Dystopian nonfiction

Today you get two posts for the price of one.

Well, it’s been a painful summer thus far. To start, by now we all know of the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the Useless Shitbags) decision to reverse Roe v. Wade. The only thing I wanted to do on June 24–literally THE. ONLY. THING.–was write a post to try and sort through the rage and helplessness and hopelessness and fury and disbelief and horror and disgust and . . . . I’ve run out of adjectives.

But when I went to log into my site, I discovered I had gone too long without accessing it–on top of which, I changed my phone number a few months ago and forgot to update it in my account. So even though I could log in with my username and password, because of our New Best Friend, two-step authentication, I couldn’t receive the security code to complete the login. Essentially, I learned that when WordPress says things like “Generating backup codes is essential and must be done,” they’re not fooling around. If you’re a WordPress user, and you have not done this, please, for the love of god, take care of it right. now.

O my. I have rarely been that frustrated. Like, setting my hair on fire and running down the block screaming frustrated. But here we are, a few weeks later, and all is well.

No. I take that back. All is most definitely not. O. fucking. K. In addition to the June 24 decision, SCOTUS has also severely limited the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. Yellowstone National Park and nearby towns were devastated by a 500-year flood. Glaciers are practically spontaneously combusting. Young men with too many guns feel entitled to mass murder people everywhere you look. Heat waves are cooking people around the world. Permafrost is melting, tundra is burning and islands are being swallowed by the ocean.

Unfortunately, I’ve become a bad news junkie. If I believed the Bible was an actual historical record, I’d be expecting a plague of locusts, a rain of frogs and the four horsemen. (Global flood? Check.)

What’s worse is that, as a huge fan of dystopian/apocalyptic fiction, I feel at least partially responsible for manifesting the dystopian nonfiction we find ourselves careening downhill into, like Calvin and Hobbes in their wagon.

[I particularly love Calvin’s quote in this image. It feels like where we are right now as a nation.]

I’ve been reading mainly dystopian/apocalyptic fiction for about the past six years–not so ironically since just before the 2016 election, in fact. At this point, I’m an armchair expert on zombies, nuclear winters, EMPs, coastal inundation, comets, asteroids, alien invasions, mind control, clones, mutations, robots and other AI, colonizing Mars and/or the moon, time travel and killer viruses. With that said, being an armchair expert does not mean I would be remotely prepared to survive if any of these scenarios actually played out. I literally can’t do anything except make jewelry and sun tea. I’d be one of those people curled up in a little ball, crying and rocking myself in a corner.

[Insert appropriate 30Rock scene:
JACK: In a post-apocalyptic world, how would society even use you?
LIZ: Traveling bard.
JACK: Radiation canary.]

It’s all so morbid; I don’t know what perverted little part of me gets off on this stuff, but I can’t help myself. It’s like I want to convince myself that things could be sooooo much worse than they are. I also keep thinking of the famous final stanza in t.s. eliot’s poem The Hollow Men:

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

So, being a devotee of Abraham-Hicks and the Law of Attraction, and because the End Times are on my mind a lot these days . . . well, you do the math. I know it sounds dumb to nonbelievers (like Bible stuff sounds dumb to me), but I know that thoughts do, in fact, become things, and the Law of Attraction is real. Clearly what needs to happen is for me to return to my like-attracts-like, thoughts-become-things, Law of Attraction, Abraham-Hicks mindset. It probably wouldn’t hurt either to focus more on thoughts of unicorns, flowers, rainbows and fluffy kittens.

I need to disembark this apocalyptic train, and head back over to Platform 9 ¾ where life is magical, and magic is real. And now I’m mixing pop culture references, so it’s definitely time to wrap this up.

Calvin & Hobbes image courtesy the brilliant Bill Watterson

Here’s your bonus post: the entry I actually started on June 24, but was unable to post due to the reasons stated above.

We Won’t Go Back.

Please note: I am a middle-aged, middle-class, college-educated, privileged, White, cisgender woman and write from that perspective.

This was meant to be posted on Friday, June 24, “a date which will live in infamy,” in a way that has nothing to do with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor, and everything to do with Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word “infamy”:

1. evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking, or brutal
2. an extreme and publicly known criminal or evil act

Instead, I’ve spent the entire day trying to get someone–anyone–from WordPress to help me log into my site, which, as of 3:45 PM, has been completely futile. In fact, having sent my first cry for help more than six hours ago, and after receiving one completely useless reply about 15 minutes later, at this point I feel patently ignored. Apparently it’s critical (what’s a word that’s even more emphatic than critical? crucial? grave? exigent?) to not only immediately update your account when you change your phone number, it is even more critical (imperative? life-or-death?) that you print out a set of ten backup codes that you supposedly received years and years ago when you first set up two-step authentication. Oopsie.

Be that as it may, it would be a beautiful thing if one could speak to an actual human being when one needs assistance. Apparently that’s no longer a thing.

Anyway, back to this day that will live in infamy. As you’re no doubt aware, this morning SCOTUS (the Supreme Court of the Useless Shitbags) reversed Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 decision that has, for just under fifty years, protected a woman’s right to abortion at the national level. Interestingly, at the time of the 7-2 majority vote in 1973, five of the seven in favor were Republican-appointed justices, and two were Democrat-appointed. In fact, lifelong Republican justice Harry Blackmun wrote the majority opinion in the case. This was obviously before the Republican party married itself to right-wing American Christianity.

I, like many pro-choice Americans, have taken this right for granted my entire life. I never, ever thought I would live in a nation where abortion was not legal. The very idea was unthinkable. I’m pretty sure RBG is spinning in her grave. But thanks to former Fuckwit-in-Chief Donald Trump, SCOTUS is now stacked heavily with ultraconservative justices for whom this landmark decision is most likely–dare I say–only the first of many decisions designed to turn back the clock on human rights and environmental regulation. What’s next, contraception? Same-sex marriage? Clean air and water? These jagweeds won’t stop until we’re all once again barefoot and pregnant (and wearing gas masks), literally the property of our husbands.

I am fortunate enough, however, to live in a state with robust, codified abortion rights. That is no longer the case for most of my family and friends. It’s also not the case for our economically disadvantaged sisters and other folx who can’t afford to travel to another state for basic reproductive health care. If this decision were truly about not aborting babies, Republicans would have as their priorities universal health care, free birth control and education, affordable childcare, and the criminalization of child marriage–which is still a thing, even in the good ol’ USofA, the greatest country on the planet, y’all. But it’s not about babies, it’s about male power–specifically White, male power–over the rest of us.