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Dreamed 2018/8/22 by Wayan


I read Seymour Hersh's Reporter. Over half a century he built a reputation: he protected his sources no matter what. So spies, criminals and world leaders confided their secrets. Outrageous insider stories! They convince me that human alpha males are even crazier and more violent than I thought (and as an Aspie, I already found neurotypical guys pretty scary).

Kissinger lied routinely and assassinated freely. His secret bombing of Cambodia wasn't even his biggest massacre; he encouraged Pakistan's brutal 1960s purge killing hundreds of thousands, just to send China a message. And Nixon and Kissinger weren't unique; Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan and their spymasters and generals assassinated inconvenient people--as long as they weren't, you know, important.

Even Bill Clinton authorized missiles to assassinate Saddam Hussein, and when they missed, a staffer mocked Hersh for fussing over "only" eight civilians killed. One of Bush's generals massacred demobilized Iraqi soldiers going home after the war was over. Abu Ghraib wasn't unique either, and the US army robbed Iraqi civilians they didn't jail. Chapter by chapter, the parade of monsters goes on. And on. And on.

Hersh's horrific world balances Steven Pinker's optimistic Enlightenment Now. Enthuggenment now?

THAT NIGHT Spunky Girl Reporter popped spontaneously into existence--like all inhabitants of the Lone Star Planet. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

I read a long novel set in a conservative Texan town where folks have zero interest in the wider world. So it takes me a long time to notice the differences that slowly prove this isn't Earth.

First, this Texan society isn't just local, it's worldwide! No other cultures. Just... endless Texas. Small-town Texas.

But a bigger difference takes whole chapters for me to see, since the characters take it for granted and it's not a presence but an absence: children.

No such thing! No reality, no word, no concept. In this Texan world, people appear out of nothing! Adolescents with language and character and tastes fully formed; once they pass simple tests--high school skills, if that--they qualify as adults. A few go on to get some technical training, but the Lone Star Planet lacks the idea not just of child but child-raising, education, development. People don't grow, don't need to be grown; they just are. Static!

In their simple farm and ranch society, it works, I guess. Not much progress, maybe, but they rarely starve.

One day, out of nowhere, a cute feisty girl appears--a natural Spunky Reporter who instantly and instinctively digs at power relationships, alarming the local town-bosses. Clearly she'll be our hero soon as she gets her adulthood license. She'll head for the city and go after big fish. Then the story can really take off...

Inside, though, I wonder. Nothing to do with the plot--or her small-town exposés. I wonder what further world-building-exposés are hidden in the chapters to come, that (by chance or authorial design) no events have exposed... yet. The characters sure can't bare them, for they can't imagine any other life. Why should they?

All the world is Texas. Who needs imagination?


Day: news media - truth and lies - leaders - privacy & secrets - politics - violence & crimes
Dream: other worlds - alternate Earths - shamanic dreams - birth & kids - privacy again - news again
Related: Georges Perec treks through time to the City of Texas in The Condemnation

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