Going down 18th Street we often pass the old brick building housing the American Mathematical Association. We never fail to shudder. Who knows what evil has been perpetrated behind those walls over the years? There's nothing more sinister than a cabal of mathematicians (this is the actual term, like murder of crows), and what we have here is the cabal of all cabals--the epicenter of evil.
Proof of their evildoing is hard to come by. But they've been linked to the Kennedy Assassination, the earthquake in Krakatoa, Stalin's myriad purges, and our abysmal score on our SATs, which limited our choice of college to several institutions for the mentally challenged. The tentacles of the beast are everywhere. They make it difficult to figure out tips, complicate the income tax, make it impossible to convert quarts to liters. They invented algebra. They probably burned the church next door, on the ruins of which there has been built a park where dogs poop. Most likely they were behind Vanilla Ice. They brought an end to the Mayan Civilization and disappeared Jimmy Hoffa. They coerced Ben and Jerry into naming a flavor of ice cream Phish Food. We're a good person. We know mathematics are bad company. They add nothing but subtract so much. Everywhere they go they cause division. They lure grade schoolers to their doom, never telling them that multiplication is a gateway skill to trigonometry. If we had even a drop in bravery running through our veins we'd , put a torch to that building. Instead we cross the street and keep our head down, praying they don't kill us with calculus.
The last time we were in Manchuria, the barbecue wasn't very good. Collectively, and we say this with good conscience, the Manchurian people have let their barbecue standards slip. It's as if they all met in a giant hall and agreed that making an excellent barbecue was basically a pain in the ass, and from that moment on they would serve a mediocre barbecue, their faithful fans be damned. The same goes for their kombucha. Whether you call it teeschwamm, wunderpilz, hongo, cajnij, fungus japonicus, teewass or lethal, it's delicious, but the Manchurians have decided to cut corners, as a result of which their kombucha now tastes like diluted retch. Manchuria used to be cool--the Manchu imperial symbol was a tiger with a ball of opium in its mouth--but if it's barbecue you're looking for you're better off going to Mongolia, which is right next door.
"The revolutionary is a doomed man" wrote Mikhail Bakunin and Sergey Nechayev, the Siskel and Ebert of Russian bomb throwing. Notice how adroitly the double-dip Ben & Jerry's ice cream cone of 19th Century collective anarchism sidesteps* the obvious, i.e., We're all doomed men. The Captain and Tenille of Tsar topplers (so called because Bakunin was never seen without his yachting cap) never took the logical next step to Futilism, which is to say they lacked a sense of humor of the type that only thrives in the soil of total hopelessness. Is it possible the fellas their contemporaries might have dubbed the Tony Orlando and Dawn of revolutionary rabble-rousing had Dawn not been a pair of African-American women in identical gowns rather than one hairy Russian Anarchist actually didn't get that in order to sweep the old world away and build a new and better one atop its ruins you would first need to change human nature? It seems so. Make no mistake: the existing state of things is repulsive and intolerable and should somebody get around to destroying it, it will have had it coming. So we can relate when B&N--who for good reason have never been called the Cheech and Chong of A is for Anarchy comedy--write "The object [of the revolutionary] is perpetually the same: the surest and quickest way of destroying the whole filthy order." Unfortunately--and this is where the Siegfried and Roy of Russian Radicalism were totally asleep in the lion's** cage--the new order was bound to smell just like the old order because we humans are only capable of creating one kind of order, and that's the filthy kind. So if you're going to start hurling bombs, do it because you simply want to destroy the existing order and don't give a rat's ass what follows in its footsteps. That's Nihilism, and makes perfect sense.
When we ran through meadows of wildflowers with the summer sun kissing our eyelids, all of our senses alive, joy spilling o'er the brim of our soul, our heart an open book? When our hair was golden and our best friend an enraged bear who we'd set upon anyone who dared frustrate even the pettiest of our desires? When we buried the bodies of small animals all over the neighborhood, and sent off for anthrax spores that we injected into an apple that we then gave to our 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Splunge? Before the world set before us its banquet of corruption, and we gave up torching Odd Fellows' homes for a sofa and a TV set?
We've spent decades claiming to be straight. We've slept with a couple of real actual women, even, to prove it. Shit, we even married two of them (in a serial, not Mormon, way). So imagine our shock to discover that we're a seriously, run amok, no doubt about it, completely and totally 100% Rainbow Flag. How did we discover this? Simple. We watched a Coldplay video. Now we know what you're going to say. You're going to say that while being gay is totally cool, watching a Coldplay video is not. It's worse than trying to publicly stick your dick in a vending machine coin return slot. And you're right. But the thing is we did watch it, and at the beginning Chris Martin (that's Mr. Paltrow to you) does this thing where he widens and somehow flashes his eyes really quickly that never fails to cause our heart to skip a beat. In short, we love him. That's right. If you should happen to read this, Mr. Chris Paltrow, we love you. Unconditionally. Wetly. And should we ever run into you we're going to ask (hell, beg) you to do that eye flash thing. And when you do, we're going to swoon.
Rarely a day goes by that we're not glad we've decided to never vote again. Barack Obama's unflinching determination to do the safe and expedient thing is, we'll admit, an improvement on the Bush Administration's unerring ability to do the next wrong thing, but anyone who expected this guy to "change" anything besides the skin tone of the White House (a good thing on its own, but...) has, we expect, another think coming. As is demonstrated by his pussywhipped and pleasing-only-to-Repub-warmongers decision to leave 50,000 American soldiers in Iraq until 2011, at least. You go, pal. Blow our minds with your gutsy willingness to take a risk. Is this the ballessness we can expect for at least the next four years? Shit. How boring. At least Dick Cheney shot the occasional fella.
See this? Here where we're pointing our finger? You are gazing, friend, upon the blinding light of the brow of genius. What's that? Well if you're going to insist upon being literal about it, let's call it the perspirant* sheen of the brow of delusion.
*We don't care if the word perspirant doesn't exist. It sounds better than perspiring, and by god how can you have an anti-perspirant without perspirant? No, we're sticking with perspirant. Making up words is the prerogative of genius.