What I want to be precise is a sensation — physical, cognitive, temporary — that is occurring at this fixed moment, especially last week, in the days following the twin tragedies in Buffalo, where 10 blacks were fatally murdered in a supermarket and Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were massacred at a rural elementary school in Texas, in what is now the second largest school shooting in U.S. history.
First, we finally remove the big, stinking lie of immoderation, of how terrorism throws its depravity into our uneven land. The language of radicals and extremists is not born on the sidelines, as folklore has gone over the theory of substitution, the dirty dogma the gunman used to justify his killing in Buffalo. There’s nothing peripheral about how hate breathes. To be among the marginalized, out of the arena of power in the America of yesterday and tomorrow, is to live in the suffocating yoke of wholesale animosity. It is to know the face of these cruelties as a constant, as always.
Now the butchery: in Uvalde this past Tuesday, in Buffalo 14 days ago, in El Paso in 2019, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, on the Las Vegas Strip in 2017, at the Pulse nightclub in 2016, at Sandy Hook Elementary . in 2012, he is so out of doubt that he has entered the realm of the hyper-real, the insignificant, the completely, tragically mundane. In America, horror is a clover: both a linked reality and a recurring show, shared and remixed online, appropriated and mocked by soulless experts on Fox News. There is nothing that can be done about the tsunami of affliction, divided in its unforeseen storm.
I would pretend to be shocked, pretending that the apocalypse approaching through the rectangular lint of my apartment window was not there, but the denial is nonsense when the world is near what seems like another end. A fresh devouring. More unraveled, empty realities. All of this greets me as absolutely dystopian and impactless. “It’s also a mouth; a mosh pit. It’s a whiplash, ”wrote Margo Jefferson on the rugged tour of American culture; of what society can do to you. Do it yourself. How will he do it quickly, and without thinking well, when you are black or a woman or, God forbid, a child going to school. But most of all, today, this week, seems like another end. One more end before many more.
And because we live at a precise intersection of time and circumstances, there is a very particular feeling, in the stream of an inconceivable terror, possessed by the body, that climbs into the delays of the mind. The feeling is not just the anguish that one feels, which is understood with a sigh and a lovelessness too familiar, because the feeling, in the context of this moment, is more than that. It is a simultaneous, exponential crushing, inflation, and restlessness: everything is combined above, beside, and below what is happening and what has already happened to you.
The tragedies of Buffalo and Uvalde are joined by a surreality laden with the horrors of horrors that are unleashed, each bouncing on the other. According to an economist at BMO Capital Markets, in an interview with Bloomberg News, the rise in the price of “food, rent and some other items seems to remain problematic” to curb US inflation next year. This, in a year that could very well be affected by the Supreme Court reversing a person’s right to abortion, worsening weather conditions, calculated tightening of queer rights, a housing crisis, the threat of smallpox from the monkey and what never seems … to end the pandemic fatigue. All this, and with no time to process because the hamster wheel of capitalism demands that we work, that we continue to satisfy its greed.