the sane man disappears and is nowhere when he enters into rivalry with the madman.
At a New Year's Day Yacht Club brunch yesterday, I suggested to a newly thin friend worried about overeating at the bulging buffet, that we declare January 1st as a National Who Gives a Shit day. We need a break from all this fear and loathing and self flagellation.
For my part, I'm chronically worried about things far more dire than gaining a few pounds; things like a Napoleonic Republican in the White House again, the deliberate collapse of the world economy for the benefit of a few oligarchs, plutocrats and other assorted brigands -- and of course the coming Zombie Apocalypse, the Mayan Catastrophe and the end of an error prophesied on all those bumper stickers.
Of course there are many other things to be depressed about and most of them, unlike that Zombie thing, can't readily be dealt with by stockpiling ammunition. But we need a break from all the apocalyptic insanity, the hate commercials all over the TV with Mike Huckabee howling last night about how Romney's health care plan was "stuffed down our throats" ( by a large majority of voters) even though Obama was elected largely on the promise of health care reform. We need a break from having our basic fundamental liberties torn from us by small minded big mouth authoritarian radicals like Vaneta Becker, the Republican State Senator from Indiana who wants to make it illegal to sing our National Anthem "inappropriately," the constitution and all that freedom we're told isn't free, be damned -- at least in Indiana.
Oh say can you see, our boot on your face -- would that be inappropriate? Now which third world countries can we invade to protect her freedom to sanctify the trappings and rituals of Chauvinistic self worship while rebelling against any government power other than the power to crush the people?
No, I'm afraid National Who Gives a Shit Day barely made it past those chocolate truffles I couldn't resist last night and all those Happy New Year wishes have already turned to ashes with my first glimpse of today's news. It's the same old madness we had two days ago, the same inconsistent, persistent, self-negating rhetoric, the same greedy, angry, irrational revenge-seeking of the idiot mob. Who can worry about brain eating zombies or rampaging Jesus with a flame thrower or Kenyan Kommunists stuffing civilization down our throats when that great slithering thing we call the media are stuffing insanity into every orifice; howling like some Lovecraftian horror from every high place, importuning us from every telephone, billboard and car bumper that obedience is freedom and civilization is tyranny - that prosperity comes from doing what always leads to catastrophe.
For those of us not about to die, or at least not to die immediately, it's January 2nd and I give a shit. I'm fed up with being told that rational discord with marauding barbarians will lead to understanding and progress, that authoritarians will become tolerant of freedom if only we show them respect and exercise patient restraint and all the ancient evils mankind has perpetuated and treasured and nurtured will somehow wither away if we're polite and sincere.
If it is true that fighting monsters brings the risk of becoming one, it is also true that not fighting them, being quiet and polite and respectful toward mad moralizers and authoritarians and fear mongers and every snark-snarling witless witling posing as a philosopher carries the bigger risk. It's time to stop pretending we're on some fence between one reasonable place and another. We're not.