Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
As founding and sole member of the Socialist Leisure Party, I’m always looking for a way out of working at dreary jobs or having to perform irksome tasks. Unfortunately, I have a work ethic, though not much of one. I have trained myself by now, in the third trimester of my life, to actually do a job when I have one. I discovered long ago that time passes more quickly when you’re engaged in an activity rather than avoiding one, but it’s taken me some time to actually put it into practice.
And then the pandemic comes along and I’m pretty much confined to quarters. And all that great self-motivating attitude goes out the window. I’m predisposed to staying away from people anyway, even on the best of days, even when I’m doing something I feel is wonderful onstage with a group of people I’m energized working with. So I easily slipped into the habit of cringing away from the fetid breath of my fellow denizens of the neighborhood, and the city, county, state, nation, and world.
Then the protests started. I have a probationary sentence from the Burbank Superior Court that prohibits me from having any run-ins with the law, so joining in with the current historic uprising is out for now. Then the Nazis got involved, but I’m prohibited from street fighting due to physical limitations I won’t get into. Then came the fires, and I happen to suffer from flammable off-gassing, so I can’t pitch in. Hurricanes blow, polluters are liberated, the final Norquistian nails are being hammered into democracy’s coffin as an election destined to be followed by some form of major civil conflict grows ever nearer, and on top of all of this I have hypertension, a bruised kidney, bipolar disorder, male pattern baldness, shortness of stature and temper, and fear of day-walking vampires. All of which is conducive to hiding from everything and gradually sliding into Miss Havisham-style decay.
So, how you guys doin’? That’s what I say to the group of coffee clubbers on Zoom every other day. And they all seem to be muddling along okay. The elderly socialist couple in New Zealand assures us that if we can make it to their farm we’ll all have a place to stay.
The two weeks just after David Graeber died, I felt I’d accomplished a good deal. I encapsulated the case for abolishing money, with the Rotten Egg Manifesto, and the logical rationale for believing the masses would ultimately triumph in our struggle against material oppression, in my piece, Nothing to Lose. And I felt really good. I thought to myself, “well, I’m convinced. It’s all settled. Now we can move forward towards our grand and glorious revolution with the certainty that our cause is logically sound, economically just, and destined to succeed.”
Yet it’s been slowly dawning on me since then that the rest of the world does not agree. And on realizing thus, I was dumbfounded. I was flabbergasted. Aren’t these people relieved to have the burden of commodity fetishization lifted? Doesn’t it mean anything to them that the spell of arbitrarily assigned tokens of exchange has been broken? Aren’t they ready to charge onto the field of battle now that the weapons of oppression and the false narratives of shortage and austerity have been dispelled? Are they fuckin’ stupid? Or what?
I go into the only public square available to me, social media, and I’m bombarded by a cacophony of disorganized opinions, half-assed or entirely crap analyses, self-destructive proposals for action, name-calling, douchery, delusional predictions, propagandistic parrotings, and lunatic statements of purported fact based on foundations no stronger than wet balsa wood and soggy pizza crust.
People are still arguing about the colors of things, for cryin out loud! I’m trying to turn my twitter timeline into only depressed nihilists because at least they don’t propose solutions, so they’ll never propose any that conflict with mine.
It demonstrates two things to me: 1, I don’t have any influence, which is hardly a surprise, and all for the best if you ask my parents, and 2, people are easily distracted. They’re distracted by sports and movies and TV shows. They’re distracted by big butts and washboard abs, and cocktails, cheeses, what you can put pineapple on, getting mad at James Woods and JK Rowling, there’s just too much stuff. Seems like there’s 3000 new musical groups a day. Who the hell is Haim? Why can’t people just listen to the music we already have? What’s it going to take to get the people focused?
But then, as is my habit, my proclivity, my inclination, I had a mild-ass epiphany. Eventually, all the distractions, including food, water, and air, will be destroyed or stolen by the owners, and all the distractions will have withered away. The only thing left to distract us will be our misery, and when that happens, it’ll be easy to focus on changing things for better. It might be too late to do anything about our problems, but at least they’ll have dwindled to an intellectually manageable handful. At least we’ll see clearly what the problem is.
I guess you can’t ask for more than that. There’s always the possibility we’ll come to our senses before then, but if we don’t, at least I know we’ll eventually get there.
That’s a bit of a mood enhancer. Every silver lining has a bright side, and we should look on it. Or, I should. See, that’s all it takes, just dwelling on your grievances until you think your way to a slightly happier condition. Now I’m fit as a fat fiddle and ready to take on the business of running the Socialist Leisure Party, which requires that I be relaxed and at ease. It takes all the power I can muster to allow the deadline for getting the newsletter out to gently pass, not to chase it in a panic like a bus, but to let it go. Just like that horrible song from Frozen my friend’s kid sings in the background of our Zoom salons, but, never mind, easy does it, life isn’t permanent, no need to panic. All in good time, to everything, turn, turn, turn, etc.
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!