Well, again I’ve been away from the blog for awhile. Accelerating workloads and new challenges in the “real” world have limited my online musings to the occasional trollfight on HairyFishNuts or an email to Chez over at Deus Ex Malcontent, or comment my own brand of snarky self-indulgent blather on the excellent Science Avenger’s blog, and reading Badtux and Matt Taibbi (but not commenting much).
FWIW, if you don’t read everything Taibbi writes you are missing the most cogent, funniest, most insightful writing since Hunter Thompson was whoring for Matt’s current main employer, the Rolling Stone. Writing the truth in a time when satire is reality is the perfect job for someone of Taibbi’s talent and missing him is nothing short of criminal.
But while logging on to update myself about the fall of civilization, circa the start of the third millennium of the Common Era, I had to make a few brief comments about the world outside the window.
I’ve been saying to friends and astonished acquaintances for the last several years that the fundamentalists might be right about one thing- we seem to be heading to a confluence of catastrophes that cause one to wonder whether the four horsemen are racing in this years Kentucky Derby. Eight years of Republican rule have solidified the opinion that I arrived at during the Regan years (and to be honest about the whole trajectory, my first wife was a Regan delegate from TN at the 1980 convention- we both had it bad- and I’ve never really given up my Libertarian leanings) that while the small-government, free-market, personal liberty platform of the GOP is attractive, all the thugs are actually good for when they get power is starting wars and wrecking the economy in an orgy of unbridled avarice. I’d bet that had you polled thoughtful people whether or not we would ever elect a president less honest than Nixon, less charming than Regan, and less competent than Bush I they would have said that even the American electorate couldn’t manage that. Then we went and elected Dubya TWICE. And what did he do? Started not one, but two wars, with ambition to house them under the big tent of a never ending state of warfare that would have made Orwell vomit in his own mouth, and wrecked not only the domestic economy but did it in such a way that he brought the world economy to the brink. While at the same time denying the biggest environmental crisis in the history of human civilization because it would have hurt the bottom line of his domestic and foreign oil buddies. Thus presiding over the rapid loss of the ice caps with an idiotic Alfred E. Newman “What, me worry?” grin. And in the process wiped his ass on the constitution, tapped American’s phones, read our emails, studied our library and credit card records, castrated Habeas Corpus, and…
Well, I digress.
So the end times Derby watch goes on. War has taken and early lead into the first turn, with Famine being ridden by the spectre of climate change hot on his heels. But wait, there’s a dark horse coming up from the rear.
Pestilence is coming on strong. Being ridden by a jockey named Swine Flu. This new contender may not be able to hold this pace until the backstretch, but the betting windows are still open and the odds are changing. The World Health Organization just placed a sizable bet on him coming from behind.
While it’s a sad thing to watch the end of the world, I have to say that there’s a part of me that understands some of that apocalyptic fervor that grabs the fundamentalist. If you’re going to the Derby this weekend, or just an interested spectator of the human race, remember that the most exciting place to sit is the front row near the finish line.