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The Monster Mash


The sad reality is that last week’s Pittsburgh synagogue massacre is only the latest float in the long-running parade of ghastly homicidal spectacles rolling across this land and will be just as forgotten in one week as was last year’s Las Vegas Mandalay Bay slaughter of 58 concert-goers plus over 800 wounded and injured, a US record for non-military acts of violence. The Pittsburgh shootings elbowed the mass pipe bomber, Cesar Sayoc, out of the news cycle — but then Sayoc didn’t manage to actually hurt any of the high-profile figures he targeted with his mailings. What I wonder — and what the news media has so far failed to report — is just how incompetent a bomb-maker Sayoc was. Fake news meets fake bombs.

One of the strange side effects of an epic American political hysteria is this strange ADD-like inability of the public to focus on anything for more than a few moments, even the most arresting atrocities. The hysteria itself is too compelling, like the actions of a human limbic system driving the collective public psyche from fight to flight on the wild horses of pure emotion. Reason has been discarded by the wayside just as a super-drunk person will shed his clothing even on a freezing night. Total culture war now beats a path toward all-out civil war, with the looming mid-term election as a fulcrum of history.

The country is not “divided,” it’s sliced-and diced like a victim in one of the Halloween bloodbath movies now so beloved by movie audiences that they must be regularly updated. It’s hardly a stretch to say that the US public sees its collective self as a throng of zombies lurching across the ruined landscape in search of a dwindling supply of brains, and they even seem to take a certain comfort in that endeavor, as though the zombies were performing a meritorious public service ridding the nation of as many brains as possible.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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