Archive for category Existential Rambings
After years of interminable suffering, the human race will finally be put out of its misery tonight at 8 o’clock Eastern Standard Time (5 PM on the West Coast). There will be no giant mushroom clouds, no asteroids unstoppable hurdling towards earth, no lights, no sounds, no music, just the immediate and unexplained termination of all sentient human life on our planet.
“I, for one, am thrilled to see the human race ending in such a bloodless and efficient fashion,” said Charles Guiteau, a car insurance salesman from Provo, Utah. “To be honest, the next week was going to be hell. Now, I’m free to spend the day catching up on the episodes of Game of Thrones that I missed.”
“It was going to happen at some point,” exclaimed Mark Chapman, a traveling pudding salesman from Denver, “why not just get it over with?”
“I mean, honestly, I’m tired of worrying about all the different ways the human race could end. This way, we are free of the fear of terrorism, of global warming, of viruses, of nuclear bombs, of bacteria from spoiled meat, of the federal debt, of running out of oil and of endless war. We were all going to die at some point anyway, might as well do it quickly.”
“If you think about it, it’s probably for the best,” announced Leon Czolgosz, a professional juggler from Memphis. “We’ve been around for thousands of years and what have we really done with our time? Create more humans. Create machines that make humans live longer. Create devices to make our time on earth more bearable. Create stories about afterlives and vengeful, jealous gods. Create reasons to love each other. Create reasons to hate each other. Create reasons and methods to kill each other. To what end? It’s all wasted motion.”
Some people, however, are not taking the news as well. “As a Nationals fan, I’m disappointed to think that I’ll never get to see Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg develop into the superstar caliber players I know they can be,” said longtime Washington resident Gavrilo Princip. “I really thought the World Series was ours this year.”
Meanwhile, some Americans are upset about the timing and details of this extinction level event. “America is the greatest country on earth. The idea that we are going to die at the exact same time and in the exact same way as all other countries boggles the mind. We give millions of dollars in foreign aid to countries like Somalia. We should at least be granted a few extra hours. Fair is fair,” said John Booth, Mississippi treasurer for the Tea Party Patriots for Freedom and The Avoidance of Responsibility for Others.
In Washington, the news has brought a halt to the constant bickering between Congress and President Obama. In the spirit of bipartisanship, both sides have promised to pass legislation to end the impasse over the federal budget within the next few weeks.
Regardless of how people feel, the end is coming. It will be quick and painless. You won’t even know what hit you. There will be a flash and it will be done. There is nothing you can do about it.
(Inspired by the Ray Bradbury story Last Night of The World)
I believe it was Henry Kissinger who once said, “There is no soup like the milk of human longing.” Or was it Lacan. I’m not sure. Irregardless of redundant words that don’t actually exist or simply restate words that could be a heck of a lot shorter, Kissinger meant what he said. If he did say it. Which he didn’t.
I’m reminded of a time before radar. A time where planes needed to fly below nothing to be hidden. They simply didn’t exist. A time where whales walked the earth and the band Earth performed in Wales. Or neither.
You wanted him to be Souza. You pretended as only the pretentious can. But he was not and you cried. Tears of horror. You lifted your copy of Fabulous Disasters towards the sky and you shook it. You demanded God reformulate Himself in your image for once so that He could understand the grave misfortune He had bestowed upon the world. You swore allegiance if He only would bring back the mighty Zetro.
First, there was denial. Then, anger. Then, bargaining. You listened to their cover of Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up” and started telling random strangers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anyone who would listen how it was an unappreciated classic. You walked into a supermarket wearing an outfit made out of Australian Herring. You began gargling diet soda and spitting it on children. You bought a ’76 Dodge Dart and painted the lyrics from Manowar’s “Bridge of Death” all over the doors. You joined People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals. You sent poems and toenail clippings to all the living members of the Bar-Kays.
You began attending lectures at Emory University about the history of the sciatic nerve. You moved to Norway. You became a vegan. You began accusing high-ranking government officials of being Freemasons. You disavowed the use of salt. You fell in love. You became convinced that people were out to get you.
You stopped reading this article. You began biting your cousin’s arm hair. You went to your window, opened it and began shouting all the lyrics from the first five Venom albums. You joined the Peace Corps. You learned to play bass. You became convinced that you had killed John F Kennedy in spite of the fact that you were born 12 years after the assassination took place. You started being mistaken in public for Marilu Henner. You tried a new type of shampoo. You spent 37 dollars and 29 cents on a used copy of an Atrophy album only to find that it had decayed. You ate all of the rolls. I know you did. I saw you. Don’t lie. You did. And now you are not admitting it. You are a dishonest person.
As Rick Pitino once said, “Paul Baloff isn’t walking through that door.” Or was it Hegel. I’m not sure. I think we can all agree on one thing, violent video games are the cause of nearly all of our current problems. That, and misogynistic, violent metal lyrics. And cell phone towers. And terrorism. And disco goregrind.
But, if I know one thing, it is this, Rob Dukes is a talented man who has brought stability and a brutal new sound to Exodus. Or maybe he didn’t. I dunno. But, if I know one thing, it is this, Rob Dukes is emblematic of how heavy metal fans have become ill-equipped to handle even the most minor of changes without turning into a bunch of fundamentalist whiners with the undying need to prove that they were “there” first, even if they don’t really care where “there” is. Or maybe not. I dunno. All I know is this, if it weren’t for Exodus, the children of Israel would never have left slavery through the strength of Yahweh. And that, at the end of the day, is all that is important.
(A heavy set man named Oliver stands alone in the center of a nearly endless, empty but brightly lit furniture store. He is greeted by a thin, cheerful man with a name badge that reads “Stan”)
Stan: Can I help you with something, Sir?
Oliver: Well, I’m in the process of moving from an apartment into a house. I have more room and am in need of some new furniture to fill the place out.
Stan: Great, well you’ve come to the right place. What are you looking for first?
Oliver: Well, I’ll need a new couch.
Stan: Right this way.
(Stan leads down a row of dining room tables into a bank of couches)
Stan: Are you looking for a sectional, maybe a divan….
Oliver: (pointing at a large, rather non-descript red couch) That one…over there. I like that.
Stan: Ah yes! Our 20th Century Persian Sectional. Very popular item.
Oliver: I don’t mean to be rude, but I’d like to cut right to the chase. I have a budget I’m working with. I’ve seen this couch before at another store but it was too expensive. If you offer me a good deal on it, I’m pretty much sold. What’s it cost?
Stan: No problem at all. I like working with someone who wants to get right down to business. (pulling a tag from behind the couch) This couch right here will cost you the first twelve nights you spent alone after your wife and children left you and the funeral of your Aunt Sally.
Oliver: Wow. That’s a bit steep for a couch. The IKEA up the street only wanted the week my father was in a coma after the construction accident and the time my dog froze to death on the back porch when I was six.
Stan: Hmmm…..Okay, look, you’ve got me over a bit of a barrel here. I’ll be frank with you, I need to move some merchandise pretty quickly. Got a new shipment coming in, plus my boss needs to see some numbers. You seem like a nice fellow, how about I ask you for the time your parents locked you in a closet for five hours because you got caught smoking and the time you were eight and your uncle punched you in the face because he thought you had hidden the remote control?
Oliver: Not bad. Will you throw in the ottoman?
Oliver: We have a deal. Now, let’s see about a bed for the guest room.
Stan: (hurriedly moving to the bed section) Right this way.
Oliver: Looking for a queen-sized mattress and an upscale looking frame. Oak maybe. What’s that set over there run?
Stan: Well, that one will set you back the week after you were first diagnosed with diabetes, the time you got fired from your high school job at Target because you fell asleep in the stock room and the death of your good friend Ralph.
Oliver: That’s just too much. This is going in the guest room. Do you have anything a bit more reasonable?
Stan: Well, this set in the corner will only run you the time you got cut from the JV basketball team and the car accident where you caused that man to be in intensive care for five weeks. And it’s quite sturdy.
Oliver: Sold. Now, all I’m really in need of are some end tables for the living room and a recliner and I’ve got everything I need.
Stan: Well, I’ve got a recliner over here that I think you are going to love. Check out this little number.
Oliver: (sitting down in a huge leather chair and leaning back) Oh yeah! Stan, may I call you that….
Oliver: Stan, this is like heaven on earth. I haven’t been this comfortable in a long time. This would be perfect for the living room.
Stan: Well, you sure picked the right day to visit us! That’s a closeout special. Do you like the style of table next to it?
Oliver: Very much.
Stan: Here’s what I’m going to do. I’ll get you the recliner and two end tables just like that one as a package. All you need to give me are the ten or so experiences of sexual inadequacy with women you’ve accumulated in the last three years and it’s yours. What do you say?
Oliver: Well, it’s a great chair…..
Stan: Imagine putting your feet up on a Sunday and watching the game in that chair. Think of how comfortable you’ll be. Think of how much joy this will bring you. Think of all the pain and suffering this will substitute for. You don’t need anything in this world but a comfortable chair and a place to put your feet up. Call me old fashioned, but I believe that.
Oliver: Stan, you’ve got yourself a deal. When can it be delivered?
Stan: Well, delivery will cost the week that in elementary school that everyone decided to ignore you because someone caught you picking your nose. I could have it in your home by Friday. Just write down your address and I’ll have the fellas bring it on by.
Oliver: Sounds like a plan. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.
Stan: Likewise, Oliver. Likewise.
(The two men shake hands)
In a move that has left many industry insiders scratching their heads, the remaining members of the band Judas Priest have left the band and joined a Judas Priest cover band called Nightcrawler. The band, whose members have agreed to step aside and instead handle Judas Priest’s touring responsibilities, have been a staple of the greater Villa Rica, Georgia metal scene for the past fifteen years. Rob Halford and the boys plan on taking over Nightcrawlers’ regular Sunday night gig at Joe Don’s House of Beer as well as occasionally traveling to Macon and Atlanta for gigs.
This began as another satire article, but I’m afraid it will not make it. Instead, I believe the philosophical dimensions of this story are far more interesting. Who are Judas Priest? A collection of specific musicians who play a certain number of songs they have written in the past. Maybe. Think of Priest like your body. If your body doesn’t have all of its limbs it is still your body. If Al Atkins or Rob Halford or KK Downing leave the band, they are still technically Judas Priest, as we have seen. While many fans would argue that the band changed greatly when Ripper Owens was the singer, you can’t really argue they weren’t Judas Priest. After all, they put out two albums under the name Judas Priest. You can go look on my mantle; they are filed under “J”.
Under what circumstances is Judas Priest not Judas Priest or, even more interestingly, under what circumstances would you no longer be you? Lets say all the members of Judas Priest left and another group of musicians came in and played the same songs, would that still be Priest? The band Yes has transitioned through new scores of new members at every instrument and they still are known as Yes (although their was some legal wrangling to determine whether that was true).
Similarly, if all of your limbs were removed, then all of your organs except for the brain, you’d still be you, right? In fact, no one would have a kidney removed and say “I’m no longer me anymore”. You might not even need stop at the brain. Take away the parts that control motor function and coordination and you are still you. Really, what you are is that small section of the brain that contains memories and the idea of who you are. You may argue that there is a soul, but until you show me one with a tag on it saying “Exhibit A”, I cannot enter it as evidence.
Back to our Judas Priest problem. If Judas Priest left, but became a Judas Priest cover band, I’d have a difficult time figuring out who the real Priest is, but I’d probably eventually settle on the idea that the band playing that the members of Judas Priest joined was the real Priest. After all, the audience might identify with the name Priest, but most people derive the identity of the band from their memories of what the band was and meant. The meaning is not solely attached to the name, but the collection of memories that follow the band and some of the identifying, tangible characteristics. However, if all the members left and started a mariachi band, that would not be Judas Priest. They need to be playing the same songs, doing the same stage show, etc. in order to still qualify as the real Priest. Some form of the identity must be the same.
Here’s where it gets tricky. If Judas Priest’s members didn’t leave the band and kept the name, but chose to all of a sudden play mariachi songs and change their stage show, they would still be Priest, just not if they left and did the same thing. Just like if you changed careers or got remarried or became a professional baseball player, you’d still be considered you. So, the name Judas Priest does have value in terms of an identity marker for fans, but it is not the only characteristic that makes up identity and, as we will see, it is not always necessary.
If your brain were pulled out and put into another body, let’s say Lemmy’s body, I believe the person who had Lemmy’s body would be you. Therefore, while people would call you Lemmy, you would still be you, just in Lemmy’s body. As noted philosopher Shelley Kagan once said when presented with a similar problem “follow the brain”. However, here’s where identity gets messy, most people would find it difficult to believe you if you were walking around in Lemmy’s body claiming to be you unless they knew about this brain transplant. They’d believe you were Lemmy, even if you knew things Lemmy couldn’t possibly know about you.
It is safe to claim that what you perceive to be you is far different than what others perceive to be you. Your internal identity does not match the identity the world has for you. Let’s say that for years, all the members of the band were gone and replaced with lookalikes. Unless you had some knowledge of this, you’d assume you were watching Judas Priest when you saw them in concert. In our example, however, the audience was made aware of the shift, so the identity of the band would stay with Halford and the guys. Had they not been and had the cover band from Villa Rica been convincing lookalikes, people would have been none the wiser.
The point is, we think we know what a band is, based on our memories and recollections, but really we only know our created image of the band. The difference between the internal perceptions of the band and the external ideas are miles apart. Our image of the band has some similarities to the views of others and a few similarities to how the band views itself, but for the most part there is no common relationship except for a few markers here and there.
This is also the great problem of personal identity. How are we meant to function in a world where we see ourselves as one thing, but the world sees us as something else? Sure, there are some meeting points, but overall we have no clue how they see us. We are left to play a perpetual guessing game where we will never find the answer.
Who are Judas Priest? I’m not really sure. I know I have my version, you have yours and they have theirs. The places where we meet are certainly Judas Priest, but the places where we don’t are also Judas Priest. We know enough to know and agree that the band that left Judas Priest in our story is Judas Priest, but we lack enough evidence to understand what Judas Priest is in its totality.
We filter Judas Priest through our own minds and have an image completely exclusive to us. Judas Priest is our Judas Priest, a Judas Priest of the mind. We are forever stuck trying to reconcile that image with the image of those around us and failing miserably at the task. Such is the lot of humans when searching for truth. Stuck looking at one tiny, infinitesimal section of the map while trying desperately to figure out where everything is.
Imagine it for a minute. Nothing. Somewhere between the Korean War Memorial and the ever looming, alabaster figure of President Lincoln there stands a room. It is a small room, the size of a tiny studio apartment. The walls and ceiling are made of clear black granite. On a spring day, when the sun is shining, it appears to glow. Beyond its stunning features, its contents themselves are wholly unremarkable. Inside it is absolute emptiness.
The monuments around it all boast a rich and proud history. In some cases, it’s a history that we proudly cling to. Jefferson standing rigidly, an unbending symbol of the triumph of the individual over the menacing tentacles of the state. Lincoln staring passionately into a world that did not always share his vision, commanding dignity and respect for those who have been silenced by the oppressive spirit of commerce without compassion.
There are also the nightmares. The memories that we keep close to us in order to remind us of our most terrible moments. The misunderstood carnage of Korea. The endless horrors of Vietnam. Memories of so many wars where bodies and minds were mangled and destroyed. These memorials are there to remind us never to forget those who gave up their place in this world. Of tomorrows never realized. Of futures never lived. Of families smashed into a million pieces. These are the last testimonies of those who never came back and rejoined this bizarre American carnival of ours.
While each of these monuments and so many others throughout the Capital District are deeply meaningful, it is the empty room that represents the most to me. It is the monument for the wars that were never fought. A symbol of the lives that were never lost. It is endless possibility. In this room there is no time. It is a monument to the dramatic, life-altering power of a moment recognized.
Its central message is stillness. It seeks not to change the world, only to understand it. This memorial doesn’t spread the American Way of Life around the world, or seek to share the gift of democracy, or do much of anything at all. There are no words inscribed and there is no plaque attached. It announces nothing, proclaims silence and only communicates one fleeting, whispered message.
The room is a memorial to a world without struggle, stress, or strain. Where people can live together in complete acceptance of one another. Where people don’t wish to change those around them. Where people simply are and that is enough. This room is meant to be a place free of judgment. Everything and everyone are okay in this room, not because of any great achievement, but simply because of the beautiful array of skin, bones, organs, and personality that comprise their identity. In this room, you are enough and worthy of every bit of beauty the world is capable of showing you.
In truth, there is no place like this in Washington or any place else that I know of. Peace is often spoken of. We pay a price for peace or we struggle for peace or we are awarded prizes for who among us are most peaceful. But where in our world is peace? Real, enduring peace. It is certainly not embedded in our institutions, which encourage us to push forward and milk every drop of energy from our bodies and spirits. It is not in our homes, or our jobs, or our competitions. It is most certainly not to be found anywhere within our wars. This memorial would be one small island in an ocean of turmoil. At least there would be one place a person could go and simply be without being anything in particular. It is not a religious place, not a secular place, not a capitalist place, not a communist place, not a liberal, conservative, pro-life, or pro-choice place. It’s simply a place for people who want to be something more than they are labeled. Even for a moment.
(Washington)-In stunning pessimism, America forward never back truth without honesty is the medium of true messiness. Socialist polarized mobs running outward not outwitting death. Free to choose everything except what matters, no matter what the rules are. Debt beyond parents life as rebellious war against nothingness consuming reduced to pattern. Things explained are things forgotten against the backdrop of inhaled ignorance. “Wandering, wondering as their lives slowly slip through their greedy little fingers,” accordion to White House Repeater of Cliches Jay Carney.
They are as much a part of this disaster as we are. Stand up for the privilage of not sitting down. Anxiety as a rational response to unconscionable conditions. As it repeats over and over and we confuse action for motion and motion for freedom. And freedom for immortality. And immortality for meaning. And meaning for action. In a recent Gallup poll nearly two-thirds of buffalos have no wings and nearly one hundred percent of Americans are doomed to the terms of mortality. No matter what they’d like you to believe. Accordion to So and So Jones, person on the street and representative of the Zeitgeist, “I don’t even know what’s real anymore as I look into a world where I am bombarded with the constant flow of answers to questions that I wouldn’t have even bothered to ask. Drowning in a river of useless actions. Amused to death by the 24 hour 7 day a week carnival of unmeaning. Sweat my only solace.”
Now, here’s the paragraph about possible solutions and potential mystery. So and So who wants you to like him or her and maybe even vote that way proposes solutions that either serve the purpose of taking our eyes off the existential ball or promising something they hope we forget about in twenty minutes (which we probably will because crisis is a great substitution for crisis). So and So complains about something hoping to give us hope, or comfort, or something new to hate, or something to talk about with the other doomed fools that we are chained to, or something to buy, or something to bury. We all rally around because a recent Gallup Poll has stated, in no uncertain terms, that 51 percent of us share the same delusion.
You should write a letter to your Congressman. Because they will listen. Because they care. Because you have a solution no one else has thought of. Because democracy guarantees us the right to go on and on about absolutely nothing and replace one empty vessel with another every four years. Write that letter. Seriously. Do it. That will make everything all better. That’ll solve the issue of the sheer absurdity of the world. That’ll take the sting out of that nagging death problem that everyone seems to be conveniently not mentioning. That’ll make lions into lambs and lambs into citizens. And citizens into vampires. The world is probably in the shape that it’s in because you haven’t written that letter yet. When you do, all of your troubles will go away. You’ll see. Write the letter. Save us all.
In conclusion, eventually everything you do, every action you take will be forgotten. Everyone around you will be gone. Take comfort in the fact that you are nothing, or at least, that’s how you’ll be remembered. Besides, in a recent Fox News poll a full 105 percent of people surveyed think it’s someone else’s fault. “The solution is complete ignorance,” accordion to President Barack Obama, “that or an endless cycle of misery and fear, depression and alienation. Or government spending. Or complaining about government spending. Or endless blame. Or endless blamelessness. It’s up to you. After all, isn’t this what democracy is all about?”
The 657th Republican Debate of The 2012 Presidential Campaign in the State of Iowa as Told By Franz Kafka
“Nansen saw the monks of the eastern and western halls fighting over a cat. He seized the cat and told the monks: “If any of you say a good word, you can save the cat.”
No one answered. So Nansen boldly cut the cat in two pieces.
That evening Joshu returned and Nansen told him about this. Joshu removed his sandals and, placing them on his head, walked out.
Nansen said: “If you had been there, you could have saved the cat.”
-From The Gateless Gate
Announcer: Now, presenting tonight’s debate between the leading candidates for the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States. Today’s event is sponsored by Big Vern’s Preowned Buicks an independent, freedom-loving outlet for the finest in preowned vehicles in all of suburban Waterloo, Iowa. Here is tonight’s host, former All-American right tackle from the 1978 Sugar Bowl Champion Iowa Hawkeyes, the man who can put you in a Buick for under 10,000 dollars, Big Vern Walters.
Big Vern: Yeah, uhm, thanks. Tonight we are going to talk to some great Americans who may be President if the good lord wills it and chooses to not rain fire and brimstone down on the people of Iowa for embracing Satan and for buying cars made in Japan and other communist countries. So, I digress, here’s the candidates. If you don’t know them by now it’s probably because you’ve been watching CNN, otherwise known as the Commie News Network. (audience laughs on cue) Anyways, lets give a big Iowa welcome to the candidates.
(Audience applauds thunderously in response to the promise made by Big Vern before the debate that if they make the “Applause-O-Meter” reach 10 at least twice, they would get a dollar off coupon that can be used at the local Applebee’s)
(At this point, the candidates paste a big “gosh I hope you can look at me and think I’m the type of guy (or gal) you can sit down and have a beer with” smile on their makeup plastered faces)
Big Vern: As for my first question, here it is. Mitt Romney, Do you think that Obama is a Muslim? If not, why are you protecting him?
Mitt: Americans are were very hardworking them those who hate freedom well twelve Obamacare the enemies of the West those who hate us Obamacare Obamacare measured balanced approach our boys in Afghanistan Reagan them rock and roll is a bunch of mindless noise small businesses tax breaks Reagan fourteen insert joke here experienced leadership.
Gingrich: Let me just interject for a minute. Massachusetts Ted Kennedy liberal noise crickets my plan tax breaks Obamacare job creators those who hate freedom. I have a plan that allows the 29th Amendment to use the Federal Reserve to make bacon. Liberalism I’m an outsider Osama Bin Laden fear tax breaks Obamacare smarter than your average 4th grader thinking man’s conservative values welfare death cheaters awake after three. Obamacare. Liberal. Brain Science. Eliminate the Capital Gains Tax. Reagan.
Big Vern: That’s quite interesting, but Mr. Paul, how would you address the issue of people who make over 250 thousand dollars a year having to give away 3 quarters of their income to people on welfare who don’t want to work for a living?
Paul: Let me first say, Obamacare (audience boos wildly). Founding fathers spinning in graves to the tune of 7 trillion dollars in money spent on welfare in the past 10 seconds Federal Reserve Lizard People death no more taxes Obamacare….
Audience Member: KILL THE HERETIC!!!!!
(Rest of Audience Laughs)
(Applause for no apparent reason)
Paul: Federal Reserve buying cocaine or cannabis shouldn’t be a crime if you happen to drive Mercedes oppression taxation Department of Education selling crack to unwed mothers. And that’s fine. This is America. Rights, Freedom, Liberty. Some obscure historical example Republicans typically don’t use. Freedom. Liberty. Liberty. Reagan. Liberty. Atlas Shrugged. Reagan. Liberty.
Big Vern: I just want to complement you, Mr. Paul, on being the only straight talker on this here stage. Mr. Santorum, do you feel the media has been ignoring you?
Big Vern (cuts off Santorum): And Ms. Bachmann, it’s been said that you believe strongly in values. Is this true?
Bachmann: Curing homosexuality welfare Obamacare (audience boos) good hardworking Americans freedom liberty Christ values Christ Tim Tebow (audience applauds wildly). Freedom I’m from where the real people live liberty godless heathens cities children puppies apple pie godless communism Christ Tim Tebow Reagan. Reagan. Reagan.
Obamacare! (audience lets loose bloodthirsty shouts) Our soldiers are brave. Socialism welfare dead values my opponents people underestimate me because I’m not paying attention.
Big Vern: And Mr. Perry, how would you change America if elected President?
Perry: (Unintelligible noises that somewhat resemble English)
Big Vern: And Mr. Huntsman, clearly with a haircut like yours you are an establishment liberal from Massachusetts who can’t win. A question for you Mr. Gingrich, now that you are the frontrunner in the field, how likely is it that your past ties to communist organizations like The Heritage Foundation hurt your campaign?
Gingrich: (while wearing a giant squid on his head) Fifty four forty or fight!!!!!
(Editors note: How much sadness, how much horror, how much shame can one nation be subjected to before they see the entire sick, twisted carnival as being too much to bear? Tell me what can be done….please. Because this actually does matter. Because this is not just simply a sideshow for the amusement of a bunch of uninvolved spectators. Because really important things hang in the balance. Because we are desperate for people who can help us make sense of the world we live in. Because this is not entertainment, this is our lives they are talking about. Because the civic arena was once where we exhibited the best of who we were. Because there have to be better people who can lead us. Because there simply has to be more than this. Right? Right??!)