December 1st, 2019

Letter from the Editor

LA in the End Times

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I have often found fruit seeds weird in how they sit in the fruit. They are like as pieces of wood set in the middle of a sweet veil of fruity meat. Worst is when some sliver of wood comes free from the seed to sit in a jiggling yellow mango slice for example. It is like witnessing a breach in the universe.


Recently, I moved to LA—which is also like a breach in the universe—or more as like a rift between the larger storytelling worlds of Hollywood and the everyday mundane walking around world of Target and Marshall’s. There are places here I have lived through the eyes of Bladerunner, and scenes that have only been touched by the barest inkling of realism. There are homes in the hillocks that are like slices of marble arranged decoratively upon the horizon, and seems people here can glide on through to the other side powered only by the brilliance of their bling.


But—as we slide into the unacceptable end times, making the occasional detour through places of no clear definition—as our mouths veer out of themselves in our horror and our eyes become shrink-wrapped in tears—what apocalypse is being written? Here in this shifting miasma in the desert? Are the fires rising? Are the water lapping at our shoes? Do the bureaucrats hint at darker goings on in the pantries just outside the halls of justice? Are the piles of dead animals truly alarming?


Monsters breed in the moments that fill in the blanks between one age and another, but what is the coming age? Is it a coming of age or an old age of the species? Is it the end of the world as we know it? Is it the end of people on the world? Or are the mobs going to rise up and topple whatever eyes in the sky they got orbiting our homes and hunting through the garbage of our endless online chatterings in search of something like the g spot of submission, the aqueduct of consent, the cold sore of the soul.


These monsters we’ve been presented with are more obvious than the most obvious monsters of our storybooks. They are like bad actors hired in two-bit reenactments of the massacres of the past. They are twisting our arms to believe that they could actually perform the sorts of genocides they have already begun. No matter how many times we are told the blood on their lapel is clearly genuine, it looks so much like ketchup.


And so here we are, laughing like this is a regular ho down, and the jostlings of the weather are just a jiggle fest for our benefit. No one actually believes that, but you’re not about to actually do anything about it, are you? What else is there to do but to simply sit back and laugh at the vulgarity of our overlords as they stumble their way through complete annihilation of the planet?


Seeds seem strange because they are distinct from the softer stuff surrounding—and in the moment when a person eats of this meat surrounding the seed, we tend to forget—about the useless extra bit—the pit, the pip, the stone, the nut—but they are the reason for the fruit’s existence. The veil we eat is just a vessel to take the seed where it needs to go.


We need to begin educating ourselves. We have been trained in a special kind of self-serving vision that defeats us before we have even begun to breathe. We are already lost because we’re looking just a little to the left of our purpose, which is not the fruits we eat, but the seeds we plant.


We need to educate ourselves as to what an aftermath might be like—as our butter melts backwards onto our hands while the room spins out of control and the lugubrious diseases of yesteryear are making the comeback of the century—as our many petty vengeances obscure whatever momentary blip of hope there might have been. We need to ask ourselves where this spiraling body is going to come to rest. On what surface do we hope to land this out of control vessel?


Are we aiming for Titan or Europa or Mars as the Earth burns? Do we hope to build underwater cities beneath the graveyard of extinct species? Will our homegrown wispy-haired orange-skinned fascist end his days in the jail cells of our imaginings or will he prance off into senility like the Ronald Reagans of yesteryear?


The change that comes, it comes from us. What needs to happen, must happen now. There is no future hope for humankind. There is only you.


As for me, I’m afraid I’m already halfway around the world in my thinking—as my eyes turn inside out inside this ecosystem of doubt—as the battery acid of the soul eats its way through—as I suffer from a claustrophobic reckoning—as I make a bantering of my silence, a tranquility of my many puncture wounds. This all lives within breath we’re given, this isolated eye.


We are blackening our irises to see further. The light from our ganglia’s so bright it’s gone and blinded us from the optic nerve on out. We are repeatedly punching ourselves in the face in our hopes that perhaps then we’ll wake up enough to actually accomplish real change.


While, meanwhile—are the things come out for feasting? Is it time for us to perform our regular welcoming to the things that lurk under the stairs? Was there ever anything that made sense back there in the loosey-gooseness of the past and its many noble lies and half-told truths? Is there anything that makes sense now? As the monsters circle each other—making kissy faces—dressed as dogs in paintings of poker—dressed as the dark desires keep us caged inside ourselves.


We want our team to win, because they are in the right in this fight, but beyond the immediate moment, with its ongoing genocides and pending genocides, we need to stand with Chile and with Hong Kong and with Catalan. These are the teams worth fighting for. Elon Musk will not come and sweep you up from your burning bed frame. Mark Zuckerberg was always going to side with alternative facts, but censorship is also very much on the table, my friends, and when you call out the haters, don’t forget that the calling out itself has repurcussions—the calling out itself is a kind of playground logic.


I thrive in places with no known parameters, where only the shattered doors among us can get a decent bite to eat. I am the one who should have known better. I am the one they handle with remorse.


So when I look to you, I am talking to myself here. When I point my finger at you, I’m also shoving it down my own throat. When I say, be careful friend, I am the one stepping on the last koala baby as it expires in the smoldering bush fire.


As, here, in the LA of the end times, a slapstick of opinions is met by the most crippling of eligible bachelors—as the science fiction universe continues to get more sci fi with every black-hole-consumed sun, every zombie cyborg presidential address, every hopeful with their hand up the pants of the underprivileged. Here in LA, people with no prior experience loiter in the sunrooms of the official comptrollers as the world continues to chuckle along with its fingers going rapidfire across the smoldering horizon. There never was another LA than this one, and there never will be a moment when the world is not itself spinning into the abyss.


As the places we believe to be our own places are replaced by other places of lesser status, and as our homes are replaced by the fictitious homes of others, it has always been the apocalypse, and the apocalypse will never come. ​