Saturday, March 28, 2020

Chapter Fourteen: The House of Pain

I, the reluctant novelist, compose this fake novel from a place of suffering. Every word hurts. It’s unfair of Trumpistan to make me think like this and, worse still, to have to write like this. In your privilege as a reader you’ve put me to work as the conscience of a nation—a nation I’ve abandoned on at least three separate occasions. I don’t feel like I can go on with this much longer—yet what choice do I have? The falsity must be told. Someone has to call us all to account for our complicity in the Human Centipede Administration—and I appear to be the last novelist standing.
            Fuck you for that, for taking away my artistic freedom and respect for literature.
            I’m done with myself. Literature swallowed me whole a long time ago. My voice is hoarse. I appropriate the shrill whine of the political pundits I detest and speak from the house of pain where Dr. Moreau created me and all of the other manimals. Even the Sayer of the Law has abandoned us this time, replaced by a big-eared dwarf who, emulating Pontius Pilate, washes the dirty paws that shook Drumpf’s tiny hand in a devil’s bargain to keep US law as racist as possible.
            All that these Centipede segments seem to want to do is to get back at the cool kids who laughed at them in high school, the ones who smoked pot and had sex. These are the two big hangups these stunted momma’s boys never seem to grow out of. Of course they blame it all on Jesus. (Really they hate the Savior ‘cause He watched them jerk off with His omniscient eyes. So it’s really only guilt that keeps them kissing his ass in public, just like Drumpf kisses Putin’s ass, then they deny his every commandment with their politics like Peter before the crucifixion.)

 *          *          *

Otherwise, what? Mathias (of my writers group) says I only want to annoy people, or to get a rise out of them, by writing this bullshit. It’s possible. He also says I’m sometimes funny. He’s still caught up in the intentional fallacy: he believes I’m in control of what I write (“Just like soldiers believe they’re in control of a war,” sing that elecro-pop group I mentioned earlier). But you can’t make this shit up—it’s happening in real/fake time.
            Yet Mathias would claim that I still have free will and could choose to write anything I want, anything other than this political bull honkey.
            Free will, as a concept, is the basis of judgment and most monotheistic religions. Monotheists claim that it is God’s right (His duty!) to punish or reward our souls after death for lifetimes spent on Earth inside bodies doing stuff. But moralism’s kettle of worms is spilling out all over the kitchen table. The weight of judgment crushes us when our laws are skewed against the poor and only enforced upon those who can’t afford a lawyer. We store this oppression in our hearts and pass it on to our descendants. Judgment falls on me for writing this crap just as, in my nostalgia for morality, I heap a multitude of sins on the Drumpfster and all the real/fake public figures I appropriate here in imitation of Dante’s judgmental fake novel, The Self-Righteous Comedy.
            I’ve been rewriting Dante longer than Dante wrote Dante in the first place. (Behold another postmodern miracle!)
           Responsibility is always outside us, a wall upon which we lean. Responsibility can no longer be “taken.” It’s become a thing static and moot, crushed beneath the spectacle.

*          *          *

My writerly desire to prick your conscience, to add to the chorus of literature, preach to the choir, and engage other languages in self-defense of their assaults on fact and logic, remains inexplicable. (Unless, like Flip Wilson’s Geraldine character, the devil is making me do it.) For surely I’m not as bad as my nation’s leaders proclaim me to be in all of my elitist/liberal/taker glory. They’ve ruined my reputation as an American—by association with hillbillies—all over this continent. Europe is so stunned by Trumpistan it can’t make up its mind whether to laugh or cry.
            Such is the work of the novel: to try on other voices and languages like shoes. Or perhaps to sift through rhetorical styles, making room for the voices of conformity and protest until the novel makes some sense of the chaos of individuality that has emerged from our treasured plurality, “We, the people.”
            Society against the state, words against language; throwing shit against a wall until something sticks. Maybe the only value we ever find in living comes from the shortcomings of language to save us—the conscience behind the text’s composition, the form of a novel that speaks in-between the collected monologues I here repeat, assassinate, regurgitate, and negate with parody and indignation.

*          *          *

No wonder emigration is the natural state of novelists—we’re always looking for new languages, foreign terrain, and novel rhetorical forms to contradict the old ones. No single country is enough for us, no one language; no lone point of view is ever compatible with our search for meaning in all this chaos.