Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Marketplace

Bullshit is inescapable.

I waited for Swiss Alps to guzzle down his beer as I sat reading a book between KournaWhora and Fred, a 33-year-old religions student with a persistently sweaty brow produced by daily cocktails of nicotine and pills. The latter two were discussing politics (as college students are prone to do) and I pretended not to notice. I heard them drop names like ingredients in a Cajun gumbo. Chavez. Charet. Blair. Martin. And the occasional Bush, Bush, Bush. Acronyms flew by my ears like Topps trading cards. FCC. IMF. WTO. It all added up to nothing except for nonsense. Or perhaps what they were doing was altogether more sinister: a deliberate attempt to disassemble communication from language. What an evil agenda that would be. A race to infect the world with filler. A race to devolve the mind. It was impossible to filter out the rubbish when everything belonged in a dumpster (and not the nice kind either, but the kind you find abandoned babies in nine months after prom). From their lips spilled contradictions and half-formed ideas. These grand, hegemonic statements. These sweeping generalities disguised as miracle breakthroughs accessible only to the young. It was social junkie jargon and a thinly-veiled shorthand for elitism: only the privileged are able to have sitdown discussions about the fate of the poor with equal horreur and contempt. When they asked each other whether they've taken this political science course or that, it was another opportunity to flaunt what their parents worked for; a legacy that ended with them. ("$450 a credit bought me quotable smarts! And look, it's also portable! See how I recite the same statistics at every party?") Smoking their designer cigarettes, rolling their newly purchased weed, I couldn't have been less bored in the presence of these world weary auteurs with copy-cat sensibilities.

"I don't care for business much," sniffed one to the other. "But both Bush and Martin are running [their] countries like one."

They chuckled in unison, taking their eyes off each other just long enough to lick their papers and divide the grass.

But it wasn't until KournaWhora brought up pirates -- as in "yo ho ho and a bottle of rum" -- to explain yet another unsubstantiated theory did I motion Swiss Alps to leave, book in hand, pride still purring.

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