I catch up on the news throughout the day. Then my Facebook friends and Twitter followers send me more depressing video clips, articles, and links, that make me mutter “Enough” and turn off the computer and leave the room. For relief and escape I go into The TV Room and watch horror movies. Compared to the creatures capering in front of the news cameras, microphones, and headlines, the monsters of the movies are positively adorable.
Once a day, sometimes more, never less, I wonder what it would be like to still live within the confines of the United States. My wife and I thought (Ha-ha. Boy were we wrong!) things couldn’t get worse. Obama and his administration let the Bush/Cheney crowd walk away from war crimes and then oversaw the largest theft in human history; aiding and abetting the richest people in the country to get away with financially gutting the 99%. Yeah … what could be worse than that?
Enter Fucko the Clown standing at the edge of night’s Plutonian shore.
I’ve said this over and over: Just because October 31st has come and gone doesn’t mean Halloween is over. Far from it. As far as I can tell we’ve been living in a never-ending Halloween since the 12th day of December 2000. That’s the day the dead walked and our votes and voices were buried.. The lyrics of the theme song from Disney’s Haunted Mansion say it best:
When the crypt doors creak
And the tombstones quake
Spooks come out for a singing wake
Happy haunts materialize
And begin to vocalize
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize
It’s like living in Einstein’s thought experiment where at the speed of light time stands still. Thanksgiving … then Halloween. Christmas … then Halloween. New Year’s Eve … then Halloween. Monday … then Halloween. The next day … then Halloween. Look at the calendar … today … it’s Halloween. We’re all traveling at the speed of light but when we look back from where we blasted off … on Earth the clock’s hands are frozen between the tick and the tock … on Halloween.
If I’m not watching horror films I’m reading, or rather re-reading, some of my favorite Stephen King novels. He wrote two books with another master of un-ease, Peter Straub: The Talisman and its sequel The Black House. In the latter book the authors use a word to define the literally undefinable:
Opopanax: describing a word that cannot be found in the dictionary. Pronounce it any way you want to. You won’t find it at dictionary.com.
The conundrum I face every single time I sit down in front of the keyboard is how to describe The Donor Class, Republicans, and Fucko the Clown and his minions. Every word I choose is lacking. I can’t call them swine, I liked pork. And now after we’ve become vegans, I like pigs. Why do I need to demean those animals? You can find any monster you can imagine in the insect domain. Scorpions and spiders immediately come to mind. But even if they became monstrously large like in the Big Bug movies from the 50’s, they pale in comparison to what The Donor Class and their puppets do on a daily basis. What’s happening in the US is just one big fucking Opopanax … that’s what it is.
I’m tired of writing about How We Got Here … It seems we’ve always been here. Who led the lynchings? Who wore the sheets of the KKK? Who listened fervently to Father Charles Coughlin on the radio? Who went to George Wallace rallies? Who screamed America Love It or Leave It and My Country Right or Wrong? Who listens to Rush? Who watches Fox? Who voted for Fucko the Clown? How many cast votes for Republicans in the recent midterms? How many affirmed the status quo? The Washington Post has a tally: 47.4 million people. That figure should give pause to all sane people.
When John Dean wrote about the Authoritarian Personality in his book, Conservatives without Conscience, he wasn’t writing about Martians. He was writing about what has happened to Americans, the evolution of the Republican Party, conservatism, and the authoritarian personality. Whereas sane people vote for someone to represent them, Republicans want something different. They want a ruler. And that is what the Republicans seem to have always wanted and they don’t care how they go about getting it. As columnist Jack Holmes noted in Esquire recently, “Republicans are no longer just dedicated to making it harder to vote, and making certain votes count less based on how they draw district lines. They’re now against counting all the votes, period.”
And now I believe we’re getting closer to the beating heart of the Opopanax. The article in nymag.com from March 2017 reads, White House Says Cutting Meals on Wheels Is ‘Compassionate’ and a couple of days ago I read the US now has more than 14,000 immigrant children in border tent cities. Who denied food to the needy elderly and who ripped the children from their parents and put the kids into concentration camps?
Who did that, friends and neighbors? Chances are they weren’t our friends … but could be our neighbors. Well … not my neighbors. My wife, son, and I fled the country over seven years ago. But for you still living in the US … your neighbors give me the creeps. I’m not being smug in our ex-pat-ness. I’m just sayin’ in the time we’ve lived up here in Beautiful British Columbia, I have not met, seen, or heard anyone who fits the description of a Fucko the Clown supporter. Not One. I’m sure there are some though. Somebody – a lot of somebodies – voted for crazy but dead Rob Ford’s crazy brother Doug for Premier of Ontario. But Ontario is four provinces east of where I live. Cocooned in my false sense of security here in BC, I hope they (whoever “they” are) stay there.
When we still lived in a “liberal” neighborhood in Seattle, somebody stole our Obama yard sign. And somebody removed our Obama bumper sticker from our car. Was it the neighbor across the street and over one house who touted McCain/Palin from his front yard? Who knows? There are a helluva lot of Republicans in Seattle and Washington State. When we had to visit relatives in the Seattle area before the elections of 2016, as soon as we crossed the border Fucko/Pence signs sprouted like weeds by the side of the highway all the way down to Seattle. We could not wait to get away from the land of FoxNews where the average age of the typical viewer is dead.
Deep at the core of the Opopanax that is now America … there are ghosts. Traveling away at the speed of light when all clocks on Earth freeze between the tick and the tock, we can see them. Look closer … there! You can see your own ghosts.
We are all haunted by the ghosts from our past. They take on form and substance each time we choose to remember the actions we did or did not do, or what was done to us. These memories are mindless things. They are only a replay of events we are powerless to change. How well we deal with our ghosts determines on which side of the nuthouse wall we live. We either come to terms with them, sometimes with the aid of various prescription (or non-prescription) drugs, or we don’t. Those that don’t sometimes end up on the wrong side of the asylum’s wall. Some fear living in those spartan rooms, others feel immense relief in taking up residency there. If this was home … they are finally home.
But the truly dangerous ghosts are not of our making. We didn’t ask for them. They were forced upon us. We have been taught our entire lives to believe that the myths, the lies a country dreams about itself, were true. We eventually see these lies as lies and discard them. But others, millions of others, don’t. We live among people who believe that the myths, the lies, the nationalistic dreams, are real. They raise families, work at jobs, are fervent believers of a vague religion, and do all these things despite being mad.
Charles Dickens wrote of three ghosts, the past, present, and future, in A Christmas Carol. Towards the end of the tale at his future graveside, Scrooge implores the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, “Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point,” said Scrooge, “answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”
Scrooge promises the spirit he understands what has been shown to him and awakes on Christmas Day a changed man. But that is a Christmas story. Remember, this is Halloween.
I think only sane people can see the ghost of things yet to come. The people who believe the madness of myths don’t see this ultimate ghost. They might. Who is to say? If they ever become aware of the things to come, it will probably be too late. For the rest of us, this is not a phantasm that can be bargained with. Unlike Dickens’ spirit, this ghost tells not of things that could be … but what will be. And everything it tells is based upon what presently exists.
There are over 14,00 children in concentration camps in the United States.
The doomed ghost of Jacob Marley tells Scrooge, “I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?”
There are over 14,000 children in concentration camps in the United States.
The chain of present day nightmares is much longer. This is but one forged link. But is there any reason to make further entries? Isn’t that one sentence enough to make us understand that what comes after, what comes next, and the things yet to come, can only be worse?
There will be a time, perhaps it has already past, when it will make no difference on which side of the asylum walls we dwell. Because there are no walls. No one had to take them down. They vanished on Halloween. And I will spend my days, as I do now, shouting at clouds.
Phantasms – November 21, 2018
Listen to this segment from The Mike Malloy Show: