Sunday, August 10, 2008

Attention Deficit World Order (Part One)

"Possibly Gilman ought not to have studied so hard. Non-Euclidean calculus and quantum physics are enough to stretch any brain; and when one mixes them with folklore and tries to trace a strange background of multi-dimensional reality behind the ghoulish hints of the Gothic tales and the wild whispers of the chimney-corner, one can hardly expect to be wholly free from mental tension."
- HP Lovecraft, The Dreams in the Witch House

The more things strange, the more I want to stay the same.

Suddenly, just when it seems UFOs are everywhere, I'd rather be nowhere. America's late-term, lame-duck housecleaning of suspicious suicides and self-inflicted gunshot wounds is in full swing, and I'd just as soon clean the porch. And I've never wanted to clean the porch. Now a new, "optimistic" estimate gives the world 100-months to forestall the tipping point of a runaway greenhouse effect, but I prefer to focus on the short term, and speculate idly upon how much ass next year's Watchmen adaptation will or will not kick.

I've been struggling for a year and a half with writing an introduction to my book. A year and a freaking half. I haven't been able to account for the missing time to my publisher, though I don't need a hypnotist to tell me where it's all gone. I have been good at stammering apologies and repeating vain promises, and revisiting false starts and bad ideas. (And naturally the blog suffered, because how could I justify spitting out posts like watermelon seeds while using the book for a spittoon?)

Maybe, in another year and a half, I'd have something to say. Maybe if I kept looking I'd eventually find a place to start. But I think it's more sensible to say I can't do it, and instead write my conclusions and stick them at the front. (And maybe even squeeze a blog post out of it at the same time.)

So here it is: they've won. Or let me rephrase that, since there will never be universal agreement as to who "they" are: we've lost.

Because life is short, even if I get another turn after this one, I'd rather not waste half of it relearning all the secret wrongs done to the world that I can't undo. So I need to know what, if anything, we get out of knowing what they get away with. And if it's so we may better "organize," then good luck and God bless us playing catch-up, since the priesthoods and kingly classes have had a 10,000 year head start.

I suppose it counts for something, that so many have been able to recognize the holes in the FBI's posthumous stitch-up of Bruce Ivins for the anthrax attacks. That we haven't jumped when they say jump to the conclusions of guilt and case closed may be some comfort to his family and colleagues, who watched Ivins break under the relentless There can be only one ethos of America's Lone Gunman. But all our reservation of judgment amounts to nothing but a sympathy card - an e-card at that - against the prosecution of a dead man who can be tried and convicted now only because he is dead and undefended.

Stalin's show trials, what was it do you think that they showed? Not that Zinoviev and Kamenev and the other Old Bolsheviks were "terrorists" and "sexual deviants" (though it is instructive how often the prosecuting state conjoins the two). Rather, they demonstrated Stalin's rule by absolute whim. That loyalty and service, innocence or guilt, afforded no protection. It was irrelevant if Soviet citizens were convinced that justice was served by their state. They just needed to note that if they demurred, there was nothing they could do about it.

Senator Patrick Leahy has a speaking part in The Dark Knight. It looks like his mouth talking, but it sounds like his ass. "We're not intimidated by you thugs," Leahy stares down the knife-wielding Joker who's crashed a political fundraiser. It was The Dark Knight's only moment for which I could not suspend disbelief, since two hundred billion particles of finely-milled anthrax were enough to erase the Senator's initial qualms concerning the Patriot Act. But I won't judge him, except as a character in a superhero movie, because I wasn't there and it wasn't me. Most of the time we don't make ourselves targets by our objections to their plans, because there's not much we could do to impede them. And besides, as the Joker later says, "Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying."

I don't have a reasonable doubt that Edgar Mitchell is telling the truth about his being briefed by government officials on Roswell and alien visitation to Earth. I have considerable doubt they were telling him the truth. Because I don't think it's part of the plan to tell the truth, of which, almost certainly, even the highest and darkest government officials would have only partial knowledge. If "disclosure" ever comes, its purpose may not be to persuade us of a lie, but rather to tell a terrifying joke.