Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Existential Anxiety

Reading fiction as a distraction from our current depressing Situation was working pretty well for me until, at 2AM, I encountered this passage from Keiichiro Hirano's novel, A Man:

...Kido saw his life as composed of several stages linked together by a shared name, with himself as their culmination.  A significant portion of the life given continuity by the label "Akiro Kido" that had once lain ahead had already been relegated to the past, and so his identity was in large part already determined.  Of course there might have been other paths he could have taken and therefore other people he might have been.  Perhaps an infinite number.  It was in the light of such considerations that he confronted his former question anew.  The problem was not who he was in the present but who he's been in the past, and the solution he sought was no longer supposed to help him live but to help him figure out what sort of person to die as.

Hirano wrote in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed Fukushima — an event just as arbitrary and unforeseen as a pandemic, and just as likely to provoke a little existential anxiety.  It's a common human condition, albeit most humans can't put a name to it when they feel it.  We respond by immersing ourselves in the present, focusing on some current, less transcendental outrage.

That's why I'm having a problem this time around: I seem to be suffering from outrage fatigue.  I've been outraged so often recently that it's become hard to work up a good surge of anger anymore.  My head has been bombarded by the corruption and the inequalities and the classism and the blatant lies and the manipulations of reality.  Where the hell is that revolution I wanted fifty years ago, and that I never stopped wanting?

There.  That feels much better.  I'm back! :)

Friday, May 15, 2020

Extra brief briefs

The last economic depression led to the creation of social safety net programs.  It also weakened the rule of law and led to the rise of fascism.  These are dangerous times.  Meanwhile. . .

◆  Richard Burr (R-NC) led the Senate Intelligence Committee, which affirmed the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  Now he's under criminal investigation for insider trading, unlike other members of Congress who dumped a lot of stock before the virus induced market crash.  One wonders . . .

◆  The normally taciturn Clarence Thomas has been surprisingly talkative in the context of hearings by telephone, which might make some of us suspect that Ginni Thomas could be feeding him his questions.

◆  Quite a few Tr*mp supporters could be okay with reopening the country because the virus "mostly" kills blacks and Latinos.

There is no available "evidence" to support any of this, but those with the proper mindset will have no trouble believing it.  After all, "evidence" is so 2015!  Isn't it?

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Biden as Sex Offender

I suspect a great many people, including many Republicans, will dismiss Tara Reade's accusation against Joe Biden; not because they trust his moral character, but because they see him as kind of a dweeb.  Okay, he gets his jollies squeezing shoulders and stroking necks, but that's just more evidence of his dweebishness.  They don't think he's aggressive (aka "manly"} enough to take it any further.  Unless there are more accusations, he'll probably skate.

Maybe that was just my own first impression, but I'm confident I'm not alone.  Of course, everything is as clear as mud at the moment; and as they said on the radio when old Joe was a pup, "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"  Government being government, though, there has to be a personnel file for Tara Reade in some archive or another, and some bureaucrat should be able to find it.  It wouldn't hurt at all if Biden let a couple of archivists at the University of Delaware go through his papers for the relevant time period, and see if they can find any reference to Tara Reade whatsoever.  If he doesn't want to antagonize a lot of progressive Democrats, he'd better do it soon.