The despair of antics

Thomas Frank:

The gnawing anger beneath the pandemic is that democracy itself is being rewired in our absence. The system has failed us, the system is guaranteed to go on failing us, but while we the people are out of the picture, others are making grand, world-altering decisions. The powerful are rewriting the social contract while we watch TV and console ourselves with booze and simple chores.

Richard Falk:

Even Orwell would be at a loss to make sense of some of the recent antics of leading governments. We would expect Orwell to be out-satirized by the American actions to impose penalties and sanctions on officials of the International Criminal Court, not because they are accused of acting improperly or seem guilty of some kind of corruption or malfeasance, but because they were doing their appointed jobs carefully, yet fearlessly and in accord with their proper role.

Falk is speaking here of the US imposing sanctions on ICC officials because they accepted “the request for an investigation into allegations of war crimes committed in Afghanistan by military personnel and intelligence experts of the U.S. armed forces, the Taliban, and the Afghan military.” He points out “Israel is equally infuriated that the ICC has affirmed the authority of its Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to investigate allegations by Palestine of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.”

Since Falk’s essay Netanyahu has announced Israel will annex the West Bank.


I, for one, am not watching TV and consoling myself with booze and simple chores. I am, instead, watching the US body politic engage in an orgy of programmatic self-deprecating despair. A stance of helplessness in the face of Evil Trump seems the order of the day, as well as an insistence on those other guys — respectively libtards or dumb fuck rednecks — being stupid. There seems here an insistence on not simply passivity but in fact paralysis. “They are robbing me and then killing me, but what can I do? And, after all, I am wise to their antics. I laugh knowingly at them as they empty my pockets and kneel upon my neck. Yes, there is another world out there. I am prevented from vacationing in it, and so laugh at myself while I waddle about the plasticized reifications I’ve constructed:”

Los Angeles Times travel writer, on Paris Las Vegas:

What I’m saying, America, is we may not be much good at staving off a pandemic. But when it comes to knocking off European culture, we are in our own category. A category as red, white and blue as the British flag. Right here, we have all the Europe we need and more.

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