In deepest, darkest Over There, where brown men with moustaches and brown women wearing head scarves speak that annoying chittering blah blah, Bhutto died in a spewing of lead and shrapnel, dozens more innocent participants attending her rally were blown to pulp, and the destabilization that threatens to cause a geopolitical cave-in has now become even more volatile and precarious. But what do you expect from people who have no idea about family, love, devotion, children, education, society or god? Who run around hitting themselves in the chest and head with their gnarled hands, cry out of toothless, spittle-webbed mouths and invariably blame Over Here for their troubles? Makes you sick, doesn't it?
And meanwhile in Over Here, the purple mountains majesty of cardboard and sea to shining sea of torn wrapping paper is being toted off to the landfill, clearing space in our gadget crammed abodes for even more Things, Items and the all important Etceteras. Thank the Lord Jesus Christ Our Savior® who looks over us all and protects us from Evil®. For it is He who prevents those from Over There ever interfering with our god-given right to consume and waste with good ol' gay abandon. And it is Him who smites those from Over There with what's been coming to them for a long time. Over Here is God's front porch where He likes to put his feet up and from which he scans the smokey and uncertain vista, julep in hand, tsking a mighty tsk.
This latest Christmas season has had more suggestions of a coming apocalypse than of peace-on-earth-goodwill-toward-men. Yes, there will be the vomitings of tragically deranged radicals here and there, making our hearts go tachycardiac and forcing us to turn to ever less reliable sources for answers to our multiplying fears, and those answers will be of the fire-and-brimstone variety because they are the simplest and most primally digestible of concepts: we act bad, make man in sky angry, he smash us. But there will be no final destruction of the species in a storm of fire hurled from heaven or a steady volley of dirty bombs from the hands of the never seen but conveniently ubiquitous Al Quaeda (attributes similarly found in the descriptions of other gods and demons populating our New World Order). Our end will be a creeping, overwhelming numbness, a dousing of the fragile flame that flickered for the briefest of moments. Like dying, once it finally happens we'll never know it did, or that we ever were here at all. And thus does our consumer, pop and religious obsession render the human experience as it stands presently: after all that turmoil and promise just so fucking, so wastefully banal.
I'm not sure whether this is a diatribe against consumerism, ignorance or religion. I just know that I fear for a world where all of those are rampant and thoughtless and spreading by the minute. Assassinations, beheadings and torture are once again familiar rituals and routinely used terms in our modern, evolved, supposedly enlightened culture. Prevailing attitudes condone malevolence, selfishness, division, lethargy, cluelessness and violence as long as there is a profitable exchange at the end and all in the name of god and country. The static is virtually everywhere, the toxins leeching into our thirsty bodies from the air, the water, the food, the fabrics, the media are unchecked, their warnings go unheeded. Consuming is breathing. Consuming is eating. Consuming is feeling. Consuming is living. And Death is eternal. (Possible side effects include the moment preceding Death being full of regret at the loss of what we as a race could have, should have done to lessen our pain, increase our intelligence and elevate our spirit.). How's that for a sales pitch? Truth in advertising, that's all it takes. So, feel bad? Feel afraid? Feel alone? You know what to do: close your eyes and listen. You will either hear "ka-ching". Or eternal nothingness.