Don’t ever start an email to your professor with “Hi [first name].” He will take offense. Unlike the world at large, his cloistered sense of feudal order ranks mankind from lesser beings to lords. Herrdoktor? Priest-confessor. His ego’s delicate as it’s immense; informal greetings puncture his pretense of superior boredom. Unwashed rabble’s the oppressor: yawping Christian names and slapping backs; noticing the due dates on assignments don’t line up with this week’s readings; asking for extra office hours and a little slack because their Starbuck’s supervisor won’t let them swap shifts, and they’re very poor.
Does morality come from science or God? Neither. It comes from your mom and distracted dad. They got it from grandma, who got it from bad TV, dumb books, and the old country’s odd belief that wrapping anchovies in goldenrod the night before a wedding prevented mad- ness and made the proper river spirits glad. The moral genealogy you laud as the unique inheritance of Western Man is a robin’s egg that fell onto a sidewalk in a storm; you take the yolk as augury, back-build what moral sentiments you can, a gurgling infant’s first attempts to talk: I see you, Peek-a-Boo, and you see me.
An expert I spoke with highly recommends that America needs to appoint a reality czar: no more lying to your buds at the corner bar; the rack for all of your weirdo Facebook friends. Plenipotentiary in all his means and ends, affixed to Christlike truth like the wise men’s star, remit of heights and depths, the near and far corners of creation, where time or being bends beyond the expanding cone of present light, the baryonic effluence of matter, and the dark deep gravities of truths unseen, unfelt, perfectly wise and gifted with prescient sight, Osiris, God, ayin sof, and holy ark, proclaim on high what he who smelt it dealt.
What books should Biden read? We went and asked some of our best of midlist middlebrow semi-celebs, and some replied. But how can one find time to read when one is tasked with convincing a doomer culture to put on masks, building past glory back, and better, now, projecting the saintly calm of a teenage cow. It’s enough to make one wish for a starving asp to clasp against one’s own bared breast, the servants, in their startled Greek, aghast, while at the harbor, underpaid stevedores who don’t know Ptolemy from Rameses are loading wheat as they’ve done for the last two thousand years; a bored scribe snores; a librarian pilfers some scrolls and coins and flees.
I declare and verify under plenty
of perjury: I cannot tell one lie;
they must be numbered as stars in the southern sky;
gorgeous as guys on Grindr claiming they’re twenty-
something long into their salted, empty
middle thirties; arthritic, old, and spry;
a shout as loud as a lover’s sleeping sigh.
Bullshit for the art of lying’s cognoscenti:
the facts contained in the foregoing complaint
are each correct and true, except when not;
valid to a point, believable when viewed
at the proper angle, under properly faint
and fading light: how Faust’s blood bought
not youth, not beauty, but the right to not be sued.
As an empirical matter, democracy, hallowed by usage and consecrated by time, has never turned up, hastily dusted with lime in a hole, shot in the back as it tried to flee its own cackling imago, autocracy: yes, some serene republics have declined, but there their franchise was mere pantomime; no well-begged question but can burst to be its own best answer; the universe ordains that if a country goes to shit, it must be bad, its laws a sham, its votes a lie, enraptured by its petty Charlemagnes, pre-captured by its lack of civic trust: it doesn’t happen; thus in this essay, I
Are the muppets biased to the left? Of course. That was
the point of Sesame Street, as I discuss:
provocateurs like Snuffleupagus
preach Maoist leveling while Ernie does
his LGBTQI-best to shove
both his and dear Bert’s sinful “love is love”
anti-Judeo-Christian cant at us,
telling mere children, “Mom and Dad are sus.”
Hashem forfend! Miss Piggy may be trans,
sharing Kermit’s bathroom and his bed;
Statler and Waldorf swooned for Hamilton;
Big Bird’s Khmer cabal now favors bans
on “racist” speech; The Count is dead
by firing squad for saying one is one.
Our cultural institutions now must face
a trial unlike any faced before:
@litboner69 called me a bore;
a sophomore undergrad said that my race
informed my sense of self, and worth, and place;
they didn’t put my book in the front of the store;
they added diaspora studies to the core
curriculum; now my promotion case
is held up with the provost just because
I hold a few unorthodox views:
that Blacks are more athletic by design;
true women lack men’s moral flaws;
Arabs just aren’t quite as smart as Jews.
For this you’re telling me I should resign?
I don’t believe it just because it’s true.
An interim beyond a certain length
of time attenuates the tensile strength
of a claim; our years on earth, though brief and few
against history’s vast, impersonal view,
reduce the truth each rainy spring by a tenth:
T-zero times (one minus point one) to the Nth.
It’s simple math. There’s nothing you can do.
Had you told me right away, or yet
mentioned it in 1999,
or even yesterday, I would achieve
true belief, quite against any threat
to my politics’ necessary bottom line.
Your deadline’s passed, alas. I disbelieve.
Bring in the boss and sit him down. The head
of the table is perfectly appropriate.
It is the last head that we’ll ever let
him have. Yes, I’m saying we’ll kill him dead.
Lop off his noggin. Weigh his body with lead.
Throw it from the gunwale of a midnight motorboat.
See if all that money helps it float.
Go home and kiss the kids and put them to bed.
“How was your day today?” inquires your wife.
“It wasn’t bad at all,” you say, and then,
quietly, so as not to wake the children,
make the quick, familiar love of a long-shared life,
watch some TV, say a quick prayer, amen:
better to live than to hoard a hundred billion.