A democratic state must acknowledge its enemy will never be fully defeated, and loses legitimacy if it fights them with more force than absolutely necessary.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
A fascist state needs the promise of ultimately exterminating its enemy, yet always needs an enemy to make war against.
Monday, May 28, 2018
Saturday, May 26, 2018
It must have been 1995. Last day of eight grade. Sometimes I dream of going back and realizing I've missed twenty years of classes, but it must be ten years or more since I dreamed of really being back there. We were in a building way away from the rest of the school buildings, on the other end of a soccer field and a parking lot, not because eight graders were generally kept away from civil society but because the school kept building more buildings and we somehow ended up at the edge of that expansion, which was much nicer than the rented construction barracks in which we had spent most of grade seven. It was a small building with just our classroom and the woodshop, which was often empty, so it was really a bit like we were in a world of our own. The classroom had a kitchen where one guy put together a pancake out of pancake mix and every chemical he could steal from the chem lab, and he kept it in the silverware drawer.
(So now you know where Scrubs got that joke from.)
It never went bad or anything, and no one wanted to eat it. (That had more to do with him having his hands on it than the obviously deadly chemicals in it.) But it stayed with us all year and nobody had anything to say. When we had a cooking class with our biology teacher she put a coleslaw salad in the oven to keep it out of the way and everyone forgot it. Our classroom became infamous for the weird smell over the following months until I remembered. It was anarchy.
And we had such a good time, on that last day we all stayed at our desks shooting the shit until it got dark outside. (That should have been a hint, because it doesn't get fully dark around here until about late September.)
And then the UFO showed up. This is the part I can remember clearly, you know, in the way the part of a dream that wakes you up seems to override everything that went before. The guy on the desk next to me watched out the window and gave directions that I, not being able to name a lot of stars and especially not watching the night sky through a window, followed poorly enough that I tried to look out the wrong window. I told him I couldn't see anything, and he explained my mistake and I joined the other twelve boys and girls watching this flashing light glide over the sky. I wasn't the only one remarking it was the shape and color of the aliens in The Simpsons, with the comically large green head in a tube sticking out of a classic icecream-jar-lid flying saucer. But that was just a coincidence with the arrangement of its lights.
We saw that when it got closer. It was tiny, like a wasp, and it slid through the window with almost no resistance and buzzed through the room while we sat frozen, afraid of scaring or hurting it. I'm pretty sure it went through my right shoulder, though it felt like it just bumped against it. The room was so dark you couldn't see what was going on, the ship was just these spots of colored light and all of this was not enough to wake me up. I only woke up because of the force of the insight that hit me as I began to figure out something about how the world was put together, based on the way this stranger was apparently only intersecting with what we'd call physical substance.
I wish I could have been there forever, with that strange light that made everything else dark, with my friends who were all bold enough to meet this strangeness with curiosity instead of antipathy, with that moment that was going to change everything. We were fifteen. We were free and we were immortal. I cannot say if, in my dream, anyone thought I was Emil or Amelie; I was just one of the class, one of us.
I don't know if there's a point to this, except just when I was going to sleep I was thinking through a plot I probably won't write. A plot where a character's dreams reveal repressed memories.