Thursday, April 15, 2004

armagideon time?

i was just staring down at earth. it is night, and the lights are on. rather beautiful. a radiant orb ... true, all flattened out into a rectangle, and smeared a bit into the corners and edges, but still quite pretty.

tonight, "angel" came to its expected peak, and our heroes learned they've been working for the wrong side. which they knew, which is extremely darkly funny. there was a speech about how, despite this knowledge, angel sat at his desk and signed the checks anyway. and meanwhile, the apocalypse has begun -- it's going on all around them, 24/7 -- and angel was too busy ... i think it was, accepting the way the world is. and heroes don't do that. and in his complacency, he was already down two soldiers, before he even knew there was a war on.

maybe angel tried to fool himself into thinking he was fighting the good fight from the inside, because he could not stand the idea of never winning. i don't think the point of fighting -- evil, whatever you want to call it -- is to win. it's to fight. buffy knew that. (not to sound like too much of a slayer geek.) i think it's one of those hard truths that everybody learns, and then they either choose to deal with it or choose to deny it. (like death. aging. illness. taxes.) you can't win, you can only fight.

what do we fight for?

i just read a graphic novel called it's a bird. it's a weird kind of meta story about superman, or really it's about a comics writer who gets the chance to write superman, just when things in his life are particularly not super. his whole rumination on superman hits all the points of origin, and yet manages to tease out threads of who superman is that are uniquely observed. the writer learns something, i think, about the appeal of a character he'd never particularly related to. while never quite putting superman in the action, he manages to make a weird kind of sense of superman ... and in so doing explores the nature of true, human heroism. while trolling through history and philosophy and psychology and family. sad yet uplifting, but not maudlin. kind of profound.

and the 9/11 commission hearings roll on, and the president makes his first press conference since the war started. only the third of his term. and he says something, regarding terrorists, to the effect of, they were at war with us, but we weren't at war with them. and that he quickly put us on a war footing. and he even said "of course you can" win a war on terrorism. which is basically saying you can win a war on evil. i find that blindingly naive. although i don't think he really believes it, it's still chilling.

and so, there's earth. all dressed up in its finest bling. beautiful. terrible. strange. smelly. breathtaking. crowded. empty. polluted. pristine. a big giant ball of contradictions ... but all we've got. and what of this war without end? (how LONG does it take to beat terror?) is this the apocalypse? not in any doom-prophet, take-me-now-jesus way; just in the critical-mass sense. big, bad shit happens on this planet quite a lot. things get swept away. humans are meant to annihilate each other, perhaps. yet people are so much alike. are we all just going along with it, letting the powers make us feel like a part of something, so we will sit behind our desks and write the checks, and do nothing because we want to be winners? not losers?

so the lights will eventually go out, leaving only another cold dead mass floating in space. and why should i then fight to make anything of my life? it is daunting, all this potential oblivion. in the endgame of endgames, it's dust to dust to nothingness.

yeah, but. i don't expect to win. and so i fight on.

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