Thursday, February 22, 2018


The word plays through my consciousness, even though it seems far from the lips of the culture.


It's an old word, archaic and faintly fusty.  It describes a reality that some might say just cannot be.  But it feels right, feels like the place that we are as a society.

Things feel like...rot.  A little off, like the sharpness in the expired milk that curdles on the surface of your coffee.  Like decay, with which decadence shares a root.

It is not limited to one part of our society, but permeates it, through and through.

On the right, madness, the willful derangement of a movement that has lost all connection with reality.  Science?  Piffle.  Sound economics?  Hah.  It doesn't matter if a particular approach has failed time and time again.  You just keep on doubling down, because surely, surely it'll work next time.  It has to, because it is what you believe to be true, reality be damned.  It must trickle down!  It axiomatically must!

Instead of the real, there is the stirring froth of ideological rigidity, now wed to the gibbering glazed eye certainty of trollery and conspiracism, delivered more often than not without attention to spelling, grammar, or sanity.  It has ceased to be the stolid conservatism of the learned, cautious traditionalist, and become instead the self-annihilating "conservatism" of the addict who refuses to let go of their poison.

In the "middle," a mass of humanity that drably trudges through lives rendered increasingly meaningless by the permeating pressures of self-indulgence and anxiety.  That great anxious center tranquilizes itself with churning aimless busyness, and/or actual tranquilizers.  And if internet traffic volume is any indication, there's also a whole bunch of porn in there for the aimless masses, too, up to and including the sort of thing that might leave Caligula a little nauseated.  That and violent entertainment, lots and lots of the ultraviolence, to the point where shootings and stabbings, cities being destroyed and planets exploding?  Just par for the course.  Good for a giggle, even.

On the left?  Hah.  There lies fractally fragmented academic irrelevance, a churn of "movements" devoted more to deconstructing anything they touch than to laying the groundwork for any deeper social progress.  The paradoxically bougie-left is #twitter-flighty, pathologically hyper-judgmental, addled by pop-culture, and more than slightly neurotic.  It is also completely and willfully devoid of purpose.  "Purpose," after all, is a white colonialist construct, a manifestation of patriarchal, cisheterosexual hegemony.  And "truth?"  Truth on the left has been defined down into the functional oblivion of granular subjectivity.  It means nothing.  It goes nowhere.

And in all of this, every facet of our culture is absorbed by an increasing obsession with the fluttering irrelevance of the moment, personified by our impulsive, shallow, radiantly unwise and #blusterous choice for president.

Decadence just seems too accurate.

Decadent cultures can find their way back to a place of integrity and progress, as they have over the millennia of human history.

But if history is any guide, that's going to be a very hard path.