“The Great Unraveling”

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A New York Times columnist and the greatest of all Irish poets. Who’s likelier to do the apocalyptic thing better? For you women, no lips or full lips?

The right answer is the one with pince nez. The Irishman. Measure the lips yourself.

The Second Coming

Turning and t urning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Now it’s time to do a Scottish thing — Fisk a blind liberal cri de coeur (that’s French for ‘pontificating’). I’ll do it politely, one paragraph at a time. [I’m in the square brackets.]

The Great Unraveling

By Roger Cohen

It was the time of unraveling. Long afterward, in the ruins, people asked: How could it happen?

[You write for the New York Times. You lot have been working night and day for generations to make this happen. Why plead ignorance now? It’s always been your position that you knew everything.]

It was a time of beheadings. With a left-handed sawing motion, against a desert backdrop, in bright sunlight, a Muslim with a British accent cut off the heads of two American journalists and a British aid worker. The jihadi seemed comfortable in his work, unhurried. His victims were broken. Terror is theater. Burning skyscrapers, severed heads: The terrorist takes movie images of unbearable lightness and gives them weight enough to embed themselves in the psyche.

[huh? “Movie images of unbearable lightness”? WTF are you talking about you pompous ass? What we poets call imitation of poetry. More on this later.]

It was a time of aggression. The leader of the largest nation on earth pronounced his country encircled, even humiliated. He annexed part of a neighboring country, the first such act in Europe since 1945, and stirred up a war on further land he coveted. His surrogates shot down a civilian passenger plane. The victims, many of them Europeans, were left to rot in the sun for days. He denied any part in the violence, like a puppeteer denying that his puppets’ movements have any connection to his. He invoked the law the better to trample on it. He invoked history the better to turn it into farce. He reminded humankind that the idiom fascism knows best is untruth so grotesque it begets unreason.

[Anaphora is the cheapest and easiest of all bombastic attempts at eloquence. A sign that you’re trying to write secular scripture. Give it up. You’re merely being pompous. “…stirred up war on further land he coveted.” Putin’s a fuckhead. SAY it, you nincompoop.]

It was a time of breakup. The most successful union in history, forged on an island in the North Sea in 1707, headed toward possible dissolution — not because it had failed (refugees from across the seas still clamored to get into it), nor even because of new hatreds between its peoples. The northernmost citizens were bored. They were disgruntled. They were irked, in some insidious way, by the south and its moneyed capital, an emblem to them of globalization and inequality. They imagined they had to control their National Health Service in order to save it even though they already controlled it through devolution and might well have less money for its preservation (not that it was threatened in the first place) as an independent state. The fact that the currency, the debt, the revenue, the defense, the solvency and the European Union membership of such a newborn state were all in doubt did not appear to weigh much on a decision driven by emotion, by urges, by a longing to be heard in the modern cacophony — and to heck with the day after. If all else failed, oil would come to the rescue (unless somebody else owned it or it just ran out).

[“…not because it had failed”???! Of COURSE it had failed. It permitted one of the strongest cultural traditions in the history of the world to rot away through political correctness and collectivist repression of individual liberty into a slime of government gas. Not the fossil fuel kind, which I understand you hate more than life itself, but the flatulent speech of those who presume to speak for the commoners while they rob and kill them at every turn.]

It was a time of weakness. The most powerful nation on earth was tired of far-flung wars, its will and treasury depleted by absence of victory. An ungrateful world could damn well police itself. The nation had bridges to build and education systems to fix. Civil wars between Arabs could fester. Enemies might even kill other enemies, a low-cost gain. Middle Eastern borders could fade; they were artificial colonial lines on a map. Shiite could battle Sunni, and Sunni Shiite, there was no stopping them. Like Europe’s decades-long religious wars, these wars had to run their course. The nation’s leader mockingly derided his own “wan, diffident, professorial” approach to the world, implying he was none of these things, even if he gave that appearance. He set objectives for which he had no plan. He made commitments he did not keep. In the way of the world these things were noticed. Enemies probed. Allies were neglected, until they were needed to face the decapitators who talked of a Caliphate and called themselves a state. Words like “strength” and “resolve” returned to the leader’s vocabulary. But the world was already adrift, unmoored by the retreat of its ordering power. The rule book had been ripped up.

[Who connived, conspired, lied, and betrayed all the principles of the journalistic profession to put this weakling in office as if he were the savior of the world? Your lot. Command Central of the devastation of American strength and influence is the New York Times. How dare you make it sound like some Act of God?]

It was a time of hatred. Anti-Semitic slogans were heard in the land that invented industrialized mass murder for Europe’s Jews. Frightened European Jews removed mezuzahs from their homes. Europe’s Muslims felt the ugly backlash from the depravity of the decapitators, who were adept at Facebooking their message. The fabric of society frayed. Democracy looked quaint or outmoded beside new authoritarianisms. Politicians, haunted by their incapacity, played on the fears of their populations, who were device-distracted or under device-driven stress. Dystopia was a vogue word, like utopia in the 20th century. The great rising nations of vast populations held the fate of the world in their hands but hardly seemed to care.

[How did this hatred happen? You promoters of moral relativeness insisted that Muslims were peace loving and Jews were genocidal occupiers. Now the masses believe it and you’re nonplussed? Go fuck yourself. And take your phony scripture voice with you. YOU are killing the Jews, and YOU are empowering the silent majority of Jew hating, Christian hating, Sharia mad Muslims to enforce their caliphate throughout Europe and the Middle East.]

It was a time of disorientation. Nobody connected the dots or read Kipling on life’s few certainties: “The Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire / And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.”

[Dog, return to your vomit. I’ve no more stomach for it.]

Until it was too late and people could see the Great Unraveling for what it was and what it was.

[Faker, return to your cocktail party, and try not to write more chapter and verse of Times scripture till you’ve sobered up and read what you wrote when you were this stinking, pretentious, stupid-ass drunk.]

Your friends in the newsroom may regard this kind of crap as brilliant. But they’re not writers. Not anymore. They’re whores with painted faces just as clownish as yours.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

I think I know.

  1. Alfa’s avatar

    A great Fisk. The comparison to real poetic writing should shame him forever. I just despise this foppish, mannerized writing.

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