Another year and we are all older. Not just 365 days (or whatever your calendar measures), but decades older. I have taken a break from blogging, and truth be told thought the new year would usher in a torrent of ideas, opines, opinions, and onomatopoeia breaking my ranter’s block and allowing me to issue forth some new insights, topics, and looking at fun trends. Unfortunately, the new year and the news year seem to launch much the same with little new light to toss or shade to throw. In years past, this blog of record has used this time in the calendar to do much the same filler as other media outlets.
This blog could look back at the dumpster fire composting explosion that is the previous year or to wash the dust and goo off of the lucite ball and rub out a few predictions. I want to be part of all that pile of media feasting on this trope. To create a few tags and reTweetable(tm) moments, to convey some content that would bubble to the top of those One Weird Trick websites. In years gone by this blogger may have made some good entertaining entries, a few salutary predictions, some humorous reflections on the buffoonery of our human condition. I wanted to blast into the new year in a rantastic bomb cyclone.
However, I cannot seem to produce some HUNTERSTHOMPSON-level shit. I would need consume some new avenues of information not already available unfiltered to you, Dear Reader. But, I have the same Intertubes as you do. These tubes have not allowed me to produce so much as a paragraph on the political antics of our current regime and when I write, the grammar program I use tells me I’m 90% unoriginal in my writing (the grammar program did not pick up a dangling modifier… it’s Grammerly.com). Plagiarizing those monkeys pounding away on the keyboards all around the world. I yearn for certain Good Old Days when those of us with a faster connection could then serve as a resource to those on dial-up. You too can speculate on the collapse of the oceans, forests, or terminal date of extinction of certain species. I wonder if the golden age is over, the ranting has finished. I have washed up before I even lifted off. I should have stuck to my writing, not done this, not said that, but it happens to us all. The fire in the belly has turned into a thick layer of blue-green blubber that extends in all directions and not in a sexy manner but comprises a melting protective layer that will take far too much formaldehyde to one day preserve in toto in situ.
I could blame age in the slowing down of angry vitriol and nasty sideways digs at the economy and political environment. Looking back in anger is like an Olympic sport, and by age 34 you are considered out to pasture, but by 40 one is doing book signings at dead malls or wash out tours in Austin or getting the band together in Woodstock, or dead. I am not expired, but I am not getting the band together either. The truth, I never had a band. There are no books for me to flog. I propose that I have no product. In keeping my various websites going, I am still the product. We are all the product.
In this past year, things have gotten worse if you listen to some, better if you listen to others. Suddenly, meanwhile, the dead oxygen-free zones in the ocean grow ever larger. The world has seen a fast collapse of the Great Barrier Reef, loss of maybe another million acres of rainforest, and enormous chunks of Antarctica continue to fall off. That’s grim stuff to ponder. We keep our anger close to home and fight and complain about tariffs and the antics of so many clowns in so many boardrooms. This blogger used to think if s/he/it shook the Magic 8 Ball hard enough some answers would come out. If the keys of the computer were pounded hard enough, the post would at least be an entertaining performance and snap capture in a trap all the goings-on. It turns out that I have been wrong more than I have been right about things. However, I am not alone.
The total meltdown of the media after the last election showed how fragile our narrative is when faced with a Black Swan event. People who claim they “just look at the numbers,” experts in media and politics, an entire phalanx of infotainment junkies and natting nabobs whose only job is to prattle on in print and flatulate for studio cameras got everything entirely wrong. Then they stuttered, came up with theories, discarded those for better narratives, and hammered those until they finally settled on a version of Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. We read to become knowledgeable. Study to become learned. Listen to others for information. But, it seems that these endeavors are futile. The inventions we use are filled with flaws. The conspiracies are true. The collusion is real. There is an internet for the general public, including myself, full of misinformation, distractions, and lies, and then there are those still-guarded information channels that are gated. The way is blocked. No different than in ages past.
When I worked in seminary some decades back, there was a wondrous collection of books in the library stretching back to the 16th century. Since the Order was after the Jesuit model, the books were varied and on sundry topics both ecclesiastical and temporal. On the forth floor of this library, however, was a gated area. This area was referred to by the students, according to an elderly priest, as Hell. In Hell were the banned books. While an inspired and militant Order, they were still part of Mother Church and there were things far too dangerous to fall into the hands of novices. What these books were, I did not know other than they didn’t pass the Nihil Obstat sniff test. Sometime before my days, they were gathered up, carted to behind the old laundry building, and set ablaze. Such was the knowledge thereon contained that even with Vatican II and the opening of the gates, these secrets needed to be blown to the four winds. I wondered at the empty shelves and yet, the gate was still locked such was the momentum of tradition.
Today, knowledge is no longer in books. It is behind a gate. Perhaps a firewall. It is not allowed out other than it is then set on fire. Metaphorically, perhaps. So we fight over the scraps. Whiteworkingclass(tm). Fake News(R) Dreamers. UFOs. Free Markets. Immigration Reform. Ladyboys from Mars. Bullshit consumes more energy than all the Bitcoin ever…. “minted” (aka, made out of thin air). We quibble over our little bits of ashes we have snatched from the air. We get angry over them. Make predictions on them. Trade them and retell these and it would be great if there were some metaphor that included:
4) Looking at shadows but thinking they’re real
Aa) Someone to tell people the shadows are not real
Sadly there is no such parable, but one day, with the right technology, there just may be.
So, this blogger has graduated. No longer can I rant about what I think I know since it is bunk. With nothing than civilian-level basic bitch information to go on, how can I make predictions? I can invent facts, say UFOs are fake and North Korea’s Nuclear capabilities to reach an American city are real but why perpetuate more clickable dribble that doesn’t even get me one Blueapronsquarespaceharrysrazors sponsor. My 2017 year look-back is basically that nothing happened of note. The rich got richer, the poor poorer. The planet less diverse, your local school more so. That would have happened no matter what. My look ahead is that we have more of the same punctuated by fits of social anger and more Twinchings (lynch by Twitter) as our society becomes more fat and sassy and armed with Frankenstein rakes and torches, actual and metaphorical.
To wit, I promised I would go to create two entries per month as was my old goal. Yet, methinkith that these spasms of writing will come upon my having something to say. I hope you continue to read. Even if you are a bot. Because in the future, bots are included in the friend count. Like, share, and do not go into that sweet long night… at least first text me.