Sunday, January 5, 2014

Violent Ape/Deadly Ape

This is a piece I started a few months ago and just got around to finishing it. It's pretty bleak. And while I would say it is only reflective of how I feel SOME of the time, I would hasten to add that I in no way disavow these thoughts. Not at all.

Bleakness comes and goes, ebbs and flows, as does my faith in humanity.


George Zimmerman readying for another night patrol on neighborhood watch.

So, another school shooting.

Another outcry, another call for compassion, another call to keep The Children in our thoughts, along with Those We Have Lost.

Another call for prayers to a god who either chooses not to intervene and is therefore evil, or who is incapable of intervening, and is therefore not omnipotent, and therefore no god at all.

But at least Rush Limbaugh has straightened everything out for us: these things happen because liberals.

Of course.

(Note that there is always the jangle of defensiveness, the blatting of a wrong note, the creeping desperation of the lady protestething too much when people like him clamor to mansplain these things, you notice? A couple of shootings ago, someone was saying it was all because God has been kicked out of the schools, um, somehow. Funny that, when he tells us he’s everywhere...)

I would posit that the answer is even simpler than that, that it goes back further than the Johnson Administration--or even the Jesus Administration: simply put, we are a dumb, violent, brutal species, just as myopic and short-sighted as any other hungry animal on the planet, incapable of thinking coherently for any length of time beyond our own immediate needs. And with our big, stupid brains and our subjugation of the natural world and conquering of death (we like to imagine), we’ve managed to convince ourselves of an entirely new and all-encompassing definition of the word “need.”

As CIA Director Saul Berenson says to his brilliant but impulsive protégé Carrie Matheison on “Homeland,” “You are the smartest and the dumbest fucking person I’ve ever known.”

That is the human race in a nutshell.

Convince us that we are gods incapable of dying--or who SHOULD be--that we are emperors incapable of suffering the slightest inconvenience--or who SHOULD be--that we are kings and queens who deserve everything we can possibly imagine--and then put guns in our hands and watch as we destroy ourselves.

We like to argue that the rapists among us, the shooters among us, the child abusers among us, the animal torturers among us--that these are aberrations, that they are outliers, that they fall far outside the bell curve of normal human behavior.

But at some point folks, we have to admit that there are simply far too many of “them” to consider “us” as something completely separate. Perhaps, a la Occam’s Razor, the answer is far simpler than the reasons we desperately grasp at in the wake of these events: bad upbringing/poor socialization/affluenza/The Media/violent video games/the NRA/the religious/the atheists/the homosexuals/etc etc ad infinitum.

Perhaps we’re just stupid, selfish, inherently violent monkeys whose brains grew too large.

But what about art, you say. What about beauty and love? What about the search for something larger than ourselves? Whither Michelangelo and Shakespeare and Mozart? What about humankind’s higher callings and aspirations? To that I would argue that, yes, fleetingly, a few of us have occasionally shown ourselves capable of rising above our brute, petty needs. But really these examples are quite rare, when you think about it. And on closer examination of the individuals responsible for birthing such beauty into the world, we usually find that they are just as monstrous, just as banally, casually stupid and evil as the rest of us, in their own way. They just happened to stumble upon beauty in addition to the rest of it.

As they say down south, even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then.

Simply put, humans are shitty people.

Individuals have moments when they are not, but if taken honestly and as a whole tapestry, let's face it: the overall picture is bleak.

I’d rather spend my time with a dog. At least they won’t shoot you.

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