Sunday, June 26, 2016

The lighter side of doom.

A friend of mine likes to say, "Everything in life is either a blessin' or a lesson." Despite that, he's still my friend.

I wish I had his attitude, I really do. I don't know if there's any hope I ever will. As I told him, I come from a long line of pessimists. It is the way of my people. When things go right, we are pleasantly surprised; when things go wrong, we get to say "I told you so." The feeling is that this gives us a natural superiority. But we wonder why we don't want to get out of bed in the morning.

There's a book I have never read, but the original 1992 edition had one of my all-time favorite covers:


To be fair, co-author Doris Flexner also wrote The Optimist's Guide to History. But that book is not still in print. The Pessimist's Guide still is. In its third edition. My people are many.

Of course, there is a lot to be pessimistic about these days, what with the nation nominating felons and con artists to the highest office and all. We have defined deviancy down to the level of... well, exclusively of white Christian employed taxpaying males in committed monogamous heterosexual relationships. Our culture is garbage, our enemies sharpen their knives, and our leaders only see foes among their fellow citizens.

These things have a tendency to make SMOD look like the man of the hour, even though he is an extinction level event. Or rather, because he is an extinction level event.

Our problem is America is that we've always been too optimistic. Our stupid sunniness has not prepared us for such crappy times as are descending. That's one edge the Russians have over us: they're completely used to things going to hell and gone. It's not that they're dumb; as P. J. O'Rourke wrote in Eat the Rich, "In Russia... where chess is a spectator sport, they're boiling stones for soup."

Maybe the Russians lost the Cold War because they didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. Whatever. As we slide down the chute to domestic chaos and international strife, we may be able to draw wisdom from this wonderful video, "Complete History of the Soviet Union, Arranged to the Music of Tetris," courtesy of Pig with the Face of a Boy (via IMAO and the People's Cube). If, as some folks I know think, a Hillary presidency will take us farther down the road to Communist dictatorship, at least we can try to think of a catchy tune to go with it.


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