the fear fetish


That nanny you hired? She wears your panties on her head while you're at work. That raw foodist will kill you in your sleep, if the electro-magnetic waves from your clock radio don't kill you first. That guy knows where you live. That tsunami's got your name on it. But it's not just any tsunami. It's a tsunami that swallows every person you ever loved in ultra slow motion. While you watch. After they wave merrily to you with their backs to a HORIZON OF FROTHY DEATH.

Socialists! Muslims! LESBIANS! God save us!

... ... uh. God? 

(terrified human taps on megaphone, gestures in puzzlement to fellow terrified humans)
(God pretends to be engrossed in Archie At Riverdale High #17)

Are you there, God? It's us. We offer you the wrath of our fear! Behold!

(God sighs, rolls his eyes)


What's the worst thing that can happen? Well. Scrap that if you live in Kansas. Or in Washington, where bears eat kitten shishkabobs on your back deck. You’re politically terrified. Culturally terrified. Spiritually terrified. And you wonder if you are appropriately terrified, browsing for intriguing new terrors as though your due diligence alone might spare you.

Of all our kinks, fear of change is the most potent. Fear of The Different, most often masked as conviction and indignance, makes us feel powerful. It lends the illusion of control. It prevents our world view from maturing. It is addictive justification. It makes every emotion stand on end.

Fear is a soul boner. You know what they call it when you're in love with your own boner? Arrogance. Or gainful employment. Right now, America is a mosh pit of fear boners. Fear boners fluffed by God's left hand and Jerry Springer's right.

It's bizarre and sad and undignified and Texans are writing Thomas Jefferson out of their school textbooks because he didn't like the left hand of God all up in his government, did you hear that? And laughably misinformed demonstrations with racial slurs and calls to guns and are these people for real? Seriously? And Sarah Palin's crosshair targets on Democrats (Don't retreat! RELOAD!), when half the people studying said crosshairs eat gay kittens for breakfast? And outrage at Obama's heels up on the Oval Office desk, where a patch had already been worn from the heels of relaxing-while-thinking white dudes?

How could any intelligent person with fair concern or questions align with such embarrassing, stereotype-riddled buffoonery? Where are all the mortified Republicans? Can't they see what all this does to the credibility of their opposition? What is the nature of this particular nationwide fear boner? Is is a fear of the black man? Of the extent to which people trust and feel enlivened by the black man? Of the burden of community? Of too much government? What, exactly, is too much government? Inappropriate speediness of pothole repair?

I watch from up here with complete bewilderment, like most of us, especially considering the truly hand-wringing darkness of recent years. I know too many incredible Americans. Enough, and in such proportion, that none of this makes any sense. They're funny and thoughtful and compassionate and self-aware and inclusive. I've never met an American I didn't like. Except the ones who made me tried to make me drink their tea.

America is our cultural cousin. And yet, there's all this. What are you afraid of? Why?