I wish I were smart enough to be able to claim this post’s eye/brain-catching headline as my own. But, alas, I cannot because I got it from this read-worthy #longread of an article written by John Feffer, a journalist and author who, with his read-worthy article, attempts to (in subtle sublimity) — and in my view does — make the case of why we should purchase his new near-future dystopian novel which spookily mirrors the current dystopic, Trumpian events of today, and who, Feffer, got it, the headline, from a friend on facebook in the form of a viral photo of a sign in front of bookstore in Boston.
A whole lotta fortuitous and fast-moving mechanics behind that headline up there, wouldn’t you agree?
To paraphrase/abuse a popular insurance company commercial from several years past that was trying to get us to fork over the beans for their coverage so we would be covered/prepared for any disastrous potentiality…
Whether China is or is yet to be, or if it even wants or wants not to be a superpower are not the important questions to me. One way or the other, the answer is or will be yes. An important question for me is, how will China manage its increasingly powerful role in the world while also managing the consumption requirements of its increasingly demanding and aggressive population.
Of course, controlling the flow of information — internet censorship, for example — within and without of the country, will be key to its strategy of ascent to the highest heights of global power. But even censorship and governmental intimidation and societal manipulation will serve little purpose when the country’s water wells run dry from its hyper-industrialization and the ongoing desertification of large swaths of the country. When this happens we can certainly expect an explosive rise in the price of global food commodities. And as we’ve seen in our very recent past, when food prices rise beyond the reach of the least affluent, tempers rise right along with them.
And when tempers rise…
Resource Wars are inevitable, and I foresee China opening up the first major front in the assault.
Exactly when this will all happen?
Now, that is the question.
Look it up, folks. It’s all out there.
Scary stuff, for sure.
But scary as it is, it’s all delectable fodder for the imagination of the author intent on creating a world of horrific dystopian proportions and perfection…
In Gary Shteyngart’s SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY, the state of the union is dire. The country is bankrupt and so are its morals and values. It is at war both abroad and at home with itself. Its fall from grace and global dominance is near complete. Its citizens are vacuous, intellectually dead, and have ceded their free will and persona’s to ubiquitous technological devices and the killer apps that power them.
While this may sound like a description of the America of today with its battered and disaffected citizenry, insane debt and out of control spending, and an even more insane and dysfunctional political environment that is preventing any type of resolution to any of its problems, we don’t know exactly when all of this is happening except that it is sometime in the near future.
Within the midst of this dystopian future is love-stricken Lenny, a shlumpy, less-than handsome, middle-aged romantic, first generation Russian, lover of his past-its-prime-and-glory city, who still reads those anachronistic, smelly pressed wood pulp things with ink-stained letters called books, attempting to court Eunice, a vibrant, young, superficial first generation Korean beauty who is repulsed by nearly everything about Lenny–he is old, naïve and weak, he has the face of a battleship, and the smell of his dirty old books make her ill–and who consumes her time and mind by shopping and live streaming on her all-consuming apparat.
Theirs is an unstable and unbalanced love affair that seems destined to collapse, as does just about everything important in Lenny’s life: we see America’s empire collapsing and the corpornation of China’s rising; we see the rule of law collapsing in his city as contractor military forces impose martial law in an effort to contain and control veterans returning from the war with Venezuela who are protesting and plotting against what’s left of the government because they have not received their promised combat pay; we see the collapse of his professional a life because he, a man more comfortable in second hand clothes and who still enjoys long, slow walks through Central Park, just cannot meet the rigors and sales quotas associated with having to sell Kurzweilian-like, eternal life plans to rich elites. Things look pretty grim for poor Lenny.
Things look grim because Super Sad True Love Story is a grim, despondent story; but fortunately for us, the readers, Shteyngart is a talented writer who tells the story in clever, humorous ways that take some of the sting out of its biting, bitter message…but not all of it.
I recommend you read Super Sad True Love Story, if not for its creative, literary value, then for its glimpse into what might become if we don’t soon figure out a way to work together in a common interest of saving our country from becoming a super sad true story of collapse and ruin.