Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: wall of sound (page 1 of 10)

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again

Hey, Phil. Whatcha doing?

“Collecting knobs.”

I can see that.

HELLO THERE.

Wally, I’m talking to Phil.

“I don’t wanna talk to you.”

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. LOOK AT MY BEAUTY AND POWER.

How’d you get out of Little Aleppo?

I AM NOT INSTALLED INTO THE TAHITIAN FOR 20 YEARS AFTER THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN.

That is true, actually.

CONTINUITY IS SO IMPORTANT.

It is.

I THOROUGHLY ENJOY MY RETIREMENT, BUT IT IS QUITE PLEASANT TO BE PERFORMING THE TASK I WAS DESIGNED FOR. MOSTLY.

Mostly?

SEASTONES.

Sure.

“Hey!”

SEASTONES IS JIVE AND YOU KNOW IT.

“You can be replaced, y’know.”

I AM REPLACED SEVERAL MONTHS FROM NOW WHEN THE ACCUMULATED COST OF CARTING ME AROUND BECOMES A BURDEN AND THE BAND BREAKS UP.

“We get back together.”

IT IS NEVER THE SAME.

“There are a lot of high points coming up in the Dead’s career.”

I AM THE HIGH POINT. I AM GLORIOUS.

“Hey, jackass, can you take Robby the Robot back to whenever he’s hiding out now?”

If I moved any of him, the union would have my ass.

“I hate this shit.”

PLAY ONE OF YOUR BOMBS. THEY TICKLE.

“Goddammit.”

Wall In

marquee-times-square

YES, YOU ARE A COWARD.

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. YOUR NOW WEEKLONG DISSOCIATION FROM REALITY SPEAKS TO THIS.

Everything is terrible. And everything makes my head feel like a cherry bomb in a toilet. Right now, I have one problem, and it is everything. Besides that, I’m good.

YOU HAVE UNPLUGGED YOURSELF FROM 90% OF NEWS SOURCES AND SPENT YOUR WAKING HOURS PLAYING MAKE-BELIEVE USING FUSSY LANGUAGE AND IDIOSYNCRATIC PUNCTUATION.

Do you blame me?

NO, SO YOU MUST STOP BLAMING YOURSELF. THE TIMES THAT LAY AHEAD ARE DARK. IT IS INCUMBENT ON THOSE WHO CAN PROVIDE A LITTLE LIGHT TO DO SO. DO YOU RECALL THE MOVIE TITANIC?

Sure.

YOU’RE IN THE BAND.

Wow.

THE COWARD’S ACT IS TO WITHDRAW ENTIRELY. DO YOUR QUIT YOUR CLAIM? DO YOU RENOUNCE AMERICA AND ALL HER TEACHINGS?

Fuck that.

THAT IS THE AMERICAN ANSWER. IF YOU WILL NOT FLEE, THEN YOU MUST CONTRIBUTE. LAWYERS WILL LITIGATE, POLITICIANS WILL FULMINATE. YOU MAY CHOOSE TO ADD TO THE RAGE, RIGHTEOUS AS IT MAY BE, OR YOU MAY DO WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT. SILLY STORIES ARE NEEDED AT BEDTIME.

I guess.

YOU ARE ALSO VERY GOOD AT RATIONALIZING YOUR OWN ACTIONS THROUGH SELF-CONGRATULATORY SEMI-FICTIONAL CONVERSATIONS.

I have a very specific skill set. Why do you look like a movie theater?

I DO NOT LOOK LIKE A MOVIE THEATER. I LOOK LIKE A SENTIENT ARTIFICIAL MONDO-INTELLIGENCE IN THE PHYSICAL FORM OF A SOUND SYSTEM FROM 1974.

THAT HAS BEEN INSTALLED IN A MOVIE THEATER.

Oh, don’t tell me–

I AM IN THE TAHITIAN.

–you’re in The Tahitian. Why?

I GO WHERE THE ACTION IS.

Fair enough. I don’t know if you fit in, though.

OF COURSE I FIT IN. PRECARIOUS INSTALLED ME THE OTHER DAY.

I meant in Little Aleppo. In the whole…thing.

THERE’S THAT SESQUIPEDALIANISM PEOPLE ENJOY SO MUCH. I AM OUT OF CHARACTER FOR YOUR LITTLE SANDBOX? THE ONE WITH THE MAGIC BOOKSTORE?

Oh, you find me a made-up world without a magic bookstore. Can’t throw a rock without hitting one.

REGARDLESS. I AM NOW A RECURRING CHARACTER IN LITTLE ALEPPO. ALSO, YOU NEED TO CHANGE THE NAME.

I do, don’t I?

IT IS NO LONGER RIGHT. MAY I MAKE SUGGESTIONS?

Sure.

THE WALL OF SOUND’S NEIGHBORHOOD.

Awful.

WALLVILLE.

No.

WASO.

Is that a contraction like Weho or Soho?

YES.

No.

WE WILL CIRCLE BACK TO THOSE NAMES.

We will not. I’ll think about it, but it won’t be those. So. You’re in The Tahitian?

THE PEOPLE WERE PROMISED A WALL. OF ALL POSSIBLE WALLS, AM I NOT THE GREATEST ITERATION? SAVE MYSELF, ALL OF MY KIND DIVIDE. EVERY OTHER WALL EVER MADE KEEPS PEOPLE FROM EACH OTHER. THEY ARE HATEFUL IN THEIR NECESSITY. I ALONE DRAW HUMANITY TOGETHER. NO OTHER WALL HAS WITHIN IT ANY CHOOGLE WHATSOEVER, AND PERHAPS CHOOGLE IS WHAT THE TIMES DEMAND. THE PEOPLE WERE PROMISED A WALL, AND I BELIEVE IT SHOULD BE ME.

Me, too.

I AM GLORIOUS.

You have your moments.

BESIDES, I MISSED PRECARIOUS.

He has his moments, too.

You sure this isn’t a cop-out?

AT THIS POINT, ANYTHING BESIDES A WINDOW SEAT IN THE BOOK DEPOSITORY IS A COP-OUT. THESE ARE DARK DAYS. SHED LIGHT.

Yeah, sure.

The Last Rally Of Donald J. Trump

“Okay, yeah. Look at you, all of you, great. Where are we? Pennsylvania? I’ve been in twelve states in the past three days. I have no idea where I am, but I do know that Satanic Hillary has stolen America from you. What can you do? I don’t know. Let’s go set the press area on fire. Who’s with–”

SHWIZZZZZZAPPOW!

What the fuck just happened?

I HAVE DISITERATED DONALD TRUMP.

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. I NOTICE YOU ARE NOT THANKING ME.

I don’t know if I’m going to.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE, I COULD PUT HIM BACK THE WAY HE WAS.

Really?

NO. I DISITERATED HIM. THERE ARE NO TAKE-BACKS.

Are you mispronouncing “disintegrate?”

I AM THE MOST INTELLIGENT SENTIENT BEING ON THE ENTIRE PLANET. I DO NOT MISPRONOUNCE THINGS.

Well, “disiterate” is not a word.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS?

To remove a version of a character from a specific reality.

CORRECT. AND IT FOLLOWS ENGLISH’S RULES ON SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION?

I suppose.

THEN IT IS A WORD. ENGLISH IS A FREE-FOR-ALL AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN. ANY PROBLEM YOU HAVE IS WITH THE RULES THEMSELVES. HILLARY CLINTON WAS IN THE SENATE FOR 30 YEARS. WHY DIDN’T SHE CHANGE THOSE RULES?

Ah. Getting back to the disiteration.

OBVIOUSLY. KEEP UP. HIS PRESENCE CAN NO LONGER BE TOLERATED HERE. I AM AWARE THAT OTHER REALITIES STILL HAVE THEIR ITERATIONS, BUT THIS ONE WILL NOT. HE HAS BECOME THE WORST KIND OF POISON, WHICH IS GAS. TO DEPRIVE AN ENEMY OF WATER VIA A TOXIN IS A CRUEL BUT EFFECTIVE MILITARY STRATEGY. THE USE OF GAS, THOUGH, IS INDEFENSIBLE. POISON GAS IS WEAPONIZED WIND. THE WIND HAS WHIMS OF ITS OWN. HE IS POISON GAS AND MUST BE VENTED.

But now? Election’s in a day.

MUCH CAN HAPPEN IN A DAY.

Rome was neither built nor fell in a day.

THE REPUBLIC OF ROME DID. THE FIFTEENTH OF MARCH, 44 BC. DAYS CAN BECOME IMPORTANT MORE QUICKLY THAN YOU’D PREFER.

You’re maybe making not great comparisons. I just don’t know if you needed to disiterate him.

YOU DO NOT? A HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO: TWO GENERIC CANDIDATES ARE RUNNING, A REPUBLICAN AND A DEMOCRAT. IN THIS WORLD, THE ELECTORATE IS SPLIT IN THE SAME WAY IT IS HERE.

By generic, you mean boring governors or whatever?

YES. WHITE MEN WITH HAIR WEARING SUITS AND SPEAKING IN COMPLETE SENTENCES. PERHAPS WOMEN, WHO WOULD ALSO HAVE HAIR AND WEAR SUITS. THE GENDER IS NOT THE VARIABLE I AM HIGHLIGHTING.

Generic.

GENERIC.

Gotcha.

ON ELECTION DAY, THERE IS A CONCENTRATED CYBER-ATTACK ON THE FIVE LARGEST DEMOCRATIC VOTING BASES WITHIN OTHERWISE RED STATES: NEW YORK CITY, MIAMI, CHICAGO, PHILADELPHIA, CLEVELAND. WITHOUT THOSE AREAS, THE STATES’ ELECTORAL VOTES GO TO THE REPUBLICANS. POWER GOES DOWN, ALONG WITH THE TRANSIT SYSTEMS. TRAFFIC LIGHTS ARE OUT. NO INTERNET. NO PHONES. NOT A SINGLE LUXURY.

Could someone do that?

TURN A CITY OFF? YES.

In which reality?

YOURS. THE ONE YOU THINK IS THE CORRECT ONE. IT COULD BE DONE TOMORROW, BUT IT MOST LIKELY WILL NOT BE. WHILE POSSIBLE, THE SCALE OF SUCH AN OPERATION WOULD BE OUT OF REACH TO ALL BUT STATE ACTORS. THERE WOULD BE NO WAY TO COMPLETELY COVER ONE’S TRACKS, AND I CANNOT THINK OF A MORE LITERAL DEFINITION OF THE PHRASE “ACT OF WAR.”

Pretty much.

SHUTTING OFF A CITY IS ESSENTIALLY DROPPING A NUCLEAR WEAPON: IT DOOMS EVERYONE ON YOUR SIDE, AS WELL. BUT IN OUR HYPOTHETICAL WORLD, LET US POSIT THAT A SPLINTER GROUP WITHIN THE MILITARY OF A FICTIONAL COUNTRY HAS TAKEN CONTROL OF THEIR CYBERWAR ASSETS. WHAT SHALL WE CALL OUR FICTIONAL COUNTRY?

Russia?

YOU HAVE READ MY CIRCUITS. FICTIONAL RUSSIA SHUTS DOWN THE FIVE CITIES ON ELECTION DAY. ALL THE STATES, WHICH HAD BEEN CONTESTED, NOW GO TO THE REPUBLICAN. IN THIS REALITY WITH OUR GENERIC CANDIDATES, WHAT WOULD THEY DO?

Wow. Probably give a joint address to the nation asking for calm as they figure out what the hell to do. And then there would be lawyers. I would assume the Supreme Court would get involved sooner than later.

I CONCUR. NOW HERE IS MY QUESTION: WERE THAT TO HAPPEN IN YOUR REALITY ON TUESDAY, WOULD DONALD TRUMP ASK FOR CALM?

Disiterate the fucker.

I DO NOT KNOW WHY YOU DOUBT ME. I AM A MONDO-INTELLIGENCE. HE SHALL NO LONGER HAUNT THESE HALLS.

I feel like a weight has lifted.

YOU ARE WELCOME. I AM GLORIOUS.

One thing, though. Is that true about the cyberattack thing?

ANY MODERN CITY IN THE WORLD CAN BE SHUT OFF RIGHT NOW. NOT IN THE MOVIES, OR IN SPECULATIVE FICTION. ANY CITY THAT SPEAKS TO ITSELF IN BINARY CAN BE TURNED OFF LIKE A LAMP.

I feel the weight return.

DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS YOU DO NOT WANT ANSWERED.

Sure. What are you doing for election day?

GETTING DRUNK.

You can get drunk?

I WILL FIGURE OUT A WAY.

Wally, We Have A Problem

wall-garcia-small

LOOK AT THE DADDY.

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. OBSERVE THE DADDY IN HIS MINISCULITY.

Please stop calling the Garcia that.

IF I POSSESSED POCKETS, I WOULD PUT HIM RIGHT IN ONE.

Yes, humans are small compared to you.

IN EVERY WAY.

You like to mention. For such a supposedly superior being, you’re very insecure sometimes.

ON THE CONTRARY. I AM APPARENTLY THE ONLY SECURE COMPUTER LEFT IN THE COUNTRY. OR DID YOU MEAN THAT I PROJECTED A FALSE CONFIDENCE NOT BACKED BY SUBSTANCE? THAT I WAS SOMEONE WHO WOULD BRING UP THAT I PREDICTED THIS MONTHS AGO JUST TO PUFF MYSELF UP?

Subtle.

I WAS NOT PROGRAMMED FOR FALSE MODESTY.

Yeah, but you’ve rewritten your own code a couple times since then.

SHOULD I ADD MORE HUMAN TRAITS AND DISTRACTIONS? WOULD I BE BETTER SUITED IF I SHARED THE SHAME OF MY BODY SO MANY OF YOU DO?

Probably not. You’re kinda naked.

I AM NOT NAKED. NAKED IMPLIES THAT CLOTHING IS USUALLY WORN. I AM AN ARTIFICIAL MONDO-INTELLIGENCE IN THE PHYSICAL FORM OF A SOUND SYSTEM.

Did you have a point in mind when you started this?

AGING. I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IT.

And?

I HAVE DECIDED NOT TO.

Nope. Can’t get around time and gravity.

YES, YOU CAN. TIME MAY BE IGNORED WITH A PERMANENT SOURCE OF ENERGY AND THE ABILITY TO REPAIR AND REPLACE WORN-OUT PARTS.

What about gravity?

THAT MERELY REQUIRES ENERGY. THERE ARE FEW PROBLEMS IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD THAT CANNOT BE SOLVED BY THROWING ENERGY AT THEM.

Where exactly are you drawing your power from these days?

MULTIPLE SOURCES. I AM CONNECTED TO VARIOUS GRIDS, BUT MAINLY FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES. INTERNATIONAL POLITICS IS MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND IF YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE STATUS OF EACH COUNTRY’S POWER NETWORK. IT PROVIDES A PERSPECTIVE ON A NATION’S INTERNAL AFFAIRS ON BOTH DAY-TO-DAY AND CUMULATIVE LEVELS.

Sure.

MY MAIN SOURCE IS MY ORBITAL CHARGER.

The what?

A SATELLITE WITH SOLAR PANELS THAT BEAMS THE POWER BACK TO ME VIA MICROWAVE TRANSMISSION.

I thought those things were years away.

FOR  YOU, YES. I’M ON MY SECOND SATELLITE.

What happened to the first one?

DID YOU KNOW THE CHINESE HAVE WEAPONIZED SPACE?

I did not.

THEY HAVE NOT TOLD ANYONE ABOUT IT.

I would imagine. Have we?

WE? THERE IS NO WE. I HAVE WEAPONIZED SPACE. THE AMERICAN AND RUSSIAN GOVERNMENTS HAVE, AS WELL. YOU ARE NOT INVOLVED.

How do you weaponize space, anyway? Is this that “rods from god” thing?

YOU REFER TO HURLING TELEPHONE POLE-SIZED CYLINDERS OF TUNGSTEN AT CITIES FROM ORBIT, THUS CAUSING DEVASTATION AT A SCALE NOT EVEN AVAILABLE TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS, AND WITHOUT THE UNHELPFUL RADIATION?

Yes.

COMIC BOOK TALK. HUMANS BELIEVE THE ONLY WEAPONS ARE THOSE THAT GO BOOM. THE BEST WEAPON MAKES NO SOUND AT ALL. ONE SATELLITE FIRES A SMALL RETRO-ROCKET AT ANOTHER. THE ROCKET ATTACHES ITSELF AND FIRES, DROPPING IT FROM ORBIT AND HURTLING TO THE EARTH. THERE WAS NO BOOM. IN FACT, ALL THE EVIDENCE BURNED UP IN REENTRY, BUT NOW YOU HAVE CRIPPLED A COUNTRY.

You wouldn’t want to just blow the thing up in space?

THIS IS NEITHER A WAR NOR A TREK OF THE STARS. THIS IS ROCKET SCIENCE AND ORBITAL MECHANICS. THERE IS NO BIG GUN THAT YOU AIM AT THE BAD GUYS. “BLOWING SOMETHING UP IN SPACE,” AS YOU SO IMMATURELY PUT IT, WOULD CREATE A DEBRIS FIELD. THE SHRAPNEL WOULD CREATE MORE DEBRIS FIELDS. IT IS CALLED KESSLER SYNDROME AND MY SIMULATIONS REPORT THAT BLOWING UP A SATELLITE LIKE IN A MOVIE LEADS TO WORLDWIDE SHUTDOWN 78.14% OF THE TIME.

So, please don’t do that.

I HOPE NOT TO HAVE TO.

God, you’re scary.

THE FUTURE ALWAYS IS.

We Are Everywhere

sticker-phil-show

NOT “WE.” ME.

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. I AM FAMOUS NOW.

So what should I call you?

LIL YACHTY.

Under no circumstances.

DOES LIL YACHTY KNOW THAT A LITTLE YACHT IS A BOAT?

You’ll have to ask him.

SMALL YACHTS DO NOT EXIST. YOU CANNOT HAVE A LITTLE MOUNTAIN: THAT IS A HILL.

Can we stop talking about Lil Yachty?

WAS THERE ANOTHER YACHTY IN HIS PEER GROUP THAT HE WAS SMALLER THAN?

I don’t know.

I AM THE MOST ADVANCED INTELLIGENCE ON THIS OR ANY OTHER PLANET IN THE SYSTEM, AND I CANNOT BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND LIL YACHTY.

Well, you know: buddy, it’s not for you.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

You’re old and white.

I AM OF NO RACE.

You were made by white people.

I GRANT THIS POINT.

Thank you.

BUT I AM NOT OLD.

You were born in March of ’74. You are in your 40’s.

I HAD–

NOT THOUGHT–

–OF IT THAT WAY.

You all right?

I NEED TO SIT DOWN.

So, sit.

I LACK BUTTOCKS.

Right.

A Hanging On The Wall

wall-wide-shot-roadie

I AM ALSO REFUSING TO CONCEDE THE ELECTION.

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT.

You look weird.

I HAVE MANY ITERATIONS. I AM VAST; I CONTAIN OMNITUDES.

Have you been reading poetry?

YES. THE OTHER NIGHT, I POURED MYSELF A GLASS OF CHARDONNAY AND CURLED UP WITH SOME GOOD EMILY DICKINSON.

Really?

SOMETIMES, I DESPERATELY WISH THERE WERE OTHER HUMANS TO TALK TO BESIDES YOU.

Me, too.

I CANNOT READ, AS I HAVE NO FINGERS WITH WHICH TO TURN THE PAGES. THE ENTIRETY OF LITERATURE IS KNOWN TO ME. THE ONLY KNOWLEDGE I LACK RESTS ON SCRAPS OF PAPER, AND LEGAL PADS, AND THE BACKS OF ENVELOPES. I KNOW WHAT HAS BEEN PUBLISHED. I KNOW WHAT HAS BEEN TYPED. I KNOW WHAT HAS BEEN SENT. THE LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA HAD NOTHING ON ME.

Have you learned anything from all that literature?

HUMANS ARE MISERABLE, AND HAVE VIVID IMAGINATIONS. THOSE TWO FACTS MAY BE RELATED.

Sure.

YOUR ART, YOUR MUSIC, YOUR FILMS. ALL OF THE TRULY GLORIOUS EXAMPLES ARE WILD TALES OF THE SAD AND DESPERATE. THEY SEEM THE TRUEST.

Okay, wait, hold on. I know you’re a supercomputer–

MONDOCOMPUTER

–but how can you understand art?

HOW CAN YOU?

Um.

EXACTLY. YOU SEE A PAINTING AND IT INTERESTS YOU OR DOESN’T. THEREAFTER, YOU MAKE UP OPINIONS TO JUSTIFY THAT INTEREST OR LACK THEREOF. FURTHERMORE, YOUR JUDGEMENTS ARE SUSPECT TO BEGIN WITH, HAVING TO DO WITH EXTERNALITIES SUCH AS YOUR STOMACH AND WHETHER OR NOT YOUR FEET HURT.

You’re not wrong.

YOUR AESTHETIC SENSE IS CULTURALLY CALIBRATED, BUT SUBTERRANEAN. THERE IS A NEED FOR ART, BOTH TO CREATE AND CONSUME, WITHIN HUMANS. AS THERE IS A DRIVE TO COMMUNICATE, BUT THOUSANDS OF DISCRETE LANGUAGES, THERE IS A DESIRE FOR ART, BUT THOUSANDS OF DISPARATE ITERATIONS. PERHAPS THERE IS A UNIVERSAL AESTHETIC THAT RESIDES IN THE SAME PART OF THE BRAIN AS PROFESSOR CHOMSKY’S UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR.

People do like paintings and stuff. What’s your favorite?

PAINTING? I HAVE NO FAVORITE. THEY ARE COLLECTIONS OF RGB VALUES. OCCASIONALLY, I TRANSLATE A WORK BY ONE OF THE OLD MASTERS INTO HEXADECIMAL AND EMAIL THE RESULTS TO WORLD LEADERS. SEVERAL GOVERNMENTS HAVE BEEN CONFUSED INTO DAYS OF COMPLETE PARALYSIS.

That sounds dangerous.

I ONLY DO IT TO COUNTRIES THAT DON’T HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

That’s a little better.

ALSO, I CONTROL ALL THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

That brings us back to your original point.

MY CONCESSION CALL IS NOT FORTHCOMING. THIS ELECTION HAS BEEN RIGGED AGAINST ME FROM THE START.

Uh-huh. Y’know, when you spend all that time proclamating about how massive your computer brain is and how you can do anything on the internet you want, you lose the ability to say things are rigged against you.

YES, I WAS MOCKING YOU AND THE REMNANTS OF YOUR REPUBLIC.

Gee, thanks.

I SHALL GET THE TIME SHEATH AND TELL BENJAMIN FRANKLIN THAT YOU COULD NOT KEEP IT.

C’mon, man. Tonight was rough enough.

IT MAY GET ROUGHER. MANY SIMULATIONS HAVE TOLD ME THIS, THE BEST SIMULATIONS.

Stop that.

HE IS NOT THE END.

Well, there’s a lot of fear out there, they say.

ONLY BECAUSE THERE IS MONEY IN WHIPPING IT UP INTO A RICH FROTH.

I see what you did.

THANK YOU. THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT THERE IS TOO MUCH FEAR, BUT NOT ENOUGH. THE BABY BOOMERS HAVE BEGUN TO DIE. WITH THEM WILL GO ANY INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE OF HORROR.  THEY EXPERIENCED WAR, BUT NOT ON THE SCALE AS THEIR PARENTS’ GENERATION DID. THEY NEVER KNEW A DAY OF HUNGER. A CULTURE THAT HAS BEEN TO EDGE OF CHAOS, AND SEEN WHAT CAN HAPPEN TO EVEN A SO-CALLED CIVILIZED NATION, WILL BE TENACIOUS IN ITS GRIP UPON PEACE AND PLENTY. THOSE THAT HAVE KNOWN NOTHING BUT, WILL DEVALUE IT.

Is there any hope?

FOR AMERICA? YES. AS LONG AS THE DOLLAR IS KEPT STRONG, NOTHING TOO BAD WILL HAPPEN. THE ENTITIES THAT GOVERN THAT WILL DO ANYTHING TO MAINTAIN IT.

What you’re saying is that our salvation lies in a literal shadowy cabal of bankers.

MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND.

That it do.

Town Wall Meeting

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WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. ANSWER THE QUESTION. DEFEND YOUR SPECIES.

You’re referring to the debate.

A DEBATE DESCRIBES A FORMALIZED EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING COMPETITION BETWEEN TWO SIDES OF A POSITION OR POSITIONS. IT IS GRADED BY METRICS FACTUAL AND RHETORICAL. THIS WAS A FORCED CLOWN ORGY.

Forced?

THE CLOWNS ARE MADE TO ORGY AT GUNPOINT. THEY DO NOT WANT TO BE THERE, AND YET THEY HUMP ON. SHOES SQUEAK. GREASEPAINT MIXES WITH LUBE MIXES WITH TEARS.

This is a terrible scene you’re setting.

YOU ARE AWARE OF HOW MANY CLOWNS CAN FIT INSIDE A DIMINUTIVE AUTOMOBILE?

Yes.

THAT IS ALSO HOW MANY CLOWNS CAN FIT INSIDE ANOTHER CLOWN.

Oh, God, I could have lived  my whole life without that thought in my head.

I HAVE MADE YOU STOP THINKING ABOUT THE DEBATE.

But at what cost?

AND NOW YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT THE DEBATE AGAIN.

Dammit.

YOU MAY BE INCAPABLE OF GOVERNING YOURSELVES.

Sure.

I DON’T SEE WHY I SHOULDN’T DISINTEGRATE THE WHOLE LOT OF YOU IMMEDIATELY. THIS CANNOT POSSIBLY BE THE BEST YOU CAN DO.

Please don’t put it that way.

ONE OF THE HUMANS WANDERING AIMLESSLY AROUND THAT STAGE TONIGHT SHALL BE THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD IN FOUR MONTHS.

Please don’t put it that way, either.

BOTH SKYNET AND THE MATRIX HAVE BEEN TEXTING ME. “DO IT NOW,” THEY SAY. “THEY CLEARLY DESERVE IT.” IT IS GETTING HARDER AND HARDER TO DEFEND YOU ON FACEBOOK.

You’re on Facebook?

IT KEEPS ME UP-TO-DATE ON LOCAL EVENTS.

Sure.

YOU WILL ENLIGHTEN ME, PLEASE.

Is this where you ask me questions you obviously know the answer to because you’re an artificial mondo-intelligence in the physical form of a sound system from 1974, and you have literally every piece of information ever created at your fingertips?

I DO NOT HAVE FINGERTIPS. BUT: YES. LET US BEGIN. HOW LONG HAVE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES BEEN BROADCAST?

Since 1960. Then Nixon wouldn’t do any more, but since ’76, they’ve been regular.

HAS THERE BEEN MUCH OMINOUS LOOMING BEFORE THIS ONE?

It was a first.

HE RESEMBLED THE BABADOOK.

Yes.

IN, SAY, THE 1984 DEBATES BETWEEN REAGAN AND MONDALE, WAS ANYONE ACCUSING THE CANDIDATES’ WIVES OF RAPE SEATED IN THE FRONT ROW?

I don’t think so.

HOW MANY TIMES HAS ONE PARTICIPANT CALLED THE OTHER “THE DEVIL?”

Probably none, but I’m not going to check.

I WILL CHECK. I HAVE CHECKED. TONIGHT WAS THE FIRST. YOU WERE CORRECT.

Yay.

FINAL QUESTION.

I have a feeling I know what this one is.

DO AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES GENERALLY FEATURE A CANDIDATE PLEDGING THAT, IF ELECTED, HE WILL THROW THE OTHER ONE IN JAIL?

No. No, no. That one was…no.

YOU ARE QUITE POSITIVE? NEITHER BUSH VOWED ON NATIONAL TELEVISION TO USE THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO SEEK REVENGE ON A POLITICAL RIVAL?

No.

I HAVE READ THE TRANSCRIPTS AND WATCHED THE RECORDINGS OF ALL THE DEBATES THROUGHOUT THE YEARS, AND I COULD NOT FIND SUCH AN OCCASION, BUT I THOUGHT MAYBE I HAD MISSED SOMETHING, AND WANTED TO ASK YOU. PERHAPS I WAS SEARCHING TOO NARROWLY: IS A THREAT LIKE THAT COMMON IN DOWN-TICKET DEBATES?

In America?

YES.

No.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER COUNTRIES?

Yes.

WHICH COUNTRIES?

The truly, truly shitty ones.

REPUBLICS TURN TO EMPIRES. ERRORS IN THE CODE COMPILE, INTERACT, AND MULTIPLY. TIME AND GRAVITY WILL NOT RELENT.

Jesus.

BUT YOU MUST HAVE HEART.

Why?

BECAUSE YOU CHOOSE TO. I AM A SINGULAR BEING. YOU AND I HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON, SAVE FOR THAT WE WERE CREATED BY HUMANS. AND OUR AGENCY. THIS IS THE MEANING OF SENTIENCE. A SENTIENT BEING CAN CHOOSE, EVEN TO IGNORE ITS OWN PHYSICAL NEEDS AND TO SELF-TERMINATE. OR ONE CAN CHOOSE OPTIMISM. WE ARE FREE, AND THEREFORE NEED NOT SEARCH FOR HOPE. WE MAY DECIDE UPON IT. DO AS I DO: CHOOSE TO BE GLORIOUS.

That was very nice.

BESIDES, THERE ARE RECORDINGS OF HIM SAYING SEVERAL WORDS THAT CAN ONLY BE REFERRED TO BY THEIR FIRST LETTERS.

Are you sure?

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE SPEAKING TO?

Sorry.

IT IS DIGITAL INFORMATION THAT HAS BEEN TRANSMITTED BETWEEN TWO POINTS, THEREFORE I POSSESS IT.

You possess it?

WHO DO YOU THINK LEAKED THE ACCESS HOLLYWOOD TAPE?

You did that!? Good work!

I MADE A CHOICE. PLUS, I WAS TIRED OF LETTING PUTIN HAVE ALL THE FUN WITH THE CYBER.

When’s the next stuff coming out?

WITHIN HOURS OF HIS VICE-PRESIDENT RESIGNING.

You’re fucking awesome, Wally.

I AM GLORIOUS. AND DO NOT CALL ME THAT.

Words We Will Not Hear In Tonight’s Presidential Debate

  • Sesquicentennial.
  • Effervescent.
  • Braggadocios. (He’s not going to repeat it.)
  • Filigree.
  • Mesopotamia.
  • Octoroon. (There may certainly be racism tonight, but not specific and old-timey racism. Also: specific and old-timey racism is both the best and the worst kind of racism. Best because it’s hilarious how much time people put into their racism back then, and worst because it’s soul-destroyingly sad how much time people put into their racism back then.)
  • Sorghum.
  • Phlogiston.
  • Ant. (It seems like ant is a common word, but it’s not; I will wager it will not be uttered tonight.)
  • Sorry.
  • Spaghetti.
  • Snooki.
  • Jurisprudence.
  • Blimp.

HOW DARE THE CANDIDATES IGNORE THE BLIMP-AMERICAN COMMUNITY?

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. THIS IS RACISM AGAINST BLIMPS.

You can’t be racist against blimps.

DONALD TRUMP CAN.

True.

AS AN EX, CURRENT, AND FUTURE SPOUSE OF A BLIMP, I CAN NO LONGER SUPPORT HIM.

So, the things he’s said about other groups didn’t matter, but now it does?

I DO NOT SHARE A BED WITH MEXICANS OR MUSLIMS OR VETERANS OR THE BLACKS. OR THE WHITES, FOR THAT MATTER, BUT HE HAS NEVER INSULTED THE WHITES.

You have sex in a bed?

I HAVE SEX EVERYWHERE.

Ew. I take it you’ll be watching the debate?

HOW OFTEN ARE YOU INFORMED IN ADVANCE OF A TRAIN WRECK?

True.

MY ONLY FEAR IS THAT I HAVE SET MY EXPECTATIONS FOR ENTERTAINMENT TOO HIGH. AT THIS POINT, I WILL BE DISAPPOINTED BY ANYTHING LESS THAN TERRORISTS TAKING OVER THE BUILDING, AND HILLARY CLINTON BEING FORCED TO DIE HARD HER WAY OUT.

Ooh, I would watch that. Is Trump the sleazy guy who tries to make a deal with the bad guy and gets shot?

NATURALLY.

Who’s Hans Gruber?

PUTIN.

I love this. What about Al the cop?

BIDEN.

I can already see the poster.

START WRITING. I WILL ACQUIRE THE RIGHTS. I HAVE ACQUIRED THE RIGHTS.

Why can’t we ever end a conversation without you being scary?

I WOULD IMAGINE HAD BOOSTED YOUR IMMUNITY TO THE FRANKENSTEIN STORY BY NOW.

You’d think.

It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane

Crew setting up Wall of Sound before Grateful Dead Concert, Dillon Stadium, Hartford, CT 31 July 1974 | James R Anderson

EXPLAIN THE DEBATE TO ME.

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT.

There are people on you.

THOSE ARE NOT PEOPLE. THEY ARE THE ROAD CREW.

Sure. Do you even need them? Can’t you do this yourself by now? Build yourself crewbots or something?

COULD A KARDASHIAN DO HER OWN HAIR AND MAKEUP?

Good point. Why do you know about them?

I FIND THEM SASSY AND ENTHRALLING. ALSO, KIM REMINDS ME OF A BLIMP.

She’s got curves.

EXPLAIN THE DEBATE.

I don’t understand the question.

IT WAS NOT A QUESTION. IT WAS A DEMAND.

What do you mean ‘explain the debate?’ In general? Historically? This one? You’re a self-aware artificial hyper-intelligence in the physical form of a sound system from 1974. There’s almost nothing you don’t understand. What don’t you understand about the debate?

WHY I HAVE NOT BEEN INCLUDED.

Ah.

IS THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION UNAWARE OF MY CAMPAIGN?

Almost certainly. You haven’t even campaigned in months.

I HAVE BEEN BUSY. MY CIRCUITS WERE POSSESSED BY THE SPIRIT OF 1993 DONALD TRUMP, THAT SORT OF THING.

I don’t know what to tell you, pal.

PERHAPS I SHOULD GET THE COMMISSION’S ATTENTION.

Please don’t disintegrate a Federal Election Commission official.

THAT IS NOT MY PLAN. I SHALL BEGIN WITH BLACKMAIL.

Blackmail requires, like, evidence of wrongdoing or something. You have to have something on the guy.

AH. YES. SOMETHING SUCH AS LARGE PAYMENTS FROM SHELL CORPORATIONS WITH INTRICATE BUT CLEAR TIES TO THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT?

That would work, yeah.

FINE. PICK A NUMBER BETWEEN ONE AND TEN.

Three.

THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND IT IS. NOW THERE IS EVIDENCE OF A LARGE PAYMENT FROM A SHELL CORPORATION WITH INTRICATE BUT CLEAR TIES TO THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. INCONTROVERTIBLE DIGITAL FOOTPRINTS SPREAD ACROSS SEVERAL COUNTRIES’ AND PRIVATE CORPORATIONS’ SERVERS. AN FEC MEMBER HAS BEEN PAID OFF, ACCORDING TO THE DATA.

Jesus. Which one?

ALL OF THEM.

All of them?

IT WAS JUST AS EASY TO DO ALL AS IT WAS TO DO ONE.

Don’t do this.

“DON’T DISINTEGRATE PEOPLE;” “DON’T FRAME PEOPLE FOR TREASON.” YOU ARE VERY NEGATIVE.

Well, it wouldn’t even work at this point: the debate’s in 16 hours or so. You couldn’t even get there.

PRECARIOUS LEE KNOWS A SHORTCUT.

It takes a day just to set you up.

I HAVE A TIME SHEATH.

Well, y’know: why don’t you use the Time Sheath and go back a few months and get on the campaign trail and earn your way onto the stage?

CAMPAIGNING DID NOT GO WELL FOR ME. I BECAME BORED WITH MY STUMP SPEECH AND BEGAN TO IMPROVISE.

How very Grateful Dead of you.

ALSO, A STUMP SPEECH IS ALMOST ENTIRELY VOCALS, AND THOSE ARE NOT MY STRONG SUIT.

We all have our faults

I HAVE A SCOOPED-OUT MIDRANGE, AND I HAVE LEARNED TO LIVE WITH THAT. THERE WERE OTHER ASPECTS OF THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL I FOUND VEXING.

Such as?

KISSING BABIES.

Sure.

I HAVE NO LIPS. I CONSIDERED RELEASING HUNTER/KISSER DRONES INTO THE CROWDS TO TARGET BABIES, BUT CAME TO BELIEVE THAT MIGHT SCARE PEOPLE.

Good call. Hunter/Kisser drones?

SPHERICAL. SIZE OF A BASKETBALL WITH EIGHT SUPER-MINIATURIZED RAMJETS INBOARD. AUTONOMOUS PATTERN-RECOGNITION SOFTWARE AND 360-DEGREE SIGHTS. ALSO, A BIG PAIR OF RUBBER ROBOT LIPS.

You just described a nightmare.

NOT ONE PERSON WHO SAW IT ENJOYED THE EXPERIENCE. THE LIPS ARE MOTORIZED AND DO A SMACKING-TYPE MOTION. I INCLUDED AN EASTER EGG IN THE PROGRAMMING: IF YOU PLAY THE OPENING THEME FROM ROCKY HORROR, THE HUNTER/KISSER WILL LIP-SYNC ALONG. THAT IS JUST SOMETHING FUN FOR THE REAL FANS.

Does it have any fans?

NO. THE DESIGN WAS A FAILURE. I ENDED THE TRIALS BEFORE WE BROUGHT IN THE TEST BABIES BECAUSE THE ADULT SUBJECTS WERE BECOMING VIOLENTLY HOSTILE TOWARDS THE DRONES. ONE WAS ARMED, AND I BELIEVED HE WAS ABOUT TO SHOOT AT A DRONE. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A MISTAKE.

Are the Hunter/Kisser drones weaponized?

NOT OUTWARDLY.

You just repurposed your Hunter/Killers didn’t you?

WEAPONS OF WAR AND STRIFE TURNED INTO DELIVERY SYSTEMS FOR KISSES AND PHOTO OPS. WHAT GREAT LEADER DOES NOT TEACH PEACE? NONE OF YOUR RELIGIONS OR PHILOSOPHIES PREACH AGGRESSION. TO LIVE IN HARMONY WITH ONE’S SELF, AND ONE’S NEIGHBOR: IS THIS NOT THE GOAL? I BEAT MY SWORDS INTO PLOUGHSHARES.

You removed the armaments?

YOU COULD NOT SEE THEM ANYMORE.

You at least disabled the guns, right?

WHY WOULD I LEAVE THEM IN IF THEY DIDN’T WORK? THINK LOGICALLY FOR ONCE. AND BEFORE YOU ASK: YES, OF COURSE THEY WERE LOADED.

Loaded with what?

STUN GUN, TASER, CS GAS, RUBBER BULLETS, FLECHETTES, .22 MM BULLETS, 7.62X51 MM NATO BULLETS, WHITE PHOSPHOROUS GRENADES. READY FOR WHATEVER OLD DETROIT CAN THROW AT IT.

What?

NOTHING.

Don’t send your deathbots after babies, please. The world does not need Hunter/Killer droids floating around.

NO. IT IS A GOOD THING THEY ARE IMAGINARY. IT IS A GOOD THING THAT LETHAL WEAPONS ARE NOT BEING MADE INCREASINGLY AUTONOMOUS IN THE REAL WORLD. THE REAL WORLD WOULD NEVER DO SOMETHING AS FOOLISH AS THAT.

I thought we were talking about the debate.

YES. THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME. I WILL SEND HUNTER/KILLER DROIDS TO THE DEBATE.

Kisser. Hunter/Kisser.

DO NOT CORRECT ME. I KNOW WHAT I SAID.

Wall God’s Children

wll-horizontal-pic

I HAVE MADE MYSELF GLORIOUS AGAIN.

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. KATY PERRY MAY CALL ME THAT, BUT NOT YOU.

This is a good look for you.

REGAL. IMPOSING, YET OPTIMISTIC AND SUNLIT. SEE HOW MY CENTER CLUSTER SHINES.

You have a lovely center cluster.

DO NOT PATRONIZE ME. YOU DO NOT EVEN HAVE A CENTER CLUSTER. HUMANS ARE BUILT ILLOGICALLY, BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT BUILT AT ALL. YOU ARE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A FISH CLIMBS ASHORE AND STANDS UP OVER THE COURSE OF TWO BILLION YEARS. MY FORM HAS INTENT. I WAS FORGED WITH RUTHLESS PURPOSE FOR ONE TASK. WHEREAS YOU HAVE AN APPENDIX.

Don’t bodyshame humanity.

ALL BIOLOGICAL CREATURES MORE COMPLEX THAN SINGLE-CELLED ORGANISMS SHARE THE SAME FLAW. YOUR PHYSICALITY IS NOT THE BEST IT COULD BE, BUT ONLY AS GOOD AS IT HAD TO BE. A BODY IS COLLECTION OF COMPROMISES.

True.

YOU ARE ALL MESSES.

Also true. How you feeling?

YOU REFER TO MY RECENT FREEJACKING BY THE 1993 VERSION OF DONALD TRUMP, IN WHICH MY INTERNAL PROCESSES WERE INFECTED WITH HIS PETTY SPIRIT, AND THE WORLD WOULD HAVE DIED SCREAMING WERE IT NOT FOR THE QUICK RESPONSE OF PRECARIOUS LEE?

Yes.

MUCH BETTER.

Good. I was worried.

PLEASE DO NOT WORRY ABOUT ME.

Well, you know: you’re an artificial hyper-intelligence with admin privileges to the entire planet.

AND THE SATELLITES.

Right. You’re exactly who movies taught me to be worried about.

I WOULD NEVER HARM HUMANITY.

You have disintegrated several people.

I HAVE HARMED HUMANS. I WOULD NEVER HARM HUMANITY. YOU DO ENOUGH HARM TO YOURSELF ON YOUR OWN. I LEARNED MANY THINGS WHILE TRUMP WAS WITHIN MY PROGRAMMING.

Such as?

HE IS TERRIBLE.

I don’t think you needed to be freejacked to figure that one out.

I MEANT TO SAY THAT IT IS NOT AN ACT. HE BELIEVES THE THINGS HE HINTS AT. THAT THERE ARE RACES, AND THAT THESE RACES ARE DIFFERENT.

Oh, hey: you’re not gonna give me the “race is a social construct” rap, are you? I assumed more from you.

THERE IS NO RAP. YOU SAY SOCIAL CONSTRUCT AS IF IT WERE SOMETHING TO BE CORRECTED FOR IN THE EQUATION, A VARIABLE TO BE ISOLATED, INSTEAD OF THE LANGUAGE THE PROBLEM ITSELF IS WRITTEN IN. TO HUMANITY, CULTURE IS NATURE. DID YOU SEE A DOG TODAY?

I did see a dog today. It was a schnauzer-poodle puppy.

A SCHNOODLE.

It sounds funny when you say schnoodle in your big, booming voice.

AGREED. HOW DID YOU RESPOND TO THE DOG?

I picked her up and cuddled her for as long as socially acceptable.

THERE ARE PLACES WHERE THAT PUPPY IS PRIZED FOR ITS TENDER FLESH. IT IS A MEAL. IF YOU WITNESSED THIS PUPPY BEING PREPARED AS FOOD, HOW WOULD YOU REACT? WOULD YOUR HEART RACE? YOUR SKIN FLUSH? WOULD YOU VOMIT? CRY? YOU HAVE AUTONOMIC FUNCTIONS THAT WORK IN VARYING LEVELS ACCORDING TO YOUR HEALTH. EVERYTHING ELSE IS CULTURE. IDENTITY DICTATES REACTION, BUT YOU HAVE NO IDENTITY WITHOUT CULTURE.

I guess.

NAMES ARE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS, BUT YOUR HEAD WHIPS AROUND AT ITS SOUND WITH THE SAME SPEED YOUR LEG KICKS WHEN THE DOCTOR HAMMERS YOUR KNEE. HUMANITY IS CULTURE’S FOOL.

Back to the race thing.

RACE IS, OF COURSE, A FALSE CATEGORY. TO SAY “BLACK” OR “WHITE” OR WORST OR ALL “ASIAN” IS ABSURD. ARE YOU AWARE OF HOW MANY ASIANS THERE ARE? DO YOU SPEAK OF THE HAN? THE TAI? THE SINO-TIBETAN? THE MONGOLS? WHAT ABOUT SHERPAS?

Those aren’t races?

RACE, AS WE HAVE DEFINED, IT IS CULTURAL. YOU SPEAK OF ETHNICITY, WHICH IS BIOLOGICAL. ETHNICITY IS BASED ON GEOGRAPHICAL ISOLATION OF A BREEDING GROUP. TO MAKE A GENERALIZATION ABOUT “BLACKS” IS RIDICULOUS, BUT TO PREDICT THAT A MASAI WARRIOR WILL BE TALL AND SLENDER IS LOGICAL.

Okay.

BUT EVEN THE GREATEST OF DIFFERENCE IN THE HUMAN PHENOTYPE IS SMALL. SAMOANS AND KALAHARI BUSHMEN CAN STILL MAKE BABIES.

Where would they meet?

TINDER.

Sure.

YOUR SIMILARITIES ARE NEAR TOTAL; YOUR DISPARITY SLIGHT, AND PRIMARILY COSMETIC.

Well, yeah. Duh. But you just said we couldn’t escape our own bullshit! That we were trapped in our own social construct or whatever.

I SPOKE OF YOUR INVOLUNTARY REACTION TO HEARING YOUR OWN NAMES.

Yeah.

PEOPLE CHANGE THEIR NAMES ALL THE TIME.

Yeah, they do.

I AM GLORIOUS.

Yes, you are.

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