I’ve been having some strange thoughts recently. I don’t think my mind has taken well to the idea of “President Trump”, and it is trying to fit things together as best as it can, like in Bioshock Infinite. A central conceit of that game’s plot is that if you get moved into a different reality which isn’t entirely congruent with the one you came from, your mind automatically starts to make up memories where there weren’t any before, to try and reconcile the dissonance between the reality you knew and the one you currently inhabit – otherwise you’re left a twitching, bleeding mess. This feeling, of trying to reconcile between the nice somewhat orderly reality that we had before and the confusing, messy reality of a universe where “President Trump” is a phrase referring to an actual physical concept that exists, is what I’m going through at the moment.
“President Trump” is not a concept that should exist according to any known model of reality I can conceive of. I can at least accept that things like NAMBLA and the KKK have a physical reality, as much as I don’t want them to, because I can conceive of there being pederasts and racists and I can imagine those pederasts and racists having special little clubs where they can be awful pieces of shit together and sometimes go bowling. That is actually a reality-anchored concept that my brain has no trouble imagining. “President Trump” is not. When I think “President”, as in the elected official of the United States of America and not the brand of cheese, I think of serious people who were dedicated to public service in some way and had at least some measure of what sort of job they were running for, and the gravitas it both imbued upon them and also demanded of them. There is a “President” shaped hole in my brain and only certain things will fit into it. Every single Presidential candidate for both the Democrats and Republicans in my lifetime has, in some sense, fit neatly into that hole. Even George W Bush, in hindsight, had his good points, and did in some sense appear to care about governance even if he wasn’t very good at it. Mitt Romney was a man about as warm and human as the macOS System Preferences pane and he was at least someone who I could imagine as President without my mind core dumping. Donald Trump does not fit into that hole. It isn’t so much a square peg/round hole thing as a round hole and a peg that’s a shape that doesn’t actually have a name, with 27 sides and lots of acute and obtuse angles; one that tapers so even if you did somehow manage to put this eldritch abomination of a peg in the round hole it still wouldn’t go through, it’d just jut out of the top and look stupid.
What I’m trying to say is that while Mitt Romney and George W Bush fit into my holes cleanly, Donald Trump doesn’t, and when he doesn’t fit in my hole I have a dump. Hurr hurr.
Put bluntly, this has been a terrible year. So much tragedy and unhappiness has unfolded in 2016; not so much in a personal sense, where realistically speaking things have gone alright for me so far (touch wood) but in general the world in which I live is sliding down the shitter, taking all of the good things that existed in it along with it, starting with David Bowie and ending with the concept of liberal democracy, washed down the plughole by a wave of stupid. So much global awfulness is unfolding that I’m actually starting to have strange, metaphysical thoughts that somehow this is all an illusion; that I’m actually living in the personally-tailored hell of some low-level Weimar German government functionary who died 28 years ago and was reincarnated into a world only he can see, one in which everything just slowly gets worse and worse as some sort of punishment for all the horrible things he enabled. He’s getting to relive the Weimar years again, only this time in the UK, and he knows how it ends because he lived it and he’s screaming and screaming about how it’ll all end in tears and he knows it will just look at what happened it’s written down and everything but it just won’t stop. But none of it’s real, it’s just an illusionary solipsistic nightmare, designed to punish him/me for whatever he/I did, the bastard/cunt. It could be true, for all I know; I’ve never met Donald Trump, only seen him on screens, so for all I know he may not actually exist. I’ve never met Nigel Farage either. I know Jeremy Corbyn exists, I saw him on a stage once (doing the trick with the ping pong balls if I remember rightly, actually not), but I’m not so sure about Theresa May or David Cameron. The United States may not even exist, since I’ve never been there, only read about it and seen pictures. I live with an American but she may just be putting on an accent, that also doesn’t exist except for her and other imaginary “Americans”.
I know these thoughts are mad, and for the sake of the slower-witted of my two readers I don’t actually believe that the world around me is a non-existent Matrix-plus-sado-masochism illusion. Just that it feels that way at the moment just because of how shit the world is. Please do not call for the men in white coats, please, thank you.
Here’s a fun, and unlike my bollocks illusion theory above actually entirely true, story which further illustrates how this utter cunt of a year is ruining my mind. I was walking home from work the other night listening to music, and a particular song came on, one of my favourite songs by a band I like very much. And as I listened to this song, I suddenly had the intrusive thought: “<Lead singer of the band> is probably going to die this year, because it’s 2016 and of course he will because 2016.” Not in the sense of some psychotic episode – this wasn’t some hallucinated voice from God telling me that this bloke was going to die in the next month and a half (I’m deliberately not naming this person in case I jinx it, because if any year is going to see jinxes become reality it’s this one) – but just an idle thought, because that’s what 2016 has done. 2016 has, consummately, made it abundantly clear that absolutely nothing is secure any more, because anything you could love or that brought you joy can be snatched away at a moment’s notice because the world is a cunt and so is 2016 and so fucking there. I then had the sudden realisation that I’d never wanted to punch a period of time in the face before, but I did now. Fucking 2016. What else is it going to take away from us? We’ve already got Brexit, President Trump and half of a decent CD collection gone, anything else nice you want gone? Trees? Squirrels? Dairy Milk? I heard on the news last week that M&S was shutting a load of stores and it genuinely shit me up until I heard the full details; losing Percy Pigs would just about finish me (financially I mean, they have to license my big fat pink face for each one) but it would be just like 2016 to do that to us.
Put simply this whole year is doing funny things to me with its mix of absolute horror, repeated stupidity and a profound sense of complete impotence in the face of it all. So I tried to make myself better by writing a load of shit and it hasn’t helped. Oh well.