In Sean Davis’s latest Dispatches From the Apocalypse, “The Immortal Rich and the Illusion of Justified Hatred,” Davis explains the decline of America since 9/11.
Let it be remembered that, in the Twilight of Mankind, Kim Kardashian bravely took the world stage at the Historic Met Gala and wore a flowing gown, pitch-black from head to toe in an act of defiance against fashion and popular culture, the two social constructs that made her famous and gave her the tools to create her own empire. So, in a way, by wearing the color of death she rebelled against all the earlier versions of herself to mourn the quickly approaching and inevitable downfall of human civilization due to climate change, a global pandemic, unchecked greed, and—huh? Uh, never mind, she was just trying to dress up like her husband Kanye West’s new album cover. The album he’s dedicated to his mother after she died from complications from liposuction, a tummy tuck, and breast reduction surgeries immediately after moving to Los Angeles because she wanted to look as rich as her son made her while going to galas.
(artwork by Sean Davis)
These are the Dispatches From the Apocalypse. A series of letters attempting to explain to the future why our species ran like lemmings over the cliff of history to never be heard from again. I thought I may be writing to aliens, or a future Artificial Intelligence, or even a new breed of evolved animals that would someday take the reins and create their own civilizations, but now I’ve actually figured it out. I know that I’m writing to a few hundred years from now when very rich immortals find the technology to thaw out the head of Walt Disney and proclaim him the ruler over a utopia populated by the ultra-affluent.
I should have known that you could never kill the rich. I don’t know if you’ve been able to transfer your consciousness into a machine like Laurent Simons, the 11-year-old who graduated from Antwerp University with a Bachelor’s Degree in physics who wants to pioneer technological immortality, or maybe you used stem cell technology to repair any tissue degeneration that occurred between spa treatments. Hell, maybe you figured out another way completely through the new Silicon Valley shadow company exploring immortality, Alto Labs, funded by Jeff Bezos. I have no doubt Jeff is there with you, Walt, but you have Marvel and Star Wars money, so I’m sure you’re still in charge.
These are the Dispatches From the Apocalypse. A series of letters attempting to explain to the future why our species ran like lemmings over the cliff of history to never be heard from again.
You must have the biggest brain freeze headache being frozen for so long. You can ask Bezos or Musk how humanity died, and they would no doubt give you very entertaining tales that you could then have Kevin Feige put into one of your movies, but I’m writing to give you the point of view of someone at the bottom, just one of the people no uber-rich person would ever talk to.
So, when you were alive, each decade was marked by some sort of cultural fad or movement. You were born in 1901, so you no doubt remember the Suffrage Movement of the 1910s, and the Roaring ’20s, the Depression in the ’30s, the war years in the ’40s, the Boomer/Leave It to Beaver years in the ’50s, the Civil Rights and Hippie Movements in the ’60s. You didn’t get to see Woodstock because you died in 1966, but since you’re a J. Edgar Hoover-type you would have hated it. You missed Disco in the 1970s, the EXTREME! overindulgent cocaine-fueled ’80s, and Grunge in the ’90s. I tell you all of this because something very weird happened to us around the turn of the Century. We stopped progressing. We stopped growing on September 11th, 2001. We’ve been in a state of arrested development. In fact, we’ve even gone backward. We’re fighting for Civil Rights again and trying to convince half our population that Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean their lives don’t.
I’m sure you’ve read or were told about the terrorist attacks that surprised us all and killed 2,977 innocent people, but maybe you don’t know all of the consequences that stemmed from this attack, at least not from my point of view, one of the poor sons of bitches who the US Government sent to fight in the wars that occurred afterward.
The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks just passed and, looking back at it, a reasonable person could come to the reasonable conclusion that the United States, because of the immeasurable loss and tragedy of that day, demanded justice for this terrorist act. We chose to act quickly instead of wisely and, as a result, we let ourselves believe that there is such a thing as “justifiable hatred.” We started two wars that have, so far, cost us 14 trillion dollars. I don’t know how many people lived in poverty in your lifetime, Walt, but today we have about 40 million people who don’t have enough to eat, who live in barely habitable homes, or don’t have homes at all. If we had used the money we spent on the wars to help them over that same twenty-year period, we could have given each of them $17,000 a year. Every single person of that 40 million could have received $1,416 a month for twenty years and we would have completely erased poverty, but instead we used our hate to nail humanity to a cross of iron.
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It felt so good to hate that we forgot we needed to grieve. We found that “hate” is a tool we could use for just about anything. It’s so much easier to hate than it is to empathize, sympathize, or work toward real solutions. This hate allowed us to rationalize or justify just about anything. In fact, it’s been such a convenient tool that our two political parties still use it on each other instead of fixing what’s wrong with our country while we actively march toward our end. Hate allowed us to declare wars on ideas instead of countries or people, and hate is what blinded us to the fact that you cannot win a war against an idea. We waged war on “terrorism” without having a clear definition of what that word even means, so the battlefield of that war spans the globe now. Hate is one of the horsemen in this apocalypse, and there’s nowhere he can’t go.
Looking at it from my perspective, I am watching the world fall apart from a pandemic, climate change, and greed of people like you, but since Conservatives are so focused on hating the Progressives, millions won’t wear a mask or get vaccinated, so, hundreds of thousands are dying. Since Republicans hate Democrats, no laws are passing that might actually curb the warming of our planet while millions are displaced from rising sea levels. Since the poor hate the poor, no one is stopping your buddies Bezos, Buffet, Musk, or others from taking more money and resources than thousands of people could use in a hundred lifetimes.
I’m just telling you this in case you guys get bored and decide to bring poor people back from extinction like we’re doing today with the woolly mammoth. I mean, who are you guys going to impress without us? Who is going to fight your wars? Who will watch your reality shows or marvel at the phallus-shaped spacecraft you catapult into the lower atmosphere (I’m sorry, I really can’t stop talking about this)? Who is going to buy tickets to your Marvel or Star Wars movies? Who is going to read and dream about going to galas where untalented, spoiled millionaires wear ridiculous clothing?
Until the next dispatch, this is Sean Davis, just wandering through the wasteland and writing things down.