I have trouble determining what it is that I’m supposed to care about. Or maybe it’s just that I feel bad that I don’t really care about any of the things other people seem to expect me to care about, and the fact that I do not care and that lack of feeling is evidence of yet more flaws in my character. I don’t know. Either way there’s so many things that are trying to lay claim to my limited attention span and sense of justice. Every day there’s a new cause I’m supposed to concern myself with, a new trouble that a small donation on my part can allay the future devastation of or help the people already afflicted. There’s so many things going on all over the world that are supposed to scare me I’m surprised I’m not curled up in a ball under my desk right this very minute waiting for the end to come. I don’t even know where to start.
Do I begin with the fact that we’ve discovered only a tiny percentage of the near earth asteroids that could end life on earth upon impact? Or how about the imminent – at least on a geological time scale – eruption of the Yellowstone cauldera? Oh, you didn’t know that Yellowstone National park is a supermassive (yes that is the scientific term, somehow) volcano that would cover everything from LA to DC in 5 feet of ash were it to one day decide to go off? To make matters worse, not only is that a thing, but we have no idea what a warning sign would look like, or if there would be any at all. That’ll be a fucking blast, once all of our farmland is devastated maybe people can stop bitching about the effects of genetically modified food and just get psyched about having any kind of fresh food at all. Or how about that lovely New Yorker article detailing the earthquake that will one day in the next thousand or so years devastate the Western seaboard? Seriously, friends, if you live in Portland get the fuck out. This is not a drill. Your city only exists by the grace of God at this point, and given what I know about Portland I’m pretty sure your lifestyles don’t square well with his expectations for human behavior.
And I haven’t even mentioned global warming yet! Fuck that’s also a thing. I can’t wait for rising sea levels to create new beachfront property in Kentucky. There’s so many fun parts to global warming. Between the acidification of the ocean fucking with fish populations and ruining the worlds coral reefs and Miami sinking I almost don’t know where to start. My favorite is how the arctic ice sheet has melted to such an extent that there’s now a new international shipping trade route through what was previously impenetrable ice year-round. But hey, the jury’s still out on global warming. Maybe that’s not really a thing, maybe I can ignore all of these warning signs and start getting all of my science lessons from Jim McFuckface-Inhofe.
Although I guess those are all only things that will definitely happen at some point, and probably not even in my lifetime. So why worry about them when there are so many other things worthy of my apprehension happening right this very minute? Let’s start with the international stuff, because at least that can be viewed at arms length. What’s up first? Well sir, we have something of a shit-buffet for you today. First there’s the rush of immigrants to Southern Europe from war-torn regions of the Levant and North Africa, dangerous trips leading to the death by drowning of thousands, and their attempts to assimilate are leading to the rise of racist right-wing parties in governments across Europe. Oh no, I don’t like that, what else is there? Well there’s whatever the fuck Russia is doing in Ukraine at this point, ISIS stole their thunder so we’re not paying attention to that anymore. Sounds good, keep going! Well there was that lovely bit in the time about modern day slavery aboard fishing ships in South East Asia? Oh that doesn’t sound fun, how about something lighter? Well Ebola, Malaria, cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, MS, those will always be a thing. And China just devalued their currency and somehow that ruins everyone’s stock portfolios. Also there are these venomous bees in Asia that are as big as your fingers and can literally kill you. You had me until you started going on about bees, that’s just basic animal stuff, I can’t worry about that animals are everywhere. Well in that case there’s that mysterious thing that’s been killing off bee populations worldwide, which has huge repercussions on something, I didn’t read that whole article, but apparently bees are important. No shit, bees? Yeah, apparently Morgan Freeman turned his ranch into a bee reserve to help out. Morgan Freeman? Really? What a fucking guy. I know right?
Ok enough of that. How about this ISIS thing? Seriously does anyone know what the fuck is going on there? Alright get a load of this. We’ve got Assad, who is a huge dick and controls swathes of Syria, and the pieces he doesn’t control he’s dousing with barrel bombs and chemical weapons. He’s fighting the rebels, who are mostly decent dudes, kind of. He’s also fighting ISIS, some of whose members used to be rebels, but are now worse. Although apparently Assad is mostly fighting the Rebels and him/ISIS are kind of leaving each other alone. So anyways there’s three groups, all of who are fighting each other with varying degrees of intensity. However ISIS also controls large chunks of Iraq, so it’s fighting their government too. And there are these Kurdish paramilitary forces that come from Turkey/Iraq/Syria that consider themselves more Kurdish than anything else, and they’re coordinating with the US, Iraq, and some of the Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. Ok that sounds like a clusterfuck. Yeah, but here’s where it gets weird, Turkey also recently joined the fight against ISIS, but they’re trying to fight the Kurds at the same time. Apparently they think the Kurds are going to annex territory and try to establish a Kurdish state along their border, which they’ve been trying to do for like forever. Really? The Kurds? Who knew. Yeah man it’s weird, and probably more convoluted than that, I haven’t been following it that intently in the last couple weeks. Anyways that’s without going into all the other ancillary stuff, like how ISIS is destroying priceless old Mesopotamian monuments, like Nineveh. To be honest I never cared for Assyrian architecture. Yeah well they’re murdering religious minorities all over the place too. Oh, well that sucks… Why do people like ISIS? How do they hold territory? Well they have basic public amenities somehow in Raqqa, like civil courts and shit. Really? Yeah apparently some of them consider it preferable to the previous government. Weird. I know, Vice did a thing on it, you should check that out.
I could go on all day, there’s loads more than that. Like that port in China that blew up yesterday, or the fact that the Chinese are building artificial islands in the East Asian Sea and freaking out all their neighbors. The French are probably striking somewhere, the Germans are being dicks to Greece, Southern Italy is stupidly poor, Greece somehow has less money than I did that time I checked my savings account and learned it had zero dollars. Baltic nations are worries about Russian aggression, half of Spain’s regions want independence, yadda yadda yadda in no particular order.
Whatever, how about all of the social stuff that should have me up in arms? Like the militarization of our police force. Or racial discrimination (now there’s a can of worms). Or how decades of housing discrimination has pretty much fucked over every minority in Chicago – Donald Sterling did things way worse than tell his side piece to knock it off with the taking pictures with black people. Or how about our nuclear arsenal is aging and apparently we would need floppy disks to fire some of them. The fact that California is about as dry as the Sahara. Fracking has made drinking water flammable in certain parts of the country, and somehow keeps giving non-earthquake-having Oklahoma earthquakes. Somewhere around 90% of Americans are obese. To combat that I’m apparently supposed to be on the paleo diet and only eating raw steaks and cucumbers. That or I’m supposed to be a vegan. Or a vegetarian. Or at the very least knock it off with the sodium. And cholesterol. Of which there are several types, and apparently at least one of them might be good for me. Maybe.
Also because America is useless I have to square how much I would enjoy going to see a movie in the theatre with the small but very real chance that I could get shot any time I approach one by some nutjob our useless gun laws allowed to buy an assault rifle for peanuts with no ID or proof of sanity. Tom Brady may or may not be wandering around the country deflating peoples footballs. One day I am going to die.
No wonder people watch those moronic ‘look at the beautiful thing this puppy did’ clickbait videos on the internet, I’d rather watch a puppy hug a bear than read the news too. Every day there’s more shit. Something that just happened and people are dead or dying and I need to know about it. Something might happen somewhere in the world and I should know about that thing. Something could happen to me if I don’t eat this pill or follow these five simple steps. The world is scarier than most of the nightmares my subconscious has assembled for me.
And the worst part? All of this worries me but only a little. It bothers me. I would rather they not be things that are real. But none of it’s enough to wake me out of my affected stupor, to get me to write a letter to my congressman or the editor or join a group or donate money or any of that shit. In fact, none of that bothers me half as much as the fact that it’s been five years and George R.R. Martin hasn’t finished Winds of Winter yet. Seriously George, it’s been over a decade just tell me who the fuck is Jon Snow’s mother?
Am I a bad person?