"Totally coup, yo."

I’m not dead & I drew a picture of my cat

Sep

27

by

So I’ve been missing in action. Yeah. Gone. Mentally. Out to brunch. Living under a frock. Head buried in the flan. And other things. Sorry about that. But there was good reason. Well, there were reasons.

I’ve been depressed, dejected, and generally horrified. What can I say? I’m weak. And ashamed about it, too. Paralyzed by nihilism. Probably a little lazy. And the drugs don’t help. They may not hurt, but they do not help. I don’t know, exactly, but I’ve been in an existential funk, haunted by imminent futility—mine, yours, political, journalistic, comedic, artistic, humanistic. Is that a word? I don’t care. That’s a good sign. I think.

But…cat!

Once you spiral down that spiral of shameful lethargy, it’s hard to stop spiraling. But I need to start doing my job, sad as it may be. I’m going to imagine that I’m a fat guy in a movie (the fat isn’t hard to imagine), who’s doing a training montage. And, hopefully, by the end of this essay, I’ll be ready to defeat the villain with muscly skill. Or. Shut up. The first bit of the montage is always pathetic. Sweaty. Grotesque. It looks like the guy’s going to keel over and die. I should be so lucky.

Anyway, the species is speeding off a carbon dioxide cliff, and all the press cares about is which corporate bastard is slightly less of a corporate bastard than the other corporate bastard. And they don’t actually care about that. They care about pretending that this election, like, really matters. It’s a close, exciting contest between two diametrically opposed governing philosophies, worthy of endless, baseless speculation, and not at all a sickening burlesque meant to ratchet up ad-rates for everything you can possibly make out of corn. This bothers me. It baffles me, to be honest, that people aren’t out in the streets freaking the fuck out. I’m also embarrassed that I care. Maybe I shouldn’t. The hope is that on the other side of the existential tunnel, there’s a certain freedom. An unburdening. Not quite sure what will motivate me if I don’t care. But I’m going to keep doing situps and running on the beach with uptempo accompaniment.

That’s the structure. News is big business. It has a mind of its own. There’s a bottom-line algorithm functioning at every turn—ing “reporters” and pundits into cells, forced to internalized the corporate values (of one of the 8 massive media conglomerates who own basically every news outlet) or be sloughed off like so much detritus. Shit. Maybe this whole way of looking at things is what has me down. Religions, politics, corporate governance, etc, etc by their very organization, and our roles in those organizations, rob us of our freedom—our free will. And it doesn’t actually matter if we have true free will. It’s about how we feel. I don’t want to get sidetracked with philosophical masturbation.

Maybe that’s just how I feel. Trapped. After my drunken step dad beat up on my disabled mother, I had to be the good son. I live here now—with her. This was around the time I was being convicted of videotaping a cop. They changed that charge, but the jury couldn’t get over the photo of me holding a giant dildophone. So, yeah. Community service, breaking my back. Depression. And nearly everyone I wrote about during the trial hates my guts now. Is that the price of brutal honesty? Or am I just a dick?

I’ve only managed some 15 hours of the 75 hour sentence, too, which I’m supposed to have done by this Friday, so I’m probably going to jail for two weeks. Aside from the sheer physical pain of scraping, spackling, and painting with a slipped disk or whatever the hell I have (not health insurance), I may have flaked on the responsibility because two weeks away from my mother sounds like an incredible vacation.

My life has become an endless string of chores. Coffee and breakfast, laundry, lunch, coffee, shopping, go here, do that, fix this, plunge that. You get the picture. It’s relentless. And just fucking depressing. There’s little solace in knowing, or imagining, that I’m doing a good thing here. In my dreams, I have enough money for a proper caregiver—one not overflowing with resentment and thoughts of sweet, sweet suicide. My figurative dreams. I don’t actually dream anymore. I’m not sure if I even have goals anymore. I’ve been crushed by the world. I’m a failure. My only notable achievement is a long-forgotten prank phone call, which achieved nothing. I gotta say, the Wisconsin recall was disheartening, and it greatly contributed to the feeling that nothing I do matters. At all.

I used to think you could do something to change people’s minds. I’m now certain that that’s a very rare thing. More often than not, people just cherry-pick new information to confirm their own biases. One example is “liberal” indifference to Obama’s Drone War. If Bush had a Kill List, the left would’ve been livid. Out of their goddamn minds with righteous indignation. But. Meh. Whatever. Kill thousands of innocent people with flying robots. On the upside, drones don’t rape our female soldiers, so Forward!

$4 billion has been spent so far in this presidential election. $4 billion. That’s fucking insane. When it’s all said and cliched, it’ll be about the same amount that Planned Parenthood will receive in federal funding over the next 16 years! Roughly. That outrages some idiots, for some reason (idiocy), but the some $1.5 trillion annual military budget is a perfectly fine murderous expenditure. I do not understand “pro-life” people. Do they know that the only way to lower the abortion rate is through raising living standards and educating people? No? Why isn’t someone telling them? I just don’t get it. None of it.

This $1.5 trillion (and growing) is half of the entire federal budget (ditto). Half of everything. We’re told that this election represents a stark choice between two diametrically opposed governing philosophies, but this massive amount of money isn’t part of the debate. Meanwhile, the roughly $200 billion spent on food stamps is a centerpiece of conservative rhetoric. Why? Because they’re—likely racist—assholes. Welfare means black. It doesn’t matter that food stamps are an awesome example of Keynesian economics. For every dollar the feds spend, about $1.60 is put back into the economy. Humane often equals smart, and, if we were either, we’d all be on food stamps. You know why you never hear the phrase “demand-side economics”? Because it’s fucking redundant!

So we’re well into the montage at this point. I’m probably sparring or some shit. Boxing myself. Aren’t we all? Consciousness seems to be a constant battle between the individual and the whole. Again, philosophical masturbation, so sorry. But allow me this digression…amid a series of digressions from nothing at all. Consciousness is some very weird business. Each of our brains is a infinitesimal bit of the universe (multiverse?) that can conceive of itself—poorly, but still. It’s amazing. Our thoughts, the way we think, the mechanism, the meat-puter is just this inanimate stuff organized in such a way that it can think about the organization of the inanimate stuff that makes thoughts. No one understands exactly how this works. The stuff doesn’t understand the stuff. It just does its thing. Its thing is to physically, chemically, electrically reacting to stimulus. That’s it. Fire bad.

And we’re not much fancier than that. Fire Bad could be Romney’s campaign slogan. Why not? It may as well have been. The dude kicked off his campaign in Iowa describing the debt as a prairie fire that was going to burn our children alive. Seriously. Fire bad.

So, yeah, Obama’s the lesser evil. The head of a diseased tic sucking its host dry. If you’re conservative, whatever the hell that means, you may imagine the host as the taxpayer. Nah. I mean the world. It’s finite, you know. And, yes, I know: this whole bleeding heart routine is pathetic. Call me old fashioned, but I think fire bad. Blah. We’re fucked.

OK then. Montage. Situps. Pushups. Questions. Answers. Meaning. There’s no point to any of this thing called life. I mean, there’s no inherent, objective point. Your point can be whatever you want it to be. It’s a pedestrian observation, of course, but this is a montage! Montages are not profound. They jump around, fast forward, and go exactly where they’re supposed to go. The idea is that at the end of the depressed, nihilistic tunnel is some sort of freedom. There doesn’t need to be a point. It doesn’t matter that everything I do is futile. It’s more about…not knowing what the fuck you’re doing and being okay with that. Right? Why the fuck am I asking you? I don’t care what you think, which is a necessity when ranting about nothing. I think. What do you think? Shit.

So that really was a bit of a screed. But you have to start crawling back somewhere. I’ll try to be more coherent and topical in the future. And that’s how this ends.

I’m on Twitter.

 

  • Sterge

    Hang in there man. We are, most certainly, fucked, but it’s nothing really new… we’ve always been fucked. If I can give any words of encouragement, for what it’s worth, it does seem like there are more of us today that at least REALIZE this fact than in the past. One has to imagine that someday, that might actually reach a critical mass tipping point and help the world towards a better place; and if not, as a wise sage once quothed, “We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away.”

  • MeToo

    What happened to the cat?

  • Rae

    I want to say that you can change people’s minds, but the difference is probably not very noticeable. In the past 5 years, I’ve gone from being a strong Libertarian to being strongly progressive. I was that kid who read Ayn Rand at 14. I wasn’t a complete Randoid as a young adult, but I still considered myself a Leftist Libertarian and admired Ayn Rand.

    But I changed. You alone may not have done it, but your voice was one of many that did contribute to my disillusion with Objectivism and Libertarianism forever. Rarely can one voice break through and enlighten entirely, but it contributes to a community of voices speaking the truth and helping those of us who are capable of changing and being enlightened by providing a reaffirmation of progressive principles. People like me need this community, especially if we are walking away from long held ideals or the ideals of family and friends.

    The Beast especially helps me to laugh at my former self, to arrogantly pat myself on the back and say “look how far you’ve come” (which is what I need to do to keep myself from traveling back in time and killing my younger self). It’s a wonderfully cynical place for me to visit when I too am embarrassed that I care. Unfortunately, I think these episodes of depression, the feel of futility and impotence is the destiny of people who care, and care allot. We use humor and cynicism to try and hide it, but we care. I keep trying not to. I want to adopt George Carlin’s perspective of just being an observer to the world and not have any stake in it’s future, but I haven’t yet, and it does embarrass me sometimes when I meet people younger than me who have been able to walk away. I don’t think I’m likely to grow out of caring, but I’ll keep trying to induce premature curmudgeoning with alcohol and cynicism.

    Ok. I have to leave for work now, so what is my point? You do make a difference and those of us who care need to stick together. So, I’ll keep on caring as long as you do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynne.david Lynne Wharton David

    I just threw my recyclables in the trash today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynne.david Lynne Wharton David

    I just threw my recyclables in the trash today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynne.david Lynne Wharton David

    I just threw my recyclables in the trash today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jochen.mevius Jochen Mevius

    good to have you back

  • Scrilly

    Ian… As much as we’ve disagreed in the past… I think you’re a good writer. Keep your head up. Scrilly.

    • Scrilly

      A very good writer actually.

  • NotFake

    Hey, just wanted to say I enjoy your articles and hope you get out of the rut. I had existential issues when I was younger, dedication to loosely construed hedonism is what helped me out.

  • Chris Riordan

    Very well written, Ian. I relate all too well with your feelings lately. Sorry your life seems bleak right now, but a Buffalo winter can make anyone miserable. Good luck, hope you feel better soon.

  • Beast_Fan

    Wow, and I thought I was having a particularly shitty week. At any rate, you matter to your friends, you matter to your fans, I love your writing and artwork and I agree with you about the pathetic state of our nation’s…er…”liberals”. Journalist Chris Hedges is currently involved in a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the NDAA and, so far I’m cautiously optimistic:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedges_v._Obama

    Fuck, there’s your next BeastCast interview right there. Also, having battled with suicide I can say don’t let this shit get you down. This is the point where you have to come back fighting twice as hard as before. Or, if you really think we’re all going down, at least be a persistent thorn in the establishment’s side for as long as you still draw breath :)

  • robert van bakel

    I’m a fan Ian and your misery is shared; maybe it’s halved?

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