Climate change may be turning plants into “junk food”–more sugars, fewer proteins and micronutrients, wheat and rice bulked up like Hans and Franz.
Over the weekend at a party that was genuinely lovely despite impending Trumpocalypse, I tangled myself in a drunken assertion that Stockhom Syndrome doesn’t exist. In the context of terrifying, lying political leaders who govern regular schmoes trying to get by. I was flailing at this argument with two people who had more expertise than I on the topic, including a dear friend with a doctorate in clinical psychology. Sangria for the win.
Sobered up, I regretted being unable to cite Masha Gessen’s writing on living in an autocracy built on and perpetuated by lies (though if I’d been able to cite her, I’d have bungled it right the F up). And while I can’t find the particular piece I’m looking for, a small meditation, pre-Trumpocalypse, on Putin’s famous horseback photo and the quotidian strategies her mother and family had used to cope with a lying liar government, this one’s just fine. My basic drunken claim was, you know, people aren’t stupid. My friends were saying it’s not stupid to adapt to one’s reality in order to survive. I exclaimed, “Elizabeth Smart!! She was at that party and couldn’t say anything! But she never believed them!” Though I substituted volume for nuance, I didn’t actually disagree with my friends. And in fact, we were sharing a deep anxiety about the effect our current president’s passion for lies would have on us. Though bolstered with keen bullshit-detection techniques, a love of democratic ideals, and a perhaps-naive belief in our abilities to adequately train our kids in media literacy, are we bolstered enough?
With our government’s lies taunting me, I wrote a piece for the Jewish families blog about dealing with Yom Kippur when your kids are already freaked-out perfectionists. Additional dark musings on the nature of contemporary sin and the struggle of explaining a degraded, post-Charlottesville, post-Irma/Maria country to kids whose happiness you are desperate to preserve didn’t make it into the post, which was meant to be lightish and broadly appealing. But you can bet I’ve cried about it all.
So with our democracy speedily hastening its demise, our plants rebelling against us by becoming more like junk food kale! Junk food wheat!, oceans acidifying, free speech a right only available to white supremacists, and the increasing likelihood that literal cross-Pacific dick-swinging will trigger literal MFing nuclear war, DEVO’s decades-old performance art project about the devolution of humankind seems more accurate than ever. I hope you enjoy this little story about their genius cover of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
Mothersbaugh put the tape in a boom box and pressed Play. As the sounds of the cover filled the room, Jagger sat stone-faced. What he was hearing didn’t sound much like the “Satisfaction” he’d written. Keith Richards’s iconic riff was gone, and the original melody was nowhere to be found. Was this a homage, Mick must have wondered, or were they mocking him? “He was just looking down at the floor swirling his glass of red wine,” Casale recently remembered, adding, “He didn’t even have shoes on, just socks and some velour pants. I don’t know what his habits were then, but this was early afternoon and it looked like he had just gotten up.”
Mick Jagger may have chicken-danced to one of the best spoofs of masculinity in pop music, but that was a long time ago. Not even Star Trek can give us utopia in these dark days. But at least Weiner’s going to jail. So drink more sangria! I like mine dry like our forests have gotten.
1 bottle light, dry red wine (like Grenache)
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup orange liquor (like Cointreau)
Chopped up apples and oranges
Mix it all in a pitcher and let it sit overnight. Serve with a bucket of ice and your choice cold fuzzy water for party guests to enspritzen, should they choose. Multiplies easily, like calamity.