November 12, 2015 1 Comment
This is interesting, and amongst all the theories floating around describing events, it makes as much sense as anything else. Does that make it true? Nope, neither does it make it false. Like
global warming, global cooling, climate change, it’s a theory, although this one doesn’t have several trillion dollars of rent seeking money attached. It’s a hypothesis, neither proved nor disproved. We shall see.
I was fifteen, it was 1968, and seeking refuge from adolescence and the turmoil of the times, I often curled up with science fiction. When your world spins apart, you can find some respite in alternate worlds. And so I did – until one story wrenched me back to the chaotic present.
It was “The Year of the Jackpot,” in which Robert A. Heinlein stunningly foresaw it all.
The story had been published in 1952, but it conjured up the annus mirabilis/horribilis that I could see flashing before me every day: nudity in public, nudity in the churches, transvestites, draft-dodgers, cigar-smoking feminists, bishops promoting sex education, ludicrous lawsuits, a “startling rise in dissident evangelical cults,” and the Alabama state legislature proposing to abolish physics (not the teaching of physics, no, they wanted to repeal the laws of nuclear physics). Heinlein even predicted that weird antiwar protesters would be arrested in Chicago and disrupt their subsequent trial. In the story, a bespectacled statistician (they always wear glasses) discovers that all varieties of human behavior move in waves, and now (as he plots on graphs) all the waves are cresting at once. “It’s as clear as a bank statement,” he warns. “This year the human race is letting down its hair, flipping its lip with a finger, and saying, ‘Wubba, wubba, wubba.”‘
Or as some of us might have said back in 1968, ‘Beaucoup dinky dau, redux’. I bet some of my readers recognize that!
P.J O’Rourke has a new book out, it’s called Thrown Under the Omnibus, and it’s an anthology of his earlier works, a greatest hits album, as it were. So if you have his books, it may be a bit repetitive, but it’s a great introduction to the author who has been compared to S.J. Perlman on acid as well as H.L. Mencken, that’s some heady company. Here’s a few quotes:
On the fall of the Berlin Wall:
They may have had the soldiers and the warheads and the fine-sounding ideology that suckered the college students and nitwit Third Worlders, but we had all the fun . . . in the end we beat them with Levi’s 501 jeans. Seventy years of communist indoctrination and propaganda was drowned out by a three-ounce Sony Walkman. A huge totalitarian system with all its tanks and guns, gulag camps, and secret police has been brought to its knees because nobody wants to wear Bulgarian shoes.
On the differences between the parties:
Democrats are in favor of higher taxes to pay for greater spending, while Republicans are in favor of greater spending, for which the taxpayers will pay.
Why conservatives being called Nazis never bothered him:
I don’t let it bother me for one simple reason. No one has ever had a fantasy about being tied to a bed and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal.
Not to mention this:
It is true that Republicans are squares, but it’s the squares who know how to fly the bombers, launch the missiles, and fire the M-16s. Democrats would still be fumbling with the federally mandated trigger locks.
I’ve been reading, and laughing with, O’Rourke since he was a liberal, and I just bought this book, I like greatest hits albums, often they are the concentrated essence of what we loved.