“The future gives a verdict of guilty to this usual continuity of daily life. I consider the problem an especially important theme in these critical times… try to grasp the image of a future that intrudes on the present, a future that sits in judgment. Our usual sense of continuity must give way… in order to understand the future, it is not enough simply to be living in the present. We must be clearly aware that there is real evil in the very commonplace order of things we call everyday living.”
– Kobo Abe
The future is not just a projection, a mechanical operation of all currently existing, interacting presences. The world is not a machine, it just looks that way, because that’s the way we’re looking at it. The present is more than a sum of variables, and the world, as a totality, is a greater entity than we are capable of perceiving. Just imagine.
To some extent the future is predictable.
Recently it was reported in the Washington Post; the Arctic is 36 degrees warmer this winter than ever before. This not only exceeds all previous records, but baffles the climate scientists who have made attempts to monitor and predict the flows of the changing climate zones around the planet.
On top of this, it was also reported that NASA’s Earth research groups are going to be gutted, receiving the unholy lash of the Austerity whip by our new fascist administration. We will be left in the dark as storms pound and the shores wash up to our chins… The newly appointed apparatchik responsible for this political move dismissed the NASA initiatives as ‘politically-correct environmental monitoring’ and their work as “politicized science.” What?
(gasp! How did our nation’s best and brightest become so depraved, so corrupt and warped with political zeal? Where did they go wrong? Why are they wasting their time monitoring the environment when they should be looking for aliens? Bastards.)
Why did he say those words; ‘politically-correct’? Why is that a dismissal, a de-bunk, a stain of illegitimacy? How bizarre. It’s like some funny, perverse twist of 1984, with corporate-libertarians instead of Stalin. Somehow.
The move against climate research is so obviously an attempt, a hope, that by foiling the work being done, the world will somehow forget about ‘climate change’ and continue to drive and consume, work and not-think, ad nauseum. The article in the Guardian quoted the angered scientists, warning us that this public servant is simply pandering to the petrol lobby.
(I can’t help but ask; is this newly appointed administrator insane? Is he an alien himself, trying to destroy the human race and life on Earth? Why would anyone care about money so much? Are we so sick as a society?)
All the best villains think they’re the good guys.
In his own version of the universe, he is scrapping the crucial environmental research group because, essentially, they represent the faux-progressive Clintonite Corpocracy of the Dems, 1990-2016. “Them damn lib’rals! Damn climate conspeeracies!” All the ‘out-of-tuner’s’ who don’t understand the Real America, whatever section of it that may be to him, I can’t see that far. Because both tolerance (‘political-correctness’) and climate science are progressive causes, they must both be the same, and destroyed at any cost.
He is destroying nature because of a dispute over words, neglecting reality to strike at a misconstrued, warped abstraction of people not like himself. And he and his ilk and corporate oligarchy puppeteers are doing it all on purpose. For money.
How can we un-twist our society from this state of superficiality and confusion? How can we save our skins?
The un-twist: ‘political-correctness’ or ‘identity politics’
Oh god, what a maelstrom, what a rabbit-hole strewn minefield is our political landscape… how can we escape? Is it not too late? I can hear the silent shriek of civilization, circling the drain, a toy boat in the roar of nature.
I accidentally stumbled on a speech of the anti-PC internet troll horde, the ‘alt-rite,’ last night. They’re not worth googling, but I know you will anyway. Their politics do not extend past these rhetorical battles; valiantly they wage war with their straw man nemesis, ‘The hipster Social Justice Warriors,’ through the artillery of awful memes and twitter cells.
These are the dejected, pasty, suburban-white World of Warcraft-er’s left out from any social movement, & so they created their own; angry that it’s not cool to call someone a ‘faggot’ anymore, that no one thinks AIDS/rape/racist jokes are funny anymore. They come from casual Fox conservative middle class families. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, so I know plenty of their ranks, personally.
The main complaint of this tribe is the contention that ‘the liberal mainstream media’ is infringing on the right of Free Speech, with an agenda of ‘political correctness’ advanced by ‘identity politics’. They say they want the ‘right’ to be unrestrained douchebags, but really they want to be ‘celebrated’ for it. They want to revel in the good old days (the 90’s) when one could be celebrated for being callous, insensitive, and unconcerned. They are a reactionary group of 18-22, pining for a mythic time when it was cool to not care about anything.
They don’t care about economic inequality because they live in front of flat-screens in the jumbo suburbs, they don’t care about police brutality because they’ve only seen people of color through their own rolled up and locked car doors. They don’t care about the environment, because they do not go outside.
I suppose they don’t like the Dems because of the hypocrisy of the corporate party, if they were interested in thinking that far, with all the domestic surveillance (appalling to internet dweebs who know their fetishes and un-presentable reading histories are stored somewhere) and the media spectacle of ‘Identity politics’ which they feel ‘marginalized’ by. These are the constituencies for whom the NASA Climate program was scrapped.
In the imagination of the alt-rite, it seems that ‘political-correctness’ and ‘identity politics’ are equivocal. The awkwardness of their blank white male-ness leaves them in the un-cool, privileged, oppressor section of hip millennial parlance. And, by god, they’ll be damned if they’re gonna sit and take it!
In their own warped version of the universe, the ‘identity politics’ of the Dems allows for every other group to advocate for a specific grievance, except them, because the normalization of political-correctness (clean corporate family friendly stuff) is gagging their incipient racism. In fact, they are arguing that these supposed movements on the left are persecuting them unfairly. And so they take to the internet, pretending to be counter-cultural bandits defending free speech. (which for them, is just the right to be an asshole.)
While reading through the alt-rite speech, I was shocked at how little they had to say. This was the heart and soul of their movement. They do not go past their own warped version of racist identity politics. They really are the monster they think they are fighting, a monster which only exists in their imagination. Like Quixote, they are protecting their egos and honor by defying the enemies they so desperately need…
In this regard, this misunderstanding, they ironically become the very thing they claim to be against. By trying to reverse ‘political correctness,’ they would like to regain acceptance and prominence; the cost is limiting the voices of people’s of color who have been marginalized for the whole history of the United States. And so the alt-rite are the totalitarian speech-censors, claiming to be the victims.
Political-correctness and Identity politics are the two hypocrisies they seek to expose, and thereby, rejuvenate their own identities. In reality, both of those discourses are only corporate charades parodying the young left in an attempt to ‘divide and conquer’ and maintain neoliberalism. Neither actually exists, both are media-constructs.
Go to any bar in the United States and you will see and hear a quite different discourse that is not this caricature of hypersensitivity. And even if it that existed, I would prefer it over the pseudo-manly posturing of the New Fascism.
Why, god, why?
The Dems used ‘identity politics’ to divide the people, in order to maintain the neoliberal status quo (remember Hillary’s statement: “if we broke up the big banks tomorrow, would that end racism? Would that end sexism?” what a loaded, rhetorical question. It would end this awful form of capitalism. And then we could begin to heal our broken communities.)
And the Republicans use ‘identity politics’ and its supposed agenda of ‘political-correctness,’ to dismantle any progressive institution or program that threatens profits. Our aforementioned administrator used this alt-rite logic to hollow out the NASA climate research group, in service to petroleum industries.
The left is united with intersectionality, committed to radical economic justice. You can’t have social justice without economic justice and environmental sanctity… but these abstractions have successfully been co-opted and now dominate the politicking of all us young peoples.
And now the future sits on the melting arctic and slams the hammer down. We are guilty. The present has stalled in the decay of capitalism, in the ensuing frozen and stale madness, poisonous rhetoric and vitriolic egoistic posturing swirl in the ennui as we are sucked into the drain-hole, unable to get our shit together.
There is a real evil in the everyday order of things. But it’s little to do with words or free speech. It has everything to do with the way that we live, and the future that produces.
The future breaks in. Do we wake up?