Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Postapocalypse Now?

I realize it's no surprise to those of us 'in the know,' since we know everything, wink, wink, but for the rest of y'all, recognize:

A depressed relic of a mining community in Bumble, Kansas, is little more than a gasping ghost town full of toxic poor people crying for help. There is no work. There is nothing to do. Everybody in town wants to go anywhere else. The Earth may as well be salted.

Don't believe me? Peep this:

The Mayor of Treece

This is what the Mayor of Treece, Kansas, has to say:
Mayor Bill Blunk sees no reason for sugar-coating his opinion when asked to describe this town.

“It’s dead,” he said. “Wasted land.”

Almost anywhere else on the map, such bluntness could cost a politician re-election. But not here. Mr. Blunk has the near-unanimous support of the population, 140 people or so, who are perhaps singular among residents of municipalities in that they all want out of theirs.

“I’d be happy to go as anyone,” said Randall Barr, a retired sand company worker. “You can’t do anything with this land. What good is it?”

“My father was one of the last miners,” Glenda Powell said. “He died of cancer, and so did my mom — bad lungs. This has always been home, and I don’t know where we’d go, just a place where we can breathe.”

(courtesy NYTimes.com)

What the fuck? Is this the dust bowl? What year is this? Is the reanimated corpse of John Steinbeck crouching in the weeds over there, gleefully jotting notes for Grapes of Wrath 2: A Zombie Tale? Is this all part of some twisted, evil-mastermind/New-York-art gallery-director's plan to amass a treasure trove of fresh, achingly expressive black+white portraits of poor people to sell to rich people for a blushing profit?

But what shall become of the babbittry? Where are their Republican saviors on white horses, sworn to protect the rights of poor people everywhere to be poor enough and dumb enough to trust them implicitly and never revolt, but never so poor that they might organize and try something drastic?

It not being an election year, I suppose those jowly heroes are just too busy accepting bribes, lying with each breath, contaminating the environment, cheating on their wives and constituents, being hypocritical, and childishly impeding necessary change to care too much about 140 unemployed Kansans in a state they always win anyway.

The great Strom Thurmond's protege, GOP Congressman Joe Wilson

The people of Treece (which just sounds like some city-state in a Greek tragedy, doesn't it?) have naught to do but sit idly on their dilapidated porches chewing inedible objects, unsure of how to respond to the neglect:
What the F?! Never saw this horseshit coming. Thankfully, I'm in a position where, despite the fact that I am destitute and living in a veritable fire swamp, I can easily ignore it all, watch NASCAR, and somehow still pack on the pounds. It is even easier than I thought to turn a deaf ear to that small voice in the back of my stunted brain, shouting into the wind, 'wait--why aren't they doing anything, those capable, loving, God-fearing-when-convenient men and women in charge? They promised to look after me if I voted for them! Can't they get out here and kiss some babies, airlift in some powdered milk, distribute free toaster ovens, pose for a few triumphant photos, and make me feel less unhappy/guilty/greedy/fat?'
Well, come on, little voices in the back of the brains of Treecians--stop asking for so much. Let us give those tireless public servants the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it's not their fault. Maybe the Republicans could devote a few minutes of their time to defend the common man if that pesky colored fella wasn't wasting all their time trying to help the little man in the health care game, forcing them to fight tooth and nail for the sake of their obscenely wealthy, fearful financial base...

Which brings me to my point--perhaps without realizing it, we are living in a post-apocalyptic world, populated with near-neanderthals and ruled by untrustworthy, blood-sucking, survivalist assholes. Maybe it was a slow burn and we didn't even feel it, but here we are, suddenly realizing we just got off a ride, our minds reeling post-involuntary-extraction from the Matrix.

What the fuck is going on? How did we get here? After untold centuries of incessant labor, how is it we are not all able to finally just chill out, sleep in, spend our afternoons sitting in cafes philosophizing as our money effortlessly multiplies, and go home to write a hit play, then watch it in the national theater next week with our old college buddies and begin a torrid affair with the blossoming prima donna?

Why have we allowed ourselves to arrive at a point in time where I would rather live in the past than the future? When was the last time so many intelligent people felt this way? During the Plague? Why have we created a world inhabited by more sandwich artists than real artists?

Word to all you ostriches out there: shit sucks and it is not getting better. It's every man for himself. Primal shit. You want my advice, get yourself a piece of land, a tent, a couple hundred Bic lighters, some Cheetos, and an arsenal that would make Dick Cheney blush. When you see three flares in the night sky, it's time to storm the Bastille. It's the only way to enact any real change, for better or worse. Trust me.

Hey--before you go, I'll trade you 42 shiny things for that one little can of soup and that jerk mag in your backpack. Deal?



Anonymous said...

Christ this has meat...

Jambone said...

this post has made me smarter.

Goodtime Charlie said...

glad y'all liked it

Gabrielle d' Annunzio's penis nightshirt said...

"Randall Barr, a retired sand company worker."

Most depressing phrase I'll read all day - thanks!