A vague feeling of guilt ties me to that dead man
I know that I owe him reparations which he will never receive
How are you feeling about the election? Are you happy? Are you cautiously optimistic? Has the initial excitement worn off and you’ve returned to catastrophizing like me? I’d like to hear from readers so send me a few lines or a paragraph or two to include in an upcoming newsletter if you like. They can be anonymous.
A lot of you missed this Hell World by Joe Keohane the other day and you should read it it’s very good.
I also sent this piece out on Saturday to paid-subscribers. It’s about anticipation although I’m not sure I believe some of it any more.
On Sunday morning there came a sound like a tossed orange bruising against the side of the house. Was that a… bird? Michelle asked and I said hmm? because I was wallowing and not present at the time which is my way. I climbed from the floor over to the front window which had been my perch this summer while searching for signs of a neighbor gardening murderously and not finding anything remarkable I went back to my business which as I mentioned is a lugubrious idle a sort of sustained and poorly struck 17 hour long A minor chord that diminishes only for the refrain of restless sleep.
I just had to search to make sure I was using “lugubrious” correctly there and I happened across a list of GRE vocabulary words for the spring of 2019. Here was the entry.
Lugubrious: adjective, Looking or sounding sad and dismal
Synonyms: mournful, gloomy, sad
“The lugubrious strains of 'Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now' waft across a sunny beach in Acapulco.”
It would be hard to summarize “my whole thing” more succinctly than listening to The Smiths while on a beautiful beach in Mexico.
Here is some further vocabulary from the same document something about which has captivated me. Who wrote these example sentences lol? I didn’t specifically cherry pick the words that were thematically resonant by the way they just came like this.
Misanthropy: noun, a dislike of humankind
Synonyms: cynicism, hatred of mankind
“[Labor] did not fall into the traps of the old left: confusing individualism for misanthropy...”
Morose: adjective, Sullen and ill-tempered
Synonyms: sullen, sulky, gloomy
“Mr. Macron’s can-do political energy stands out in morose France, home to 10% unemployment and growth last year of just 1.1%.”
Listless: adjective, lacking energy or enthusiasm
Synonyms: lethargic, enervated, lackadaisical
“Ukraine is brimming with weapons and thousands of militiamen, angry with a corrupt and listless government they feel has hijacked the revolution.”
Loll: verb, Sit, lie, or stand in a lazy, relaxed way
Synonyms: lounge, sprawl, drape oneself
“The pair loll on a green hillside at Murnau south of Munich where Münter had bought a house.”
Not long after the affair with the hypothetical bird evidence of which I did not find when I went outside to inspect reports started to arrive of an earthquake in Massachusetts which they said originated in Buzzards Bay into which we had fanned my father’s ashes one day in the cold spitting rain a few years ago. Earthquakes in Massachusetts are not exactly a common occurrence and while many people reported feeling it I did not.
It was like an “overfilled washing machine” one person said. “My neighbors were walking on the beach and saw the bay ripple,” another added. Someone who worked in a hospital “said it felt like a train hit it.”
I wondered aloud on Twitter if it might have had something to do with the bird situation and was immediately and thoroughly owned to all hell.
“We wouldn’t expect there to be significant damage from this earthquake,” a guy named Paul Caruso from the Geological Survey told the New York Times. “Earthquakes in this area are commonly felt very far away because the rocks in this area are very contiguous, very old, so they transmit the energy very well from earthquakes.”
I like that. Even the rocks here are old as far as rocks go. They’re accustomed to sharing the impact among themselves. From each according to his ability but tectonically.
I watched as people very close to where I live and all over New England reported feeling the ground move in various degrees of severity and it felt like I was missing out like we were robbed of the experience. Not that I have any desire to know what an actual devastating earthquake is like obviously but to have felt something that powerful for once in my life would have been interesting at the very least. Something different. It snowed six inches here on Halloween the other day which immediately melted when we shifted to a week of 73 degree days in November so why not an earthquake too?
Oh before I forget there is a newly published short Borges piece. It’s about his feeling of debt to a man that his grandfather had had killed thirty years before he was born which is some Extreme Borges Shit.
“Un vago sentimiento de culpa me ata a ese muerto. Sé que le debo una reparación, que no le llegará. Dicto esta inútil página el diecinueve de noviembre de 1985,” he wrote which roughly translates without any music to “A vague feeling of guilt ties me to that dead man. I know that I owe him reparations, which he will never receive. I dictate this useless page on the 19th of November, 1985.”
His widow María Kodama recently discovered the lost story which she had written out for him by hand thirty five years ago while going through their old shit during quarantine adding another meta layer of Big Time Borges Shit to the entire proceedings. Mysteriously discovered manuscripts and shit.
All throughout the weekend people in cities large and small around the country danced in the streets and honked their horns and struck drums with joy and blasted YG and Miley Cyrus and hugged and cried and for brief pockets I too felt something like what they felt but I couldn’t make it stay. I yelled out to the postman on Saturday and we raised our fists together and he said something like “after all that shit he said about us!” and I tried the stunt again later when I saw some neighbors out front but they were mostly concerned with doing yard work or at least didn’t feel inclined to share any of their hypothetical jubilance with me in particular. I jogged down to the tiny little town green where a small crowd had gathered waving signs and I hooted with them briefly then ran on past the mailbox-sized woman who’s been waving an enormous Trump flag all week and for the first time since the height of the anti-police brutality protests I felt a longing to live closer to the city again as if I was missing out on community to exult with. And then I thought about it a bit more and realized I didn’t particularly feel like partying at all.
To be sure I despise Donald Trump and his coterie of sulfurous worms as much as the corniest Joy Reid-ass lib and I am pleased to see him have his pants pulled down to his dry ankles but this is a moment I’ve been anticipating with a mixture of hope and dread almost every single day for four years and now that it’s finally here I feel no overriding or perspective-shifting sense of catharsis. In fact right now things seem worse than ever as we’ve been suspended in a transitionary period where Trump and Biden are both currently the president and the loser so we’re getting to experience the worst of both worlds at once. Trump is still lying constantly and threatening in his own queer way to further corrupt and abuse what’s left of the husks of our institutions and his hordes are caterwauling and prevaricating in overtime to claw a somehow even funnier type of defeat out of the jaws of normal defeat — and as stupid and ineffectual as they are how confident are you exactly in this current climate that they won’t be able to pull something out of their asses that at the very last prolongs this leadership purgatory? — and thus I do take some solace in their weird despondency but things like spite and schadenfreude can only buoy one’s spirit to a certain degree in the way a candy bar will give you a boost of energy before a sugar crash.
None of us could have possibly written anything as funny as Rudy bringing a sex offender to a landscaping service on the outskirts of Philly next to a crematorium and a dildo shop to lie about voter fraud only to be told in the middle of his speech that everyone had called it for Trump and that’s all very delightful but now what?
What now is the centrists that foisted Biden upon us including pharma hogs like Clyburn and CIA ghouls like Spanberger and general catch-all fucking losers like Shalala and McCaskill and Kasich have all already begun sharpening the cutlery with which they intend to shiv the progressive left the very people who willed this probably pyrrhic victory into shape through on the ground work and have pushed all along for massively popular concepts that could conceivably help people like a Green New Deal and Medicare for All and legal marijuana and defunding the police and a $15 minimum wage. Do you have any confidence any of those things are forthcoming in a Biden administration?
On the other hand I listen to the most committed of activists who labored to make these shifts possible in Michigan and Pennsylvania and Georgia who counsel to take solace in the small victories so you can remember what they felt like as things get harder later on and that gets me halfway back to relief. They know better than I do.
And I read pieces like this today from Molly Osberg in Jezebel (sorry to quote at length) that catalogue Trump’s woeful tenure as president in a stark cadence and I wonder if maybe I’m just being a big fucking sour bitch about the whole thing and PERHAPS I SHOULD SHUT THE FUCK UP?
In his first term, Trump pardoned corrupt allies, remade the Supreme Court with partisan lifetime appointees, harassed and spread misinformation about his opponents, used taxpayer dollars to prop up his failing businesses, dismantled entire agencies on a whim, took money from foreign governments, and repeatedly demanded his political rivals be jailed. In the last month of his campaign, he directed an FBI loyalist to release previously classified documents of dubious origin with the goal of criminalizing his opponents. He spoke openly about using the Supreme Court he had built to prevent votes against him from being counted. He signed an executive order allowing him to purge civil servants for disloyalty to his regime.
On immigration, his polices were barbaric as he encouraged the white nationalists in his administration to concoct ever more cruel “punishments” for the undocumented or even those hoping to escape violence by entering the country legally. Making good on the racist promises that defined his campaign in 2016, he built portions of a border wall, separated families, detained undocumented immigrants indefinitely, and staged massive immigration raids, fueling an uptick in hate crimes against Black and brown Americans along the way. His impact on environmental policy was disastrous: His administration stripped protections for vast swaths of land, encouraging extractive industries in the name of the economy and withdrew from the historic Paris Climate Accord, an action finalized in the last weeks of his reelection campaign. Civil rights for entire categories of Americans were gutted as the keys to crucial agencies were handed over to religious zealots and right wing pedants, who in turn doggedly worked to roll back discrimination provisions for queer and trans populations and defunded decades-old programs providing healthcare to women.
Though it appears to have made little difference to the around 70.3 million Americans who voted for him, Trump’s 2020 campaign was temporarily marred by his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, a failure of such staggering magnitude it shocked even his allies. While Trump appeared to have understood the dire threat covid-19 posed to the country as early as February, when he referred to it as “deadly stuff” in a private interview with Bob Woodward, he publicly downplayed the issue repeatedly, reassuring the public the threat was “no big deal.”
His dismissive tone and refusal to institute federal guidelines around mask-wearing and social distancing are widely understood to have killed, conservatively, hundreds of thousands of people.
SO IT’S GREAT THAT IT’S OVER,,,,,,,,, BUT… Is help really on the way?
Great now I’ve got this stuck in my head.
Or is this more like we’ve been constipated for a week and we finally managed to push out a little rabbit pellet turd so at least things are starting to take a turn for the better? This feels “good” in the way that getting off the third nut of the day feels “good” but the circumstances leading up to that third one should probably be investigated. It feels like — holy shit I just looked and it’s going to be 80 degrees on November 9 today in Massachusetts. I mean I guess I’ll take it in the short run over 30 and freezing rain but it doesn’t exactly instill a sense of hope for the future.
I don’t know man I don’t know what’s good or bad anymore.
As I tweeted the day the election was called the normie lib and the cynical leftist are locked in battle in my brain and I don’t think that antagonism is going to go away any time soon. It feels like getting into an argument on Twitter with a reply guy that’s actually you running your own alt-account.
Like many of us I certainly have some leftover ingrained lib brain damage I have had to take pains to chop away at like overgrown brush over the years. That shit takes maintenance. I wonder if in so doing I’ve poisoned anything in me that’s capable of feeling happiness along the way or if instead I should finally and utterly strangle that dude to death?
I keep going outside in the middle of writing a sentence and smoking a cigarette I neither want nor need as if I’m going to find the answer to how to finish this piece out there by staring at the truck in my neighbor’s driveway.
It’s so newly warm out the bees have returned and they’re hovering around listlessly (vocab) like their alarm just went off inspecting the dead flowers their instincts tell them should be verdant like when the potluck has winded down but you’re poking around the congealed remains for one last tepid meatball. One bee decided to give me a closer look and I waved away at it lazily but it was so weak my low energy swat knocked it to the ground where it stayed and I felt bad about it but not as bad as I would have if it was still trying to sting me I guess.