Future humans will find the image above completely inscrutable. I’m kidding—they won’t be able to look at it, because the loss of present-day operating systems will turn all digital files into gibberish. It’s inevitable, just like death and, presuming I can get a free minute this weekend, taxes. Pretty much all the inevitable things suck. Otherwise we wouldn’t be trying to evit them in the first place. Today is Friday, and all that might have been avoided has come to pass. All that cannot be prevented will happen, too. Won’t you hurtle forward helplessly into the gaping maw of the future with me?
Now that we’ve all been hoaxed a few times by ZANU-PF’s Twitter and lymphomatic Hawaiian girlfriends and whatnot, it’s easy to read any report with a baseline skepticism in mind. Is this, strictly speaking, real? is a perilous question to ask of the news, particularly since the news is often about events, and events are what we use to determine the quality of the real. To ask whether every new event is real is to fix our standard of reality in the past. Still, certain things that happen seem like they did not really happen. Today is Friday, and the march of wonderment continues apace. Won’t you fall into lockstep with me?
Yeats said that poets were the invisible legislators of the world. It is not totally clear what he meant; he definitely preferred the poets, but it’s hard to know whether it was because they performed a more vital function than the visible legislators or simply because he didn’t have to look at them. There is also the old adage about seeing how sausage is made. Have you ever looked at a person who makes sausage, though? Way more gross, especially once you get to thinking about it. Today is Friday, and the men and women we have elected to represent us are repellent to us. Probably that’s because they are such irresponsible scoundrels—it couldn’t be because they are an accurate reflection of the people who voted for them. Won’t you seize on the most comforting answer with me?
I still remember the day that I, a boy-child of 14, encountered Robert’s Rules of Order. Oh, I though to myself. Here is finally the thing I like least in the world. As a set of rules for meetings, parliamentary procedure is boring squared. Even in the most interesting kinds of meetings—the Machiavellian ones where everyone pretends not to hate one another’s goals—procedure is at best a synopsis of a plot. It is therefore maybe hard to get psyched about the possibility of today’s Senate changing the rules of the filibuster, an instrument that the world’s greatest deliberative body abuses now more than ever.
“Everything that exists without my knowledge,” remarks Judge Holden near the end of Blood Meridian, “exists without my permission.” A whole bunch of stuff that we don’t know about it happening out there, and the more we learn about it, the more we extend our authority. Another way to put that is “the more we extend our responsibility,” and sometimes—as in the photo above—innocence is only possible through ignorance. That doesn’t work once you introduce a third party, of course. Once you know about someone else’s ignorance, their innocence evaporates—but then you’re offering their behavior a Holdeneque permission. It’s a damn thicket, is what it is. Today is Friday, and the internet has made it harder to remain ignorant than ever before. Won’t you expand the scope of your indulgence with me?