Friday, December 23, 2016

The Pendulum

Published a piece on Medium called The Pendulum, about the shift from despair to tentative hope while I ponder all the catastrophic implications of the Trump presidency. I also mention the Thai Blind Orchestra. Both of these things came to me in an NPR report this morning, on a drive to take care of some errands.

The Pendulum on Medium:
The future does not look bright. In fact, in some moments, like driving down the road listening to these NPR reports, it looks frankly terrifying. My head constructs something that looks like Flint in the middle of its water crisis, and NYC and Detroit at the height of urban decay, and the Rust Belt and Appalachia at their most desolate, featuring lone-wolf terrorists in prominent roles, both Middle Eastern and radicalized American. I think this is what they call “catastrophizing”… or just “hysteria,” if you want to spare a syllable. 
At these times, I tell myself that I just have to protect my family and seek high ground. Civil society has always been build on the bedrock of a hostile wilderness, after all… will that world, where we have to fight for survival, finally start peeking through? When is it ethical for a non-violent leftist to buy a gun? Is a coming apocalypse the right time to rethink that principle?
At this point, it was not a pleasant drive.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Trump and The Spectacle

Wrote a thing on Medium. Sounds very Guy Debord/Critical Theory, but don't worry, there's nothing particularly rigorous about it. It's just one more moment of me thinking I've "figured it out" because I just had a new thought that seems to have overturned a few previous thoughts at once.

A selection:
The hardest part about reconciling with the present moment — not submitting to it, of course, but finding the right way to exist in relation to it — is going to be resisting the spectacle of it all. We are all, even unto the most cynical and steady, vulnerable to the distraction that comes from bearing witness. Our own need to gaze awestruck upon the bigness of history, and the bigness of our own imperfection, is going to leave us dazzled.
Find it here: The Spectacle