For Vladimir Nabokov, a worship
As we surge deeper into election season we find two snarling dogs barking at each other, inside the pit. It is a vicious fight, perhaps an ear torn off, a scratch on the belly that won’t close, maybe even crippling the eventual winner until they can fight no more. Lingering over the pit laughs a giant fat creature, a shadow more than a man, the promoter of this contest, the President of the United States of America: Donald J. (“The Builder!”) Trump.
But perhaps it is best that we look at the conversations people are having about the endgame of the latest Presidential Primary election (who’s gonna win the NL pennant?) to get a deeper understanding on “what we believe.” It is a gruesome haze, COVID-19, the sort of name taken out of a novel of space armegeddon, something called “Fast Neutron” or “The Crowning Moment of Time,” which may featuring robot paladins. This is of course familiarly known to us as Coronavirus. I do not wish, either, to regale you with pretentious semantic sidesteps like–there have been many coronaviruses. That whole SARS thing was a coronavirus. Uh . . . MERS! Yeah, that was one a them too! This one just seems like the most deadly.
This piece of our series is going to focus on what we actually believe. Us. You and I. Them . . . I noticed–quite early on to my shocked surprise–that the passion of Trump, both pro and con, the fact that with everything he was the center of attention most people found little else to talk about. He is a gaslighter–oh, the term was made just for him! He can piss on any sacred cow–even demand a steak in a holy place like Mumbai, where the cows walk around in the streets. He gets off on pissing us off, and he honestly doesn’t care if you love him or hate him. As long as you keep talking about him. As long as you have an opinion. It’s because of this that he won his first election.
But let’s think about–and let’s descend towards sub-par psychoanalysis–let’s think about how much our lonely President must hate the existence of this terrible virus.
At first he refused to accept it, a selfish big brother looking around with his arms crossed and a scowl upon his face, looking down into the crib of his little sister and brother. His head darts around, shifting his gaze from side to side. Why won’t you notice me? he asks himself with increasing anger. What about meeeeeeeee?
After this he dismisses it. Yeah, it can give a few weak people outside our nation some problems, but that’s not our problem, he delivers with that exaggerated smug smile we see so often, and a macho wink, one that he can no longer pull off because he’s grown old and fat and unattractive. He is lacking in the confidence (truly) of his once perfect life, back when he was young and handsome and smart and all that money only helped in getting him laid. He was a born charmer–! (*note, study the later years of Fred Trump’s life. Search for parallels.)
Next comes: Oh shit! How can we bottle this motherfucker up? Shit! Get the doctors. Let me tell them what to say! This is bad for business . . . this is very bad for business! Oh, shit! Gimme those papers! Let me sign something. Tell everyone to deny. Deny it! It never happened! No one has to know! Fuck! Does she know–oh fuck! Uhh . . . get me . . . get me (oh fuck, Roy, what should I do?) Tell ‘um . . . tell ‘um that we got the best people working on it and we have the best medicine and doctors and science, and tell them that America’s number one and we got this thing covered. No one has to worry. No one’s gonna get it! You’re fine. You’ll be all fine. Forget it. Live life as usual . . . what’s the market at? Good? It’s up! Oh, shit, that was close. Tell ‘um something about how my business sense saved us from economic collapse. Say . . . say that if the Dems didn’t block our . . . our medical . . . Steve? Did I cut that or did they? What? Doesn’t matter? Okay. The Democrats are trying to kill you and take away your health care! They’re socialists, all of um (*note: run parallels of demonization and treatment of Democrats (or ‘liberals’) in the present tense to Jews in late Czarist Russian of the 19th century and, of course, Nazi Germany)! Say . . . say . . . what, gimme something! . . . . . . . . .Yeah! Say that it’s a Chinese virus! Say that they’re bringing it over the boarder because of the Democrats’ open shore policy! You know what? I bet we can build that wall after all! It’s a National Emergency. No one allowed in or out. We seal it shut and cut ourselves off from all that crazy fighting and war and violence, and keep those N(BEEP!)s and C(BEEP!)s and S(BEEP!)s and H(BEEP!)s and M(BEEP!)s and O(BEEPS)s, keep all of those diseased criminals out! America will be great again!
Then: Turns out the virus is really pretty bad. Publicly denying it will make me look foolish. I will be a laughingstock. I have to deny it, have to deny–What? What people? What’re they looking for? What am I supposed to do about that? How? How? How much will it cost? How much? No. No no no. The stocks keep going down. I mean, fuck that guy Bezos pretending like he’s richer than me, and I hope fucking Bloomberg gets completely wiped out, gotta live in onea those slums he made his fortune on. Fuck all those guys. But I’m losing money too. One of you stupid motherfuckers better do something about the market before we start worrying about people dying. Let’s fix the markets, steady the workforce . . . I don’t know, cut the poor folks taxes or something, I don’t know. How much money we got left in the chest anyway, Mnuchin? How much? Can we put it on the card? The card! Come on you stupid shit! It’s not like you haven’t done it before! Do it . . . do it! You want your job? You want that wife of yours to still suck your cock you fucking moron? Take the fucking money and pay those fuckers off and then let’s see if we can get the scientists to make some drugs, clear the whole thing away. Tell ‘um it’ll take a couple a months. They’ll settle down. And plus with the low taxes, they can go out and buy something. They’ll start going out again. I mean, what’re they gonna do? Stay home?
How can it have gotten so out of hand? My whole economy is collapsing three and a half years in–just like the prophet in the Book of Revelations! And then there’s this disease! They keep telling me that somea these people sick with it keep shaking my hand. What if I’m sick! Oh, oh shit . . . I gotta wash . . . gotta wash . . . oh, clean . . . clean . . . So we gotta shut the whole place down. Yeah, the thing is bad, okay, fine. I never said it wouldn’t be. I lost the bet, too bad. And I know how to win at gambling! Even the greatest gambler has to miss sometime. So we shut the doors. Everybody stay. If you were born elsewhere and even live somewhere in the states, then you can’t come back in. We let you stay in our country for free and you decide to go elsewhere? What’re you, a spy? Commie spy? You some kinda dirty red? Kinky red? . . . so I guess I don’t have to stop being president anyway, if one of those cocksuckers somehow cheats enough to get a fake win. I can just call martial law. I can say that we are all a danger to each other and you’re all scared and you’re running out of food and supplies. Let’s set up a federal store where people can line up and get whatever they can afford. We can get the market back on track, anyway. Maybe this whole thing is a blessing in disguise.
And so ends the ballad of the phases of grief as interpreted through the character of Donald Trump. I feel I have earned a bow . . .
On to facebook, with some person’s headline post. The conversation to follow has been shared by numerous other, presumably like-minded, people. This miserable looking college-aged individual, calling themselves “Megan” (and with a curious @, something so basic, so cynical, so blankly hopeless), glares into the camera, stressful rage tensing her whole body into a stiff, hate-filled scowl. I can picture her pounding her phone hard, bruising her thumbs with intensity. She delivers this mocking, anarchic threat, one swelling from the bowels of a spoiled child who has always had tantrums when not getting her way. And she hates her parents, their legitimate failures having produced such an unsatisfied person. Oh, she can talk your ear off about something someone did to her and how she tried to get them back and what those assholes tried to say and how they were wrong, they’re wrong, they were so fucking wrong! Only I know what’s best for me! Why do I have to care about anyone! And if I can’t have my way, neither can they!
I recently wrote a one-off piece to this series called “Viruses” (–please, check it out, dated 3/12/2020), where is discussed the turbulent sickness of partisan rage, a deadly virus in its own right, only much slower and more thoroughly apocalyptic. The comparison to Corona is rather striking. Every fundamentalism is. And so here is a scrap of what we geniuses were arguing about. The names have been changed not to protect anyone (no, fuck those people!), but to offer a stereotype for their title. We have likely seen one form or another of these repetitious drones, barking the same answers at you with increasing sarcasm and frustration. Each one of these characters provide a droning white noise for the truly mean-spirited individuals who have given their vision more thought, and have decided, whether with sincerity or just a bitchy self-amusement, to watch simple people unspooling.
The Condescending Optimist
- Truth Hurts lol.
I’m So Angry You Said That That I am Going To Fall Right Into Your Trap!
- Why don’t you go find something else to do, troll? Like an adult coloring book!
Somehow this exchange is meant to prove something, to one up the person who clearly does not care. Insult them, sure. Sometimes they come back, to the never-ending frustration of the outraged, with a dismissive reply like
- russian bot
Then we get into
The Intellectual Who’s Going To Break it All Down For You So Even the Peons Will Understand
- Well, Glass Steagal started under Reagan (the repea) and was signed into law by Clinton…….business as usual…no they want to return to some sanity……NAFTA……okay……lots of people did, but your blame NAFTA for job loss when the overwhelming majority of job loss was automation…..sorry, i know facts are horrible……IRAQ war…….give you that one…….bailing out the banks………bad as it was, if they didn’t do that, what kind of society would be existing at the moment……when they bailed them out, they brought in new reg’s with it to protect people………TPP, most of the industrialized world did….Trump didn’t, so you must love Trump……….as for the other topics, some good some no comment, but if you don’t support Joe because he is not Bernie, then you support Trump……is Trump really your fall back guy after Bernie…..explain that convoluted logic to me your Russian bot
This whole statement is a mess. It is arrogant and somehow ends with the exact same dismissive wave–“russian bot,”–closing the jangled historical mush expressed, a person who knows the names of various events without having the slightest knowledge of anything those proposals and wars were about, nor their consequences. This person might as well have said:
More Than You Can Count People Attempting to Be Rational By Chanting a Slogan
- Vote Blue no matter who!
- Stop Trump!
- Anything is better than Trump!
- No to the GOP coverup!
And there are plenty more. Some people are crazed in their anger:
Crazy Angry Person 1
- So the Bernie Diehards are going to commit suicide if their boy doesn’t win. They don’t care about destroying the rest of the country. They don’t care about Saving Our Democracy or stopping the bleeding from this fascist, white-nationalist, constitution violating, environment destroying and tax policies only for the benefit of the super-rich evil regime. That’s insane and only proves their cult poisoned mind so willing to destroy all around them in the name of their cult master. Yikes, that’s SICK. So You will instead actually support Trump which WILL BE The End of Your movement FOREVER. Joe winning the general will save us ALL from this Pestilence of Trump. Plus your Democratic Socialist Dreams will remain alive. But you’re insanely proclaiming you’ll throw all that away and feel the Burrnnnnnnn for the rest of your life. Just Be a Good American or responsible Adult. Yikes, Suicide and wanting to hurt so many others is not the Answer. There’s therapy that!
Versus, of course, versus
Crazy Angry Person 2
- Biden hasnt a progressive bone is his arrogant and racist body. Quit trying to shove that right wing groper down everyones throat!
Mildly Angry, Hurt Feeling, Self-Righteous Defender of Vague Beliefs
- I didn’t know not being racist and actually wanting people to have health care was a “extreme left policy stance”….
Smug, Gonna-School-Ya-Children Jerk Alienating the People They Intend to Recruit
- How are the ones winning the election the losers?
The losers are people who don’t vote, like the people here who don’t want to vote because they don’t like Biden so they’d rather have a far right republican as president.
The losers are all these young progressives who don’t give a shit and don’t even bother to vote for the candidate they love.
Where is Bernie’s army of young supporters? They never showed up.
You don’t win by not voting.
Flagrantly Arrogant Stupidity Based Upon Nothing Other Than Personal Opinion, Backed Up By Nothing Whatsoever
- You either get Biden for eight years or a Biden/gop sandwich for the next eight years or you crush Biden now and the dems finally put up a real progressive in 2024 for a real up down vote. It was hard to defeat a president with a growing economy.The progressives have a much better chance in 2024 when folks may be tired of 8 years of gop. Plus, dems will then add seats in 2022 house election.
Yet this is where the turmoil rages. We no longer really leave our houses, get into bar fights over Yankees versus Red Sox. People do not talk on the phone to each other, never see one another’s faces. We just plant ourselves with these blind words, removing the component of actual human experience, and we close our minds into whichever radicalism appeals to us. And we’re scared, we are deathly afraid that someone else will be right. It leads to comments like:
Shrill, Bitter Person, More Consumed by Misanthropy Than Any Genuine Progressive Compassion for Mankind’s Fate, Their Soulless Laughter Really a Mirror into Their Self-Loathing, Suicidal Inclination
- Centrist tears are delicious
These are the voices of our rampaging fear of each other, of ourselves, of the planet, the universe, the idea of God, other ideas of God, economic policy, health insurance policy, and every other political objective ever proposed by any side going back to Plato making a suggestion (https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=9780385094979&n=100121503&cm_sp=mbc-_-ISBN-_-used).
The fact remains that all of us are presently afraid. Know who’s the most terrified? It is the swaggering brawn of certain individuals, caressing their guns and believing that this makes them ready to protect their family during a zombie apocalypse, or a deadly pandemic, or any other swarm of death that they are helpless against. And so they shiver inside, glaring outside, listening to whichever voice on TV tells them what they want to hear. They are cowards, all of us are acting like cowards as we churn towards the endgame–whatever that may be–and await someone else to make up our minds for us.