The Moment of Truth — September 15, 2001
John Wayne’s Lazy Eye
Hi, I’m mejeffdorchen, and welcome to the Moment of Truth, the voice that tries its damnedest to speak life back to the dead.
A few weeks back, after the Israeli army had killed some more Palestinians and captured more of their land, I said that we non-Arab-hating Jews had failed, and that, and I quote, “We’ll have cheated fate if one day the Jews for Genocide, or some other eschatological Gestapo, don’t come for us.”
Ten days later: kaboom. We have not cheated fate. Some other eschatological Gestapo has indeed come for us, and others are waiting in the wings. They’ll keep coming, row on row, to our doors, dragging us away in the night. They’ll be reborn over and over to come for us, but we’ll be ghosts each time, reliving the nightmare.
Let me explain what I mean by an eschatological armed force: a people who have been turned into violent, bigoted lunatics by their image of the end times of history. Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Maoists, Stalinists, and Capitalists are all prone to a disorder that drives them crazy about the end times of history: we at the American Courage Institute call it Apocalyptic Cortical Atrophy, or Doomatoid Startfightis.
The pathology of the disease is as follows: the patient at first exhibits the inability to distinguish shades of gray. The patient perceives the world as separated into solid areas of black and white. This early stage of the disease is called Optical Narrative Polarization, or Manichean Dichromasy.
Left untreated, the disease progresses to its next stage, in which the patient perceives one of the solid areas as pure and the other as a pollutant. For example, a zoologist with this disorder might come to view a zebra as an otherwise beautiful white horse suffering from the contamination of stripes. He might even go as far as to attempt to wash the stripes off, gouge them out, or come up with some way of manipulating the zebra’s genetics in order to rid the zebra race of its pollutants. This stage is commonly known as Cinematic Deuteranopia, or John Wayne’s Lazy Eye. In some cases it has caused governmental agencies to fund, train and supply extremists when moderates are available and willing, perhaps under the delusion that the extreme faction will hasten the purification process. The patient ignores admonishments that cutting the stripes off the zebra will make it all bloody, rather than pure and white, and even leave blood on the patient’s own hands. Nor does the patient heed warnings that the knife used to carve the stripes out might be one day used against the carver himself, or that the zebra may rebel and kick the patient in the vitals.
If allowed to run its course, the pathology enters its tertiary phase: known by many names – Rumsfeld’s Rapture, bin Laden’s Bedazzlement, Pol Pot’s Epiphany, Khomeini’s Cacophany, Vajpayee’s Vertigo, Mao’s Maisma, Sharon’s Giddy Hysterical Genocidal Ejaculatory Paroxysm – it begins with utopian fantasies about a pure world absent of pollutants. The sufferer spends all his or her time visualizing a world of pure white or pure black, with the respective opposite color banished from that world.
At this point progress of the disease is rarely able to be reversed, resulting in a slippage into the final stage, known as Nationlistic Neural Necropsy. The heat of the white image or the gravitational hunger of the black – the unmitigated pressure of one or the other vision of purity – becomes so great that it actually pulverizes the parts of the brain responsible for rational thought, responsible for conscience – responsible at all, really. The patient is left in a state of complete neural irresponsibility.
In the case of our afflicted zoologist, the patient, on discovering the bloody mess he had made, and still being kicked by the zebra, had no ability whatever to connect his actions with the gore and equine rage that surrounded, slathered and battered him. He continued to hack at the stripes but could not connect the hacking with the brutality and carnage around him.
So the Doomatoid Startfightic patient is nothing more nor less than a human being who has lost those qualities that raise us above our primitive cousins, the soccer hooligans.
But what good are such allegorical essays which parody entries from a medical diagnostic handbook? In what way do they serve the republic, with their polisyllabic chimerical combinations of disease names, cultural referrences, and insults? What good are they, with their words made out of letters, their letters made out of ink, their ink made out of cheap nonsense created by a sad clown sweeping up a spotlight in the decrepit circus called Heaven?
Because, let’s face it, this ain’t no allegory. It looked like a dream, like a nightmare, in the clear, blue sky. But it wasn’t. This was a real thing, as real as if you were there in the airplane with them. Maybe you dreamed that you were.
Let me say that worst of the US created the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, the same way they created Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. I want to say that so that some of you ghosts will know how good it feels to be asked back to life.
I was driving from Texas to LA the day before it happened. And while I was driving I suddenly became certain that I was going to get into a fatal accident. Do you ever, once in a while, stop and realize, “Hey, one day I’m gonna be in the dentist’s chair feeling nervous and in pain and unhappy”? And you remember what that was like, and you know it’s inevitable that, yes, it will happen again. You will again sit in that horrible chair. Or you think, gee, I haven’t lost anything important, like my wallet, in a long time; I bet I’m due. And then you do. Or you don’t. Or you pause on a nice day, even a nice day at work, if you have one, and think, some day soon another person I know is going to die. And you get sad, because you know it’s true.
So this was like that. Except there was this feeling of certainty, like, I could feel it. I could feel in my skull the impact of whatever was gonna hit me, it was gonna come from behind, over my left shoulder, and I could hear its impact in my left ear, which would be the last of my body parts to sense anything, and I could feel my brains fly out of my head and my mind snuff out. It was incredibly real and I had to figure out how to react to it. It scared me because it was such a fleshy premonition. But in the end I just surrendered to it. I resigned myself to the certainty that I was gonna die in an accident on the highway on the way to LA.
But instead I got to LA. I entered the house. This felt odd because I hadn’t expected to do so.
When I was a little kid, my dad told me he was gonna take me to a Red Wings hockey game. I had only seen Red Wings games on TV. So now I was going to a place that I’d seen on TV? It seemed impossible. But we actually did get there.
Another time, I knew I was gonna get a tape recorder for my birthday. I think I was turning nine. And I couldn’t sleep, because I didn’t really believe I myself could actually have a tape recorder. How could it be? I was sure I would die before I woke up, because a tape recorder and my immediate experience could never exist in the same room. Tape recorders were impossible! They could only belong to other people, who were also impossible.
So I walked into the LA house, having not expected to see it again, having believed it on the opposite side of a line it was impossible to cross, beyond a wall made of the limits of what could be real. So there I was, a ghost. And I went to bed in that house.
The next morning I woke up and saw a plane smash into a famous American building and explode, and I watched those buildings collapse and all the rest of it. Just like you would dream it in a nightmare. In your nightmare the sky would be perfectly blue and the plane would come just like it did and the explosion would come. That’s what I saw. And I think I was still a ghost then. And I think I stayed a ghost until I read Michael Moore’s article, Death Downtown, which you can read at his website. And then I realized that I wasn’t a ghost, that someone was telling me he lived in the same world as I did and that he was alive. Moore was telling me things I already knew, of course, but up till then how did I know anyone else knew them? I was afraid to ask if anyone knew them. I was a ghost and couldn’t ask. All these people had died and I had feelings about it and I knew they were valid, they were mine and nothing to be ashamed of. But what right does a ghost have to pipe up amid the misery of living people?
Anway, I’m just about completely alive now, and I feel bad. I’m mad about what happened because it didn’t come out of nowhere for me, I’ve been talking about it and writing about it and worrying about it all along. And I don’t like why it happened, and I don’t like what anyone in charge of anything thinks is necessary to do about it. Colin Powell and Osama bin Laden want a world war. That’s what they said. That’s what’s gonna happen, because the disgusting people have gotten so good at fulfilling each other’s worst prophecies that it’s just the ultimate. It’s just got so far out of hand that no one with a mind and a heart can go near the controls, everything’s being run by the self-appointed bringers of the end of days.
That’s my feeling at the time of this writing. Bear in mind I plan to have more feelings, and that I resent the very gravity of the incident itself for hanging a stone around my soul. I will fly again, with purpose. We will keep the history of this war and its causes and it will be remembered and lessons will be learned, because if you’re already a ghost you’re that much better at speaking from the dead than the hooligans are. Write history! Talk it and spread it!
That’s mejeffdorchen, and, you know. The Moment of Truth.