HBO must be getting ready to re-air the first season of True Detective under the ‘True Crime’ genre at this point. Trump was one kind of shock, but this entire saga with Epstein is making my brain melt. Trump was the 80’s game show television plotline for dystopian America, and Epstein is the one-off 90’s movie based on some John Grisham book, and next we’re going to get the 2000’s fucking apocalyptic trilogy.

(the hits just keep coming, i mean, just what the fuck)

The 2020 election will basically decide the future and people are still hoping Joe Biden wins. We’re all so, so fucked.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

The first thing I notice is how everyone is smiling. Like, everyone. This place would be a cartoon if it was in America. There’s not a lick of insincerity. And this is leaving the fucking airport, where I thought it was a rule that basically everyone is miserable, always, everywhere.

This part of the world is often used, in one form or another, as a political talking point in America about places that “get X,Y or Z” done right. The clean streets, effective and modern transportation infrastructure, seemingly robust economy, not needing to worry about health care or police shootings (or, really, shootings much at all).1

Copenhagen felt like Amsterdam without all the vice tourism, which is nice because it uncrowded the streets a bit. Even at Christiania, with its turned-eye hash market, everything was relaxed. Energetic and wonderful, but no drunks on parade the way one might find around various downtown areas back in Holland.

I think the only depressing thing about travel is with each new city and culture I experience, it piles on more evidence as to exactly how much America has got wrong. How much we’ve veered off-course as a country, as an idea. How bad things are and how much it would take to get remotely back on track, toward an idea of a place where people would actually smile at one another leaving the airport.

  • Of course these are mostly leftist talking points; the right would probably like the fact most of the people are white, but nationalism is for suckers.

even with a long-standing history of revolution, unrest and the remarkable culture that stems from it, the deeply romantic aspects of Paris make it the saddest city I’ve ever been to. —the combination of everything gives it such a high bar in terms of social makeup: political, artistic, caring—

and though New York is an uncaring city, given that it’s American it still lends opportunity, or at least welcomes anyone who can generate some economic kickback. that’s not necessarily my vibe, but at least it’s not fuckin’ England.

London is a brutal city. it’s beautiful in the way a luxury store is, where by default it is there to say, if you can’t afford, don’t even ask. the city itself seems to operate as a grotesque advertisement for a caste system.

I guess who can blame them, the Brits have had a system based on inherited wealth longer than most, and at this point the despair that comes with it must just be so deeply ingrained in their social consciousness that the rest is useless. but roaming around, I see America’s future.

It’s not so much an admitted sadness, but an obvious one where nobody has any hope of getting beyond a certain place in life, and even if they achieved an extraordinary amount, somebody else would always be looking down on them just because of their name.

this culture is trash.

Castletownbere

Last Light in Ireland

Small towns seem to be alike all over the world. Word travels fast, people without names know who you are despite the fact you do not. The days fold in on themselves, at first seeming endless until suddenly they have vanished.

Ireland is a special place. Not that the people are any better than the rest of the world, but the country they’ve built certainly is. Plastic bottles along the shoreline and oil draped across wakes of fishing boats were reminders that nothing is ever perfect, but it’s a far cry from the horrendous bouts of violence that have gripped America for decades now.

It’s an awkward transition this time, as I thought initially I wouldn’t need to leave the border. I’d shifted into a place of semi-permanence, now back into transience. Being in London, almost the total opposite of a quaint Irish town in so many ways, is the right kind of shock. (Especially considering I have the same view of England as the Irish tend to. Long live the Republic.)

As the world carves itself to pieces, Ireland seems to be the one place staying above it all (even with Britain’s best efforts to take the entire region down in flames). Even the heatwave didn’t really hit there, only remarkable singalongs in comfortable pubs and friendly smiles that didn’t lack sincerity in the least. So long as I am not there, I will miss it.

the magnitude of how fucked things are right now is pushing the boundaries of absurd moments in the entire history of humankind

it’s almost incomprehensible to me that we live in an age where there is so much to critique but, due to the availability of criticism, reports don’t really matter for anything, no matter how well-done their accounts.

children dying in concentration camps, fearmongering entitled rich kids running empires, billionaires hailed as gods for no reason other than wealth accumulation. i just cannot fathom the mindset of people who somehow still believe in capitalism. like how much fascism do you need in your daily newsfeed before it fucking dawns on you, “hey maybe we should do something about this collectively”

Seattle

Pike Place · Seattle

I mailed home 20 rolls of film and a couple were processed and scanned and this was one of the first images I saw from the crop—from my last weeks between Portland and Seattle—and it reminds me so much of why I just keep going from place to place. The generalized insanity of self-indulgence during the end of the world ad nauseum is enough to make a person lose their mind.

the dead-end ephemera of The West used to be plastic toys on the middle shelf sold at grocery stores. now it’s the intangible, all-consuming cloud of frustration that is the interconnected contemporary human psyche.

—sitting today listening in one ear to Tom Waits and the other to stories from East Germany Before The Wall Fell and reading the various official documents describing the President raping a child and i have to remind myself that any light i see at the end of this tunnel is that of an oncoming train—

we all just flail through the patterns of personal belief, each a fragment on this fractal of existence. every life an equation, dividing itself down to zero. the heart is a chisel and time is the hammer that hits it into our fragile bodies. history is a sleight-of-hand trick. the future is a dead rabbit.

if art is just going to entertain the people who don’t have to afford to give a shit about anything until the end of the world, then what the fuck is the point? opportunists and amateur humans come in all forms.

reading the news is a trap. daily routine seems more like existential prison than maintaining a balance of information and culture. the grotesque, pointless discourse of the internet seems more intent on attaching itself to the world of profiteering than the mechanics of change (in which action follows words).

whereas my rage used to be enough to keep writing, as if the words would make a difference, that accumulated static appears to hide its nature like one of those magic eye posters; underneath the patterns are a hamster wheel of despair, exhausting the minds of any and all who participate in the trivial cycle of debate about when and how this all is going to come crashing down.

—if we spent half as much energy trying to change this system of parasitic, psychopathic capitalists and their corporate oligarchies as we did blindly fighting one another about invisible divisions based in propagandized paranoia and pretending we’re on different sides of armageddon, maybe it all could actually be avoided—

this fucking world.