All Yesterday’s Parties

Just now, the present seems like a gift that I would dearly love to return to its place of purchase for a full refund.  Firstly, there is the ongoing apocalyptic layer cake of war, famine, plague, fire, flood, and Trump.  On a smaller, though no less depressing, scale, smug grocery tycoons are wetting themselves laughing over the plight of inflation impoverished consumers, many of whom are being forced into never-ending debt to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.  In our favourite south-of-the-border dystopia, right wing politicians are whining that cancel culture is stealing away the God-given right to hate speech, whilst they simultaneously ban books and legislatively crush any expressions of identity that don’t conform to the narrow norms of their knucklehead constituents.

On the other end of the political self-righteousness spectrum, a working-class single mom trying to raise two kids on sporadic waitressing shifts at Denny’s, or a middle-aged man whose factory job has just been eliminated due to automation, might be surprised to learn that they are the lucky recipients of generations of white privilege.

In Canada, we appear well on the path towards replacing our scandal-prone Prime Minister with yet another venomous conservative demagogue toad who, guaranteed, will be hell-bent on furthering the erosion our fragile social safety net, hobbling our once world-class education and health care, diminishing our public investment in the arts, and doubtlessly ensuring through inequitable tax-cuts that the rich keep getting richer and richer, as they crush the poor beneath the heels of their shiny new Louboutins.

Nor does the future look so great from where we stand right now.  Just more of the same, with extra helpings of environmental and economic collapse and the impending pandora’s box nightmares arising out of AGI and machine learning.  It’s enough to make the science fiction predictions of Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984, and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner seem like optimistic Jetson’s-style candy-colored daydreams.  At the very least, to steal a phrase from the Velvet Underground, I’m unenthused about attending all tomorrow’s parties.  I have a funny feeling that not many dreamers, bohemians, or artists will be invited, and the ones that show up will be lucky to pick canapés out of the bins in the back alleys.

Hey, listen, it’s no use.  I think what we really need right now is a vacation from the present and the future.  I think we need to pack our bags, and jet off to the past.  I know there are some dodgy neighborhoods in the realms of the past, but we know where they are and how to avoid them.  Perhaps we can find some of the good stuff that we lost or left behind.  Somewhere in all our yesterdays, I am sure, we can find a good place to hang out with our friends again, around a campfire or on a patio drenched in summer sunshine.  Maybe share some laughs and some dreams.  And talk about the way that the future used to be.