on the shrugging indifference of imperial war crimes

Image taken from Getty Images.

Originally this was going to just be a portion of a longer essay about how we blame idiots for the ills of the world and especially for america’s problems, but this is already reasonably long, so I’m making it its own post.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to that essay.

 

Anyrate, this is something I came across on twitter. I thought about just screengrabbing them so they would have to potentially answer for their insane garbage logic, but I’ve decided to leave their names and faces out of it.

I mean, no one reads this site anyway, so who cares.

An exchange by two writers I know through the internet. They’re white, reasonably young, and would consider themselves progressives. Or at least Democrats.

Anyrate, the exchange, with commentary:

Imperialist 1: Clinton will kill too many people, just as Obama has. She will allow exploitation of far, far too many, just as Obama has. This is true.

Imperialist 2: Any president of the US is going to be at least indirectly responsible for a lot of deaths.

Imperialist 1: I don’t like drones but I think Obama sees them as a necessity to avoid massive bloodshed given our collective awfulness.

We’ll stop here for a moment.

We begin with what I assume is sort of a shrugging sorrow, if I’m being generous, or shrugging indifference, if I’m just reading the words.

Let’s assume it’s shrugging sorrow.

These two are people who would consider themselves the intelligent minority in the country. The people who wish the best for the country and know better than all those dumb poor idiots ruining it. They’re young white liberal writers, so they’d also consider themselves part of the good guys.

And what we get here is a shrug.

About the deaths of people of color across the globe.

They would probably paint this as being realistic. I mean, it is. This is reality. At least the first statement by the first imperialist. Obama is responsible for countless deaths. So is Clinton.

We come to an interesting point, that any US president is going to kill lots of people.

Why is this?

I mean, certainly this has been generally true. It’s part of the tradition of being US president.

But does it have to be?

Imperialist two seems to think it does have to be this way. They also make the interesting distinction that they would be indirectly responsible.

I assume this is because their policies kill people. They didn’t physically pull any triggers or drop any bombs.

This is, of course, absurd.

The president is the head of the US military, which means they can directly tell soldiers, generals, and anyone in the military to stand down. To stop fighting. They can pull out armies. They can send them abroad.

This also means that when the president sends troops to war, he or she takes on the burden of those lives. He or she sent the bombs, sent the guns, sent the soldiers, so they must answer for the dead, the broken bodies, the broken psychologies, the decimated infrastructure, the dispossessed, the refugees that get kicked up by our imperial boots.

Hardly blameless. This is not an indirect effect of policy.

Those dead, those mutilated, those psychologically broken, those refugees, those homeless, those starving–that is the purpose of militaristic policy. It’s not a tangential outcome. It’s the whole reason the policy exists.

I mean, technically it’s illegal for the president to send troops to war without congressional approval, but we’re well past this. But so if this is true, if the president can send troops wherever they want, whenever they want (which they do), then the opposite should also be true.

It might crush their public opinion, but that’s a small price to pay for saving millions.

Now we come to the third peculiar point. The idea that Obama is using drones in order to keep us from engaging in more actual wars.

A few things.

This completely ignores the (seemingly irrelevant) fact that the president cannot wage wars without congressional approval. So the easiest way for him to avoid larger wars would be for him to just stop bombing people abroad, yes?

It also ignores how Obama has used these drones.

Imperialist one almost makes it sound like altruism or benevolence.

He’s only illegally bombing civilians (a war crime) of foreign countries to keep us from engaging in an all out war (something he needs to declare and get approval for).

Which, even if we stop there, this is an enormous feat of mental gymnastics to give shrugging approval of what amount to war crimes.

So, in killing people illegally with unmanned drones, he’s saving lives.

Sure.

But let’s look at how Obama’s administration has used drones.

Well, they’ve done it secretly. For eight years. Against civilians. It’s proven to be ineffective, horrifying, and indescriminate.

You can read about it in The Drone Papers, which is really the tip of the iceberg. Jeremy Scahill‘s been reporting on the drone war for about a decade.

If Obama were really trying to save lives, if he were really doing this for a reason that we can argue is positive, why keep it hidden? Why not use this as an example of why traditional warfare is no longer necessary? Why not proclaim that the US has changed war! We’ve saved millions of lives by waging humane warfare (an extremely old argument that is always heinous nonsense)!

So we have this discussion of why Obama may feel like he needs to use drones in order to save lives which is so absurd I can barely even see straight when I read it.

But let’s move on.

Imperialist 2: Being a world power means you’re choosing which mass deaths you can live with.

Imperialist 1: Yeah. Not an exciting pitch! And certainly something I’d like to work on. But, yeah.

I put the most relevant part in bold but I’ll write it again.

BEING A WORLD POWER MEANS YOU’RE CHOOSING WHICH MASS DEATHS YOU CAN LIVE WITH.

This is the kind of heinous nonsense that passes for thought among those who believe themselves to be intelligent progressives. Again, they’d call this realism, but I call it the most odious form of imperialism and it follows a logic as ancient as imperial genocide, with the same shrugging indifference to all the war crimes and murder.

To use an old cultural catchphrase, This is why we can’t have nice things.

We have people basically accepting the logic that we, as a people and a country, need to kill other people on a massive scale. There’s no argument about whether we should or shouldn’t do this. Not even an explanation as to why this is necessary. Just an assumption that we can live with mass deaths. Just an acceptance that we will kill millions.

And then the next sentence is shrugging acceptance of that logic.

We’re going to murder a lot of people.

Well, it’s not ideal, but maybe it’ll work out all right!

This drives me insane.

Especially because this is probably intended as a kind of gallows humor.

I could go on but it’s really making me sick.

But this is the essence of imperialism. We internalise so deeply the morality of the empire that we no longer even care that what it’s doing is domestically illegal, internationally illegal, breaks treaties, and is widely condemned by nearly every single nation on the planet.

You can call it realism, but this is actively making the world a worse place. A more dangerous and diseased place.

Not just the policies, which are obviously devastating. But this kind of acceptance of the empire’s narrative, the empire’s morality.

You can blame it on “our collective awfulness,” but there are people who are fighting to stop this. They fight every day to expose war crimes and to spread peace. But, no–that’s irrelevant to the discussion at hand! We’re being realists about america and all the idiots who made it into this atrocity!

I find this to be one of the biggest issues with american thought.

We pass blame and care little for solutions. We accept the imperial morality and call any hope of overturning it idealism or unrealistic.

This is, by the way, the same reason why the Founding Fathers didn’t free the slaves.

It was unrealistic! Too difficult! Who could expect them to go that far?

It’s essentially the argument for every system of power.

You need to break some eggs to make an omelette, and if you want a big omelette, you better shatter a lot of eggs.

The failure of american thought and discourse is really exemplified, I think, by this short exchange on twitter.

And if we look at the recent debate, we have a war criminal who proudly proclaims her friendship with other war criminals and dictatorships around the world telling someone that they have questionable motives for being an anti-imperialist thirty years ago.

Red baiting like McCarthy.

That’s the new face of the Democratic Party.

Anyrate, I’m too angry and frustrated and disgusted to continue.

 

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.

a year in stories::fifteen

Keep forgetting to post things in here. I have three film reviews and one essay about North Korea so I’ll just post them here without saying much about it.

Jurassic ParkTo the Wonder, and The Place Beyond the Pines all up over at Manarchy Magazine. I especially really like that one about Jurassic Park, which is more like an essay about my childhood and dinosaurs than it is a film review, but it’s one of my favorite essays I’ve written.

And then there’s an essay about not so recent events in North Korea now. It’s about all that business like a month ago when everyone thought we were going to war with North Korea. Essay is here.

This story came to me all at once when I was eating mashed potatoes about an hour ago. Just that title: All my Heroes are Russian Folksingers. No idea where that came from but I really like this one, an alternate history book about art and revolution in the 20th century.

All my Heroes are Russian Folksingers

 

Never does a boy forget his first love and never does a girl remember, but I do.

His name was Alyosha Dragunov and he died before I was born but his songs crept over decades and across an ocean to find me in my car that Saturday night when my elder sister’s boyfriend’s brother was driving us who cares where. My sister’s boyfriend was Russian, or his parents’ were. He spoke it too and I could tell him and his brother were singing along but I was in the backseat, pushing my head further back until all I could hear was music, the noise of my sister and her friends drowning out or me escaping far away.

It was a terrible recording, kind of like Woody Guthrie Bsides, but the basement was Siberian, or that’s what I imagined then. For me then, Russian was sort of a white wasteland of winter, and while I know that’s not true, whenever I hear Alyosha, I’m brought back there in tears of overwhelming nostalgia for beauty I never knew. That scratchy recording, turned scratchier by the volume we listened at, but through the static and lofi came this voice, so tender and ravaged by love and loss, or at least that’s what it sounded like. I didn’t know the words but they knew me and they danced their way into me.

There were only five songs and the Russian boys know them all by heart but only I was crying when we stopped the car. We were somewhere, a party maybe, and we were being dropped off because the brother was just the driver and I was along for who knows what reason.

My sister and I are twins but we’re the kind that don’t get on well. If all twin pairs are psychically linked it’d make sense for us, because anytime I think of Kristine I get pissed. I love her and whatever but I sort of really hate her.

But there I was crying. Not bawling or anything but just crying. My sister and her boyfriend left me there with the brother after she said something obnoxious and rude. He was sixteen and I was thirteen but those three years are lifetimes at that age.

Why do you cry, little bird?

Who was that singing?

Ah, Dragunov?

When he said that his accent was thick and I couldn’t really tell where the consonants or vowels in the word were but then he switched back to normal unaccented English and he told me all about Alyosha, about how his parents died before he was grown and he grew in an orphanage, how he never got over the pain of his parents’ departure till he met a woman, a beautiful aspiring ballerina who brought him from the sullen edges to the brightest suns and then cast him back into darkness when the revolution came and swallowed her whole as the countryside turned iron. From there came his songs and his politics grew with the revolution but turned sour when the trees were exchanged for factories and the fresh air for smoke as he was more Whitman than Lenin and he wrote of a land of beauty and love lost forever to the hands of man. At different times he was a fugitive and a friend of the state and very nearly a prisoner but for some harrowing escapes and he continued making his songs underground, in attics, and the records were handed off from person to person across the countryside and it would be many years till many knew Alyosha’s name but all those first thousands who heard him picked up a guitar and remade Alyosha’s songs and spread them like wildfire along with their own words. And so it was at the height of Stalin’s reign that Sovietism collapsed because of music and words and a man who never wanted to be famous, who just wanted love, who finally found it as he stood in St Peter’s square for the first time before a crowd, for the first time face to face with all those who had loved him, who found hope in him, and he wept so long that he couldn’t play or speak and so others took up his words, took up his chords, took up his songs and there he died, his very soul in the mouths of millions and millions of Russians, finally free.

Is all of that true, I said.

Why not? he smiled and ejected the CD and handed it to me, told me he had more and that he’d give me more when it was time for us to be picked up. Go on, he said, Join your friends. Sing and be happy, for tonight you might die, with only your words to remember you.

When I went home that night I had a little CD case full of Russian folksingers from the 20th century and I didn’t sleep that night, crying into my pillow, headphones stuck to my eardrums, blowing them out.

Alyosha was my first love but not my favorite. He may be the most influential Russian to have lived in the 20th century, the man who accidentally toppled a totalitarian state with just his voice trapped in bedroom recordings, but he’s certainly not the best. It’s often said, though, that could the Nobel Peace prize be given to the dead, he would top the list every year since. It’s hard to know what Stalin would’ve done had his regime lived on, but they say the dissolution of the Soviet state stopped the Fascist Wars from becoming a world war as Alyosha’s message spread west and Adolf Hitler’s grab for power fell apart under the Russian Jewish singer, Tsilia Zaslavsky, who took up Alyosha’s words and message and carried them into the heart of Berlin in 1935, during the rearmament. She sowed dissent and peace and clarity in a time of fanaticism and racial bigotry that’s so easy to forget all these years later, but Germany in the 30s was not the Germany of the 40s that we’ve come to know so well. By the time Hitler moved for Danzig his empire was already collapsing from within. Tsilia was the most wanted person in all of Germany, and also the most beloved. By 1940, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and even Germany itself were already ousting Hitler. It’s said that in his old age even he listened nightly to Tsilia’s recordings, bemoaning all he had lost because of the beautiful Jewess from Minsk.

Tsilia, another important artist, but still not my favorite. I find her, actually, quite shrill, though the lyrics are beyond what anyone has written in any language, poets and novelists included. The way she so simply stated what we had always known but never seen. To listen to her words is to understand yourself, your friends, and your loves for perhaps the first time.

But these two were enough to turn my heart always eastern, always watching Russian, always cheering them on as their folkartists turned towards Maoist China, already in it’s sixtieth year with Chairman Mao so old it was hard to believe it was yet him living. But Ivaanjav crawled through the spiderweb of totalitarian China in the late 90s and by Mao’s death in 2002,we were seeing a free China for the first time, I guess, technically ever. There were elections and Ivaanjav, who’s actually ethnically Mongolian though raised in a small farm area just north of China’s Russian border. He spent his youth wandering by rails all over Russia, collecting songs and styles from the many masters then singing and playing. Unlike many Russian folksingers, he didn’t play guitar but rather a morin khuur, adapting the freeplucking style of Leon Trostky’s grandaughter, Sofia–herself an accomplished artist and leading political figure–to the morin khuur. He broadly expanded and united the many different styles of Russian folkmusic by forcing it to adapt to him and his Mongolian heritage rather than forcing himself to adapt to its constraints, and, still, there are many who don’t consider him a proper Russian folkartist, despite everything he’s done in that tradition.

I would like to say that it was the message of peace and promise of beautiful days ahead that caused me to study Russian and guitar but it was really Aleksandr Z, my absolute favorite of them all. Unlike most, he had no political affiliation or outlook. He was a return to Alyosha’s early days of nostalgia, which was peculiar to hear in a man so young. I thought then, that first night, when I was still thirteen, that I’d marry him one day, since he was only nineteen then and that wasn’t so old. He was every bit as beautiful as Alyosha, and though the recordings were more polished his voice sounded more fragile, more on the precipice of disaster. It took me so long to learn what the words meant but he broke my heart every time. Born so long after Alyosha, but in many ways, his true successor, his was an aesthetic so pure and simple that it captured everything of Alyosha’s early years but transcended them, connected them to the modern world, and then cracked this hypertech world apart, letting flowers and sunshine through.

I saw him for the first time on youtube, playing alone in his hotel room in Iceland when volcanic ash smothered the sky. It was his first song to be sung in English and I was watching it live.

Hello, he said, his voice thick with Russian spilling over the Anglosounds. My name is Aleksandr and this is my first time speaking English in public but I hope you like it. It’s called Iceland at the End of the World.

He was beautiful, frail and thin like a teenage girl, with long blonde hair spilling over his face. But his arms were so strong, so in control of his instrument as his fingers danced, plucking his twelvestring, his voice careening in a way so perfect, in a way never captured yet by him on his recordings. I felt the world ending and those eight minutes disappeared into me and I kept watching it for the rest of the night, memorising the words, the hand movements, the chords till I could play it maybe half as well, which was a huge accomplishment for me.

I turned the camera back on me and sang it back to him, as if he was on the other end, but I sang it in Russian, because if he could sing it for me in my language, I could do it for him in his.

The hits piled on and the comments rolled in, many of them negative, as always, but even more positive, with most of the positive ones written in Russian.

And then there was a message from him and a response video and when I learnt his new song I played it for him again, and he responded, but this time asked me to write for him. He asked it in Russian, believing, maybe, that I was and i cried through hours of smiles as I frantically tried to write a song for him, anything that would make him smile, make him proud of me. Millions of views on each video, but none of those people mattered to me. No, there was only Aleksandr, and I longed to touch him but knew I couldn’t write about that.

And then the crows cawed outside my window. Twelve of them hanging out in an oak tree, and one idea became ten words became a stanza became a melody became a song. My first song. My first song for him and my first song for me. So nervous, especially to sing it in Russian, which I decided I would.

I turn on the camera, my hands so sweaty I don’t know if I’ll be able to play, my face hot, and my feet wet from their instant sweat. I cleared my throat.

Hello, Aleksandr . . . and everyone else, I guess. This, um, I did what you asked. This song is for you. I wrote it in Russian. I hope you love it.

One deep breath in, then out. I wipe the sweat from my eyes, smile, and pluck that first chord.

the crises of being american

I’ve been going through a lot of drastic changes in the last couple of weeks. I’ve somehow awakened politically and it’s destroying my fragile birdheart. I look at the world, at the world shaped by this century of violence by the militarism and economic warfare of my country, and I feel the weight of the world throttling me to my knees.

I’ve long suffered from occasional crippling melancholia where the weight of existence, in a metaphysical way, buries me. But now, it’s actualised, concrete and quantifiable. And it’s worse. So very much worse than the mental pain of existence, from the unbearable lightness of being. Now it’s the crushing weight of humanity’s sin that does not only hang and press on me, but constricts me to complete immobilisation, both abstract and concrete.

I look at the world and the disgust and shame is absolute. It’s just, i look at the world and see nothing worth liking. I’m dissatisfied with the world. With imperialism and being a citizen of an empire and seeing, directly, how this empire imposes a surreal control over actions and attitudes half a world away. I’m sick of it, quite frankly, and i feel so impotent here, being a citizen of america. Knowing that there is nothing i can do to change even a single thing about america. And so where do you start? Is it enough to know that things are very much in a terrible way? That nothing has changed in our foreign policy in almost one hundred disastrous years. The more i know, the more crippled i feel. It’s partly why i gave up pursuing neuroscience, because the hands that hold the deck are so very much not in the interest of science, but of dollars. And when the place you’re a citizen of is the biggest terrorist state in the last century, and maybe the history of the world [though i’m sure england is rather close], what are you to do? Do you just allow it to continue the way it’s never stopped, an unbroken century of violence and hate and discrimination and xenophobia, coupled with all this other simultaneous hope happening in the technological fields, in science and understanding? But socially, where are we? Women are still underpaid and treated as a minority special interest when, in fact, they’re the majority of people in the country, and the majority of people in higher education, incidentally. Or the way our long genocidal war against native americans has never ended or how blacks have had their culture and family structure systematically destroyed by an outrageous and abominable prison system. The way sociopaths like Reagan are considered heroes of mythic proportion for no evident reason except the general belief that the past was some kind of golden time where it was always summer and we fucked without condoms on. But the violence didn’t start or stop with him, but just keeps going on.

And it’s not even an executive thing. We pretend like it is, but it isn’t. The faces of government hardly matter, which is why they can change with such breathtaking ease, while policies never do, because policies are not dependent on the people that the minority of the population elect. Policies are determined by the people who put them there, and, if you’re Obama, and a billion dollars were put behind you, you have a lot of hungry mouths to feed. But, like i said, this isn’t Obama’s or Bush’ or Clinton’s or Reagan’s fault, though none of them have helped, and most have made it easier for things to continue as such. We have our own Supreme Court acting as criminals, giving international corporations the rights of individuals, as if that’s in some way shape or form justifiable. We have three wars going on and soldiers in over 800 permanent military bases around the globe. We will never leave the Mideast, just as we’ve never left Japan or Korea or Germany.

No one is our equal so no one is our enemy. They tell us to leave, that we’re no longer needed, and we unceremoniously ignore them or tell them to shut the fuck up while we dock a nuclear submarine in Nagasaki port every month, as if that’s not a continual insult to the people of Japan, especially to the people of Nagasaki. They ask us to leave and we yawn, point towards the nuclear reactor.

And so what’s to be done? I keep asking myself and i find nothing. My generation is one of apathy and ambivalence and a stupidly excessive desire to be ironic. About everything. And so where is there sincerity left in the world? My mother used to tell me that i feel things too much, and i’ve always known this to be true, which is partly why i try to keep things at a certain distance, so that i can deal. But what is to be the start of what needs to be done? I think the best thing that could happen to america is for it to collapse upon itself and stay that way for a generation. I honestly don’t see solutions to the many problems that happen concurrently and neverend. Education, the depression, imperialism, rampant capitalism and militarism to a bloodthirsty and rapacious degree, our support of dictators around the world, to genocides across the century, to the nearly fifty year long occupation of Palestine, to our own bloodsoaked internal history, the way we raped the south and called it peace, the way we crushed the workers and called it progress, the way we seem to be heading back in that very same direction, they way we take lives before they can begin through an insane criminal justice system and financial system whereby every citizen who desires higher education must first go into a crippling debt that will last at least a decade, if not more, while even basic medicine like birth control can become unavailable.

And somehow we’ve been bought and sold into believing all of this is a good idea. And not just a good idea, but a new good idea.

And it weighs on me stupidly, like a millstone. And i have all this energy and capacity to just do things. I’ve never found something i cannot do, and most things come kind of easy. So i’ve been wondering, Is fiction an appropriate usage of this energy? What if i can do more? I should do more. I feel that i have to do more, to be more, but i don’t even know where to start. I’ve written over 300,000 words of fiction in the last nine months, which is more than many people write in a lifetime. I could write another 100-200,000 by the end of this year, but what’s the point? I don’t know.

So I’ve been educating myself politically at kind of a breakneck speed, but it’s the only way I seem to know how to do anything. But it’s been very good for me and has caused some thing to turn for me.

Today a breakthrough of sorts came. I’ve decided that fiction is the correct path for me. But not fiction alone. Art can be so much more than art, and I intend to make it so. More responsibility is on me and my words with this in mind. So it goes.

There’s so much more to say. So very much more to say, but I suppose that’s the gist of it.

I’d like to end this on a hopeful note, because there’s certainly a lot to hope for in the world. Even though the problems seem monumental and insurmountable, there are people trying.

And try we must.

More on this later.