by Johnny McNulty
Congratulations, youth of America, we are destined for great things. How do I know this? Because much like our grandparents, we’re coming of age right at the time when the whole structure of American society, indeed, the world we’ve been living in for 62 years, is about to completely tear apart at the seams. Prior to now, we’ve been called “entitled,” “narcissistic,” and “fat.” No one will call us any of those things as we starve to death thanks to Dad’s ill-timed decision to move to Pheonix and buy a house with an adjustable-rate mortgage. Just wait for the new Dust Bowl to settle in, turning Pheonix’s manicured lawns into unusable plots of sadness and abandoned chew-toys. Soon we will know the thrill of riding the rails (freight trains, of course, as the Acela will have been destroyed by rioting yuppies) in search of a day’s work and a mouthful of food. Soon we will all have the sunken eyes of heroism, the distended belly of decency, and the polio of hope.
How Will We Know Greatness When We See It?
This is simple, as our greatness will be attended by the presence at all times of at least two of the horsemen of the Apocalypse. Perhaps a little light Famine to start us off, and then we’ll soon forget about our hunger as Pestilence wracks our bodies. This is important, as this is our opportunity to discharge the accumulated decadence and white blood cells of easier times. War we’ve already got hanging around, although we’re certainly not using it to its full potential. Hanging in the wings throughout this process of course, is Death, or as I like to call him the Cherry-Picker, as he takes all the glory for the hard work of Famine, Pestilence and War.
Here are some visions of life, in the NEAR FUTURE:
1. The Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis will gently ease into the We’re Covered With Buboes Crisis
Wooed by easy credit caused by low interest rates, and the faulty belief that real-estate prices would continue to grow enough to cover their debt, millions of Americans undertook mortgages in the past few years that they are now unable to pay for. But the growth in their monthly payments will pale in comparison to their rapidly expanding lymph nodes, particularly under the armpits and in the groin region. Much like the current crisis, the Treasury Department will have few tools at hand to deal with this, except for burning a moat around their building and shooting all approaching strangers.
2. China Will Ask For Their Shit Back
For decades, the label “Made In China” indicated something that Americans used to make, but now feel is beneath us. We won’t feel too cool to make our own rubber duckies soon though, as rather than manufacture a new boatload of plastic shit, the Chinese will take advantage of our currency’s evaporating value and just buy their stuff back from us cheaper than they sold it. And we will have no choice but to comply, if only to get our hands on some cold, hard Yuan.
3. Americans Will Be Asked To Pull Themselves Up By Their Bootstraps And Xenophobic Nationalism
One value which Americans used to hold highly but has been abandoned in the self-centered days of our parents, is sacrifice. Buying that war bond, or foregoing that new car so that you can take out another loan to pay for seed for your crops, until you are buried in crippling debt and equally crippled offspring, is an important American tradition that we have forgotten in our new consumer age. Another value we have held on to, but let wither on the vine, is the blind, foaming hatred of others. The Old World was full of people to hate, from decadent and warlike Europe, to radical and Serb-filled Eastern Europe. And now, as Thomas Friedman has pointed out, the world is flat, which means a lowly computer engineer in India can inspire just as much fear and prejudice as a Prussian prince or inbred Tsar. America must take note of these developments, and make sure she stays competitively hateful in the 21st Century
No discussion about the perils of the FUTURE is complete without mentioning robots. They will be built, their intelligence will surpass ours, and their strength shall be limitless. Fortunately, in the coming economic downturn, no one will be able to buy these robots, forcing the economy to rely on the Irish and women, society’s original robots. Without anyone to give jobs to these robots, therefore, the greatest threat of the jump from organic to mechanical evolution will be…
5. Unemployed Robots
…The drain on our welfare system. Good luck trying to drive to the bread line to get food for your family when military-grade robots are lined up around the block in the gas line. Although massive public works projects will be started to alleviate unemployment, robot labor will finish these in a matter of days, leaving our country covered in hydro-electric dams and art-deco reliefs. To make matters worse, half of those robots will be manufactured in outsourced factories, but can easily sneak into the country because a.) they have the power of trans-oceanic flight and b.) are armed and c.) like most things born in Asia, look exactly identical.
So there you have it, college grads. Welcome to the terrible world of the future, today. But remember, aside from enslavement to metal masters and crippling hunger, all this will build enough character that robo-Tom Brokaw will make a cyber-coffee cyber-table cyber-book* about you.
*(or a [cyber^3(coffee*table*book)] in the easy-to-learn future-speak)
Religious Guru Redux: The Passion of the Guru by Jothan Klein
All right, my spiritually confused and morally decrepit Penn flock. Ask away, and let my healing answers soothe you in the eternal knowledge of salvation.
Doesn’t evil and suffering prove that God doesn’t care?
Before you go drop your long-held beliefs, join a cult, and condemn yourself to hell, stop and consider: This isn’t as bad as you would think! The fact that God doesn’t care means that you can do whatever you want. Wanna stay up your bedtime? Tell your parents God doesn’t care! Wanna smoke a bone? God doesn’t care! Wanna rape a 8 year old? God doesn’t care! (But I do, you sick fuck.)
I’m Jewish but go to church services much more than I go to synagogue. Should I worry?
Yes, because God clearly hates you.
Is Kwanzaa an affront to religious holidays, given its secular-cultural origin and timing relative to religious holidays such as Christmas, Chanukah, and Eid?
Fear not, God will give punishment where punishment is due. God is pretty good at doing that.
Look in the history books. Back in biblical times, the Jews got a little haughty over being the Chosen People, and boom, they get successively shafted by the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Romans. Two thousand years of oppression follow. European history has God’s mark all over it. Joan of Arc affronts God by claiming she’s a saint in the 1300s, and since then, France has not won a single war. The Spanish Inquisition results in the downfall of the Castilian kingdom and the Dirty Sanchez. The Germans get crazier than usual in the 19th century, and now they’ll never not be guilty of Adolf Hitler. In the Middle East, the Muslims got uppity, and God gave them Saddam, the Shah, and Osama.
This doesn’t explain why the Irish get shit on so much. Every rule has an exception.
How are the Evangelical Fundamentalists and Orthodox Jews on such good terms? Don’t Christians not like Jews for being responsible for Christ’s death?
The official line is that the fact that Evangelicals believe in order for the Big Guy to come back, the Jews have to be in control of ancient Palestine. The Jews are amazed someone actually agrees with their claims to the Holy Land. And now they’re religious BFFs.
However, that still leaves out the whole Christ Killer thing. But wait! The Evangelical fundamentalist Protestants actually get it – the fact that Christians should be thankful that the Jews killed Jesus! Come on, imagine what would have happened if Jesus hadn’t been nailed to the cross. The New Testament wouldn’t have had its Hollywood ending! Imagine if the New Testament rambled on for a few hundred more pages… Jesus did this miracle, Jesus did that miracle, went on the vaudeville circuit, got kind of grouchy, retired from healing and Savioring, and then died in old age in his sleep. Not exactly a catchy ending, is it? Sure, its heartwarming, but doesn’t make the sale. Think Christianity would be 3 billion strong today if we didn’t have crucifixion? Exactly.