I was unaware that Mt. McKinley was named before the dude was even president. Some gold prospector started calling it that during the campaign. So that would be akin Niagara Falls being renamed right now to, like, Trump Falls or something. Very poor taste. Denali, welcome back.
Apparently since Pres. McKinley was from Ohio, it was Ohio putting the pressure on politicians not to change the name back. But Ohio, despite being my home state, can compete with anywhere else in terms of capacity for stupidity, I will readily admit.
My favorite part of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is when they track down all the people who said something bad about them on the internet and then beat them up. Jay reads their comment to them and asks if they wrote it, and they say yes, every time. This is what I loved about the Daily Show, too, is that it would prove time and time again that relatively normal looking people had the capacity to not only hold bizarre and absurd opinions, typically based in ignorance, but they would defend them. On camera. Knowing that the edited version would likely not do them any favors in terms of support or validation. Then the Daily Show correspondent would get to play the fantasy role we all imagine ourselves in when we reply in the comments section anywhere on the internet, because why else would you bother, they get to say these things that prove their antagonist to be utterly incompetent. And the audience cheers, and these normal-cum-foolish looking people always stick to their guns, they never listen, after all these years you might think the supply would dwindle but no.
Jay and Silent Bob was even a little better, in some respects, because the villains were not so villainous as their comments would suggest. It would be little kids, old ladies, fat men, none of their faces mean-looking, none of them cursing or being confrontational. They just answered the door, confirmed their identity, confirmed their authorship of one single comment, and then Jay would toss his shit list in the air and start wailing on them. He didn’t give them the opportunity to prove their ignorance or incompetence in person. It was a nearly indiscriminate ass-beating, no judgment involved, really, no trial for them to offer up a defense. Which makes you suspect that probably some of these people are innocent of the crime, or at least they may have just been having a bad day that day, blowing off a little steam between volunteer shifts at the local orphanage. Didn’t matter. Punched in the face.
My buddy Dave was telling me the other day he can’t believe how Trump is in the lead for the Republican nomination. I got over my own capacity for being shocked at human behavior when Bush won the election for a second term (technically, his first electoral win). Humans are not done evolving yet, but it’s a hard thing to reckon with. Even the most educated of us don’t like to believe what’s right in front of them. Like how at least 90% of sinus infections are viral instead of bacterial, but if you go to the doctor they’ll give you antibiotics anyway. There is a lot of unnecessary death yet to come in humanity’s future. Not saying Trump is going to be the cause, but all the support he’s getting is ample evidence.
Like, okay, speaking of antibiotics, the more we wipe out all the weak bacteria via our current antibiotics, the more evolution gets a helping hand, since only the bacteria that survive are left to reproduce, to pass along that sweet genetic code we don’t know how to kill yet, and it becomes a race between science and natural selection. Maybe we’ll win, or maybe we’ll run up against a terrible murder-bacteria we can’t figure out how to kill. Either way, it’s irresponsible and selfish for a patient to say yes, give me those antibiotics just in case I’m in that 10%. I’m going to eliminate the competition and allow the most dangerous strains to be the sole contributors to the next generation because there’s a small chance it will help me feel better a couple days earlier. It’s irresponsible and selfish for doctors to prescribe them, too. And this is the side of us that Donald Trump represents, the in-the-moment, me-first attitude that disregards any awareness of the passage of time. Past and future matter not, only the now, the right now, and the immediate vicinity too. And this is why we’re all going to die.
Maybe not all, but a lot of people, will die, because we have not evolved enough yet. This is not a metaphor. Human beings by the millions will die because we are not living sustainably or responsibly. We are not the strong bacteria that we think we are. We will be wiped out, a lot of us, and it will be our own fault, and there is not a force on earth strong enough to prevent this inevitable evolutionary curve. But I didn’t come here to write about that. I was just trying to explain why there is so much misogyny on the internet.
Not like I’m perfectly evolved, myself. Yesterday I ordered the headphones that I’ve long coveted because I got sucked in by a one-day sale, which saved me like $40 or something, but then today my rent check that I’d already given to my landlord was more than I had left available in my checking account. And he’d already deposited it by the time I texted him. Because I couldn’t even look one single day into the future with enough clarity of vision not to buy those headphones, I almost cost myself whatever the overdraft fee would’ve been, certainly everything I’d saved on the headphones and probably more, or even perhaps had the check bounce completely and an angry landlord on my hands, and probably an angrier girlfriend.
There is really not much of a difference between people, intelligence-wise. The lower 10% and the highest 10% probably all tie their shoes the same way. I saw a woman walking a mentally-challenged younger woman across the street the other day, an intersection with a traffic light, and the older woman saw the light change and started pulling the younger woman left to cross with the light perpendicular instead of continuing straight. When they got to the other side she starting shouting and scolding, waiting on the next light to turn, still grasping her partner by the arm, gesticulating wildly with her cigarette hand. They were dressed similarly, white tops and jeans, and the older woman so clearly felt she was in a place of intelligence and privilege and needed to force her education upon the younger, because she had a clear memory of how intersections work and how they must be crossed to maximize safety and efficiency, and the younger one did not have this information readily accessible if at all.
To me this illustrates the most significant difference between humans, how much of an ability we have to recall from the past and learn from it and allow it to shape our behavior. The people I consider the smartest only have a better memory and a greater willingness to allow the past to inform their decisions. Hardly any of us are able to negotiate the future, and that ought to be our most identifiable trait in one another, our fallibility, our near limitless capacity to misjudge how any given situation will turn out. The older woman at the intersection felt so superior, but I guarantee just a block’s worth more foresight on her part would’ve prevented that awkward crossing she was so adamantly yelling about into her younger companion’s ear.
All of which is just to say, we are a shitty, self-destructive species in a lot of ways. Men especially. I don’t go on Twitter very much because I do not need any more reminders of how awful we can be. Even the next host of the Daily Show was making misogynistic jokes on Twitter not too long ago, because how could he ever have predicted where he would be in five years? Much less your average Joe Tweeter. Why would I expect young Joe to anticipate slightly older Joe, to remember he has a mother, or a grandmother, or perhaps a daughter, now or in his future, whom he will love beyond words and would murder the first fool to call her a cunt in any context? I know more momma’s boys than I can count, and yet, and yet.
What I live for are the surprises. Today I was walking down the sidewalk and I smelled pot pretty strongly. Ahead of me I saw three youngish men in dirty clothes sitting legs-out on the sidewalk against a building, this along Carson Street, lots of foot traffic. I was trying to identify the location of the smell and these three were the prime suspects, but I didn’t expect them to be smoking the joint right there, live as a traffic report. The one lighting the marijuana cigarette saw me staring (I wasn’t hiding my gaze) and as he passed it to his friend said “What’s going on? Just trying to enjoy the afternoon.“ I said “I can see that,” and I kept walking, but I was smiling about it, because the history lesson that all of these boy-men should know quite well and ought to allow to modify their behavior is pretty obvious. This is not a difficult future to predict, how poorly this decision could turn out for them. And maybe they will get arrested and cited, maybe it will turn out exactly like it ought to, and perhaps they will come to regret their brazenness when they’re trying to get a job in ten years but can’t because of their record of drug arrests. But in the moment, it felt like a protest, like they were trying to prove a point. That nobody gives a shit except the people whose job it is to give one. Or maybe that they could get away with it because they were white. Who knows.
In any case, it was encouraging. People who see the cracks in the system are encouraging. I try to imagine myself sometimes with money and more privilege that I even have now, which is plenty, but the money part. I would like to think I’d be the coolest rich person ever. I would give money to the right places, the unexpected saviors of humanity, some invention or entertainment that would not only bring us together, above and beyond the conflicts of race and class and gender and state, but also get us to work together towards our own evolution, taking it out of natural selection’s hands, deciding on our own how to live right before the planet decides for us.
But probably I’d just buy a lot of headphones.