Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tripping with Dickens

I love reading Dickens when I’m stoned. His twisted plotting and syntax dances in mad harmony with the convoluted spasms of my brain on its winnowing journey through the cosmos. I lose myself in each of his tightly wrought characters and hold prolonged conversations with them over multiple tankards of stout in Victorian pubs. (Scrooge was so misunderstood! His values were the values that made Great Britain a capitalist powerhouse. It wasn’t the ghosts that transformed him; he’d simply OD’d on laudanum to cure his Christmas Eve cold. He later regretted his excesses of generosity.)

But, I digress.

Do you know why modern literature is so sterile? It is the lack of hardship. Prosperity is downright boring; too much of it leads to a paralyzing self-absorption that lacks the cloying sentimentality that is the warp and weft of great literature. When was the last time a Dickens appeared on the literary scene?

And let’s be honest; suffering cloys. Who has not been moved to tears by the long, drawn-out, interminable death of Jo the street-crossing sweeper in Dickens’s Bleak House, that unlettered, unwashed, unfed waif who knew “nothink?” Comforted by the noble surgeon, Alan Woodcourt who could do nothing for the kid except walk him through the Lord’s Prayer, Jo’s voice grows weaker and weaker as he repeats each line of the prayer until he finally gasps out, “Hallowed be thy…” and croaks. He was but one of the ragged and hungry waifs that peppered so much of Victorian literature.

My God! If the poor prosper, whom shall we pity? What is there to write about if you have a nation that is fed and clothed? Authors are reduced to writing about anxiety, unhappy relationships, and life’s nihilistic boredom. And life is boring if you don’t have to grub for food and shelter.

Thank God our oligarchs are changing that. They are marching us back to that golden age of filthy slums, unchecked crime, homeless children and twelve-year-old whores, back to that time when the civilized cruelty of Social Darwinism reigned supreme.

Soon, our authors will pen saccharine tomes of struggle widows and hungry children, their pale, drawn faces pressed against the windows of the privileged, a tear running down their besmirched cheeks as they watch the gaiety and wealth that will be forever beyond their reach.

There is no sentimentality without suffering. And our leaders are supplying ample suffering for which the authors, literary agents and publishing houses of America thank them. They and they alone, are bringing great literature back to the Euromerican world.


  1. Yes indeed.
    And a new study out that should cheer you up: At current rates of polarization between the haves and have nots, 'Murrika© will share the same income and social disparity as Mexico by 2042.
    This cheers me up greatly simply because my corporate VP and numerous managerial overlords certainly do deserve that 2nd & 3rd vacation home, new model SUV for the misses, every new video game for the kiddies and their ever upward moving investment portfolio for pushing all that paperwork across their desks and yelling at people over their latest model cell phones.
    God I don't know how they manage to do it.
    They must be really really smart I figure as I thanklessly keep their modern technological world working properly for them.
    I can only hope that I am chosen as a subject for a modern Dickensonian novel when I am living unshaven, unbathed and unemployed in the National Forest with bigfoot.

  2. It figures since our oligarchs are setting us up for some IMF-syle austerity measures while we burn $57,000 a minute in Afghanistan. It's time to start penning another "Oliver Twist"