William S. Burroughs once quipped, “The face of evil is the face of total need.” Not just junkies: everybody has their fix. No one’s innocent of need. The human animal is comprised of a complex of needs and desires, mostly superfluous and superficial, like picking over the bones of dead celebrities for salacious gossip to avoid what’s really going on. The recent very public autopsy of Carrie Fisher particularly bugs me. She was, by all reports, a lovely person. She didn’t kill anybody. She brought joy to a lot of people. She was open about her struggles with addiction in a time when addiction is epidemic and requires open discussion. She should be venerated, not cut down to sordid details for clickbait.
It’s appropriate at this time to announce that should anyone ever actually obtain a photograph of Thomas Pynchon and publish it without his permission, I will stalk that person and subject that person to a truly epic campaign of awful pranks. No one needs a photograph of Thomas Pynchon. Pynchon needs privacy. The work towers on its own merits. You’ve been warned.
Human perversity being what it is, the more you express a need for something, the more likely people are to deny it. I keep my needs simple: an endless supply of cigarettes, Pabst Blue Ribbon, quality pot, and novelty, in that order. The novelty part keeps getting easier. The fortune-telling business has never been more challenging, and I’m fairly certain that nuclear war is the most novel thing ever. If I were a Deist, I’d be wondering if perhaps God has gone insane. Fortunately, I lean more towards the idea that we’re living in a simulation created by demented hyper-intelligent tweakers from another universe with too much time on their hands.
It turns out that regardless of the will of the electorate, the USA is completely under the thumb of the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC). The MIC needs war, and war it will be, regardless of whatever Donald Trump wants. If you want a really good look at the Face Of Need that Burroughs was talking about, you have to go further than Skid Row, the shooting galleries, and the crack houses. The Face Of Need smiles like a happy pig in the boardrooms of Raytheon, Halliburton, Northrup Grumman, the whole sick crew of defense contractors and war profiteers and effete inbred Ivy League pseudo-intellectuals from think tanks, all of whom derive their homicidal fix from the safety of being out of range.
Most Americans are debt slaves who think they’re “free.” They think they have “rights.” They have the right to remain silent. Most Americans need psychotropic drugs and an endless ocean of shallow distractions to get through the day without going postal. Heroin brings order to disordered lives. It’s a perfect fit for someone with no dreams or goals. In his brilliant 35,000-word 1995 manifesto, Industrial Society And Its Future, the Unabomber maintained that human beings need attainable goals that require struggle in order to remain sane. I’m not sure that much seems attainable these days to the two generations of disinherited Americans scrambling around for whatever crumbs may fall from the tables of our neo-feudal lords and ladies.
I need an end to endless war, and if it takes Literally Hitler or something much scarier to do it, I’m on board. We need to purge the neocons. One of the messages of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings was that evil can only be defeated by a greater evil (Galadriel taking the One Ring), or by accident (as happened). I’m all in favor of novelty, but nuclear war is taking it a bit far. Nobody needs a nuclear war, and I need to stop editorializing about it and tell you a story...