Sick At Heart

franciscoWhat do you do when you realize that society is an insane asylum and the inmates are the keepers? If reasonable people were running the place, maybe there would be some hope, but as it is we seem to be gleefully accelerating straight towards a cliff. One maniac in particular seems to be stomping on the gas pedal and no one seems able to grab the wheel.

How do we navigate a world so out of touch with the rational (let alone the truthful)? Our collective heads are so far up the collective asses of our brand loyalties that all conversation is muffled by all the shit in our mouths. There is no real dialog, let alone a dialectic.

And I can’t stop running that line from Hamlet in my head.

The first scene of that famous play begins with a lone castle guard, Francisco, relieved of his duty for the night by another guard, Bernardo…

[Elsinore. A platform before the castle.]
BERNARDO: Who’s there?
FRANCISCO: Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.
BERNARDO: Long live the king!
FRANCISCO: Bernardo?
FRANCISCO: You come most carefully upon your hour.
BERNARDO: ‘Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Francisco.
FRANCISCO: For this relief much thanks: ’tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart.

It’s that last line, “And I am sick at heart,” that keeps running through my mind. Some consider it the keynote of the play — Hamlet, sick at heart because of his uncle’s actions, is driven to extremes.

I think it’s a keynote of our times, certainly of this election.

shattered-heartWe are a nation sick at heart.

Doubly so. Not only are we profoundly affected — made sick — by the polarization, toxicity and dishonesty.

The unwholesome nature of all this shows that the very heart of us is sick.

What is making us ill… is us.

How did we sink this far? Look no further than the nearest mirror.

I’ve found that three years of retirement gives one a lot of time to really think, free of the rat race distractions. I’ve realized the full depth of the reality of several things:

  1. People really are that stupid.
  2. Culture really has sunk that low.
  3. Opinion really has replaced truth.

I no longer live in a reasonable world. How can the dialectic work when politics, brand loyalty, and cultism, override rational thought?


We may be looking at the answer to the Fermi Paradox.

Intelligent species, when they do arise, tend to discover high technology before high morality or high thought and either lose themselves in the self-contemplative infancy of technological nurseries or tear themselves apart in technological fury.

Have you seen that Terminator-channeling Taco Bell commercial where the guy from the future comes back to warn the video game slacker that mankind’s absorption in high-quality video games distracts and blinds them from the coming alien invasion?

The ending of that commercial is way more on the nose than they may have intended. (If it was intentional, that’s one hella subversive commercial! I heartily approve!)

We may literally (and I mean literally literally) be looking at the seeds of our own doom, the reason the human race eventually dies out.


The beginning of the end, not by Skynet, but by Xbox.

Which is maybe a little hyperbolic (but maybe not; nail, kingdom, and don’t forget chaos theory).

In the here and now (and the hear and know), shit is really scary. We let a genuinely evil man into the limelight, and like the vampire you invite in, he’s really hard to vanquish once you do that.

Like so many problems, the time to fix it is when it’s small and manageable. A few cracks in the dam can be fixed. Once the dam starts to crumble, the fight is kinda over — everyone run for their lives!

In my last post I warned that this fascination with The Orange One copping a feel and stealing kisses would boomerang and end up being less effective than our publicly prudish national natures might suggest. And so it has come to pass.

Despite a small number of women coming forward, the needle actually hasn’t moved much. A big problem is the black Bill Clinton cloud that hovers over the Democrat’s attempts to use this.

And it drops the ball, which is that human monster’s utter unfitness to be President, plain and simple. This is really the area of the greatest difference and distance. Not character, sheer ability.


But then we don’t seem to respect ability and competence as much as we used to. Our anti-intellectual natures, our disdain of experts, has poisoned that well.

Which leaves us floundering in our half-assed opinions, our fears, our angers, and our hatreds.

We are left sick at heart.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

2 responses to “Sick At Heart

  • Wyrd Smythe

    FTR: I kinda reached my threshold with cable news again today. Started watching the Sunday morning shows… and just was too repulsed by the disconnect from reality on the part of the guests (both sides) as well as the unwillingness or inability of the hosts to act like journalists and ask the right questions.

    Edward R. Morrow is spinning rapidly in his grave, I’m sure.

    I’ll have to tune in Monday again, and throughout the week, because of the final debate, but today… no more!

  • Wyrd Smythe

    The Al Smith dinner was a small, local test of the candidates’ ability with diplomatic comportment… And the Orange Goblin failed it entirely.

    That said, I do wish Hillary Clinton had taken a slightly higher road with her jokes. (At least hers all had joke work. Some of Trump’s were just naked insults.)

    One analyst remarked that going second gave her a chance to ditch the lower jokes and, as Michelle Obama recommends, go high when they go low. That analyst went on to suggest it reflects Clinton’s somewhat robot like approach that she didn’t. (Or maybe she’s just had enough of that asshole.)

    I wondered if, and would have recommended, she had two speeches ready (especially if she knew she’d go second). One a speech of light jokes and the other the one she actually gave.

    Although I’m not sure I see any justification for the one she actually gave. It was considerably better than Trump’s, but still a bit over the line for my taste.

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