I sketched out these stumblers from Breughel’s great painting to use as a tattoo almost twenty years ago. A couple years later the Bush Years dawned and a look down at my left arm served as an instant reminder of where we were at as a country. For those eight years I never accepted that the entitled idiot represented me in any way. After last Tuesday, W seems like King Solomon. W did his level best to flush this country down the toilet, now we’ve recruited the guy to give the handle a final jiggle.
Election Day morning I woke up about two hours before I needed to. I was anxious and didn’t know what to do so I made a cup of coffee and started re-watching “Horace and Pete”. “Horace and Pete” is neither a movie nor a traditional TV show. The episodes aren’t of uniform length and the story proceeds erratically, with few of the tropes of either form. The set and characters reminds me of classic American plays. Something by Eugene O’Neill, or Arthur Miller, or Tennessee Williams maybe, but the way it’s edited and composed could only have been done with cameras. The story takes place in an old bar in Brooklyn. It’s about a world which is disappearing but it is told in a way which could only be possible now. Louis C.K. financed, wrote, shot, acted in, and distributed it by himself outside the studio system or any other established entertainment portal. The same way any amateur can now upload a song he wrote 30 seconds ago to YouTube, C.K. has made his work available directly to us. Except that C.K.’s song has Alan Alda, Jessica Lange, Edie Falco, Steve Buscemi, and a dozen other heavy hitters in it. Several of the best actors around do some of their best work in this weird, uncategorizable thing.
The specter of Donald Trump haunts “Horace and Pete”. The barflies debate his candidacy just as so many of us have over this last year. Many of the people at the bar long for a past that never was, just like the catastrophic fantasy which Trump has sold as if it’s anything but a fairytale. Now that the worst has come to pass, many people will search for means of escape or oblivion. How can it be possible that this country willingly elected the Cheeto-faced carnival barker to be its standard-bearer?
There isn’t enough sand in the Sahara for me to bury my head in to forget what happened last Tuesday, but I’m sure as hell gonna try. If you want to join me, throw Louis C.K. a few bucks here. This thing he made is the best thing I saw or read all year. Small comfort, I know, but we have to find some glimmer of good in order not to be sucked under by the horror we’ve wreaked. Art is the only way I know to fight back against the ugliness of this world.
I really don’t wanna know about the next shoe to drop but there’s no doubt bad times are ahead.