it’s three, actually

Status

Peter Watts penned a short note roughly a year ago and ended it on this hopeful note:

The world will burn, though. Or enough of it, at least. If Trump gets in, there are gonna be a lot of screaming toddlers with scorched hands. Shouldn’t take him more than one term to bring that whole damn country down around his ears.

And once the pot has well and truly boiled over— when even the Guccis of the one-percenters are slick with the blood in the streets; when Flint-level infrastructure has spread to every corner of the fifty states; when those damned Mexicans finally build Trump’s wall for him, but along the original Mexican/US boundary— why, the Land of the Free will be just begging for someone like Elizabeth Warren to take the helm.

It might be the only way to return sanity to the US political process, in a world where the Overton Window has moved so far to the right that yesterday’s centrism is today’s radical loony tune. In order to reset the scale to the point where workable solutions are even visible, you might have to shatter that window entirely and start over. Or—if you prefer pendulum metaphors—pushing the bob all the way over to Trump might be the only way to build enough energy to reach Warren/Sanders territory on the return swing.

It sounds grim, but at heart this is a hopeful message. True democracy might yet play a constructive role, even if its voice is dominated by toddlers who thus far have refused to accept the danger posed by stove-tops. So let them prevail, I say. Let them burn. Let them learn the hard way, and the sooner the better.

There’s a nice fringe benefit for the rest of us, too. Once those burns have been sustained, perhaps the toddlers will be so busy trying to stamp out the fires within their own borders that they’ll be less inclined to keep starting them elsewhere in the world. Wouldn’t that be nice.

Maybe I’ll head down south after all, in a few more years. Hang out with some old friends I haven’t been able to visit in a while.

In the meantime I’ll keep playing Fallout 4. Just to get ready.

He should have played Fallout 3.

who had nothing to do with it

Quote
Fascist Nations

Shortly after the war of 1914-1918 the first fascist nations 
emerged in Europe In those nations 
the sun rose and set at the usual time shedding light 
on homestead roofs and hills' green slopes Cattle 
mooed gently in cowsheds Mothers kissed 
their children's foreheads to wake them at dawn
                    Fathers returning from work 
with cheerful weariness in their bones smelled 
the smoke from their hearths and after dinner 
fell asleep in armchairs or tinkered intrepidly or 
practiced their music with a passion Children 
played at stickball at hopscotch and hide-and-seek Little girls 
sprouted breasts and overnight 
little girls turned into big girls filled with whisper 
and murmur like trees in the woods and sudden giggles
                                   the sound of which 
made boys' throats go dry On summer evenings 
curtains lit from within showed shadows meeting 
parting and meeting again tenderly Whereas in winter 
lovers inhaled the steam of each other's breath in snowy gardens And 
one might also mention cats arching their backs sparrows 
soaring up above the pavement old women on their porches
                           flowers cut and potted nurses
taking patients' temperatures people sweeping streets 
with brooms One might mention drying
wood wind in a thicket damp furrows in a field And one might also 
call to mind many particulars bearing Witness that

For there were no signs on the sky mournful comets 
burning bushes water turned to blood For 
life went on as always Hence there truly were in those nations 
many ordinary people and good people and people 
who knew nothing and to whom 
it never occurred and who 
didn't consider themselves accessories and who 
had nothing to do with it and who didn't 
even read the papers or read them carelessly caught up 
in thoughts of what they had to get done 
fix the leaking roof get the shoes 
repaired propose have 
a beer mix the paint light a candle and who 
really didn't see the fear in a neighbor's eyes didn't 
hear the trembling in travelers' voices asking the way didn't 
see the difference didn't hear 
an inner voice or if 
they had their doubts there was nothing they could do
                                and they took comfort 
saying At least we 
aren't doing anything wrong we live the way we always did
                                           Which was true

And yet these were 
fascist nations

– Wiktor Woroszylski, “Fascist nations”, 1969, translated by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh

an opportunistic predator nominated

Status

Yet another small opportunistic predator has been nominated to a highly visible position in Theresa May’s cabinet.

Prime Minister’s press secretary announced today that Larry (last name, age, nationality and marital status unknown) has been confirmed as the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.

It is yet unknown which public school should be thanked for his education, but we’ve been reliably informed that Larry shares with his other cabinet colleagues the usual traits of ruthlessness, murderous psychopathy, volatile moods and fondness for tortures.

Unlike them, as we’ve been told by a minor official asking to be left anonymous, Larry is an otherwise adorable furry creature that does not harm humans.

(routers, shmouters)