Where the Cracked Sidewalk Ends

I hate the news. The useless orgy of its bland spectacle. The spectacle it enjoys in enjoying other’s miseries. I love the German word for this: schadenfreude.

The news turns misery into pornography. And it is all misery that the news flaunts: murder, theft, loss, pain, violence, destruction, war — a shriveled tongue that has smacked the same bloodless lips for how long? The newspapers churn it out like meat. And what, am I, you, supposed to be better informed by all of this junkyard misery and oppressive weight of reality? Am I supposed to be a better human being, a kinder, smarter, wiser, compassionate, functioning member of society?

I just feel more bloated. And in fact, I’d rather feel more like a dissenter, a partisan, an iconoclast, a decadent who likes a little dab of the diabolical.

Where, then, do I go to get my news? Who has the audacity the verve the sheer vision, let’s say, to tell us a secret that is too terrible to tell? What we are being told is like the most unreal life force in the universe trying like hell to be the most substantial. I think enough of us in the world are already emotionally and psychologically damaged  through the insensate reality that pours on so many troubles of existence (“Life is just one damn thing after another.” Twain).

Why do we put up with this honey-tongued oracle of news? None of it is new! The cycle of life, or even evolutions slow and dimwitted carnage of survival of the fittest, is always in flux. What is news today is old news tomorrow. There is no eternal truth because every newspaper in the nation or the world pounces on the same story, which doesn’t make any more relevant or timely or important or even necessary. The story is dead before it hits the page because the next piece of misery is already loaded into the revolver. Fire at will, there’s a sucker born every minute and there’s fuckers out there who want your mind wrapped up so tight in the news of the world.

But then everything carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. So it is only a matter of time before the news we so desperately don’t need to hear will implode like an old sun.

What we need are novels. But not heaps of them, piling up like bones, a monstrosity of novels that everybody wants to write. I don’t need those books because those books that those writers constantly write say nothing to me about my life (yes, I’m riffing on the Smiths).

We need those books that Poe spoke about, those books that lay the heart bare for the writer and the reader. But who can write those kinds of books, who can summon the strength to dig that deep into the humours and bile and the shit and the blood and the seamen and the anima mundi and the muscles and the bones and the death and the madness and the murder and the fucking useless boredom and amor fati and the other side and the same side and the genesis and the atrophy and the numbness and the drugs and the hallucinations and the every day and the eternity and the nowhere and the shocking violence of the layers of time and space?

We need febrile writers who can touch the uncanny and turn it on until it orgasms. Writers who can’t write for the happy mobs of for the tedium of modernism. Writers who write for the sensitive, for the damaged, for the ones always left out. Ok, so that would be 99 percent of humanity then.

Oh, it’s so damn hard: do we smash the world and start again or do we fall into it completely?

“Everything existing in the universe is the fruit of chance and necessity.” Democritus

“Necessity knows no magical formulae — they are all left to chance.” Milan Kundera


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