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Opinion

Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction
1956 American science fiction movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Allied Artists

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Almost ten years ago, I wrote my humorous dystopian Good Intentions with the intent of warning the country about what I saw coming. Democrats were making headway in elections, progressive policies were getting passed, and Barack Obama had done his initial damage and was running for a second term. My intent was to provide a funny but thought-provoking warning against a politically correct society, an overly protective/oppressive government, the rejection of capitalism, and the acceptance of socialism. My idea was to create a more accessible alternative to Atlas Shrugged or Nineteen Eighty-Four that might be enjoyed by readers on the right and also on the left and thereby promote some new, old ideas.

It gained a small cult following, including some people on the political left. However, one friend told me that she had to stop mid-way. She said that while she enjoyed it, everything in it was coming true and so it scared her too. I had taken some current events, philosophies, and political policies to such extremes as to make them ridiculous and thus funny. She was right, though. In the decade that followed the book’s publication, some of the craziest things I wrote about came to pass.

In the past year, I’ve taken to writing these serious articles, in some cases as warnings and others as calls to action, or sometimes just for my own catharsis. I get asked once in a while about when I’ll be writing another political novel, maybe a sequel to Good Intentions. I keep stopping and starting a new dystopian novel, but every time I get a few chapters written, I become dejected. What’s the point of writing a warning about what might come in the future when that ridiculous future is upon us now? And it’s not actually funny when it’s really happening.

How did fact become stranger than fiction? How did up become down? How did so much that we until recently thought was good suddenly become bad?

Qualities we recently thought of as honorable, respectable, American, are now considered “white” and thus by definition racist by those on the left including many Democrat politicians. Qualities such as hard work, self-reliance, punctuality, and politeness are suddenly “white characteristics” and thus racist.

I was raised not to treat anyone according to the color of their skin but by the content of their character. This was something that conservatives and liberals agreed upon. Yet now, children are taught that it is skin color that matters most. I was taught about how President Eisenhower sent in the National Guard to escort black children to school in Little Rock, Arkansas. How the Supreme Court had ruled that separate but equal facilities are, by definition, not equal. Yet now, the progressives tell us that Blacks must have separate dorms, separate graduation ceremonies, and separate events at universities. We must make sure to patronize “BIPOC” storesThat gays should have their own separate “pride” activities. However, transsexuals must not be separate when it comes to bathrooms or school sports.

I just can’t make this stuff up.

Not too many years ago, progressives protested loudly that you couldn’t tell a person’s sexual orientation just by observing them. Portrayals of gays on TV and in movies as effeminate men or butch women was offensive. They were just like everyone else, we were told, and to say otherwise was discrimination. Now LGBTQ+ groups are complaining about gay and trans people being portrayed by straight people in the media. They claim this is a bad role model for gay and trans youth. But how would the youth know this fact if these people look, sound, and act like everyone else? Must actors now reveal not only their racial makeup but also their sexual preferences before being cast? Will this be publicized in the credits? And if men and women are equal in every way, how can there even be straight and gay people? How can there be programs to promote women in business or in entertainment or in the sciences if women are men and men are women? Is there actually, then, such a thing as a glass ceiling? Sexual discrimination? Sexual harassment?

I just can’t make this stuff up.

When I was young, liberals told us that we mustn’t be ashamed of who we are. That we should take pride in ourselves and our accomplishments, no matter what we looked like. That everyone had something unique, something special. Now liberals tell us that if you’re not happy with who you are, get surgery and take drugs to change it. Don’t like being a boy? No problem, you can have your penis removed and your parents don’t even have to know. Don’t like the breasts you’re growing? No problem, take drugs to stop it.

In America, the driving age is 16, the voting age is 18, and the drinking age is 21. Ask anyone why this is, and most people will tell you that you don’t have the physical coordination to drive before 16, you don’t have enough knowledge to vote before 18, and you don’t have the maturity to drink responsibly before the age of 21. Yet, the liberals will tell you that by the age of 5—an age when I was certain I had superpowers if only I could figure out how to unleash them—that a child knows which gender it should really be.

I just can’t make this stuff up.

Often when society is going downhill, great writers, musicians, playwrights, actors, and other creators hold up a figurative mirror to society. To make people aware. To warn them. I think of George Orwell of course. And Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I think of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie. I think of Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller.

What do we have in the arts today instead that’s praised by the entertainment industry, the media, politicians, and academics? We have the song WAP by “artist” Cardi B. I won’t state what the initials stand for—you can look it up if you like—but suffice it to say it’s disgusting. The song has been nominated for all kinds of awards and won Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop song from the American Music Awards. The lyrics are about men having sex. With prostitutes. Using the most obscene language. The video is graphic. Yet, it received critical acclaim for being “pure art” and the “dirtiest song ever” in Billboard’s Hot 100 history. And, of course, it uses the “N-word” throughout.

At the same time, books by Dr. Seuss are being criticized and removed from publication. The movie Gone with the Wind and the TV show The Muppets require warnings if they’re shown at all. The books Huckleberry Finn and even To Kill a Mockingbird are now considered triggering, inappropriate, and racist.

I just can’t make this stuff up.

The #MeToo movement slammed Republicans like Brett Kavanaugh and the late octogenarian George W. Bush as sexual predators, without any evidence, but Joe Biden is given a pass despite credible evidence including videos of impropriety. “Believe all Women,” they said, ignoring over 200 years of the American constitutional principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”

Of course, Governor Cuomo is a conundrum. He ordered thousands of people to their deaths and the progressives don’t care, but when he made an unwanted pass at a woman, they finally called for his ouster. At least some of them do.

Hollywood claims to stand up against sexual harassment, yet a growing number of Hollywood celebrities are accused of sexual harassment and worse. Is it any surprise? Look at the movies and TV shows they produce, celebrating pedophilia, sexualizing youth, violence, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, violence, and teenage suicide. Hollywood celebrities take vocal stances with public service announcements against guns, yet they are they portray hundreds of gruesome acts of violence every day.

I just can’t make this stuff up.

Left-wing protestors destroyed major cities throughout America last year during the “Summer of Love,” but the rallying cry of progressives was to defund the police. That is, until they themselves were threatened. When a church was burned down in Washington, DC, Democrat politicians and their liberal allies claimed it was the presence of the police and national guard that prompted the outrage and destruction. But when protestors entered the Capitol, these same Democrat politicians brought in the largest deployment of military force on American soil in modern history to prevent further attacks.

I just can’t make this stuff up.

Many of the same people who say it’s OK to kill a baby in the womb will tell you that we must have laws to force people to wear seatbelts, stop smoking cigarettes, and arrest you for taking illegal drugs. In other words, these same people who will not protect a living child in the womb will tell women, and men, what they can do with their bodies in many other situations. For their own protection, they claim, whether you agree or not. Animal rights activists adamantly claim that eating meat or using animals for experimentation is cruel, because all life is precious, and animals can’t speak for themselves or defend themselves. And yet these same activists typically believe that killing a human baby is fine if it’s an inconvenience to the mother.

I just can’t make this stuff up.

What’s going on? A mass psychological delusion? I have a theory. Our society has become too successful. We have great material wealth, great educational resources, great technology, great military strength, great power. We have better health and more leisure time than any civilization in history. And yet people are still unhappy. So they look for something to believe in or someone to blame. This is human nature. Many on the right have religion. Many on the left have global climate change, anti-racism, socialism. They hold conflicting, irrational views not to solve problems but to enable them to blame some ideology (e.g., capitalism) or some people (e.g., Republicans or whites or cisgender people) for their unhappiness.

The religious people I know seem happier, less troubled. I’ve asked them how they maintain their sanity in an increasingly irrational and immoral world. They tell me they have faith that God will make things right. They tell me that their job is to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe until the rest of the world comes to its senses.

I envy that attitude. As for me, I try to repair the world through writing, but good political fiction should warn you about the world ahead, not show you the world in the rearview mirror. So another political satire novel seems unlikely because the world is becoming crazier faster than I can make it up and write it down.

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2 comments

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BDnSC March 13, 2021 at 8:03 am

One of the best reads I have had in quite a while.

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Avatar
Rachel Nichols March 15, 2021 at 9:15 pm

Bob’s my age. Gen X.

Because of these conflicting, yet strongly held and defended beliefs neo Lefties (aka Snowflakes) are unstable. If you say the “wrong thing” they frequently explode.
Hence I avoid anyone saying “woke” stuff. If forced to interact I avoid talking. No telling what innocent remark might send one over the edge into a mouth frothing fit of self righteous rage.

They remind me of Don Quixote. From Miguel de Cervantes’s novel; not the romanticized musical.
“I self identify as a knight errant from fantasy tales. Don’t you dare try to erase me by saying otherwise!” His fairy tale was his “lived experience.”

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