Rhetoric Opens Door(s) by @chrisblex


(clears throat) It will be interesting in thirty to forty years when some sniveling doctoral candidate will take it upon her or himself to to detail the troubled histories of our two peoples. Undoubtedly it will be sloppy, contracted with a sort of burning, almost venereal prose that compels you forward like a UTI keeps you up at night. The sources will be skewed and manipulated, sometimes brazenly. The footnotes will be filled with uncalled for analogies, so much so that it will spark a debate in this country over the creation of a governing body overseeing the usage and decency of all metaphors.

In a utilitarian sense, it will be the greatest tragedy of ethics in modern history. All that harm, so many psyches warped beyond recognition, and just for a dissertation that passes solely by the grace of its author’s nettlesome relationship with her or his dissertation committee. Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way.

As I stand before you now, you have a chance to change history for the better. With a single act you liberate us from this path. You have the power to reject this as if it were a meandering script for a comedy series about the Trail of Tears told from the perspective of a white child adopted by Native American parents. Sure, Showtime will probably green light it anyway, but that’s on them. This is about you.

I am merely ancillary to this whole thing, tertiary even. I want what’s best for capital H History, which just so happens to align perfectly with my ancillary interest. But don’t go around believing whoever when they tell you they know what history wants most. She’s a fickle mistress, fickle but decisive, and not really a mistress. If anything we’re the mistresses and she’s queen of this here harem.

Regardless of what you decide to do, history will fuck us, and, we, well, we’ll get fucked. But that fucking, it’s nature and relative duration, that’s up to you. It’s like that Leonard Nimoy quote about how the world’s a snuff film set and we’re just the wide-eyed, unwitting Craigslist first responders. It’s kind of tough to parse, but I think it’s about legacy, and what is legacy but the grandest form of exhibisionism?

I don’t mean to ply you with remembrance, as that’s not what counts either. I mean, it does count, just significantly less than the intangibles. You know, stick-to-it-iveness, effort in a vacuum, gastrointestinal distress, going for broke, the whole we’re-out-of-gas trick. It’s the inability to quantify quality over quantity, as the saying goes. So, when our insensate ancestors look back at this very moment, they’ll judge us not for what we did, but how unquantifiable what we didn’t do was.

Historically speaking, you’re off the hook, and I’m not being deterministic when I say that. By all means, allow yourself to be hooked. Just make sure that your hooking cannot be plotted geometrically against the trajectory of human progress. That’s a line you don’t want to have an asymptotic relationship with, let alone cross.

At the end of the day, your choice boils down to this; you can spurn your own temerity and rise up against the zeitgeist saying, defiant, “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!” Or you can stand there, and wait for the sands of time to swipe right on the winds of history and hope, nay pray, that they were honest on their respective profiles. So, (clears throat) what say you? Will you grant me passage to this venerable Arby’s powder room?  

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