Sunday, November 27, 2011


The condition of America was finally concluded in the year Future. Sometime in the nearest Future. At a steel convention meant to introduce Americans to the Future. This was the last in a series of desperate campaigns declaring the condition of American prosperity. The campaign was called "The Done Deal". America had run out of money and all the cowboys had been lined up and run through with bayonet. Groups of naked men held meetings in the forest. But the experiment of America was too proud and there was still more future to be made. And the future was RALPHA1.

The purpose of the convention was so that federal officials could beg for the steel men to support their efforts with RALPHA1. It was America's last spasm. "No more secrets, America," they promised, "We really mean it this time. We really want to make it work this time."

RALPHA1 was a bio-hydraulic arm displayed inside a giant glass encasing. RALPHA1 was revealed publicly as a machine of massive death. There would be no question as to who could survive the work of RALPHA1: no one. The thing that RALPHA1 was was a long industrial arm with skin but mounted on rolling tracks. It was a certain thing. It was a flexed bicep behind glass. And so RALPHA1 was born for America. And it was the year of Future -- they were sure of it.

This is how RALPHA1 worked: the bio-hydraulic arm would roll into a country and begin to shakes hands and give everyone high-fives. It would strum an electric guitar and play rock songs. It would stop wars and break the legs of carnivorous men. It would pass out clothes to the poor and give food to the hungry. After some time, however, all the rock songs would begin to sound the same and the clothes would arrive brittle and branded with corporate logos. The food would be modified into smaller and smaller units until it became ultraviolet light and nutrients were projected into their feeble bodies.

The next thing that would happen was this: after some more time RALPHA1 would suddenly withdraw all of its support from the region. No more brittle clothing, no more mutant foods, no more corporate logos. And there would be those who would hail this as the Future and who were willing to seize that burning sun. But they were unable to understand how free the rock songs had made them feel and how weak the ultraviolet food had made their bodies. And RALPHA1 would wait for them to begin fighting each other. Then it would roll back into town and smash everything into dust. The arm would beat on the earth like a drum making a sound calling for war, daring anything to shake its hand or to give it a high-five. The very special feature about RALPHA1 was its ability to moralize. It could decide if a high-five was snarky or if it was well-meaning. But the thing was that the RALPHA1 never decided that something was well-meaning. It was always evil and brown and it was impossible. It was impossible to live in America anymore. Everyone was implicated. And the only idea of national allegience was Byzantine terrorism.

But the steel men slumped down into their chairs, eyes rolled back, licking their lips. RALPHA1 was certain and when a thing is certain in America then it means it is a 'Done Deal'. All America ever wanted was a done deal. Instant liberty. Instant rights. Instant microwavable food. And when Americans have said 'Done Deal' it means 'This is something to help us keep surviving. This is something in which to invest devotion. This is something which creates our identity. We have put our treasure here and we hope that it is where our heart is also."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This is how the American condition was manifested: in the body of Bob Dylan. In the beginning the boy was young and strong and America was made up of a tame field of his hair. The first Americans, the ones learning how to feel, were able to run through the cornfield of Bob Dylan's hair and celebrate America with their feet. The sound of their running were hymns echoing forever on the Fourth of July. Hymns coursing over the surface of America. And Bob Dylan saw that it was good. And that America was good.

The first Americans, the ones still learning how to feel, saw the body of Bob Dylan as the body of themselves, as another part of their bodies. There was some hidden pool deep in the body of America and they were now able to drink from it. From the mouth of Bob Dylan, from the body of America. They could simply press their mouths onto his and then, there would be America. Justly delivered. So they would all stand in line to French-kiss the body of Bob Dylan and it was considered patriotic to give him a little extra tongue while your dad was watching.

And through it all the body of Bob Dylan continued to manifest the American condition and the first Americans, the ones who were were still trying but failing to learn how to feel -- these Americans stopped dreaming about running through the cornfield of Bob Dylan's hair and dreamed only of French-kissing the mouth of the body of Bob Dylan, or rather the mouth of the body of American. The thing that spoke loudest. The thing that ate the most glass. The thing that sold the most records.

And America became full of these Americans, the ones uninterested in feeling themselves (but with bodies and feelings that new who could blame them, really). The ones thinking too hard about what it meant to feel and how the world could be understood more complexly this way -- these people were born then. And they filled America but they could not understand the miracle. And the miracle was that they were young bodies in a young world. In America. But it was always something newer they wanted: whatever new thing they could get. And yet always thirsting for America. And for that water deep in the body of each of these First Americans.

And so they insisted on understanding it with their minds and ideas. They said they would understand all of it at once or none of it at all. And so they could no longer see America. They could not see that the body of Bob Dylan was getting tired. Tired of being America in the body of Bob Dylan and not simply Bob Dylan in body of America. And no one could see that his hair was turning wild and thick from all the electricity in his new albums. That it was growing like vines and overtaking the path back to the hidden pool deep in the body of America. So when the body of Bob Dylan became a Christian it was because he had been in a motorcycle accident and it was because America was confused. The path back to the hidden pool deep in the body of America was overtaken by Americans themselves, all standing in line to French-kiss their dads dressed in Army fatigues and weeping.

And Bob Dylan saw that it was all so fucked now. And that it was a new problem for a new body now. That America was no good anymore and that he had not been able to solve the mystery. That the body he was in would soon end. That God bless her but America, she would end too. And so the Jew cut off all of his hair and went wandering into the desert waiting for a cornfield to grow again there. Waiting for the desert to turn back into water. Waiting for America to pack up and move back to England, for all the dead Indians to wake up and take over the fast food industry, for more arenas to be built and filled with more and more Americans -- the kind that were through trying and failing to learn how to feel and to understand a world without precedents and traditions, without miracles. Because it was these Americans who felt compelled to use his body as their own. It these Americans who felt compelled to produce prime time network specials and to fry chicken meat in boiling vats of scalding oil.