Men my age are horrifically boring. I don’t care about cars or home renovations or sports; prefer the old god behind the forest door, who dreamt the world that was as real before your young creator rent the sea from shore, and lit the sun, made worm and dinosaur, made fish and pelican, made tree and spore; what pitiable prayers you late-born menfolk pour! what once was song is now but retch and snore, the dying gargle of a maze-mad minotaur whose quarry fled the coop. Well, I set store by ancient worlds, and sadder men, who tore their hearts in two for every friend; therefore, I can’t connect, by which I mean: I won’t.
“If you do not drive your neighborhood or region, what form of adult mastery and knowledge are you seeking in its place? If you do not drive your country’s highways and byways, what path do you have to a nonvirtual experience of the America beyond your class and tribe and bubble?” – Ross Douthat
If you do not drive your neighborhood or region, what form of adult mastery and knowledge are you seeking in its place? What dallying god of degenerated pace shall plaster his defunct phylactery on your pedestrian brow, and call it good to bike to CVS? To what worthless walk in the woods or chittering crowded train would you avail yourself in prayer to seal your social order? Yet behind the wheel of some bland Hyundai running reds on Main you become yourself a god, mirthless and grand: infinite; callous; cruel as a child roused too soon for middle school.
I came to college eager to debate. I found self-censorship instead. My peers expanded the taxonomy of queers and smoked their drugs and gamed and went on dates and left me all alone and lingering late in the silent student union, hoping to hear the tractatus logico of a Cavalier who sought through argument to thus create a crucible through which but truth would pass. But all the libs preferred to go to class. They did their homework and they read their books. They couldn’t be bothered to shoot me dirty looks. Now I sit as silenced as a Superbowl commercial and pray my God to make me controversial.
Kristen Stewart is developing a gay ghost-hunting reality show with a friend; a paranormal romp through mortals’ ends, the pure aesthetics of the soul’s last passageway to poltergeist from final mortal day, unclothed but for this season’s bedsheet trend— now season after season; death transcends even Paris’ runway protégées and turns each twist of scarf and knot of belt but into susurrus of spooky sound, a cloth moved without breath, a leather snap that’s searing like a whip on flesh; the felt- like softness of an apparition’s hellbound burrowing in your body like a spinal tap.
“Rationality is uncool,” he laments; “it isn’t seen as dope, phat, chill, sick or da bomb”; no attribute of will is more unlikely to be deemed “to rule”; it’s like an outcast in some middle school. You cannot even argue that you cannot kill in pure percentage terms sufficient mill- ions of men to match the Earth’s once miniscule murder rate; Cain’s Abel was one full quarter of the world, for instance; wouldn’t you rather take the odds in Auschwitz with those awful chances? It’s fall. Across each campus days grow shorter; undergrads still kiss and fuck and fake enthusiasm for science’s romances.
Every job will be automated until four remain: lawyer, farmer, dentist, soda jerk; whaleman, scrivener, and grocery clerk; rabbi, car mechanic, David Blaine; professional impersonator of Mark Twain. The rest will be done by one Mechanical Turk with an indefatigable appetite for work; its million metal arms will never strain; its million pinprick eyes will never droop; of course, it’s operated by an actual man from a windowless room in drowning Bangladesh; he gets one thirty second break to poop and eat his lunch before the beautiful tan attack dogs are released to tear his flesh.
When exactly I should retire, or will retire has many complex parts to it: a chronometric set of gears that fit through genius acts of unimaginable skill and ratios whose maddening math would fill vast desert racks of servers cooled and lit by carbon burned by who came after it. What tyrant lizard left by being ill, or turned from prey to watch a meteor descending through the North-American sky? The seas may boil; the air itself may burn; the liquefying stone may crack and roar. A life’s lived best not knowing it will die, instinct alone, and never paused to learn.
“More and more I find bathing to be less necessary.” -Jake Gyllenhaal
More and more I find bathing to be less necessary; and I also think that there’s a whole unbathèd world of finer hairs and better skin, oil-anointed and blessed like holy Israelites, or lettuce dressed in vinaigrette as tart as winter air. Don’t let the water catch you in his snare, drowned Neptunian depths of scrubs and soaps, skin pricked and puckered as a pickled bean, good humors leeched and sunk like sand and grit. God would not design us thus, one hopes: his loving procreative beings are clean, black nails or not, green knees, or greasy tits.
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.