I’ve always had to be on my guard, in social settings, about telling people what I really think. I don’t just mean about ‘issues’, like Palestine, or Obromneycare, or what have you, but something bigger: my sense of where our world is going, in what time I have left, and my kiddies’ time. I remember an innocent dinner party, twenty years ago in the Clinton days, when the subject came up. I shed a dark pall over the conversation and really wondered whether some of our guests might go home, afterwards, and cut their throats.
I’m glad to say they didn’t, and less glad to say they all ended up really enthusiastic about Obie. I’m moderately glad, in a sour way, to report that all my dark prophecies, made on that occasion, were quickly fulfilled, even before
the shameless dogfaced Mr Clinton left office.
So be warned: If you have suicidal tendencies, stop reading now. There will be a palely upbeat conclusion, but it won’t compensate.
One receives a lot of exhortatory rah-rah stuff in one’s inbox about good ideas like stopping global warming, rolling back the police state, and so on.
My view is that none of these good things will happen in my lifetime.
Our rulers will reel, for the foreseeable future, from one mad folly to the next and end up killing who knows how many of us. It’s way too late to do anything about global warming, even if anybody who mattered wanted to — and they don’t. The seas will rise; Venice and the Jersey Shore will drown. That is, as they say, a done deal. The smart money is going into property that will soon be beachfront. Somewhere in the foothills of the Appalachians.
Time was, I thought that the public Internet might be something like the invention of printing — an immense expansion in the means of human communication. And of course so it has been, as long as you want to tweet about some starlet’s boob job. The minute your tweets become in any way troublesome — as if they could — the cops will come to your house and do a Bradley Manning or an Aaron Swartz on you.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition; but they show up anyway. Technology will not save us, whether it’s Gutenberg’s or Vint Cerf’s.
Things are going to get worse — much, much worse — before they get better.
Did I promise a palely upbeat conclusion? Oh, fuck it. As Scarlett O’Hara says, I’ll think about that tomorrow.