Friday, August 1, 2014 1 Comments

The Anarchy

The center cannot hold!  Mere anarchy,
"Cutting asunder of straps and ties,"
Smells like a pile of black jet fuel;
It roars like tanks in a bombed city;
It looks like porn.  Take one clip
I saw the other day - from ANNA,
The awesome Abkhaz National News Agency:
A POV cam on a Syrian tank, patrolling
An art director's Call of Duty scene
In gorgeous full HD.  Our tank fires.
Big dust cloud.  Bricks bounce on bricks.
We roll back and shoot again.  We drive
Somewhere else and do more firing.  This
Is anarchy: boring.  Till a rebel pops up
With an RPG and takes us out.  Boom!
But it violates every law of drama if
Death is the end of the clip.  Would ANNA
Be ANNA, without the perfect edit: cut
Straight to that rebel's own headcam?
Allah Akbar!  Allah Akbar!  Allah Akbar!
There is one God.  Mohammed is his prophet.
Mere anarchy is the future of journalism.
Where the hell it flows who knows, but
Carlyle's Niagara swings now to full flood.
"What enormous Pythons, born of mud..."
Thing is, kids, I was born in seventy-three.
You've seen GIFs of it.  I lived there.
You cannot teach me out of Old America -
Or those small scraps that then remained,
Now lost as Hoover, as vanished as Nixon;
And you stink at editing physical objects.
Here's a car insurance ad from Life, '66.
A national epidemic of auto theft!  Citizens,
Take prudent precautions!  First and foremost,
Stop leaving your keys in the car!  Anarchy
Is funny.  Why wouldn't it be?  But tell me,
Motherfucker: what bites has it bitten from you?
You and your friends?  You, friends and family?
Where at the least have you feared it and fled?
Anarchy, it turns out, is fuckin' hungry.
A regular polar bear, and in fact I saw
In the Times today a color dispatch
From Longyearbyen, Norway's northmost hole,
Where people are insane or something and
Leave their keys in their cars.  But wait!
Anarchy is not there.  Except that it is,
Dressed as a bear.  No vagrant or scoundrel,
"Distressed needlewoman," maniac or orc,
In Longyearbyen may dwell.  Not for your good,
Of course.  For his.  Bears would eat him.
Bears will eat anyone, of course, but at least
Bears will never steal your car.  And you,
"Who are not interested in war, but war -"
You too are on the map: bears to the north
And tanks to the east.  And as it turns out,
Anything can be a bomb.  And to the south -
To the south!  Anarchy, a white wave, waits
Big and patient as death.  Already its drops
Are wetting your shoes and watering your lawn.
What makes you special?  Your latitude?
But sir, the anarchy is barely started.
This film's in its first fifteen minutes.
And you love it.  You're having a blast.
You're the pride and pinnacle of history.
"For we are a people drowned in hypocrisy;
Saturated with it to the bone."  Anarchy
Is your vampire girlfriend, pneumatic
And robotic; she eats you; you feed her.
There's nothing new but there's always news.
"Democracy is not a form of government;
Democracy is an absence of government."
Anarchy's gyre burns without changing,
Grilling meat and crapping entropy - what?
Oh, that's right.  It's you again, you,
With the tractor production statistics.
In your bizarre career as armchair king,
You learned well to discount your eyes
And trust whatever went written in numbers,
While p-values aped the haruspic stars
And professors played the court magician.
"With four points I can fit an elephant;
Give me five and he'll wiggle his trunk."
And what of it!  The tractors are real.
The whole recovery is real!  The curve,
As a whole, wriggles really upward...
Of course there are shining reversals.
A year, a decade, five or even ten.
Even Rome had Indian summers galore.
Even in Cato's day the plot was clear.
Anarchy is nothing if not a dramatist.
And a bear: she fed well this summer,
She is fat today; let her hibernate;
We'll see her other aspect in the spring.
So our kingless empire spins immortal,
Plated in old brown fur-clotted blood,
Stinking just a little more each year.
Still you will do anything but serve!


Blogger Mencius Moldbug said...

The quotes are from Carlyle, Carlyle, Carlyle, Trotsky, Carlyle, I wish I knew, and von Neumann. The insurance ad (actually from Look magazine, May 17, 1966; a Life clone, but Life sounded better) is here. The Longyearbyen column is here.

August 1, 2014 at 8:15 PM  

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