Happy 2013, dear, sweet Audience of One. Fret not, because the end is near. Why? Not because the world didn’t end on 12/21/12, the 3rd- or 4th-Most Lackluster Apocalypse of the 21st Century, but because signs of the Hell and the Handbasket are all around. Also, “not with a bang, but a whimper” dictates that even if the world is ending, you’ll never be able to see it, because the shit is gradual like Chinese water torture: it hacks away, bit by bit, until you die by 1,000 little cuts. Almost like if Jesus came back we wouldn’t recognize it either, and would write him off as a megalomaniac, warlord, imbecile, psychotic, genius, madman, or other tragic existential hero with a messianic complex. We can’t see the end because we won’t let ourselves, and we can neither see the Son of God for the same reason. Plus, we’re so cynical (because you’d have to be an idiot not to be) that even if we did find evidence for the end of the world and the second coming of the Messiah we would construct whatever necessary architectures of rationalization to show ourselves that it was merely a dimethyltryptamine-induced hallucination so as to keep our friends and family from throwing us in the loony bin, something they honestly should have done long ago.
Here’s what I know in the downy new days of 2013:
1. If yet another professional sports team labor union is threatening to strike and end the season, worker’s rights everywhere are being challenged like never before. Remember that pro athletes, by virtue of their enormous wealth, have far more leverage than workers practically anywhere else (they’re not acutally workers in the same sense). Also, strangely, the American public doesn’t seem to bitch about their unions the way they whine about the unions of the goddamn firefighters. After all, the firefighters are poor and are paid through our taxes. Fuck them!!!!
2. That “actress” bitch who got mad because the valet parking attendant wrote himself a note on her claim ticket about how to get her keys back to her quickly that contained the adjective “fat” and was unfortunately and unintentionally later found by her is precisely the same kind of Roman Emperor who would call the same valet company demanding that the same valet attendant be properly reprimanded if she didn’t get her car back in what she arbitrarily deemed to be an adequate amount of time. If you don’t want people to call you fat, lose weight. Don’t bitch about your problem on national television.
3. The gun control solution is worse than the gun control problem. What is Obama going to do in response to Sandy Hook? Take away 300 million guns on borrowed money from the Chinese and instigate Civil War II? Put us all in tanks with pink slime to harvest our “bioelectric energy” and Matrix the fuck out of this shit? You know he isn’t going to do crap about mental health because it’s too expensive, and psychologists and psychiatrists themselves aren’t sure if prescriptions and therapy even work that well. Meanwhile, we have a prescription drug abuse problem that will soon kill (or is already killing) as many Americans as privately owned guns. The most macabrely reported problem in America seems to get the lion’s share of ameliorative resources, regardless of the scale of that problem. Why aren’t we talking about influenza control, when it kills more people in the U.S. every year than guns? Because there is no “Sandy Hook” for influenza, and everyone who remembers the Spanish Flu of 1918 is dead. Utah Data Center + Patriot Act + DHS + TSA – 2nd Amendment Rights (to rewrite this shit, if necessary) = a police state so scary you can’t even tolerate colluding with it by living in it.
4. “Fiscal cliff”–postponed until March–because of politicians unable to merely do their jobs? Talks about cuts for the rich being permanent and cuts for the middle class being temporary? No pulling the plug on whatever Total Information Awareness is now simply because we can’t afford it? More borrowing? Hollande wanting to hike taxes on those earning more than 1 million euros to 75% and U.S. media outlets acting like that’s some sort of fresh, new idea? Big Brother stronger, meaner, more insensitive, and more powerful than he ever has been? I’m honestly surprised the Supreme Court, archnemesis of The People and The Constitution hasn’t already stricken down California’s new law preventing employers from asking for your social networking passwords, and I’m surprised that the passage of 2013 hasn’t triggered some new “safety” law requiring legally mandated RFID tags inserted under the skin of every man, woman, and child in all the land, replete with a $500-billion nationwide RFID-scanner infrastructure rollout so that “the Government” knows your whereabouts 24/7, Santa Claus-style. But why bother? That shit already happened to your passport and is about to happen to your ID. Since you have to carry these things with you all the time, anyway, it’s just as good as a court order to inject something under your skin.
5. The ocean is coming to swallow your home, because of generations of Americans doing little or nothing to address global warming. Yes, Americans caused it mostly (until recently, thanks to China). Yes, your home, because if you’re reading this you’re more likely to be living in a coastal city, where the majority of the world population lives. Get your fucking heads out of your asses, ostriches! The Maldives Parliament has already conducted meetings underwater! Unfortunately, you are not Maldivian, and aren’t going to be able to evolve fast enough to grow gills!
6. The ocean is almost dead in many areas. This is where a lot of food comes from.
7. Where the fuck are all the Mt. Shasta Lemurians and other enlightened beings who are supposed to start saving us, because of New Age prophecies based on false interpretations of the Maya calendar? I haven’t seen any of these yet.
8. As the nation grows older (the demographic curse of development is that as the infant mortality rate decreases the birth rate decreases, eventually to a point where more people die than are born, making the nation older), 2nd Amendment rights exercisers are going to be less able-bodied and less capable of overthrowing the Brave New Government. Meanwhile, the amount the government spends on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will necessarily have to increase. A powerful government is a dangerous government, and a geriatric democracy is one in which citizens will ultimately lack the power to usurp a military or government coup–one in which the citizens gradually lose the ability for self-determination, regardless of whether or not they still have the right on paper.
9. And yes, why would the government follow through on granting civil liberties unless they were afraid that there might be dire repercussions to the stability and predictability of the economy? Oh wait, the government doesn’t grant civil liberties anymore. They only take them away. And they’re obviously not afraid.
10. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people, that the people cannot shut down when it metastasizes because of budgetary bloat, is a government that puts the whole world in danger. Just ask civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Syria.
On the positive side, you’re not going to die, and neither are most people. Wait. You were going to die anyway because you were a person and were made mortal. So you are going to die, but not because you accurately perceive the world gradually ending. Because it’s not ending. It’s just ending for you. The animals and plants will be quite fine once we make this planet completely inhospitable for ourselves, thank you. Every species eventually goes extinct (although sharks and dragonflies seem to be pretty good templates for lifeforms), and the extinction of Homo sapiens will be no exception. I shouldn’t even care, because I’m not sure I even like us that damn much. But I’d like to think that the first species ever evolved (or “made,” depending on how you look at it) that was capable of charting its own destiny would do so in a way that maximizes its own comfort and survival. Call me romantic, naive, or idealistic, but the epitaph of the human story as it now stands will have a lot to do with squandering gifts.