The Cynicism Bubble

In the winter of 2010-11, a variety of dreary situations congealed into one of the most personally devastating tragedies a young writer can experience.  It began, landing in Norfolk, VA on December 25th, and exiting the terminal to the winter’s first snowfall. Florida’s Governor had just been elected, but the problem of Rick Scott’s residence in Tallahassee hadn’t yet revealed the true depths of its evil.

To be sure, there’s some problems with Scott’s election that are depressing to the idealistic, youthful politico. He entered the race very late, almost as an afterthought. You know what, the type of thought Scott had was probably more like: “hah, this is my competition? Jane[1], how much money do I have? Hah. You think that’s enough to buy this thing? Yeah, like 50 times, baby-cakes. Oh you know.” And Lo, he injected himself into the race surrounded by cash and platitudes. Things like:”I’ll run Florida like a business,” and like “I’ll restore jobs to the state in such lucratively impossible amounts as to defy not just the predictions of economists but even the simplistic logic of the thickest Floridian partisan”.

The mistake, of course, was that sane people looked at Scott as an obvious fraud. Sane people seems pejorative or judgmental, as if to say the electorate behaved in a dangerously unstable way by electing Scott.[2] But, one can forgive the placid observer from looking at Scott with open derision. As if to say, oh, well at least I know – quite possibly the least I’ve ever known anything – at least I know Floridians are better than this. For example, previous governor, Charlie Crist’s star imploded in a vainglorious and abortive Senatorial run due to his lack of accomplishing just about damn near anything in his tenure as governor. Crist’s accomplishments include: being tan, cow-faced, and having the pearly Oleander smile of a true-Floridian gay icon, if not a gay man himself.  And Crist’s star imploded rightly so. And then, if Floridians are sane enough to view Crist with that type of open “no duh” judgmental glare, why not also Scott?  So, one would say the seeds of despair sit in the sane man’s mind like salt in the Earth. Going from Jeb Bush[3] to Charlie Crist to Rick Scott. Who can blame this illusory “sane man” for his melancholy?

Then, the young writer read this book. Griftopia. Let’s say that was a bad idea if he meant to maintain sanity with these dismal dice already rolled.  The conclusion of this book about the financial collapse spoke to the unholy union of government and finance. Specifically, that not only are politicians generally corrupt or incompetent. Not only is the banking industry wildly irresponsible. Not only do average Americans have no chance at changing this relationship. Not only can Wall Street destroy our economy and not go to jail. Not only has journalistic integrity and any meaningful reporting wholly failed. Et Cetera. Michael Moore. Keith Olbermann. NPR. Et Cetera…

Without sounding conspiratorial, Taibbi’s script illustrates the truth of the devastating relationship. That true sociopaths are actively seeking leadership roles with an intent for graft. You may have not heard that term since you read Dante. But, basically, politicians and finance CEOs are actively working to strip every penny from the American taxpayer, take not just our tax revenue, but rob young American families looking for home ownership loans, and students seeking scholarships, and young investors. And it was all known and out there waiting for someone to find it and some economists knew about it but were ignored by the media/public. So, silently we sailed into the inferno, every news medium either asleep at the wheel or complicit in the firestorm.

Now, let’s return to the original point. That some truly Warren Commission magnitudes of conspiratorial fodder lay before this writer’s feet. An unholy problem of devastating cynicism overload just sat there like a landmine underneath Taibbi’s book, waiting for that return flight after the first time legitimately taking a break from work. Stepping back into the reality of the routine. Of capital-A adulthood. How does one approach reality after the veil’s been lifted? This isn’t some post-modern exercise. All stock in periodicals had evaporated by Taibbi’s conclusion. Does one such politico pick up a newspaper and hope buried in those pages are the hieroglyphics of next year’s Disaster of the Generation? Wouldn’t that make one a sociopath, severed of all neural connections grounded in reality – trying to find information in such a thoroughly discredited medium? Running back to the arms of the abuser and all that jazz.

And its not just backseat driving, shitting on journalism for missing the call on the Collapse.

There it is though. And so, graft, grafters. Those actively responsible for the Collapse – those who seek to undermine regulatory structures, the prosecutorial arm of the executive branch. Those figures smacking back funding from Washington as if it were the Biblical Serpent offering them the fruit of the tree. Well, to some I’m sure the confluence of “Washington handouts” and the “fruit of the tree” has a big overlap – e.g., if it were in Venn diagram structure. The desolation this has on the young writer’s mind only becomes apparent when out of the ashes arises Governor Rick Scott. What cold comfort to the intellectually ravaged writer, to return to your already despised home state, employment, routine of self-betterment, to find the forces of mediocrity and theft prevailed, once again.

Of course, all one needed to do was tap the ever-reliable Father Figure for some perspective on the Scott Supporter’s mind. While having dinner in St. Lucie West at Town Crier Pub, a loud outburst of incredulity boomed over the shearing cross winds and disturbed at least one fellow outside-dining patron.

“He’s better than most because at least so far he hasn’t tried to have sex with kids; he hasn’t broken the law; he doesn’t belong in jail.”

“Are you fucking shitting me?” I shout loudly at my father, as heads from at least one table turn glaringly[4] in my direction. “What part of ‘record Medicare fraud fines’ don’t you fucking understand?”

And the Madre jumps in on Dad, herself a healthcare professional, a Nurse Practitioner with a self-avowed loathing of any and all those who view the distribution of Healthcare as a profitable relationship (at least, first and foremost as profitable – her caveat, not mine). She’s worked for them before, she says. And she’s reminded by one’s self that Scott up until recently had a huge stake in Solantic, in addition to his already incestuous Medicare-profit pumping debacle.

And the verdict’s in. Conservative, Mid-Western father dithers about how difficult it is to prove that fraud took place, and how fraud’s just common-place and how its not really a big deal and certainly not as bad as raping kids. A fine judgment for what a decent politician ought to aspire.

But there it is, right?

What’s the point of reading newspapers. Preparing to do as the Founding Father’s wished and vote with some self-gained education on the issues, the pros and cons. When newspapers around the country fold up their tents and go home – not because of the cost of subscription but because facts just don’t matter anymore. At least he didn’t rape kids or kill anybody. What the fuck is the point of reading, bettering one’s self, voting with all the relevant facts on your side, giving two shits about what’s happening in your city, etc. In the end, these vampiric cephalopods are going to win because they play to emotions with platitudes and dithering and convince many among us that at the very least, they aren’t raping kids and that’s good enough. And so, John McCain gets away with mistaking the United States for the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and Sarah Palin gets away with botching the Paul Revere history, and no one agrees on the science of putting the cesspool away from the drinking reservoir. Just what the fuck is the point.

Post Script:

I wrote this to try and work out what happened to my brain and why, among other things, I can’t read newspapers anymore. The words just bounce of my eyeballs like Nerf balls flung by younger siblings. The words just won’t process. My brain has literally put up a wall. Maybe because I studied and respected journalists/ism for four years alongside a deep value (and study) of history. Both these prized intellectual pursuits were just totally shot down by the cold facts of capital A – adulthood. Nothing seems real anymore. Not the news. Not world events. Not the professed love of friends, family and nurturing lovers. Not the silent compact of capital F – friendship. Now, all that’s real is past, and only my personal past. My brother, my mother and father, my dog, my painfully awkward teenage years and past-lovers, and the few good friends I have from before the necrotic venom of Adulthood was willingly mainlined in my thirsty veins.

So maybe this is about the death of innocence and trite college-era naivete, hope, all that. Maybe its about trust. Maybe I understand why my parents never really had friends. We never went to barbecues or picnics*, except from their own pre-Adulthood friends – those they could trust before they embraced the necrotic hug of Adulthood – which was really just one family and newsflash, that family is now getting divorced, and has/is geographically separating.

Everything is temporary except those now sad memories of when, before, a friend was a friend. Dishonesty existed outside the Venn diagram of a carefully constructed fence, a bubble really. Now that pain and lies are inside the circle of ourselves. What happens next?


[1] Since Mad Men, I think every buxom redheaded secretary gets named Jane in honor of the television actress who also played the vixen villian on that two-parter of FireFly where Mal starts off naked in the desert.

[2] Who am I kidding? That’s exactly what I’m saying.

[3] Any perceived derision comes from someplace internal in the reader as this essay’s author was born in 1987 and not cognitively capable of passing legitimate judgment on the J. Bush years.

[4] Glaring at my rudeness, I hope, and not the content of our conversation.

*And I can remember those friends and families we did embrace post-capital-A: they betrayed my family, mocked family illness, manipulated our emotions and wallets. I’m not aggrandizing here. These things happened, from self-professed friends.

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