Well the Spanish general strike was great fun; I participated only as a spectator, of course; we were in Seville at the time, a city redolent of the great global south, dirty and rundown and sweaty, full of fruit trees and trashy boys with too much gel in their hair--unlike Madrid and Barcelona, where the cops broke out the riot gear, even the police seemed in on the action, and since everyone assumed my boyfriend and I were Spanish (until we spoke, that is), we got to share lots of amused looks with locals as American tourist-grotesques wandered through the stricken commercial corridors wondering what all those Cerrado por HUELGA signs meant anyway. But I do not want to talk about society stopping, for once, but rather, about society going the fuck on. It is easy, even when you are a confirmed old skeptic and cynic, to get taken in by the dire warnings of Europe's imminent collapse. Americans are all Devines, possibly; we all adore the hoofbeats of the End of Days. Alas, strike aside, the streets are full; the bars are full; the restaurants are open; the gift shops are still selling tchotchkies; the bacalao is still braised in tomato; the criminally unemployed youth, or whatever, seem, well, fine, if maybe a bit bored.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Now I know we are supposed to imagine that Society and Civilization and Capitalism and all the rest are so infinitely vast and complex and necessary to life as we know it that messing with any of it will plunge us back into a dark age, but you know, I suspect that the fishermen will still hop on their boats in the morning and the breweries will still make their beer and people in general will just get along with their lives. What I am saying to you is that you have been brainwashed into believing that a more decent world, a world with fewer Antonin Scalias eager to nudge their arthritic knuckles ever nearer each individual's anus, will require a rupture so titanic that it will resemble a meteor strike or a nearby supernova. Even those of us adhering to the view that this would be a welcome and desirable end tend to wax modestly apocalyptic about the period of transition. And yet, one wonders: would it actually be so? What if all the congresscritters in the world, the generals and general secretaries and unpaid unofficial advisers and MPs and CEOs and chiefs of police got ganked up in some kind of reverse rapture tomorrow? How long would it take the rest of humanity to notice that it was supposed to be helpless without the offices they all occupy?