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.
Geriatric millennials born
between 1980 and 1985
are best positioned to lead teams that will thrive
in the hybrid workplace; they will never mourn
the lost kitchenette, or get mad at the porn
their OnlyFans teammates left on the shared drive
while fooling eye-movement monitors during a live
webinar; well-trained in irony and scorn,
they’ll do their boomer bosses’ bidding, but
half-heartedly; they’re busy making .gifs,
polluting the Slack with fake nostalgia for
the nineties, pretending they don’t mind the gut
they’ve got from crafty IPAs and spliffs,
barely forty at death’s beatific door
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.
This could not be more Orwellian.
Simon & Schuster is cancelling my book.
Where a business-flyer otherwise would look
for such civics, now shelves the Machiavellian
secrets of the boardroom, or Hudson’s selling him
mere Mentos. The woke mob won’t brook
my bold dissent. Why? Because I took
my voters’ insurrectionary whim
seriously? My job is to ventriloquize
exactly what the lumpen want to hear,
smuggling their sordid gripes into the fort-
ress of power with my Yale mouth and dead eyes,
alchemizing gripes into career.
This aggression will not stand. See you in court.
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.
In the battle for the soul of America, democracy
prevailed. It hauled its agèd ass across the line
winking and grinning the entire goddamn time
like a dying parent, who, despite your plea,
has spent his retirement on the lottery,
commemorative coins, fake vintage wine;
still mean as hell and obsessed with rising crime;
mad at taxes he doesn’t pay and free
goodies he thinks that someone else has got;
terrified of change and terrified
that nothing’s gonna change except for worse:
here’s what his democratic soul is not:
in love, nor young at heart, nor quite alive.
Each waning angry moment is a curse.
“Donald Trump is alive and well,” I tweet: his consciousness ensouled, his self intact; his electric embodied being able to act through his body’s marvelous machine: to eat, to see, to breath, to speak. His heart? To beat. His appetites are those a dead man lacks: McDonald’s lunch, a lower income tax: Hereby commend to you, O Lord, through the fleet swing of the autumn sun across the sky, quadrennial November’s bare-branched swoon, this declaration: we have claimed a state of still existing, having not had to die, nor disappear, nor leave, nor settle soon for this early ending coming yet too late.
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