17 June 2007


Hot weather in the Sacramento Valley during the summer -- and, often, before and after -- is so boringly common as to be completely unworthy of mention. Like humidity in the South and twisters in the Midwest, the dry blast-furnace of overheated smog that this heavily populated geomorphological oddity becomes for upwards of half the year is dully prosaic and inescapable; like it or loathe it, this is what it is. The only way to avoid the hot, seething vulgarity of it all is to live somewhere else. It’s perfectly simple.

Why, then, do ambulatory vegetables who’ve spent their entire useless lives here, rarely displaying the requisite initiative to travel as far as, say, San Francisco or Tahoe perhaps, always complain in lock-step regularity when the weather turns the least bit unpleasant?

Appearances and expectations to the contrary, this isn’t merely one of those I Piss On All Suburban Blockheads sort of posts, although the ubiquitous contempt that is such a critically important component of my rather ragged weltanschauung always seems to be percolating just below the surface of things. Anyway, it’s a valid enough question, this completely bewildered bewailing of the modern American predilection for pathetically whining about the vast panoply of stuff you really can’t do anything about -- in this case, the past week’s minor heat wave. Of course, the pointless tendency to constantly reiterate the obvious dovetails nicely with the overflowing sump of desperately vital muck and goo that some so studiously avoid, or of which they live in bland ignorance: the ongoing debacle in Iraq (soon to be expanded to Iran and elsewhere), the slow lingering death of representative government in the US and its replacement with an iron-fisted Cheneyist dystopia, Guantanamo, election fraud, Gaza ... and on and on, ad nauseum.

Well, duh. Clearly there’s a direct relationship between what people choose to pay attention to, and what they stay away from. How original.

Among the assorted collection of mouth-breathers, sycophants, gold-diggers, pinheads, consumerist geeks, and miscellaneous fucksticks whose awfulness is general and undifferentiated -- specifically, the majority of people I’m forced to associate with at work -- a spell of hot weather provides the perfect opportunity to see who, of all these stellar examples of DNA gone horribly wrong, obediently spends the most time, blank-eyed and slack-jawed, in front of their electric tee-vees. Bidding their credulity a hearty goodbye, giving no quarter to their common sense or whatever amount of native intelligence they might theoretically possess, they dutifully absorb the disinformation and misinformation and hollow entertainments relentlessly cooked up in the fly-blown kitchens of the corporate media combine. Properly programmed, brains thoroughly pickled by the poisonous brine transmitted through their telescreens, they parrot the lines provided for them; in this particular instance, the well-groomed blowholes who tell them that it’s going to be a bit hotter than normal, for a few days. This less-than-startling information becomes the existential pivot around which their miserableness rotates, the locus of ennui that -- until it’s replaced by something else, in a day or two at most -- trumps all other cares and concerns. They make themselves feel as terrible as possible by worrying themselves into a frenzy over the inconsequential, as the rest of the world goes up in a puff of smoke. Pure madness.

Oh well. Just another manifestation of the collective unconsciousness, this adamant insistence by the majority to be as stupid as possible and to actively -- enthusiastically, even -- participate in their own intellectual impoverishment and, indeed, the elimination of their very capacity for critical discernment. What’s the answer to this dead-ended puzzle? One response (I would never refer to it as an “answer”) is to madly dribble out interminable blog posts that go absolutely nowhere in a hurry; another is to explode in self-righteous anger, whenever some idiot in an air-conditioned office whiningly complains about how hot it is outside, and issue an aggressive question like How fucking hot is it in Baghdad, you dumb asshole? I toss around queries like that all the time, and usually the only thing I get in return is a sometimes wild-eyed look of utter confusion, frequently tinged with a verdigris of fear. As much as I enjoy eliciting such reactions, I understand it offers no solution to anything, unfortunately.

OK -- everybody together now: *SIGH*

(By the way, for anybody who cares -- and why should you? -- today’s forecast for Sacramento: 89 degrees)


A FATHER’S DAY NON-SEQUITUR: My father hasn’t the time for such sentimental hogwash as a “holiday” inspired by greeting card companies; he’s nearly 77 years old, and is in Nevada playing golf. Good for him.

No comments: