a year in stories::thirty eight

Before I get to the next story, I wanted to post links to (  ) Part XVI and XVII. Only three more parts to this novelette.

A new short story today. It’s about the future. I guess, technically, it’s a time travel story, in a way. It’s about choosing to be fat as an act of revolution. Hopefully you enjoy it.

Obese Dreams

 

You won’t believe this from when you’re reading, but I want you to know that we are not allowed to own things anymore. It started with the Great Purge. That wasn’t some government thing, it was a disease, and it spread wildly. Half the human population died in 2039. Some sort of intense virus that constantly mutated and kept ahead of scientists for two years. The region you know as the American Empire was essentially wiped off the planet, as was its former colony, Mexico.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that people who were overweight died fastest but also carried the disease furthest. It wasn’t just being fat that killed you, but being obese, which ravaged third world nations dependent on artificial food created by the former empire. The artificiality of the food and the fat cells created this disease and, well, like I said: half the population decimated.

We figured out the cure and immunised ourselves against future outbreaks. We returned to ancient farming techniques, and because no one trusted anyone else’s crops, the world transformed into a largely agrarian society, loosely affiliated. International trade began to decrease as distrust spread from food to any product coming from a place the recipient hadn’t seen. Your worldwide connectivity through the internet was already a relic, as the intense censorship and control imposed by the former Empire basically ceased communication. People were afraid to go online except to look up the most general pieces of information.

Sure, there were still hackers and curious folk who kept up the internet, uploading information, stealing it back from governments, but for most people it became something from a bygone era. My grandmother remembers the day she signed off for the last time and my mother parents never seemed interested with the global community, having been survivors of the purge. But, me, I breathe through the internet.

Most people don’t even have computers anymore, except for novelty shops and the like, but this isn’t about computers. It’s about choice.

All my life I’ve dreamt of being large. I saw pictures in history books of these 20th and 21st century humans, with their immense girth and staggering height, and felt the loss. Most people think that the sizes of the people of the past are exaggerated. How could someone ever be taller than 1.8 meters, they say. How could a human ever weigh even close to 150kg? The notion is absurd to them, living in a world where the adult male tops out around 1.7m and 70kg. There are exceptions, of course. There always are, but even the tallest person here is within a normal range of what you’d expect a human to be.

The more I learnt about the past, the more I wanted to grow. Since I knew I’d never be tall, I chose to be wide.

I snuck meals, stole them, traded extras with other kids. By the time I was fifteen I was already 100kg, my body hanging off me at places, even flapping in strong winds. I measured my waist, the flab hanging from my jaw, and the circumference of my fingers. I wasn’t particularly tall or short, considering the world I live in, but I was only about 1.5m back then.

My mother and father became concerned. The whole village feared me. I was barred from continuing education or remaining in the longhouses with the others. I was ostracised, but I had the computer, the internet still defiantly alive. I found others obsessed with the past, with the size humanity once was, but none had gone as far as me. Still, none attempt what I daily live.

After being banished, I began to wander. From town to town to village to city, I was kept at bay. They believed I was a carrier, or worse: some monster from the past. As years went by and I continued to grow, word spread of me and my journey. Not only was I all over the internet, but my reputation preceded me in the cities and villages I passed through. Talking to no one but eating all I could gather, I grew. As I grew far past what humanity thought I could be, there were those who began to follow and feed me.

None of them attempted what I do, but they were filled with my defiant revolution. At 2.1 meters tall and 250kg, I am a giant in a world of hungry humans.

But as my fame grew with my size, so did my enemies. Fear is a powerful motivator and I ran into violence for the first time.

I was thirty years old, had learnt all there was to know about your wars and acts of aggression, but only then did I finally experience and understand what it was to be hated. I have read your tracts on racism, sexism, and every other kind of ism. Even for me, believer that I am, I couldn’t really begin to believe that such trivial things caused such chasms between people.

I was attacked outside of a town I had just left. Beating until bleeding, I managed to escape with the aid of some of my followers. I had a considerable amount by them, on this neverending pilgrimage with me, but I lost five that day. Five dead because I choose to live as they fear to!

It would be laughable if I couldn’t still hear their screaming in my dreams.

I understand their fear. I truly do. But they cannot understand what it means to go against popular opinion.

We are small societies. There are no rulers or appointed judges or even squadrons of police, as you have. The world is largely at peace, but it’s because they’re asleep. We have been trained into docility, programmed to obey.

But I fought back and now I will soon be dead.

Yesterday, over 100 of my followers were murdered in their sleep. Their blood was smeared around me spelling out the ways in which they intend to torture me and flay me alive.

I believe they may even eat me.

And so I am sending this back to you.

Beware those who will take from you out of fear.

I can hear them hammering on the door. I’ll soon be dead, but this will reach you through binary series. All you need to do is let go of Time, let it run freely and wash over you. If you can figure out how, you can change all of this. You can see what the future we’re building is like. You can prevent it. You can shape it.

Good luck.

internet rage machine

There’s a great deal of things going on right now that induce rage. Or should. NSA spying without consequence, the two year civil war in Syria, the blossoming civil war in Egypt, the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, the essential imprisonment of Julian Assange who’s being denied entry to Ecuador, the country he has legal  political asylum in by England due to american pressure, and then there’s the abuses against Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and his partner, and so many other things.

But where does the internet rage blow up against? Celebrities.

I believe there’s actually a somewhat logical, or at least understandable, reason behind all this. Most people are terrified of making waves or saying controversial things. Along with that, most people are tremendously uninformed or misinformed. Then there are those who just think it’s not their place to state opinions because they don’t believe they know enough about the situations. This is all very reasonable and pretty typical, and while we can discuss why they should know more, that’s not really an argument worth having, because it does nothing but spread rage.

So Syria: people are finally talking about Syria now that our Nobel Peace Prize winning president is planning on bombing them. Okay, so, despite having no popular support, he also has no international support, and will likely blow past the UN the way George Bush did. But let’s get to the root of this. What does bombing a nation solve? Will this end Assad’s regime? Maybe, but at what cost? If we’re set to oust Assad, then who are we standing behind? The rebels. And who are the rebels? Well, that’s a pretty wide and varied mix of people, but the students who were a part of the initial protests and so on are likely no longer there, due to dying or fleeing. What you have is a very splintered coalition of organisations who are not friends or even friendly with one another, but who have a common enemy. Many of these people are the very same Islamic extremists we’re fighting our alleged War on Terror against. They’ve committed various war crimes and atrocities against the pro-Assad faction, which is the majority of the Syrian fighters. So when we get Assad out of there, what do we expect to happen?

Now, I’m not trying to defend Assad. That would be a nonsensical thing to do. But this is a true civil war. There is a pretty substantial faction of Syrians who stand alongside him. It’s not a war of Assad against the people. It’s a war where the people are fighting various groups of other people, none of whom agree on a direction for the country beyond the Death and ouster of Assad. And Assad has no moral ground to stand on in this war either. Though the rebels have committed crimes against humanity, so have the pro-Assad army.

But we need to ask ourselves, Why are we going there? Or, to put it better, since we’ve been aiding the rebels for some time: Why are we finally declaring outright war?

There’s a reason why all sides of the tragedy going on in Egypt blame the US for what has happened to their country and what is happening to their country. They see us as the enemy. We fight on both sides, handing guns and money to whichever side will renew unrest and distress. We supported the coup. And while it was a popularly backed coup, it was a coup nonetheless, which means, according to our constitution, we should have immediately stopped sending aid to Egypt. But, alas, this is the world we live in, and the country I live in.

The entire middle east, barring Israel, views the US as the most dangerous and threatening enemy to their existence and stability. There are very good reasons for this that go far beyond and deeper than simple propaganda. We put in dictators and then take them out, we fund terrorists sects, commit terrorists strikes against civilians, barrage them with drones and bombs and dirty weapons. We are the greatest terrorist organisation to maybe ever exist and we’re destroying an entire region of the world, keeping them in a constant state of unrest or despotism. Look at where Gaddafi and Saddam and bin Laden came from and you’ll find an easy and bold line to US foreign policy.

Our interest in the middle east is in keeping it unstable and firmly under our control, whether that be by proxy through a despot we install, or through a sort of military demolition team, like we used in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will use in Syria and Iran, possibly Egypt.

We are not their friends, and it’s not because the Arab world wants to destroy us. It’s because we’re trying to destroy them, and we’re doing a pretty good job. Have been for almost a hundred years.

What a better distraction to the government abuses than another war? And what a better way to legitimise these abuses of power. Barack Obama’s already codified crimes against humanity, so why not codify and legalise government spying? It’s all in the name of our safety! Though this has been proven remarkably false by Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning, very few americans seem willing to stand behind them or even defend them in polite company.

We wrap the noose around their necks when we remain silent. And if we remain silent as we march into Syria and destroy and already ruined nation, it will be our hands bloodied by this ongoing genocide against the Arab world.

Enter Miley Cyrus.

I don’t feel a need or reason to defend her or her actions, but I find the level of vitriol levelled at her the height of absurdity. The only thing I will say is that if you think Miley Cyrus decides what she does in her career, you’re probably deluding yourself just so you can continue to rage.

But I find this level of anger at a popstar pretty curious. And I think it has to do with all this collected anger we have, as a nation. We have nowhere we know how to direct it, without ostracising friends, family, coworkers. We’re afraid of seeming radical or controversial. What if the company you work for looks at your facebook/twitter account and sees that you think Israel’s military occupation of Palestine is even remotely negative? They may even gasp in alarm! It could be you let go in downsizing next month!

But maybe that’s unfair to paint people that way. No, it is. I apologise for that. I don’t think you’re all so petty and unthinking. But I do think that this collected anger is much easier to direct at a target that everyone agrees upon. Most people don’t pay attention to international news, let alone national news, so we don’t know whose side we should be on. What should we do about Syria or Egypt? What should we do about the international illegal spying network we and other countries have? What should we do about whistleblowers or the drone war? What should we do about national debt and joblessness? What should we do about the global and national economy?

These are tough questions, and while I have answers for all of them, I understand that I stand in a very small group of very radical thinkers. I don’t expect even 30% of people to agree with the details I lay forth for these kind of issues, and so I don’t blame anyone for truly just not knowing what to do.

This is normal when powers far superior to you are gambling with dice you don’t understand.

And I think it’s all this rage that we don’t know how to direct. We see an easy target: former Disney teen idol making a fool of herself on stage.

Boom. Lock on and destroy. Level all that rage and hatred at the dummy on stage. Make her regret becoming famous. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s how fun and satisfying it is to destroy the gods we create.