It’s 2020 and we’re all cracking.
And no, by that I don’t mean that we’re cracking like crazy on our writing. Most of us are having trouble writing. A lot of us are having trouble reading. Though I’ve finally got out of the Pride and Prejudice fanfic jag.
I’ve seen people suddenly lose it and start crying over dirty dishes. Or the fact we ran out of peanut butter.
Okay, that was me. Yesterday. But I’ve been watching signs of just that much fragility in everyone I know.
Part of it is the lockdown. Man — and verily, woman — is a social animal. Not only is it not good for Man — do I need to say “and woman again?” — to be alone, it’s not good for us, when going out to be confronted with “truncated” human faces.
It is instinctive in humans to see human faces in everything. Don’t believe me? Look at a random pattern long enough, and you’ll find faces. Truncated human faces, the mouth gone, are deeply unsettling to the back of our brain. It is wrong, mutilated.
Suicides are through the roof. Mental health issues abound. The young are suffering particularly badly, because on top of all they believe they’re going to die. (The rest of us are already dead from the ice age, acid rain, fossil fuel depletion, alar, global warming, ozone depletion… I’m sure I’m forgetting some things. After so much death, one becomes resilient. Those of us forty and over won’t die. Even if they kill us.)
But the other part of it is that in a contentious political year there’s nowhere to escape.
Remember when you used to have friends that believed exactly the opposite of what you did, and you both knew it, but you were still friends? You couldn’t talk politics, but you could talk knitting, embroidery, kids, gardening, furniture refinishing, science fiction? You could sit down and have a cup of coffee with someone whose political views you considered despicable and not mention politics? Not even once?
But that was before the invasion of those for whom everything is political. Oh, cancel culture already existed. Before social media, I was terrified of saying the wrong word and revealing my real thoughts, and getting blacklisted by publishing houses.
But there were spaces you could draw a breath. Places where you didn’t have to talk and/or think about politics.
And yeah, books and movies were always political. And since they were mostly controlled by the left, it meant I had to elide portions of them. But I could tell myself “yeah, sure, the good guy will be a lefty environmentalist and the good guy will be a factory owner, but aside from that, the story holds and is good.”
Of course, that was when comedians also could make jokes without being cancelled and called insensitive. And when comedians made jokes, rather than just saying “People to the right of Lenin are so dumb!” and expect laughter.
Is this the fault of the left only?
I should be graceful and say that’s not true, but yeah, it is. The left has confused political beliefs with virtue, and political forecasting with revelation. And they’re convinced they can create paradise on Earth if they just stamp out the last unbeliever.
This always ends the same way. And it’s not pretty.
It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Particularly since they hold not just American but most of the world’s institutions in their hands.
I do believe it gets better. I have to. Or it would be better to end it now. But at any rate I know the trend of technology is making it hard for them to hold their monopoly at communication (and yes, Facebook and Twitter are setting themselves up for a world of trouble. Only not yet.)
And we’re all cracking.
But there are some compensations. For one, the masks are off. Really, really off. And that’s a good thing. (I do wonder if their obsession with making us mask is because they feel exposed? If it’s a subconscious desire to hide again.)
You can’t lance the boil if you don’t know it’s there. You can’t get rid of the termites if you don’t hear them chew. And you can’t rebuild society if there is an army of people secretly digging under your support pillars.
Now it’s not secret.
I mourn the innocent days when I had friends who didn’t need to agree with me on politics. But in this day and age, I’ve started wondering if they ever really were friends, or if they would have hated me, anyway, had they guessed my politics.
Maybe it’s better that way. Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better.
And sometimes, flowers and new life grow in the cracks.
Build under, build over, build around.
We’re the ones who build! Get to it.