The metaphor of a dementia-addled patient is strained, but Kunstler is right that stuff happens and is quickly forgotten.--P.Z.
Kunstler: A Matter of Mercy.
Paging Doctor Oz! A patient calling itself The United States wandered into the emergency room disoriented, wearing a filthy warm-up suit, claiming it was “the greatest” this and that… but was unable to complete the nine-page admission protocol or present valid insurance ID. Patient is growing increasingly violent, threatening staff and other patients….
Nations do develop something like Alzheimers. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that for some time now nothing sticks in the national brain-pan — if that’s what we can call the news media and its analogs on the Web waves. For months, an obsession about “Russian interference in the election” raged through the left lobe of the national consciousness. Then, about a week ago, it vanished utterly. Grandpa suffered similar delusions about the Russians meddling with “our precious bodily fluids.” (Paging Doctor Strangelove.)
Not so far back as last summer, a candidate named Trump un-ironically called for “an end to endless war in the Middle East.” The oft-applied policy of “regime change,” he said, was not working out in the various US-engineered failed states such as Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine. About two weeks ago, I seem to recall, the State Department even declared explicitly that we had no brief for regime change in the case of one Bashar al-Assad over in Syria.
Then there was something in the wifi waves about a poison gas attack. The evidence as to exactly who perpetrated it looked, how-you-say, not altogether convincing. This evidence amounted to the US Intel services, in their aggregate omniscience, asserting that, “yes, it was so that this weasel Assad bombed his people with Sarin.” Wolf Blitzer and Rachel Maddow ran so hard with the story that they vanished over the horizon.
The patient had a dream after that: a dream of cruise missiles reigning down hellfire judgment upon a Syrian air base. Quite a few of them went astray and blew up some prickly pears in the desert and a pod of migrating sea turtles out in the Mediterranean. (Thank you Microsoft Windows.) Then the Secretary of State, Mr. Tillerson declared that “Assad must go.” The patient now was completely confused about who was coming or going. Then the patient forgot about the dream and we’ve heard no more about this fairytale land of Syria since then. Oh well….
It seemed like only yesterday that head honcho over North Korea — a character straight out of the James Bond fantasies with the weirdest haircut in recorded history — was threatening to blow up the United States. A US aircraft carrier fleet was soon steaming around his half of the Korean peninsula. A rocket lifted off somewhere… and promptly blew up. Well, at least something blew up. I forgot what, exactly….
And now I see on the morning wire that ISIS has gone and pulled off another terror incident in Paris — one cop dead, one injured in a street shooting. Weren’t there other incidents before this one, possibly even worse ones? I forget. Anyway, in this case, it was easy to figure out the man’s identity (one Karim Cheurfi) because the fucker had spent 15 years in prison after being convicted of three attempted murders, two against police officers, and was released on parole in 2015. There was some additional chatter in the wire story about the incident having an effect on an upcoming French election. But I forget who’s running. And when the darn thing is over, I’ll probably forget who won, and why.
That’s how we roll in the national Alzheimers ward. Shit happens and then is promptly forgotten. Sometimes the shit that happens is forgotten so completely that it’s like living in universe where nothing happens. The auditors who once reported to work in your brain have left their stations — with no duties left after the smart-phone came on the scene. They are among the millions “no longer looking for work” in those BLS reports.
Maybe this is a manifestation of what used to be called “God’s mercy.” Now that we’ve almost succeeded in making the planet uninhabitable, we don’t have to remember how it got that way, or what will happen to us in the meantime, while we’re still here.