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Friday, December 02, 2016

The Death Rattle of Western Civilization

I was gonna write about something else besides politics this morning, so maybe Pop culture? 

Maybe I should write about Kanye West? I mean what's up with Kanye? How come our rich, beautiful, talented, pampered Pop celebrities can't keep their head's together? I mean, actually, I guess my question is, "How do any of us keep our heads together?" It's freaking hard out there!

Or maybe Sports?

I turned hungrily to the Sports Section of the NYT yesterday. I used to kind of kid my father about immediately turning to Sports first thing in the morning, I used to think that he was missing the bigger picture, but now I understand, and usually do the same. Who wants to delve into the bigger picture first thing in the morning? The bigger picture seems so fractured, ugly.

So I came across this wonderful profile of the oldest Defensive Cornerback in the NFL. Terence Newman is my new hero. He 38 years old, which doesn't sound very old at all to me, but for the job he holds that's pretty much ancient. And he's a wizard. I loved reading this article. How does he do it? He studies obsessively. He works out. He eats well. He sleeps. He keeps a sane, regular schedule. Oh yeah, and he studies some more. What a cool guy. Keeping his head together, splendidly.

So anyway, worrying my little head, back to politics...

Kevin Drum points out that in our new Trumpian Universe there really are no facts anymore. And this is truly how our little experiment in Democracy will die. If the people are so divided, if they are so willing to suspend their rational faculties and make up shit and believe made up shit, we are truly sunk. How can we possibly work together? How can we reach consensus? How can the better ideas win out, if facts are fungible, pliable, and anything we want them to be? We are deep into George Orwell territory, probably time to break out my rumpled copy of 1984. It sounds so old world, but, really I think it's so of the moment.

Trump is a master of this post-truth, post-fact era. He lies with impunity, with enthusiasm, with no shame. It's the apotheosis of the death rattle of Western Civilization. And Pop Culture or Sports Culture aren't gonna save us if the bigger picture is so fractured.

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