Monday, May 08, 2017

Imaginary Conversations: Strange Days

I haven't done an Imaginary Conversation in a while. Enjoy.

"Strange Days"

So you know what's odd?

Everything. Literally everything lately.

Ok, yes, point taken. Actually, that is kind of the whole crux of what my argument was going to be, but thanks for summing it up so succinctly.

 Sorry. You were doing the whole "you know what's weird" and then I was supposed to reply with a "huh" and then we were going to have a conversation.

Pretty much, yeah that was what I was going for

Ok, do you want to start again? Or.. here I will help. What is odd?

Ugh this is not working out how I wanted to

Do you want to talk about something else?

No, I really want to talk about this but now this conversation is going absolutely sideways

You mean how everything is going completely sideways


So what is odd specifically that you wanted to talk about?

Well ok, yeah everything. I wanted to talk about how fucking odd everything is lately. But I guess specifically I wanted to talk about Elon Musk building this giant drill

Still have that hard on for Elon Musk, huh?

I don't have a fucking hard on for Elon Musk the guy is just an asshole capitalist like all of them that's not my fucking point.

Yeesh, sorry.

So my point is that Elon Musk could build this giant drill and then hold people hostage like an honest to god supervillain and people would be like "oh, huh... I guess that's a thing now"

Oh, I see what you are getting at.

Yeah, like he could announce he has a robot army and people wouldn't bat an eye. Like the world has gotten so fucking bonkers that nothing is phasing anybody anymore.

Well, that's not true. People are marching and doing all of that.

Oh I know, I mean... I dunno its hard to articulate. I think we talked about it a while ago where that lady is keeping track of all the crazy shit that happens every week in a totalitarian government so that we can really see how much has changed.

Yeah yeah.. and you were saying something like how so much shit has changed it is hard to even keep track of all the shit that has changed.

 Yes, exactly. It's like... man we have gotten used to the world being fucking bonkers haven't we?

I dunno. I am not "used" to anything. I feel like I am living in some kind of alternate reality still

Oh yes absolutely. I'm not saying that. I guess I mean... It's like we are living in an alternate reality. Like there is just so much fucking horrible crazy shit that if more horrible crazy shit happened it would just be like "ugh jeez more horrible crazy shit. Well that's to be expected in this horrible crazy shit-verse we live in now"

I get ya. Like it is just more shit piled on to the old shit. It isn't new shit anymore. It isn't as surprising.

No, not at all. Its like... well, ok so this is kind of homophobic, but its like how there is this trope now that super anti-gay Republican politicians are actually secretly gay. Like that wasn't a trope that really existed before a bunch of them turned out to be secretly gay. And now it is this, albeit somewhat homophobic, trope that the Congressman doth protest too much. It wouldn't surprise anybody of any super right wing guy was discovered with a secret gay lover because we are just used to that by now. 

I see what you are saying but I absolutely hate that trope as a thing

I know, I just meant it as an example. I didn't mean to offend.

I just fucking hate that shit.  I hate the whole making Trump and Putin gay in pictures shit.  It just reinforces stereotypes about masculinity and homosexuality.  It is total bullshit

I get it, I'm sorry. I just meant the example.  Like it doesn't surprise people anymore, is what I meant. I guess the point I was trying to make is that things are so horrible that more horrible things are just added onto the pile of horrible things that already exist.

But doesn't resigning to the inevitability of horrible things happening enable them to happen?  Isn't it our complacency in things like police violence, our lack of a reaction, that lead to such things becoming normalized?

I guess that is true.  I suppose I was just kind of acknowledging that it is true you know what I mean? It is insane to me that the most bonkers thing could happen and people would just accept it as a matter of course.  It is insane to me that people who voted for Trump still support him even if they believe that Russia helped him win.  Like, its one thing if they don't believe that Russia helped him.  I get that.  Like I get it is hard to know what to believe and fake news and blah blah.  I really do understand that part of it.  But they did this survey and these Trump supporters were like yes they support Trump even if he collaborated with Russia.  Like they are ok with treason now.  When the fuck did THAT happen?  When did people become ok with just whatever?


Really?  Because I kind of feel like this is a newish development. Are you talking about like 9/11 truthers specifically?

Well yes and no.  Mostly just the act itself.  It was insane wasn't it?  They flew airplanes into buildings and caused them to come crashing down, killing thousands of people.  I mean that's not a thing that happens in real life.  That is like some movie shit.  That isn't real.

Yeah it was pretty insane

But it happened.  And from that moment things were just different, things were just a little off. People were more afraid.  People were scared that something like that could happen again.  I mean this thing that nobody thought could possibly happen ever, nobody could imagine, now people were afraid.  It was like Godzilla had come and stomped around and then even if Godzilla died there is this lingering fear like "Oh shit, what if there is another Godzilla."

I think I am following

So the aftermath of 9/11 were all of our shitty wars and all of that.  And the thing is, the way people talked it was as if we lived in a different world.  People who were against torture for their whole lives, who may have even voted Democrat, suddenly started saying things like the terrorists don't deserve sympathy, that torture was ok, that bombing was justified if it got one bad guy.

Ugh, yeah.  I heard so many people I thought were pretty liberal say some seriously jingoistic weird shit in the early 2000s

Those weird impulses didn't go away all because Bush did, all because we had Obama.  I mean, people just started to accept continuous war as a thing.  We have been at war continuously for like 16 years.  Like ok we are mostly done with the war stuff in Afghanistan but not really.  We still have troops on the ground getting killed and killing others.  We have just accepted this. Continuous war was not a normal thing.  But now we just accept it. We accept that in this world "full" of terrorists that it is ok to be continuously at war.

Shit, I never really thought about it that way but yeah you are kind of right

I mean before that we had the Cold War, that was the normal.  It was normal for people to think that nuclear war could happen at any time.  It is new to us thinking about that because we haven't thought about nuclear war in a long time, but that was totally normal for them back then.  Anything completely bonkers becomes normal if it lasts long enough.

You know what is REALLY odd, though?

Ok, I know how to play now.  What?

That we have all these villains.  We have HYDRA basically, but we don't have any superheroes.

Well, I mean come on super powers aren't exactly realistic.

Yeah I know that.  Vigilantes I mean.  I mean even old school Scarlet Pimpernel or Zorro style vigilantes.  Like these poor people are being detained by ICE and deported and stuff and you are telling me that we can't even get like ONE dude dressed as Zorro freeing people from detention centers?  We have these hackers going around releasing emails for the other side, but not ONE is really doing good for the resistance?  What the fuck is up with that?

Oh honey... I have some bad news for you.


People are shitty.

Well, I mean there have to be SOME people who aren't shitty, right?

You would think.  But there you go.  Nobody IS out there dressing up in costume and fighting the man like that.  Yes people are marching, yes people are resisting in ways that might get them arrested and released but nobody is doing that definitely illegal stuff that would get them sent to prison for a long time on behalf of anybody.

Well there are Antifas

Yeah there are Antifas but come on have you seen one of them REALLY do anything other than punch a few Nazis?

Well, that is something right?  What do you want them to do?

You were the one who said you wanted to see superheroes.  I'm just saying that's about all you are going to get.  Nobody's gonna do anything that will get them more than a misdemeanor assault charge or a little dumb vandalism of banks.  What do YOU want them to do?

Well, I probably shouldn't say

If you response to the question is "I probably shouldn't say" then I'm going to DEFINITELY say you shouldn't say and lets get off this topic of conversation as swiftly as possible

Fine without specifics I am just curious why nobody is willing to do more than just punch the occasional Nazi.

Well why aren't you?  You read enough comic books.  You could go to the gym, get jacked, put on a suit and fight crime.

I don't have time to go to the gym like that.  I mean like... I dunno... an ex military person or whatever.  Somebody with skills to actually be a superhero.

You don't have time to go to the gym... that is your response to why you aren't fighting fascism.  I am.. I just don't even have any words.

Oh fuck you.  Why aren't you going out there fighting crime?  You are more fit than I am

Oh, that's a really simple one:  because I enjoy my life and I don't particularly want to die or get incarcerated for the rest of my life.  Also pain is ouchy.

Pain is ouchy.  I just...

What?  You asked.  I mean I tried to tell you.  There aren't superheroes in real life because nobody wants to take risks like that.  We did get Chelsea Manning.  She WAS willing to risk prison to release information she thought would help our country, to reveal things she thought were wrong.  That's about all you are going to get, ya know?  You are asking for some kind of hypothetical person who is hyper competent in multiple ways (fighting, computer skills, espionage), who doesn't have a family or is willing to leave their family behind, and who is willing to put themselves in harms way for no reward other than the betterment of mankind.  This person doesn't exist.  They exist in comics because that is what people wish was real but real people aren't like that.  There isn't anybody in real life who is like that.

Really, you don't think there is anybody like that?

I mean YOU were the one who asked the question.  You were the one who said it was weird.  I'm saying it isn't weird at all.  It is human nature.  We imagine heroes because there aren't any in real life. It is wish fulfillment precisely because it is a wish, not reality.  The reality is, as we have learned in the study of history, that people and their governments are more often shitty than not.  That people are motivated by greed, that absolute power corrupts, that even well-intentioned people do terrible things. I DO still feel like we are living in this strange alternate reality.  I DO feel this sense that things have gotten worse.  I guess I just have started to realize that "bad" is kind of the default.

That's awfully pessimistic isn't it.

I think its realistic.  Even before the election you were talking about how you didn't want to have to join the resistance like you were Katniss or in Star Wars or whatever.  Nobody does.  Those people who were REALLY part of the resistance, the French Resistance?  A whole lot of them died.  We idolize them and we remember them because they were remarkable not because they are the norm.  Making a conscious decision to sacrifice your life for a cause is not something that everybody can do.


Listen.  Everything IS crazy.  Everything IS odd.  Nothing seems to make sense.  And complacency IS bad and by no means should you accept that things are going to be like this forever and get defeatist.  But.... and a BIG but, no hero is going to come and save us.  Heroes don't exist.  I would believe in supervillains before I believe in superheroes.  We don't need heroes, we need people to do the hard work.

That sounds hard

It is



I just hate how shitty everybody has become lately.  How the shitty people have been emboldened by this administration.  What are we supposed to do?

Just be less shitty.  Just do what we can to be less shitty.  That's all anybody can do.

That sucks

I know

A lot

I know



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