Forum / Logging Off

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    Chris Okum
    Jul 22, 10:20pm

    Am I the only one here who's starting to develop a more than mild case of agoraphobia? I don't understand how anyone can want to go outside anymore. 'But you have to live your life.' Not if it means I have to live in a war zone. And the whole world is about to become a war zone. The entire planet. Why is no one talking about this? Am I the only one who feels this way? How long do we have to keep pretending that everything is going to be okay, because it's not. Do you wait until something happens close to home and then sit down with your children and explain to them what's happening? Why are there so many people acting as if everything is fine, the there's nothing to worry about. Am I imaging things? Am I being duped? Because I don't think I am. I would never want to vote for someone who told me that I better vote for them if I want my family to be safe, but I understand now why people do. I don't even want to write anymore. What's the point? I feel like I need to hide for a long, long time. I don't mind hiding. I'm good at it. The rest of you take care of yourselves. Be safe. Don't go places you don't have to. You don't need to go to the mall or to the movies or to places where there are lots of people. It's not a necessity anymore. Just stay inside. We are entering a Dark Age. Hopefully it won't last too long. Hopefully this one will burn itself out quicker than usual.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Jul 23, 12:35am

    I can't decide what is terrifying more, certain things being staged or being more or less real. Is there a difference anymore?

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    Chris Okum
    Jul 23, 01:24am

    I would say that whether or not what we are seeing is real or staged the fact of the matter is that these events are happening and that there are consequences to these events. Since 9/11 the real and the image have merged. The planet is wired up and ready to watch itself commit suicide. Why doesn't anyone understand that yet? We are watching the human race implode. That's what all these attacks are about. They're not about race or religion or politics. They're about the system attacking itself. The world is sick. It has cancer. And the cancer is spreading. It's been spreading for a long time now. In all directions. But how do you cure something so enormous? Chemo won't work. And you can't let the patient die. So what do you do? Someone needs to come up with some answers, and real fucking quick, like within a generation. It should be the philosophers, but they're not loud enough and they dress funny and look funny and talk funny. So who is going to figure this one out?

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Jul 23, 02:44am

    I'm not so sure. Maybe we have to go through these long periods of chaos (consciously created or not) in order to evolve? Not to create a utopia but to create a peaceful resignation to the fact there can be no such thing.

    I know I won't get anything from the media. Maybe we all have to go on is what we experience when we walk out our front door? Maybe is that the only thing with which we should concern ourselves. Not to be afraid?

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    Chris Okum
    Jul 23, 04:04am

    I am afraid, Sam. I'm one of those people. I'm prone to being frightened.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Jul 23, 04:06am

    Me too.

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    Darryl Price
    Jul 23, 11:24pm

    History has proven over and over again that Authoritarianism has never worked out for anybody on the planet. No society has ever bettered itself through its radical and cruel, small minded brutality. It only squeezes the hearts of every person living into smaller and smaller places. Don't join the hate. Don't give in to the fear. Live to love.

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    Adam Sifre
    Jul 24, 02:17am

    I disagree. I think you underestimate the importance of getting trains to run on time.

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    eamon byrne
    Jul 24, 09:52am

    This might be a subject for fiction. There are many subjects for fiction, so this might as well be another. What is "this"? Something, Chris, that you say no one is talking about? Do you mean the "terror"? Everyone, I beg your pardon, is talking about the terror. The subject almost begs to be treated satirically, so overwrought is the talking about it. One might well step back and acknowledge the objective truth about the "terror", which is that it doesn't really exist, except, perhaps, as a subject for fiction. Does one really feel, in one's mind, in one's psyche, in the sweat running down one's neck, fearful of the "terror"? Does one feel fearful of driving in one's car? Must we creep through this second decade of history's safest century cowed by this insidious drip drip of propaganda, this printout, this broadcast of mind control, this puny pin pricking of serial killers? No, I say. For what then must our antecedent century's citizens have felt for their own true terrors - the real terrors, the ones that brought millions and millions to carnage and cinders in wars and nuclear annihilations? Those terrors that we no longer -- yes, really, no longer -- face.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Jul 24, 11:53am

    The "terror" is just an aspect of what Chris is addressing, it is something that can't be articulated.

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    Chris Okum
    Jul 24, 07:33pm

    I have to respectfully disagree with you, Eamon. I think that seeing what is going on in the world today as simply more entertainment or propaganda is to lose sight of the larger issue, which is that the process of globalization has either run its course, or is reversing itself, and that there are consequences to the policies we have all tacitly agreed to ignore. Burying your head in the sand and saying, Nah, nah, nah, nothing is happening, everything is fine, is to indulge in the denial phase a beat longer than necessary. We should have all been shaken out of that phase years ago, sometime in the early aughts. It's not the 90s anymore. We need to come to the acceptance phase, because with acceptance of how things are comes an openness that lends itself to solutions, or at least adjustments. And I'm not just talking about "terrorism,' or' 'Muslims.' I can see the rhetoric for what it is, but that still doesn't take away from the fact that things cannot go on the way the way they have been, and we all know it, and we've been dreading the moment we have come to, but we are here, and that's all I'm trying to articulate, rather vaguely and muddily I should add. We have done our best, in the West, to push our mortality as far down into our psyches as we can, and through science and medicine we have managed to make death a rather abstract occurrence. But, pace Ernest Becker, death cannot be vanquished, it simple changes forms and adjusts to the means we use to vanquish it, and that is what we are seeing today, that is the terror I'm talking about. That this terror is taking the form it is is only a matter of detail. It would have taken another form if it could have; it just chose the easiest form available, the one most likely to work the best. Terror is a two-way street. It's been a one-way street for a long, long time.

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    Adam Sifre
    Jul 25, 12:13am

    I don't think terror or hiding heads in sand is what scares most people. The internet and the desire to express and magnify every opinion is really something the vast majority of us in America and the UK deal with, far more often than terror or Muslims or those damn teenagers with their skateboards.

    Will I feel unsafe if we let 10,000 refugees - 20,000, 50,000 - into our country? No. "Terror" and death will happen either way. I mean, about 400,000 Syrians are dead. You want to ask people about terror, ask them. Me? I'm going to grab a burger and turn on the air conditioner.

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    David Ackley
    Jul 25, 09:06pm

    It's odd to talk about a vague unease, when our species has marched across the planet like an army of ants, devouring anything living in its path and laying waste to the rest. Other species are eliminated, elephants, rhinos, frogs, bats; we can all the fish in the sea and stir in the mayo for lunch. The days grow inexorably hotter, the sea rises, the desert laps at our city gates, What's that strange feeling? Must be something I ate.

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    Chris Okum
    Jul 25, 09:11pm

    Ignore geo-politics at your own peril.

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    Mathew Paust
    Jul 26, 07:35pm

    On days like this I tend to fall back on the old Spanish Pipe Dream:

    "Blow up your t.v. throw away your paper
    Go to the country, build you a home
    Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
    Try an find Jesus on your own..."

    In fact this is pretty much what I do, except for the Internet.

    I like the way Darryl put it, too.

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    Tim Young
    Jul 31, 05:08pm

    Nick Lowe once said, "What's so funny about peace, love and understanding."

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    Ann Bogle
    Aug 08, 10:33am

    I watched Andrew Solomon's appearance on Charlie Rose. Solomon has published a new book about the importance of travel. Everything is beginning to indicate that I will buy and read this book. During the interview he said that he no longer believes in a view he had held earlier of Iraq. His idea had been to introduce democracy to countries torn apart by war. He amended that to say that he now believes that democracy once destroyed reverts not to a rebuilding of a new democracy but to chaos. There is something vital in leaving one's nest, one's safe harbors of familiarity and immersing oneself, even if only for a visit, in a new place, he said. Some of Andrew Solomon's favorite countries to visit have been those especially known for chaos and recent destruction, at least as we imagine those countries to be in flinching at our media. In a way, I would add, we are all on hand to guide media and to bring in meaning.

    Adrenalin is not my favorite body byproduct. There are those who thrive on adrenalin and have found ways to "jerk off" to it at levels that many of us who became writers of small works find unsettling to our bodies. Thus, we word and reword, type little rivulets of languages to find calm while chronically experiencing anxiety, fatigue, depression, and fear of "government." I remember objecting at first to the idea expressed in the description of an AWP panel that the only form of censorship that we agree to oppose is the government censorship of literary sexuality. I feel right in that, if that is what was intended. Hadn't everyone at that AWP and other ones noticed that silence and academic envelope-pushing continued unabated without serious attention given to ourselves as a viable economic cathexis? Even the design of the Convention Center's ball room just in itself could fill one with an archaic fear to there. It was not the throngs of people whose worth has been determined by their own accounting of their published works that were causing the fear. It was the poor design of the massive box of a window-welled mass hall where we remained duly seated or rose as if unreasonably only to alight in a different row. ~AMB

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