This is thanks to Paul Krugman, who keeps an eye on things—like Bureau of Labor Statistics observations—that I can’t bring myself to look at.
In my seventies, dreams have seized me.
Uncompromising, but not unkind,
Of more significance, now it’s come to this,
Than the judgments of my peers.
I embrace this purgatory of dreaming,
Consider it generous, a blessing even,
To be granted a good look at the bill
Before it comes due
When I was twenty
If I got this far
Would gruel in the morning
And a beer at sundown
There was a guy here
A couple of years ago
Musta thought he was
I wonder what happened
“Will you tell me the truth?”
“Almost never. The truth is complex, far more complex than my intention. The truth that I will tell you, that I can tell you, is that between human beings intention is everything, and that my intention is to tell you only as much of the truth as I think likely to leave you undamaged.
That’s why you mustn’t trust me. Good intentions are inevitably tainted with both ignorance and condescension. Never mind what Nietzsche said, no one ever gets beyond good and evil. The nature of reality forbids it.”
Another half-awake visitation:
The text is brief. “Leave now. Do not pack. Kids already in transit.” As I pass reception, an upturned face. “Madam Secretary…?”
“Out. Go Now. Everyone. Move.”
Three minutes forty-two seconds later a flash in the rearview mirror, followed by a sharp jolt transmitted through the suspension. A glance upward shows a column of dark smoke already rising where we all used to be.
Once I’m back under, I send a text of my own. “The warning was timely. Your attempt was not. My representatives will be with you shortly. If you’d rather not wait up for them, I’ll understand.”
After that, a drink. Then once more unto the breach, for now, as before, what we do is who we are. No more, no less.
Trump versus DeSantis, the Ron and Don show, is about to begin in earnest. Oy gewalt! Watching the handicappers on Fox News counsel the Republican Party’s animal farmers to trade a pig for a weasel in the upcoming presidential primaries can evoke a litany of gruesome probabilities, but at this point it’s hard to see how following their advice can confer any great advantage on a party that seems more interested in self-immolation than winning elections.
In any event, for the MAGA faithful, escaping the lottery of potential regret is no longer an option. Dumb as they are, it’s hard not to feel at least a poquito bit sorry for them. Trump’s always been the guy, right? Right? So what’s all this stuff about choices all of a sudden?
They have a point. As a would-be herald of the coming cracker apocalypse, Trump has always had a certain way about him—if standup comedy in Hell’s your thing, Don’s your guy. If you’re a sadist pure and simple, though, DeSantis can offer you the purity and simplicity of Conan’s gladness—elect him and he’ll crush your enemies, have them driven before you, and guarantee you a seat close enough to hear the lamentations of their women. This shorthand caudillo doesn’t need to play golf, or crack jokes, he’s got vengeance to sell. That’s it, that’s the whole deal. There’s not the slightest hint in his public performances of the titillating foreplay that good old boys find so endearing about Trump. If Ron’s your guy, there’ll be no laughing ever. Triumphant sneering will still be encouraged, laughing absolutely not.
Mike Pence has one of those faces, frozen in malevolence, that are usually pictured standing stoically behind a Franco, or a Stalin, or a Gotti as they deliver their epiphanies to a cowering public. Pence has no soul; he’s replaced it with a clockwork Christanity devoted only to his own self-righteous ambition. Even the Bible would advise us to shun him.
Realists will tell you that DeSantis has done no such thing, but with realists it’s an article of faith, if not a quasi-autonomic reflex, to deny that metaphors have anything to offer them that might alter their certainty about what exists and what doesn’t exist.
I pity them. They belong either in Congress or under a monument somewhere. We should never, ever grant them a role in determining our future, at least not one as large as those they’re constantly proclaiming for themselves. Metaphors embody the perpetually emergent property that distinguishes our species, the interface between being and becoming, the herald of perceptions which weren’t there before, but will alter, perhaps forever, where and how we fit into a future version of our world.
We’re lucky they exist, and we should be grateful that they do. Listen to poets. Do not listen to people who deny that DeSantis has opened fire on Fort Sumter. They are dead inside.
It seems you feel our work is not of benefit to the public…
Chatbots are like any other machine. They’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.
The first of many beginnings that turned out to have no middle or end. Waste not, want not, though, right?
It was social services placed me here, in this two-person, three-yappy-dog suburban coffin, here to prosper and grow up, after which they’re presumably going to let me out into the world again. As if I can afford to wait that long. They’re good people, nice people, these two, but they’re not my people. Do I even have people? Doesn’t feel like it, not so far.
So I’m on my own now, is it? Better not lose my library card then. I’ll be needing it for planning and stuff.