Cow Shit on the Grecian Urn
“We are the heirs to empty thrones and promises un-kept, we sit and watch the empire burn with mild disinterest.”-Young Guns, “Sons of Apathy”
In 1865, on his eighth try, Englishman Edward Whymper climbed the Matterhorn with nothing but a small flask of tea and a ham sandwich. That same year Trollope, Zola, and Dostoyevsky published new works of fiction and in the six years on either end, the internal combustion engine, plastic, the bicycle, the typewriter, air brakes, the subway, traffic lights, and dynamite were invented, all by Europeans of course. Western greatness and the Faustian spirit have been driving human progress for seven hundred uninterrupted years (and intermittently for millennia); the British Empire brought English common law to the far corners of the globe and the Americans built on this tradition to create the still-unsurpassed masterpiece of self-governance in the Constitution. The Scientific and Industrial Revolutions and capitalism re-shaped the world as we know it (though admittedly in the latter two cases not always for the better, but this is a discussion for another time). Now we have the Kardashian’s and Jenner’s, an “empire” built on the blood money of O.J. Simpson’s acquittal, parading around on television shot full of enough plastic to rival the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (you can extend the metaphor), all while the media calls “Caitlyn” brave for throwing on a dress and some foundation. It’s a pathetic spectacle, it’s the height of self-indulgence, and it’s also the state of the world we find ourselves in, worshipping at the altar of the Cult of the Self. We aggrandize triviality and celebrate mediocrity over meritocracy, style over substance. Feelings, desires, and whims have replaced objective truth, obligation, and duty.
Where once we wondered if art imitates life or life imitates art (the answer of course is that it’s an exercise in reflexivity), there no longer exists a distinction between life and art as social media has made life one big performance piece. We commodify “image” in vainglorious self-importance, a paean of banality. Is it pop culture that’s responsible for the gaping, empty vacuity of daily life, or is it a consequence? Pop culture both does and does not exist in a vacuum. As with leaders, we get the pop stars we deserve, and so it is that although Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga are foisted upon us, we’ve also perpetuated the insatiable demand for their indistinguishable three minutes of pulsing drunken dancefloor paradise.
The upshot of economic success is that we in the West, even the worst off among us, are living a lifestyle that would have been unfathomably opulent to our ancestors, but instead of finding meaning and purpose in our historically abundant free time, using it to explore and educate ourselves, to realize passions we wouldn’t have been able to laboring in the fields or mills from dawn ’til dusk, we just while the hours away. Everything is gilded, ersatz, and flimsy, just like the State, just like our discourse, just like our conceptions of what and who we are. We have allowed modernity to estrange us from meaning, from our ancestors, and we have failed to harness capitalism in such a way that global free trade does not erode national sovereignty.
It seems as though nothing can stand on its own merits anymore; the classics of Western civilization are decried as “patriarchal” and everything, even doggerel, must be relativized: Shakespeare is substituted for Toni Morrison in the classroom and we’re supposed to applaud the “progressive” decision. Paul Robeson and Sidney Poitiers were not celebrated just because they were black—their race was secondary to their exceptional gifts, only notable, as in the case of a Jack Johnson or a Jim Brown, for what they were able to accomplish in spite of the racial prejudices of their times. We celebrate superficial diversity because, unless you’re Shaun King or Rachel Dolezal, it doesn’t require any effort to simply “be” your race. If you’re ambulatory and you can string a few words together, great! You too can be a spokesperson for your “community.” If not, that’s also fine. There’s a victim group for just about anyone, even Kathy Griffin. If you want to get recognition, you don’t necessarily need to do something worthwhile, you simply show up and cater to the court of public opinion. So now it’s come to this: we’ve decided that it’s prudent to throw out millennia of our intellectual inheritance in order to serve an agenda of “inclusivity” and celebrate how “brave” someone like corrupt charlatan Maxine Waters is for simply being black and doing her “job” like a trained monkey. We must maintain the façade and pretend like Toni Morrison is in the same galaxy as William Shakespeare. Fine, who needs some dusty old plays, amiright!? But if I were black, the level of condescension with which the Left treats them as if they’re house pets who get a treat for performing a simple trick would infuriate me, provided I had a modicum of self-awareness.
Not even the news—especially not the news—is immune to events either being excluded or filtered through a particular lens to fit the progressive narrative. No one talks about the dead Coptic children in Egypt because they’re Christian; the Antifa thugs in Charlottesville are somehow above recrimination, there’s a black self-genocide going on in parts of this country with astronomical black-on-black murder rates, and Somali rapists in Sweden are given community service as opposed to prison time for violently raping twelve-year-olds because of “anxiety and sleep problems” and cultural estrangement. I believe we should chemically castrate convicted rapists, but that’s hard to do when you’ve got no balls yourself.
Pop culture is both metaphor and reality—the unending dreck polluting radio waves and TV screens entices people to live exclusively in the material and the immediate, and reflects people living exclusively in the material and the immediate, for there’s no God (but Allah, evidently) but the bottle and the pill. Is it any wonder people aren’t reproducing, and suicidality among Millenials is at an all-time high? Without any higher ideals to live for, what’ve you got? Some thirty-three year-old “woman of easy virtue” wakes up one day in a pool of her own vomit, the guy from the night before hasn’t even left a note, and she’s got her “empowering” job shuffling paper at the long end of a commute to look forward to tomorrow.
One of the primary drivers of ISIS’s recruitment has been appealing to the lack of meaning in peoples’ lives. When you give people, to steal the album title from Fugazi, a steady diet of nothing, don’t be surprised when they start becoming radicalized. Look at the Tsarnev brothers. They saw ample “evidence” that America is this gargantuan force of evil in the world to justify their increasing radicalization; confronted with the reality of reality (television) and the steady diet of empty calories that is modern “culture,” they naturally turned against the decadent, late imperial colossus responsible for so much suffering in the world and embraced a strident, deadly interpretation of Islam. That innocent people would be maimed and killed was simply the by-product of striking back against the malignant American monolith. The perpetrators of terror, largely Islamic fundamentalists and their Antifa brethren, want to drag the West down by any means necessary, often using the crudest and most rudimentary weapons to affect violence and destruction, able to achieve their goals because our society is too enfeebled by its ideological constraints to even defend itself.
The floodgates are open now, the various presidents and chancellors and prime ministers committed to the degradation of their nations through sheer volume. Well over one millions migrants arrived in Europe in 2015 alone, seventy-odd percent of them fighting-age males. I thought refugees were supposed to be the women, children, and elderly fleeing the fighting, but that definition, like everything else the Cult-Marx crew touch, has been subjected to revision. The fate of unaccompanied minors and women along the refugee routes, doubling as human trafficking routes, is enough to chill the blood, and of course these practices and attitudes don’t stay in the Third World with many of the migrants. Women are seen as chattel, and non-Muslims, for those of a particular Islamic persuasion, are nothing but literal trash and shit. Yet we welcome them, more and more every day, and bestow privileges on them it’s undeniable now go beyond what the average citizen can expect to receive. This mass psychosis is obliterating sections of the West at lightning speed: The nuclear family, a sense of community and sober rationality, social norms and expectations have all been atomized by the MOAB of “relativity.”
No, female genital mutilation is not “relative.” It’s reprehensible. No, murdering dissidents, apostates, and homosexuals is not acceptable. Hacking up albinos to sell their body parts to witch doctors is not acceptable. Cannibalism is not acceptable. Our nuclear reactors are not powered by djinn as so many in Pakistan believe. Not all cultures are created equal; if that were the case, then why aren’t more Germans and Swedes clamoring to relocate to Papua New Guinea or Ghana to bask in their thriving economies and imbibe their cultural elixir? Multi-culturalism has supplanted pluralism in the dominant liberal mindset, and it’s disturbing to watch race relations regress to the worst I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. The Leftist totalitarianism that’s been incubating in the West for a long time is completely antithetical to everything the “other half” of the political dialogue is purported to stand for. They don’t want a dialogue; they want dissent crushed at all costs, their mania approaching the bloated red-wine-and-Emmental-caused gout-treatment-induced-’roid-rage of Kim Jong-Un, Orange is the New Black lesbian haircut and all. If it means an unholy alliance with Islamic extremists, then that’s their pound of flesh.
And so it goes, another day, another atrocity. Twenty-six dead in San Antonio, Texas. Thirteen dead and fifty injured in Barcelona by a Moroccan “refugee,” a young man in his twenties, with several more terrorists killed in a shootout later that day. Eighty-six dead and over four hundred wounded by a thirty-one-year-old Tunisian in Nice. Groundhog Day was a fun and farcical film released in 1993, but when Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, engages in debauched and reckless behavior, and eventually falls into despair and kills himself, the day continues to re-set with no lasting damage. The people victimized by Western leaders’ intention to make bumper-sticker sloganeering actual policy are not stuck in a time loop; despite the recurring nightmare, the names and places are different, and their countries’ suicides won’t break the cycle, with the crippled and dead crippled and dead for good. Phil is eventually able to escape the time loop through introspection and good deeds, winning the heart of Rita Hanson, played by Andie MacDowell, but back in 2017 the “good deeds” are just virtue signaling as superficial and hollow as the Billboard Hot 100, and there’s certainly no introspection to see here. It’s Soros’s and Merkel’s and Trudeau’s and Juncker’s world, and we’re just living (and dying) in it.