Death Rattle

“We are all bound thither; we are hastening to the same common goal. Black death calls all things under the sway of its laws.”

“The gormless and the baying crowd right there.
They can’t get enough of that doomsday song,
They can’t get enough of it all”
David Bowie-The Next Day

Another skull.
One more deaths head dug up from the boneyard-but no less symbolically apropos for the dark times we live in.

When has that not been the case I ask myself?

Its not just my default anymore.
Death is prevalent. Everywhere it seems-because I believe the 242 year old experiment called America is dying.

Or has a suicidal streak running through it at the very least.

It could be these Divided States of Angst. You’ve felt it-that permanent unease we find ourselves in now.
Where acidic cauldrons froth over daily, and drown everything with toxic rancor and insanity.
Where another deadly school massacre, draws pious platitudes from crowing gun fetishists in tinfoil hats.
Where a swamp is substituted for a malfeasant cesspool of corruption, calamity and chaos.
Where every right eye is turned blind to the trashing of democratic norms in favor of trash talk.
Where Nazi’s and Russian despots are ‘fine people’ and the FBI is ‘treasonous’.
Where celebrities and sports figures ought to remain silent, when there is a game show host spewing poison invective from the oval office daily.
Where Evangelicals lament the downfall of Christian family values over a coffee cup, but endorse candidates who are adulterers with an appetite for porn stars and children.
Where an Intel dossier detailing a Presidents penchant for pissing prostitutes is ‘fake news’ but a pizza parlor harbors a Satanic, ritualized, child- sex /murder, cult…

To Mars.

And it’s not just the rank hypocrisy–it’s that there is a faction that seems fervently intent on hurtling us towards some cataclysm. Certainly, The Evangelical Taliban positively creamed its chaste gusset when the bloviator in chief, sought to recognize Jerusalem as Israels capitol. No doubt fulfilling the apocalyptic wank fantasy of every Christian jihadist, hungry for judgement day.

Because making America great means no greater cause than eliciting ‘Liberal tears’, even if the outcome is we are all annihilated in a tweeted, nuclear, maelstrom.

Sitting at the celebrating Bowie concert last week, singing along to songs performed by competent stand ins and his still sizzling former band, it hit me that part of the challenge now feels like the very best of us-the generational voices that would propel us forward, the thinkers of the enlightenment and champions of cultural change, have been replaced by the very worst of us.  Hitch, staring down the barrel of a cancer that would consume him said that he not only feared that he would have to leave the party, but that the party would go on without him.

Except the party ended when the life and soul was gone. Death took him along with all the other vanguard, free thinkers of his generation, and left us with the odious. The avaricious. The volatile. The dogmatists. The bullshitters, brainless barbarians and fools.

With almost uncanny timing, I write this as it’s announced Stephen Hawking has passed.

Intelligence, along with bastions of education and science are now vilified as ‘elitist’, substituted with a brain numbing diet of  TMZ, X-Factor, Fox News and Jerry Springer to occupy the vacuous mind of the plebeian. Little wonder then, there sits a President, perfectly suited for the National Enquirer generation.

Perhaps when they switched on the Hadron Collider it caused a fissure in the space time continuum, and we hit an alternative timeline,  a timeline where every virtue was turned on its head.  Indeed, the year that elected America’s greatest aberration and folly, brought with it a mass exodus of figure heads from every station.

Shape of Water poster by James Jean

Shape of Water poster by James Jean

Some might even say 2016 was akin to a rapture.

I really hope that notion leaves some Evangelicals as alarmed as the rest of us are feeling right now.

Except, I remind myself that in that same week as I watched Bowie’s guitarist, Gerry Leonard, lean over his guitar like a little blue rinsed granny, while a crowd of aging fans stormed the stage,  Guillermo Del Toro took an Oscar for his monster movie- ‘The Shape of Water’. As did the horror movie ‘Get Out’ a parable of racism , and finally Bowie’s great friend-Gary Oldman,  for his turn as Churchill in a movie fittingly titled for these times ‘The Darkest Hour’.

it’s a welcome rejoinder that as artists of darker themes, the torch falls to us.

Because as barren as it feels right now, we are on fertile ground.



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