Old Joke

  • August 19, 2017
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A guy's in the doctor's office. The doctor says, "I'm very sorry to have to tell you this, but you're dying.” Guy says, "oh dear. Give it to me straight, Doc- how much time have I got?” Doctor says, "ten.” Guy goes, "ten what? Months? Weeks?” Doctor says, "nine. Eight. Seven...”

I'm not accustomed to the sensation of anger. Same goes for hate, jealousy, resentment- pretty much any emotion that an author might describe as "seething.” Don't take this as a ringing self-endorsement, by the way. I have plenty of faults. I'm not trying to paint myself as some saintly figure just because I tend to run at a lower temperature. I'm just trying to say that I'm not used to waking up mad and going to sleep mad. It's weird. I don't like it.

Doctor goes, "six. Five...”

In a recent Vice News feature that you should probably watch if you haven't, Christopher Cantwell, a factory-recall dildo granted sentience as a bitter cosmic joke, claims that he got into "the racial stuff,” as he puts it, "when the Trayvon Martin case happened, you know, then Michael Brown and Tamir Rice and all these different things happened, every single case it's some little black asshole behaving like a savage, and he gets himself in trouble, shockingly enough . . . you kinda gotta take that into consideration when you're thinking about how to organize your society.” I don't buy it. I'll concede that these incidents can be nuanced and murky- if only to avoid getting sidetracked by a comments-section debate over whether or not a twelve-year-old boy who was shot by the police while playing in a park was a "thug.” But all of the shooters are free men, and Martin, Brown, and Rice are all dead. To claim that these cases are somehow indicative of an emerging America in which whiteness is under attack, or of an inherent savagery among non-whites, is just staggering. It's 2017. I shouldn't have to write a think-piece about how Nazis are bad at critical thinking.

"Four,” says the doctor. "Three.”

No, Cantwell and his cronies (who don't do much in the video besides drooling out slurs and fawning over their leader's gym bod) aren't "the natural response” to some new wave of... I don't even know what. Caring about other people? That's bullshit. It's the bullshittiest shit that a bull ever shat. This is old-school racism- the kind a lot of us duped ourselves into thinking we had outgrown as a nation. The kind I grew up thinking I'd never have to see in my lifetime. The only thing they've changed is the wrapper. These people aren't marching for the sake of historical preservation, or coal mining jobs, or safer streets, or anything else besides stumbling, idiotic hatred. They're like Golden Age comic book villains, gathering in cabals with names like "the Consortium of Evil” or "the Sinister Seven” and performing acts of unprovoked, aesthetic evil. Hate for the sake of hate. They aren't an "opposing viewpoint.” They are not a "side.” You don't need to hear them out. You're not obligated to respect them. There is no place, real or imaginary, no shadow of this Earth in or beyond all of creation, in which the men and women who march through public squares carrying guns and torches and chanting "Jews will not replace us” and "fuck you, faggots” are the victims.

The doctor says, "two.”


For all of this seething anger that has been dogging me, keeping me up at night, and forcing me to dwell in the dark, vengeful corners of my own mind, I still believe that love is the one true message. I really do. I have to believe in love. I have to. Just as poison does not cure poison, hate does not defeat hate. Only love can triumph over hate. I'm not saying never to fight- sometimes you have to fight. But remember the message, and fight with love in your heart.  Because hate is an idea, and the only thing that can defeat an idea is a better idea.  So fight by showing them what it is to love. You can't truly win unless you're fighting for the truth, and love is the only truth. I have to remember that. I have to believe. We can do this. Together.