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Moment of Truth: Bright and Dark

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

After two miserable weeks in a row, I've decided to look on the bright side. I have two modes: the cosmically ecstatic, and the earthly miserable. But there are many sides to any story, I'm told, and what is the current state of affairs but a big fat story? A story with many sides. Like those icosahedrons you play Dungeon and Dragons with. Let's roughly estimate that 19 out of the twenty sides are dark sides. So there's one bright side.

It's unlikely the bright side is going to come up by itself. With a roll of the icosahedron, there's a 20% chance of it coming up, but do we have the time to wait or the wherewithal to gamble? And how will we know when we hit it? We'll have to pick up the D & D die and deliberately set it down with the bright side facing up. But first we have to figure out which side that is. We need to find the bright side.

We've nicely limited ourselves to twenty sides, which is already optimistic. But it's all theoretical, and therefore meaningless and without consequence, anyway.

I can define many of the dark sides. Here's one that has monopolized my attention: A tweet comedian Andy Kindler quoted from a-hole list actor James Woods about how corrupt a president Obama was. Kindler's comment: "What an evil sick racist failed human @RealJamesWoods is." I like Kindler. His pinned tweet is "Donald Trump is perfect if you like your Hitler stupid."

Woods's tweet blames Obama for the increase in school shootings, with an attached article from "The Blaze," which I guess is BuzzFeed for fascists, declaring "Obama school discipline guidelines allowed school shooter to buy gun despite troubling past." See, if you don't allow police to discipline children who misbehave in school, and get these kids into the criminal justice database as swiftly as possible, they won't have criminal records that would keep them from acquiring guns.

This logic is sound, but of course you could deny a child a weapon that fires multiple high-velocity rounds on the basis of non-criminal indications. Or for any number of very good reasons. I'm not in favor of criminalizing children any further than we already do, a tactic that always falls heavier on children of color, as all hard rain does. It seems to me these Blaze readers would rather contort their logic to place blame on Obama than figure out a solution, because they're racists who claim that Obama was the most corrupt president ever, and the worst by far. And that Donald Dump has been treated more unfairly by the media than any other president in history.

Reading the comments, I found that these are not the same dolts who can't write a coherent English sentence. They're reasonably well-spoken, even if what they say is 100% glaring bat-guano craziness. What makes this side so dark is that when they talk about Obama they sound exactly like me and most people I agree with when we talk about Donald Dump.

It's truly another world. Bizarro World.

Bizarro world is the world in the Superman comics where everything is done backwards and stupidly. It's named after the backwards, stupid Superman, Bizarro, who lives there. That's like if we called Earth "Superman World." Superman would have to do a lot more than he's currently doing in order for that to happen. Existing at all would be a start.

One of the comments on the James Woods tweet was, "I don't understand how Obama's supporters can continue to deny these facts." That's exactly how I feel about Dump's supporters. It's eerie. What if... what if our world is the Bizarro world, and theirs is Earth? Is there a way to tell?

There are ways, of course, but they take so much time and research, and in the end the Bizarros won't pay attention to any of the conclusions, anyway, so what's the point? Just to reassure ourselves that we live on Earth? A worthy goal, but I'm fine with skipping to the answer without showing my work for those incapable of doing the math.

Back to the search for the bright side of the icosahedron. In Dungeons and Dragons, the die is used to tell how good a hit you've made, 20 being the best, and "best" has different meanings depending on the weapon, which is usually, of course, possessed of magic power. Let's just say, in the simplest terms, 20 is the hardest hit. Our hits are with the weapon of truth, which seems today to have been downgraded to the softest substance in the universe. So, logically, we should really look for the bright side on the side with the lowest number, rather than the highest: one. Truth is soft, which knowledge leads us to conclude that "one" is the brightest.

One is truth. One is also the loneliest number, I'm told. This metaphor truly has legs. Legs to put seven-league boots upon. Except, as Bertolt Brecht wrote in his version of Don Juan, in a world run by liars and cowards, lies wear seven-league boots. Which is backwards. Bizarro world. Perhaps that is where we live.

Maybe the bright side, then, is 20.

One bright spot, if not an entire side, in my days has been the nationwide student walkouts to protest gun violence. In Bizarro World, where these walkouts are viewed darkly, the nationwide student walkouts were engineered by brainwashing communist teachers and bad parents. But at least, in Bizarro World, they've heard about the walkouts. That tells me that maybe our worlds aren't that different after all. Maybe it's how we interpret that world that puts us on opposite sides of the icosahedron.

We all seem to agree that the nation's students staged countless protests. We just disagree whether or not this is a good thing. How could it not be a good thing? Well, the students were rude to hypocritical politicians who take money from the NRA and, somehow, unrelatedly, oppose restrictions on gun ownership. I think people should be rude to hypocritical politicians of that ilk. But maybe they're not just being rude. Maybe they're publicly holding them accountable. I think hypocritical politicians who sell their votes for money should be held accountable. I'm not seeing the downside to the student protests. But the Bizarro people do. It's all downside to them.

Money for protecting the gun industry. Love of money is the root of all evil. Evil is the dark side.

Maybe hatred of money is the root of all good.

If good has roots, then maybe it's a tree. The bright side of the tree is the top, closest to the sun. The sun is the brightest thing in the solar system, and it's free. There's no money involved in our direct exchanges with the sun. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

The pursuit of money over anything money is supposed to represent or conduce does seem to play a large part in the workings of the dark side. If they weren't getting money from the NRA, would these politicians make the same policy choices? It's possible to be a hypocrite outside of the medium of money, but, again, hypocrisy so often seems to coincide with valuing money over life that it's hard to believe it's a coincidence.

Here's a thought: what if we could bypass all the people and things having to do with money? No, no, I know it's a dumb question, but hear me out. What if everyone agreed to do the same things they do right now, but without money. Just behave the same way, pretty much, but without involving money. Farmers would farm, truckers would truck what the farmers farmed, stores would stock what the truckers truck, people would go to the stores and take a modest portion of what the stores stocked. Teachers would teach, nurses would nurse, builders would build, repairers repair, musicians play, painters paint. The food from the store would go to the people who go to the store. Because no money would be collected, no money would go to the owners of the store, or the owners of he owners of the store. The people whose lives consist solely in accumulating money without doing anything useful would find themselves out of a job. And we could put them to work helping find homes for the homeless and cleaning up the garbage in the sea.

The notion's got a ways to go in terms of articulation, but it's the start of an idea. A merry, merry, bright start.

I think the only thing preventing us from giving this a try is the attitude that no one would do anything useful if they weren't being paid to do it. And I think that's not true. It's a dark dismal view of life. And that's not what I'm looking for this week.

Is it the stuff of fantasy? I have a sword and sorcery game die, and I'm looking for the bright side.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day.


Moment of Truth


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