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A chill runs down my spine

I know that I’ve been distracted recently, so can I digress from my usually scholarly and restrained well-spoken self and say: I’m just a tad scared?

Seriously. Ben Bernanke seems to have adopted Kevin Bacon’s first movie appearance as his guide to holding a press conference, gold bugs look prescient as the dollar slides toward Weimar territory and Donald Trump … holy shit, Donald Trump?

It’s as if we’ve entered the period of the decline of the republic — but without the reliable money that kept the Gracchi brothers fat and happy. And without the cool architecture and classy duds, of course. It’s the fall of civilization, but with everybody sporting wife-beaters in a strip mall. Come to think of it, it’s the fall of something, but maybe not civilization.

I know that “the end is nigh” is a reliable fall-back for everybody who really means, “things were better when I was a kid,” but do we really have to flirt so closely with stupid and disastrous just to call me out as a false Cassandra?

Actually, I don’t think “the end is nigh” – but I do thing that suckage is here, and likely to stick around for a good, long while. Good times more often end with a whimper than a bang, and I expect that we’ll slog through the same. Our kids will be heading out in our cast-off suits for long-shot job interview number 197 — at a Tongan corporation (the new superpower in 2031) — and we’ll still be telling them that things will likely turn around soon.

Well, they could turn around, but we’re idiots.

I don’t feel optimistic about the future, if that’s not obvious from the above. But I think I and my progeny are relatively well-positioned to slink in the future — scathed, perhaps, but not destroyed. Family history records that we’re pretty adept at slipping across borders: Spain to Italy, Germany to Serbia, Italy to Argentina, Serbia to America, Argentina to … well … the Bronx (we don’t always choose well).

So descendants of mine are likely to skulk through the future, ignoring the powers-that-be, making their own way and prospering on the margins.

But, damn it, I’m stuck here and now!

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  • …but do we really have to flirt so closely with stupid and disastrous just to call me out as a false Cassandra?

    I’ve reached the conclusion that there is some kind of national addiction to stupid. There is simply no other logical explanation I can think of to explain the choices that “we” as a nation have made over the last three quarters of a century (or at least the hyper-majority of “us”).

    As for the future, I see a nearly perfect synthesis between the Great Depression on steroids and Idiocracy.

  • The other day I was chatting with a Serbian friend with whom I have established a sort of internet-era, pen-pal type relationship.

    He mentioned something topical that I had not heard of because I had not been watching the news and admitted as much. Citing the worsening conditions in Fukushima and in the middle-east and concerns that if I turned on the news again I might be informed the world was indeed ending my Serbian buddy calmed me with this perspective:

    I thought things were getting pretty bad and it had me worried too but, then just today the United States began bombing another country, so clearly everything is business as usual.

  • Hmmm … There is cold comfort in the idea that, so long as the U.S. is throwing its weight around like a drunken giant, we can’t possibly be on the brink of any major transformations in the state of the world. Very cold comfort.

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