Sunday, March 29, 2015

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED

Now we are naked, all of us, bare-assed but not embarrassed in the least. We are in the Place of No Walls, where everyone can see, everyone can move, everyone can be free.

Walls are meant to fall, after all.

The Bible says Joshua and seven priests marched seven times around Jericho on the seventh day of a siege, and when those priests put lips to their ram horns and blew the walls of the city came crumbling down.

Reagan challenged Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall because the Gipper said the wall could not hold back faith, or truth, or freedom. Flash forward a couple years to 1989 and people were taking sledgehammers to the crude barrier, and didn't it feel good to watch the power of the people at work? No rulers, no government could defy the unified masses calling for freedom.

The Style Council sang about making walls tumble until "Governments crack and systems fall / 'Cause unity is powerful."

Powerful, and good — so much velvety goodness, like the smooth cheese product clinging to steaming Kraft macaroni, and nevermind the fact the orange goo was powder before getting it on with butter and milk — it's delicious goo now and all that counts is what's on the plate.

Bringing up the powder only ruins the beautiful illusion. It's like talking about the Israelites slaughtering every man, woman and child in Jericho; like pointing out that Reagan's speech had zero impact on Gorbachev's plans for the Berlin Wall; like observing that The Style Council is far from Paul Weller's best work, and frankly sucks balls when compared to The Jam.

No one wants to hear that negative creep. We're supposed to be grateful that the entirety of modern civilization's knowledge can be accessed from a magical black mirror that also makes phone calls. Having that knowledge knocks down all the walls of ignorance, in theory.

We're supposed to be glad that everyone's opinion is seen and heard, because that's freedom, in theory.

We're supposed to be happy that we now live in a world without walls because that means no shelter for the savages. In theory.

But we are the savages, naked and noisy. We use high tech to peddle low talk. We provoke the masses, then issue smug tutting noises when the masses post outrageous comments. Those who disagree with us are idiots.

We hurl opinions like apes fling shit. At least the chimps seem to have some purpose; we mostly preen for attention, especially when we have nothing important to say. Meaning has no meaning anymore. It's all about clicks and eyeballs. Viral trumps vital.

Now we are engaged in a great uncivil war. But there is no Lincoln to save us this time around. We are shackled — to our phones, our righteousness, our inflated sense of self-worth — and we seem to like it.

Too late to stand clear. The walls have come tumbling down. Never mind the rubble on top of us. Crawl on over and let me put my arms around you so I can feel your breath in my ear. We can even take a selfie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Truth: The best from this writer yet. Reading this piece withdrew every emotion from the deep dark places; flipping the switch and illuminating them to the very core. Bravo!