We are pieces straining to fall out of line

Chaotic news piles up as Deep Throat eats himself, a historic diversion distracting me from the polluted freeway. But why now? Unlike Nixon, President Bush enjoys the sight of his own reflection, his sales goals gleaming as the mandate holds strong. He doesn't need to steal from us when he can get handouts.

Sadly, comedy and fiction no longer provide an escapist refuge. Maybe we'll wise up. Maybe this only temporary, but I can't think of who would play Woodward and Bernstein in the Bush impeachment movie. I only know that it needs to be fictionalized in such a way that everyone may understand. Someone with a way with words should step up, diffuse the lies.

I want to hide away from you and every confusion that challenges me, but there is no hiding place for the overdramatic, and with no expectations I am proudly, hopelessly overdramatic during times like these. Something is supposed to happen. What - I don't know. I think I've lost the script.

It times of absent-minded, lovelorn confusion, I can't help but refer to a quote that my uncle evoked this past weekend during a politically charged Sunday breakfast discussion. It has really stuck with me, helping make sense of the news I struggle to deal with each day.

“We wonder whether in the present pattern the pieces are not straining to fall out of line; whether the paradoxes of our time are not finally mounting to a conclusion of ridiculousness that will make the whole structure collapse. For the paradoxes are becoming so great that leaders of people must be less and less intelligent to stand their own leadership.”

-John Steinbeck (middle of chapter 6 in the Log from the Sea of Cortez, 1940)

I can't read this eerily timeless passage without getting troubling yet clarifying chills down my spine. And do you know what's really amazing? According to my uncle, this was written as a random stream-of-consciousness wonder tangent during one of Steinbeck's journal entries somewhere around the Sea of Cortez. Obviously, I love and appreciate unexpected, thought-provoking tangents, but there is no commentary I can provide without a long winded attempt to dwell on the paradoxes of our time. I know you don't want to hear that sermon, so I'll spare you the soapbox for now.


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