet, a musician, a philosopher.

I’ve felt this way for thirty years, and always expected to end up in Portugal. After a two decade delay (while I worked as a writer/author, Internet entrepreneur, and gastronomy expert), I will finally, with your kind approval, achieve the inevitable.

It amuses me that so many Americans are now attracted to Portugal. I find myself part of a trendy mass! But I don’t shout “I was first!” like a Spaniard or an Englishman. Instead, I grin with quiet irony, like a Portuguese.
The political system in Portugal is stable (if you read up on dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, you'll notice startling parallels, but he is, for now, in the past), and the people are only moderately narcissistic. The cost of living is substantially lower. And I could grab $75 round-trip flights to, say, Naples, for lunch on Ryan Air. Or drive to Seville (or onto the ferry to Morocco). Also: after five years of Portuguese residency, I'll have an EU passport, massively increasing my options.

Portugal will be a relatively easy move for me because I'm not, as they say, super tied-down (my tombstone epitaph: "Kept All Options Open!"). But how would I advise friends who are tied-down, but see me making this move and recognize, from long experience, that I'm generally on the leading edge of things (it's not my goal; frankly, it's an uncomfortable position)....and have the sinking feeling that perhaps they should be considering their options?

To answer, I'll reach into the bag of tactics and strategies I devised as a kid (I was way more clear-headed then; check out the great budgeting system I devised at age 7).

But this introduction has droned on for so long that there's no room. Tomorrow(ish) I'll post part two, and you can hear Little Jimmy's Fantasy Nazi Plan. Here it is!


COD said...

Facebook is where the written word goes to die. If I post 4 pictures from a camping trip with no additional info, I'll get 50-100 likes and some comments. If I instead post a link to my blog where I wrote a post about the camping trip, with photos, I'll get 3-5 likes if I'm lucky, and no comments. I'm sure FB not showing content that will take you off site is a big part of the issue, but I'm not giving that content to FB.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to your next FB post, just so I can "share" it!!! :)

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