Never before in my lifetime did I find it even remotely possible that our country could fight another civil war. But I’m beginning to think that a (non-violent) civil war is coming—and that, frankly, it needs to happen. How it transpires, I have no idea—though I suspect migration patterns and a strong move to re-affirm federalist principles could provide the groundwork.
-Jeff "Not that Protein Wisdom" Goldstein
At the risk of calling down the retributory gods of unintended racism, the question must be asked: Nigga what?
In his other life, Jeff Goldstein is the author of perhaps the most unspeakably terrible experimental fiction this side of Alice B. Toklas. The linked piece is titled "Unlimited Semiosis"--do with it what you will--and it reads as if Mistah Kurtz got hold of Italo Calvino and tortured him into dictating some prose. The story is dedicated: "For Umberto Eco." Dear sweet Jesus, I hope no one ever mentions that to Maestro Eco; he might see fit to feed it into his own personal Abulafia just in order to see if it comes true.
Of course, Goldstein does sound a lot like the sort of crackpots that populate Eco's fiction, so maybe I'm missing some deep level of intertextuality in his weblog work. Frankly, I'm flummoxed: how do migratory patterns lead to a strong reassertion of federal principles which lead, in turn, to the nation fighting (sic) a non-violent civil war? He makes it sound as if packs of Federalists and Anti-Federalists are out roaming the Great Plains, following the buffalo and occasionally confronting each other with brutal . . . Sit-ins? Boycotts?
This is precisely the fantasia that the self-identified sides of the American political dichotomy engage in ceaselessly, egged on by a media culture desperate to commodify information and to reify political identity as characterological destiny. It requires degrees of cultural solipsism that I find difficult to fathom. Partisan warfare? Migration patterns? This is what a civil war looks like. There are caskets. There are graves.
I don't mean this uniformly to impeach domestic political concerns, nor to diminish the very real threats to American democracy (already, perhaps, beyond the point of recovery) currently roiling within our own borders. I don't mean to suggest that I disapprove of action to undermine the assinine authoritarianism of the current GOP. But let's get real: there are problems, and there are problems. The fact that the former bears some responsibility for the latter doesn't mitigate the fact that the domestic woes he causes are comparatively minor. We should do what we can to get rid of the Petulant Prince, but let's not lose sight of the fact that the man is most expressly not the policy, lest we fall into the same preposterous personality cultism that equates DJ G-dub with . . . whatever it equates him with on a given day.
Regardless, I leave you with this thought, courtesy of Mr. Amino Acids himself:
But then, today’s liberal-Democrats are nothing but opportunistic and increasingly reprehensible tin-plated Macchiavellians; to many of these people, rhetoric trumps truth; spin is paramount, and power is all.There are many, many things worth condemning in liberal Democrats (or liberal-Democrats). But I gotta tell ya, affinity for power doesn't seem to be one of them at this particular juncture.