Saturday, March 11, 2017 1:40 PM
I started out as an exceptionally intelligent person—but disease and CNS damage made me kinda stupid. I have trouble remember things or maintaining a line of reasoning for more than a few steps. I don’t argue with people anymore—I just assume that they understand things better than I do and defer to their judgement.
With one exception—I’m still smarter than conservative trolls online—these bastards log on and post their truly ugly foolishness, thinking they’re tweaking the beards of the intelligentsia—you can almost hear the ‘hyuk hyuk’ at the end—like Lenny in “Of Mice and Men”, crushing a mouse.
Well, technically, it’s not that I’m ‘smarter’—it’s just that the average Trump supporter is celebrating the dawn of the age of the idiot—their time has finally come, and they proudly display their ignorance as if ‘freedom of speech’ had magic dust in it. Then, doubling down, these dull blades take offense at being called stupid while they’re trumpeting their stupidity to the whole world—but I don’t let that bother me—tit for tat, bub. If they don’t want to be called stupid, they shouldn’t work so hard to prove it.
It’s ironic that these ‘tough guys’ who are so eager to let the poor starve, or die of treatable illness, have such delicate sensibilities when you call them out (‘let them eat cake—but don’t you dare hurt my wittle feelings’)—but if you want to make the world a darker place, strap in, because you’re going to hear from me, and you’re not going to like it.
We tell ourselves we’re living in a grown-up world but, every now and then, that ‘persistence of the high-school hallway’ bleeds through—and we find ourselves back in the world where might is right and ‘normal’ is dictated (and beat up the weirdo, for fun). We humans are contradictory beasts, knowing right from wrong, but not necessarily bound by that knowledge—they call it free will—I call it ‘people are assholes, sometimes’.
Does that sound bitter? I don’t see it that way. I think I’ve confronted the worst humanity has to offer and I have decided not to simply damn us all as hopelessly lost, but to characterize us, instead, as complex and contradictory. I think that’s pretty optimistic, really—given the evidence. In so many ways, this wonderful, modern world is just a few bad days away from a return to the Dark Ages. A lot of the conventions I’d like to think were rock solid, if I’m honest with myself, are relatively new and superficial—hell, some of them are younger than I am.
I was born two months after Rosa Parks was arrested. When I was a child, comics joked about women holding ordinary jobs, like policeman or construction worker. When I was a teenager, gays were still being beaten to death in public without the police getting upset about it. The world I’ve grown up in has gotten more and more enlightened with every passing year.
It is inexpressibly saddening for me to watch the whole thing start to swing backwards now. As our outer lives grow closer to science fiction, our inner lives revert to primitivism—in space we build laboratories—back on Earth, we kill each other while the true villains loll about in untold wealth.
Computers were a surprise, huh? I can still remember when I was the only person in the building who knew how to use one. Now that they’re everywhere, do we use them to streamline our government or make our lives more humane? No, we tweet. How disappointing.
Or how about the environment? I was in junior high school when Rachel Carson and Ralph Nader started to wake us to the fact that our burgeoning technology had consequences—that everything has a price. That was 1969—the year of the first Earth Day. Almost a half century later, the fat cats are still yelling that it’s not true—and that we can’t afford to save the earth, even if it were. Fifty years they’ve been saying that immediate economic disaster is worse than looming existential disaster—any sensible person would have used that time to prepare.
And I get it. We’re not saints, we’re not geniuses. We get through the day the best we can—and if the world is going to hell, what are we supposed to do about it? What can one man do? But still, as a group, humanity is embarrassingly stupid and suicidal. We all have our excuses—but we can’t deny the results, either. So, no, I haven’t given up on us yet—but only for lack of options.