The current American moment is not, and has no resemblance to, the following things:
The Hunger Games
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Night’s King
Final Fantasies III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, XI, and XIII
It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis
The ending of Mass Effect 3
The Xbox One
The Heath Ledger Joker
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
None of the Harry Potter books or films except perhaps Harry Potter and the Election of Donald Trump to the United States Presidency in 2016
The Barefoot Contessa
Basically there’s not a single video game, cartoon, or blockbuster film franchise based on books for children that has a single ounce of relevance to the current moment, except the Mayhem album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, linked here
I am eating out my own stomach with my bare teeth. I am chewing on my organ meat. My own hot blood spurts into my mouth and the numbness I feel is transcendent. I’m touching God’s face with my fingers. I am poking Yahweh’s dimples with my thumb.
In addition to listing these reasons (comprehensively), we will also be ranking them by Level of Moral Unimpeachability (or “LMU”), with a high LMU score connoting a more ethical act, and a low LMU score the opposite.
- Searching for food to feed her family. (20 LMU. While the idea of an invader being in your home is undeniably disquieting to one’s peace of mind, engaging in burglary to ensure the survival of one’s family is among the more ethical reasons to do so. You may not like it at the time, but in your heart you understand and feel that you might do the same if your positions were reversed. Quite complicated, ethically.)
- Searching for food to feed herself. (15 LMU, following the same logic as above, but without the morally purifying factor of baby innocents.)
- Seeking evidence to convict a criminal of a heinous crime. (15 LMU. In police proceedings in the USA, evidence obtained illegally is typically only inadmissible if that evidence was obtained by the police, or by an agent acting on explicit behalf of the police. For evidence turned over by a private citizen, the matter of provenance is largely not an issue, so long as the evidence is legitimate. This is vigilante territory, and it could be argued that criminal justice is a matter for police. But if we assume the criminal is in fact guilty of a heinous crime, but evidence is needed to legally prove the matter, then breaking this law in service of the greater good of society is morally sound. A complex issue.)
- Blind drunk, broke into house under impression it was their own. (8 LMU. While understandable on a surface level, this is still unambiguously wrong, unsettling, and illegal—but with proper contrition, hard to stay too furious about.)
- Had to take a shit real bad. (5 LMU. Even more understandable. Reminding us that desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures. This scenario hearkens to the maritime axiom, “Any port in a storm”, relating how any land, no matter how unsafe, is safer than the open water in ferocious weather. Of course, there are consequences to docking in an enemy port, and one should be mindful that they will need to face them when the storm passes.)
- Curiosity + Doesn’t know right from wrong. (1 LMU.)
- Cop with a warrant. (0 LMU)
- Curiosity + Knows right from wrong + Doesn’t care. (-2 LMU. There is no reason to do this in the first place, and the very act of burgling is an assault on one’s sense of safety. Highly discouraged in almost all societies.)
- Stealing to support a drug addiction. (-10 LMU. Compounded when the items stolen are worth far more than the resale value they would receive on the black market, e.g., it would be preferable, and perhaps more morally righteous, to wake you and demand $40 cash than to take your expensive PlayStation 4 and fence it for the same.)
- Stealing just a few of your video games to entertain her children. (-40 LMU)
- Stealing all of your video games to entertain herself. (-50 LMU)
- Stealing all of your stuff, not just the video games. (-75 LMU)
- Cop with no warrant (-200 LMU)
- Wanted to touch your butt. (-250 LMU)
- Stabbing you to death in the course of stealing your stuff. (-1000 LMU)
- On a single-minded mission of killing you (-10,000 LMU)
In 2011, a writer named Linda Holmes wrote a piece for NPR that did that rare thing most things you read don’t do, and carved out permanent residence in my mind. Called “The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We’re All Going To Miss Almost Everything”, it’s a great read, and I refer to it, often. There’s an elegance to its simplicity, its fundamental correctness; despite its revelatory nature, it’s one of those things you encounter that makes you go, oh, duh. And then you loop its lessons into your life and casually pretend that you came up with them. Give it a read; it made me feel good about things.
In this spirit, the following is a complete and comprehensive list of languages that I’ve decided I will never, ever learn. I doubt, soberly and in fact, that I will ever even really try. The others are either on-lock, or in-progress. I encourage everyone to make lists like this. It’s good to know your limits. Boundaries can make one feel quite safe.
13. Linear A.
29. Northern Min.
30. British Sign Language.
32. Al Bhed.
I will likely also never “get” the International Phonetic Alphabet, read Harry Potter, or have an honest sit-down viewing of the 1915 seminal silent epic film Birth of a Nation.
Thank you for your time. Good luck on all your journeys. Selah.
Photo Credit: Barneys New York
are we clear?
1. Do you think this is a fucking game? (preferably said while holding someone by their lapels against the wall, sneering, breathing directly up their nose) (Alternatively—or, if, in response to my question, they say “yes”—This is not a fucking game!)
2. (while driving something) Alright everybody, hold on—it’s about to get a little rough. (Also acceptable in place of “rough”: gnarly, sick, real, hardcore, loud, fast, deadly, insane, rad, lethal, surreal, heated, hectic, bumpin, bitchin, bangin, fucked, and gay.)
3. …you inbred, ingrate, Nazi piece of shit. (this is just a good insult. I like the alliterative aspects, and their subtlety.)
4. Grab my hand! I then pull my interlocutor from danger.
youtube rabbit hole: the 火車 meme