14 May 2006


Afternoon in the brewpub:

The three televisions are all tuned to the standard corporate/professional sports baloney; the barfly chatter is insipid and largely indistinct, serving admirably in its usual role of empty-calorie background filler and intellectual rot-gut; on the other hand, the beer is good and cold, but not quite as cold as the hatchet-faced bartender -- a common sorrow in this particular establishment. Anyway, the joint is inexplicably crammed to the rafters with boneheaded know-nothings enjoying themselves far too much, their over-taxed sweat glands pumping out a cloyingly obscene fog of synthetic sophistication and blankly trivial glibness ... The atmosphere of mental gut-gas is so thick and enervating, it's enough to put you off your righteous outrage at the general state of things, here at the bottom of the cosmic toilet bowl. Do these drunk fools not see the dangerous knife-edge along which the Busheviks are forcing us all to convulsively dance? Or is it that they don't care? I seriously wonder why I bother to patronize this hell hole.

Soaking up the cheap and superficial vibe so common to these plastic, quasi-suburban watering holes can certainly debilitate your capacity for critical discernment -- which is probably why they're so popular. I myself must admit to a sometimes overwhelming desire to just TURN OFF the rusty, rat-shit-choked faucet of experience that, especially over the past 5+ years of the Bush disaster, only seems to spew out the noisome, disease-ridden sewage of political corruption and socio-economic dissolution with which we've become all too familiar. You can chug only so much of this poisonous dreck before permanent damage sets in -- mental, physical, or both; hence the absolute need for a psychic pit-stop, a temporary refuge where one's human sensibilities can at least partially recover from the relentless battering they take on a daily basis. In that regard, I suppose that explains why I still spend such an inordinate amount of time in this ridiculous alcohol emporium.

So, it's all a question of escape, which is a legitimate activity within the wider project of maintaining some sort of equilibrium inside modern life's rubber-walled nut house. How this escape is affected is about as diverse and variable as humanity in general; in my case, as is usual with most people who have little initiative and no imagination, it happens to involve periodic forays into the foamy wasteland of beer and bars. It's not something I'm especially proud of, but there it is. Anyhow, whatever methodology or gimmickry one employs to cope with the desperate exigencies of reality -- to briefly escape from them, in other words -- serious problems are bound to arise when the overall perspective gets flipped on its ear. When escaping becomes merely an end in itself, without conscious reference to whatever it is you may be trying to escape from ... Well, one of the things you wind up with is this bizarre spectacle of brewpub suburbanites loudly convincing themselves that the women's kickboxing match, currently being displayed in all its absurd glory on the behind-the-bar plasma TV, is of far more import than the cost of the fuel they burned in their SUV's to get to the bar in the first place. Or the banalities of office politics colliding with the most recent controversy on American Idol, naturally preventing any intellectual energy being pointlessly expended over obscure esoterica like NSA spying or CIA torture gulags.

Oh well, you get the picture. It doesn't require trite generalizations from an idiot such as myself to get the idea across that, yes indeed, we live in a sick and deluded nation full of dog-wagging tails ... in a manner of speaking. The only thing that's truly significant is that, perhaps paradoxically, the more I seek to get away from it all, by plowing my way through as many unhealthy brewpub vices as possible, the more I actually obsess over all those things that I'm purportedly trying to escape from. So, yet again, I have to question the utility of such a self-defeating activity.

If only there was another Impeachment Forum to attend -- I could definitely use another large dose of hope. At the very least, it would be more entertaining than kickboxing ...

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