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Moment of Truth: The Grotesque Old Pious

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

I know Democrats are capable of being just as mendacious and self-serving as any human being, and have been, but the Republicans in the Senate are just stunning models of perfidy. Simply taken on their own terms, by their own standards, or ostensible standards, they’re outdoing themselves. Even taking the least flattering definition of the already disgraced label, “conservative,” they’re not coming close to measuring up.

It’s a scary night to think about how low a human being can debase himself. It’s crazy-windy tonight, strong wind swirling around us, sounds like my apartment building is being flushed down an enormous toilet.

I just watched a short video of a crowd berating Rudy Giuliani as he’s being escorted down the street by cops. “You’re a piece of shit, Giuliani!” I feel like videos like this are all I want to watch.

Now it’s morning, I’ve just finished a supply run for the axe-throwing bar job site. It’s still blustery outside, not as rollicking as last night, but a steady wind punctuated with gusts. It’s a gustery day, as famous Detroit weatherman, wisecracker, alcoholic, and Holocaust survivor, Sonny Eliot, might have said.

The morning finds Los Angeles strewn with detritus from palm trees, some fronds weighing upwards of 50 lbs. Such a piece of tree debris once came crashing through the cargo space window of my Subaru Legacy wagon. I was about 2500 miles away from the car at the time, thank fate.

Even now, palm crud is drumming intermittently on my car roof. It’s a shaggy city, raining its dandruff on us all. Out here, at the edge of the continent, the sunset edge, with Republican perfidy wafting its sickly stench across the land, I’m reminded of our nation’s dark roots, the ones we can’t hide no matter how much peroxide we use.

The first novel written here in what would become the USA was called Wieland, by Charles Brockden Brown. Remember, as I describe this, that it was written before the War for Independence, when this was still a land of people driving fence posts into the ground, every man had to drive his own fence posts into the ground, that was a thing men had to do. Mama wouldn’t do it for him. Everything was made out of wood. People were barely accustomed to science yet.

And here’s a guy writing a book, about a man who comes from Germany to North America, with a divinely revealed religion he’s invented or been afflicted with, and he wants to teach it to the natives, and it doesn’t work out, and then I think he’s in a stone building of some kind, on a hilltop, and voices call to him, and sparks flare out the top of this cairn-like temple, and he spontaneously combusts. Then his children, the character’s children, are afflicted with hearing these voices, some of whom urge the son to murder his family, and ... that’s how literature starts in North America. With invented religions and stone structures on hillsides, evil voices calling, lightning and spontaneous human combustion. We were almost ready to become a nation.

Charles Brockden Brown was inspired to write this novel, his artistic invention, that would later inspire Poe, and Mary Shelley, and many other writers. One of them was Howard Phillips Lovecraft, whom the literary world has relegated to a kind of sideshow. But I would argue, at least here in this essay, that HP Lovecraft is the most American of writers. His vision of a realm outside our universe, but ever-watchful for opportunities to steal back into the world, into power, is America. I don’t like to say America. I generally refer to our nation as the United States. But in this case, the arrogant “America” is the proper name for our teetering, threatened, multi-generational experiment.

In Lovecraft, the Elder Gods of Cthulhu have been ousted from this world. I don’t know who ousted them, but they have been pushed off the stage of reality, maybe by The Enlightenment, who knows? They exist in another realm, outside our realm of existence, but in that realm of not-being, they poke and scratch at the cracks in the world, always seeking to pry a way open, a space through which to spill their madness and evil back into the world of humans.

And as bad as the Democrats are, and some are certainly allies of this ancient evil, the followers of the Elder Gods are really the rightwing Republicans and the Nazis. They’re always poking, trying to wear a hole in civil society, striving hungrily to find a way to bring full-blown genocide back into fashion. Genocide of black people, mostly, but of Native Americans, too, and anyone who could be associated with their aspirations of freedom. Whatever calumny these decent people can be tarred with, the Elder Gods command certain humans to defame them with it. The Elder Gods are the puppet masters of the right. Yogsathoth is their Jesus. When they say, “Jesus,” they mean a malevolent being desperate to set humans butchering each other, their flesh to feed to this monster they worship.

When Rudy Giuliani walks down the street, it is this demonic pagan grotesquery the mob is recognizing when they say, “You’re a piece of shit, Giuliani!”

When I see Senator Rick Scott defend Donald Dump, what I hear is, “Come, O Gods of Cthulhu, oh Elders of mayhem, violence, and destruction. Come take your old place at the banquet table, so the organs and mutilated flesh of humanity might sate your endless hunger. Your delight in destruction is the joy of the GOP.”

When Ken Starr makes his case for whatever he claims to make a case for, I see him shoveling piles of shrieking infants with a pitchfork into the slavering maws of the ravenous ancient Gods of corruption, pain, and perversion.

What goes on in other countries is similar, I’m sure, though they have their own villainous demons, Baba Yaga, Vlad Tepes, the Loups Garou. But here, in the United States, we, the people, are under constant attack from the disciples of Yogsathoth, the worshippers of Cthulhu, the sniveling, obsequious servants of the Elder Gods. The GOP.

Now it is night again, and I am afraid. The vile, eyeless, yet multi-eyed, mouthless, yet ridged with jagged, numberless teeth – these are the gods of the G O P: the Grotesque Old Pious. They lurk beyond the darkness, the Elder Gods, fangs gleaming and dripping with thirst. They see us, and covet our land, our homes, our brains, our hearts, our livers. Like big predators in the jungle night, they await their chance to pounce, shake us by our necks, crush our windpipes in their jaws, and devour us.

It was ever thus. When the nation was young, the men were commanded by voices to murder their wives and sisters. Now they call the voices, “pragmatism.” Today they call the way they worship these terrifying alien beings, “faith.” Today they call fealty to the Ancient Beings, “conservatism.”

Sometimes events conspire to bring the fact that what we think of as commonplace circumstances are actually fragile structures that can be broken by focused brutality. And, sometimes, all it takes is a night of violent gusts of wind, swirling and blowing, or “blirling” kind of weather, to make us see clearly the evil operating behind the scenes of supposedly polite, or politic, society. All is as glass, and can be shattered in a night.

No one should ever wonder why we laugh when someone punches a Nazi. The opposite of the black pit of ancient evil? It’s joy. Joy is why we laugh.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Moment of Truth


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