I’m sure everyone thought a lot about life during the pandemic, the point of it all. If we were going to make it to the other side, what would we do once we got there? What is the point of life, society?
Being privileged as fuck, I was situated about as nicely as somebody can possibly be in a pandemic, and it was a fucking misery on all sides. The choice was doom-scroll or feel guilt and powerlessness at being unable to prevent what felt like society’s collapse.
I thought I was a cynical bastard, but it never occurred to me that people would oppose public health measures during a pandemic by invoking “Freedom.” The so-called “truck convoy,” which never represented the majority of Canadian truckers let alone Canadians, was fake-ass right-wing theatre from top to bottom.
Like all elements of cheap partisan political theatre, it needed some very real people to get swept up in it to give the appearance of legitimacy, and there were, but it was organized and coordinated by political extremists and violent crooks, including ex-military and ex-police. You can tell from the support it got from the alt-right shitbag pundit community that this was not a grassroots movement.
If it was actually a working-class protest, conservatives would have opposed it with every fibre of their being. The province’s conservatives have gouged workers and fought to undermine labour rights for the last 24 months of a pandemic, refusing not just what union reps said would be decent compensation but what doctors said was necessary to combat the pandemic–ie, paid sick days. Not even a global pandemic could shake the conscience of doug ford. The conservative support for the convoy was all the proof a person could want that the convoy was in no way working-class. Elon Musk, perhaps the world’s richest person, vocally supported it too.
The alt-right were deliberately conflating the right to protest with the right to park enormous trucks in very tight public places. Just like “50,000 truckers” became maybe hundreds at the pinnacle of that fake-ass protest, the presence of trucks made the size of the protest seem a lot bigger than it was. The physicality of the trucks compensated for the relatively low number of people.
All of this felt foreboding at the time. I saw a picture of a maga militia member (three-percenter) in camo fatigues and patches standing at University and College. The flags with swastikas, confederate flags, and other hate symbols in Ottawa have been well-documented.
But it feels small now that war has broken out in a major European city. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is horrifying for reasons too obvious to state. Seeing trucker carlson of faux news go from promoting the convoy to defending vladimir putin after the invasion…
Alt-right ratfuckery is all connected. I’ve seen rabid social media support from the same accounts for the so-called truck convoy, putin’s invasion, modi’s hindutva pogroms, the January 6 insurrection on the US capital…they’re all inter-linked.
Condemning the war is inevitable, but what else is there to say?
Despite everything, the crushing hopelessness gives way sometimes to optimism based on my belief that normal people are doing amazing things behind closed doors, in their private lives, things which will never be reported. Little things to cheer up those around them, support people. From community solidarity, people helping strangers and kin.
I’m not saying that these good and great private deeds will be enough to overcome war, the inherent violence of alt-right politics, end the pandemic, or fix the climate crisis. It’s just that people genuinely give me a good feeling. Being cynical about politics is reasonable right now, too utterly reasonably, but that’s not the same thing as misanthropy. I love people and always will.
I’ve had spiritual musical-revelations lately involving Parliament Funkadelic and somehow, not to be flippant, but this to me feels like the kind of thing that can fill in society’s hollowness. I’m not sure what the point of North American society is. It feels wasteful and dangerous in a stupid, vulgar sense.
The things people commonly point to as the crown achievements of civilization feel to me not just bad but anti-civilized. A legal code is an achievement compared to what you find in the jungle, but ours enshrine and protect racism as basically its central premise. Our technology is advanced, but it only exists for advertising, which in turn only exists to sell things probably unsustainably-produced things made by horrifically exploited people, if not outright slaves. Phones make people miserable, they’re expensive, and wasteful. Cars are sophisticated machines that can be beautiful and convenient, but they waste resources to a shocking degree, are the sole source of murder-inducing traffic jams, and they injure or kill people every day. Gas is rising in costs and our corrupt premier does everything possible to lock-in cars for the future in a way that disfigures the natural world, solves 0 problems, causes new many problems and exacerbates old ones, wastes billions of dollars, and benefits nobody except his oligarch donors and pandemic profiteers like galen weston (ford nixed public charging stations and is now putting them at en routes which galen weston owns; ford received COVID tests from the federal government, which mysteriously never got distributed, while galen weston sold COVID tests for $40).
During the pandemic my apartment got broken into while my girlfriend and I were asleep and her car was stolen and totalled, I developed shingles from stress, our place had roaches and neighbours who made my gf uncomfortable, we had to finally move apartments and after a year of not seeing anyone got COVID from the movers pre-vaccination Dec 2020, my GF broke her collar bone in a bike accident…still, I feel fortunate, humbled, grateful to be alive.
I can’t be the only one who has wondered, am I depressed, or is this merely a reasonable reaction to this moment?
We are governed by culturally impoverished aristocrats who don’t give a fuck. John tory, ford, and trudeau are all spoiled sheltered nepotism hires. If a private equity firm could take human form, it would take basically these human forms.
I’m from Forest Hill, I grew up anything but a radical leftist. Indeed, if anything, my upbringing only helps me to recognize a tycoon politician on sight. Toronto is lopsided as hell, and deliberately so. The mayor of a city where housing costs rose 28% in one year claims to be fighting for affordability? Our leaders aren’t failing to do what’s right, they’re successfully doing wrong.
So long as we continue to elect slum landlords as our representatives, who cancel public service under the guise of “savings,” homelessness will only grow and increase in severity and life will get harder and more brutal. I also feel like upper class people are miserable here, too. Depression is everywhere. What is the point of this city?
Either you need to rent a home to people to gouge them (ie, be a landlord) or be gouged yourself. Fuck or be fucked. Housing should be a human right, not a retirement strategy. If this is a wealthy society, what is the point of being wealthy if people need to either live on the street or stress about a mortgage their entire life?
Is it better to be a hammer than a nail? Maybe, but that’s a false choice, and the hammer is stressing over failing to live up to inflated, vulgar, unrealistic class expectations and feeling like shit because at heart it knows to “make it” in this society may involve causing harm to oneself or others or both.
I’m glad organized religion has lost its central position in society, but this is a society that doesn’t value human life or culture properly or at all. A spiritual crisis underlies our political ones. I encourage everyone to be outrageously nice to each other, read novelists like Roberto Bolano or Tolstoy or actual political writers and academics not the disgraceful postmedia blowhard class, and listen to deep funk and spiritual jazz very loudly on the best speakers you can access. Pamper your own soul, because we’re all going to die some day and you owe it to yourself. The point of life has to involve loving other people, friends and family and neighbours, but love for the species means spreading the work of our best artists and contributing to the life of the soul.
People need to come together now, at whatever stage of the pandemic this is, and that means privileged people with power need to condemn the racist violent barbaric tycoon politics being conducted in our name and exchange it for something genuinely peaceful, civilized, and cultured.