Clown world became hell sooner than you expected.
Punctuated by vignettes of street violence, each day bleeds into the next. Most days, you don’t see other people in the flesh. “No contact” delivery ensures seamless individuated consumption. Various platforms offer their condolences. In these trying times, Postmates is here for you. 25% of designer face mask proceeds go to nonprofits that teach inner city black girls how to code. Pornhub Premium is free. Feel better, they insist. We’re in this together.
Venturing into the public square for groceries, an amoebic cluster of what you skeptically still identify as human beings—nice, normal people—can be observed darting from aisle to aisle, making mundane appetitive pursuits as before, but more frantically now. As if under duress. When quarantine began, they used to gesture sympathy by cartoonishly twisting their eyebrows and tipping their head to one side. This was before it was decided who could walk which way down which aisles. Today, someone has taped arrows to the floor.
All of you want to return home as soon as possible. The only safe social distance, to be sure, is total isolation. Home is where nice, normal people are safe from the unwashed, unmasked deplorables among them, whose recalcitrance is as dirty and dangerous as their breath. By that same token, you also prefer to distance yourself—from that quietly desperate, empty-yet-penetrating, SSRI-infused hive-gaze, which feels increasingly like the eye of Sauron.
You know the statistics. You know the death rate, and you know masks are useless. But 72% of nice, normal people now support jail time for violations of mask mandates. Their blinking eyes, tired of performing, never linger on another pair for too long anymore, except to communicate some contempt, disgust, or perhaps sublimated envy or lust for those who have not yet enthusiastically accepted the new public health measures. You cannot escape the creeping sensation that they’re watching you. So, you muzzle yourself.
I Can’t Breathe
Once home, you retreat to the virtual world. It’s a void and a vacuum. Empty black squares, icons of the latest, greatest, wokest Great Awakening, are everywhere, shared widely, incessantly, by heretofore apolitical nice, normal people. Captions read: “I will never understand,” “I am blinded by my whiteness,” “I must use my voice to amplify black voices.”
Self-abnegation is the new self-help. You haven’t seen something go so viral among white women since pumpkin spice. Nice normies are buying and reading the books. Catelynn is doing the work. You know this because so many Catelynns have posted selfies with White Fragility…in an N-95 surgical mask. Like autoerotic asphyxiation, except that in the moment of climax (the final touch on a perfect caption), they screech that their abject political fetish is for the sake of humanity, white man. It seems your role in relation to “humanity” is exclusively that of an antagonistic outside observer. You are both oppressor and repressor.
You know the statistics. You know the intra- and interracial crime rates. You think, like Kanye, that things might be different if black babies’ lives mattered enough to bring more of them into the world and into stable, married families.. But Catelynn is blonde, you knew Catelynn back in the day, and Catelynn might be watching now. So, you muzzle yourself.
In college, you told the professors what you knew they wanted to hear. Stupid games for stupid prizes, but how stupid could they be if you couldn’t be hired without the grades, the recommendations, the credentials? At every unpaid internship you took before finally getting the big kid job, you were on your best behavior, too. You attended the corporate “diversity” events. You let the rainbow stickers the office activists pasted to your cubicle in June stay up all year. You needed to blend in with nice, normal people. You thought your cool ambivalence played as professionalism. By the time the job finally came, you’d grown accustomed to your own silence. You’d come so far.
Back then, you needed the nice, normal people to respect you, and the crazy ideologues to leave you alone. You imagined the squeaky wheel got the oil, and most people probably secretly found it as annoying as you did, but went along to get along, too. The noisy radicals in HR reminded you of that unpredictable, antisocial child on your little league team whose parents paid for the uniforms. They were to be tolerated, even as a source of ridicule behind the scenes. And you were a team player. If it ever became too much, someone would hit the brakes.
Something has changed. Everyone’s email signature includes pronouns. Everyone’s LinkedIn is an homage to George Floyd. Silence is violence, said Catelynn, and the rest of the nice normies have risen up in chorus: mea culpa.
We’re Not in Clown World Anymore
This isn’t Clown World anymore. No one is laughing. No longer simply tolerated or patted on the head for his pretty lies, the child-tyrant is now an object of unceasing worship by nice normies. They kiss his boots. You were wrong for so long: normie obsequience had no real limit. Concession was bound neither by time nor reason. Concession was not tactical, strategic, or prudent. It was an artifact of the hollowing out of the mind—and soul! It strikes you that, when the child calls for your head, nice normies will deliver, smiling, and call it a “breakthrough.”
The enemy has raised an army of your friends. You see it now, finally: nice normies are not centrists. They’re clones. They wear the uniform. They parrot every shibboleth. They have forgotten your name, and they have forgotten their own.
You search fruitlessly for some sign of life within the totalitarian sameness of the normie bloc. Some spark in the eye, some twitch of the cheek. But their thousand-yard stares are fixed on promotion. March along, comrade. Choose to obey.
Hell is mundane and mendacious. Follow the rules and achieve absolution. Say their words and save yourself. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. Don’t cancel me.
How did two weeks turn into six months? How did friends become enemies? Are you struggling to breathe again? Whose hands do you find wrapped around your neck? Who will deliver you?
Your iPhone notifies you that your Doordash delivery has been carefully placed by your apartment’s entrance. This way, Western man. At least hell has take-out.