MAGA As A Haunted House
One time I moved in with a girl from school for a couple months. I was in-between high schools at the time, I had a really hard time staying in school, the fact that I didn’t have a home definitely played into that; it wasn’t until my big sister got an apartment and let me live there that I was able to stay enrolled long enough to complete high school. This girl lived in a trailer park that was pretty gnarly. She lived there with her alleged grandma, who was never there. Thinking back on it now, I legitimately have no idea what the fuck was going on, I was there for a length of time, and I honestly I only ever saw an adult like twice, and that was when they brought us alcohol. So, I stayed there for a bit and there was another girl who was always over there and it was just a house with three teenagers and a lot of lost future. It got weird a few times, but for the most part we just smoked weed and talked about how we were going to change the world, normal teenager shit. I feel like they did my hair and painted my nails and shit a few times. These girls were cool, they got it, they were unsupervised and unmentored and slightly disconnected from reality; just like me! We weren’t even latch-key kids, we were checkbook kids, bouncing them bad bitches all over the place!
So I stayed in this wild-west-ass trailer park for several weeks and the whole affair was like a hypnagogic fever dream. One night I fell asleep on the couch and had a terrifying dream that I still remember to this day. In the dream I was watching TV at the house with an ex-girlfriend, eating popcorn and trying to do that stretch/yawn/grope maneuver thing that was so popular in the young adult rom coms of the time on this girl who had recently expressed her desire to never see me again. Just then, as the laugh track should’ve played, Michael Meyers, from the Halloween movies, popped up behind me; and being that it was a dream I was aware of the fact that a psycho killer was leaning his head out of a darkened doorway just over my shoulder. I froze, the girl simply disapparated because that’s totally normal in a dream, and Mister Meyers started making his advance. At that moment, Fredward Krueger, from the Elm Street movies, came in the front door, and Freddy and Michael started laughing at me. I promptly fell to the floor and flopped around, like, have you ever seen a fish pulled out of the water and dropped on the floor of the boat? It’s sick and sad, but somehow mesmerizing — you’re aware of the fact that a helpless living creature is suffering, but it’s a strange spectacle you can’t look away from. Then, you cut its belly open and take out its internal organs and your brother forces you to eat the heart. So, I became a floppy fish-man on the floor and two pop culture icons, themselves reflections and representations of our dissatisfaction with and reliance on society’s norms and rules and the human urge to transgress, slowly approached me to perform ritual murder. Time itself senselessly expanded into a mere suggestion as physical space and cause and effect folded in on themselves into a thundering origami prison. The murderers came to murder my ass and chew bubblegum, and they were fresh out of bubblegum! I woke up sweaty and disoriented on the couch and couldn’t find words. I was alone.
That dream isn’t important, that trailer park reverie isn’t important, what is important is the vague wrongness surrounding it all. That dream just kinda put the capstone on the whole thing. I don’t know how much longer I stayed there after that dream, and I don’t know why it sticks out in my memories, but there it is. My drug-addled adolescent brain wasn’t the sharpest, my consequence-addled old-man brain still isn’t, but there was a fog of fuckedupedness over our brief stint in Neverland. We all felt it, or so I believe, yet we all pretended everything was fine. Like the dog in the burning house meme. Something had gone terribly wrong in order for there to be these three teenagers living alone in a fully functional house, but we all wanted to act like it was the most normal thing in the world.
Now, I’m not a haunted house aficionado, but I have been around a lot of campfires at three in the morning with a group of buddies telling scary stories. One time my brother told a story about a coven of Satanic cannibals who abducted children and made clothes out of their skin. That one fucked me up. When it’s late, or really early, strange things happen to perception, it’s as if the barriers separating the Real and the Irreal weaken. When you’re at that campfire all you have to do is look up from the flames into the middle distance and you’ll see them start to shimmer and fade. Nature’s noises become shambling demons, the wind in the trees becomes a stalking killer, chipmunks and owls shed their mundane forms and reveal the Elder Horrors hidden beneath. We all know that there are no demons or cannibals or tentacle monsters just out of sight preparing to strike, but it’s fun to play along. So fun, in fact, that it’s easy to get carried away. Eventually, after pretending it’s all real for long enough, a certain delirium sets in and the matter of reality becomes less concrete; the cannibals and psycho killers might be there, I mean, probably not, but maybe.
I lived with a person who would’ve been a Qanoner had they not taken their life before the movement really took off. It was really unpleasant to watch them descend into the madness that eventually took their life. We used to talk. A lot. I had a hard time sleeping at night, and they slept all day and spent most of their time on Facebook reading about earthquakes and lizard people and Killary Clinton’s cabal. So, many nights we’d stay up together and just talk about things. In the months before the end there was a marked change. Before that time there seemed to be a wall separating the real world and the bullshit from Facebook. As time wore on that wall became less evident. Things that once would elicit a furtive glance or a self-conscious laugh, as if they were aware of the fact that it was silly bullshit, started provoking defensive anger and even aggression. It wasn’t long before it become simply impossible to continue living in such a conflicted state — the world they saw on a daily basis consistently contradicted the world they were becoming more and more emotionally attached to, the delirium turned into dissonance, and the dissonance caused them to take their life. A week or so before they swallowed a bullet they told me “If anything happens to me, just know that I didn’t kill myself” and we cried and hugged for a good half-hour. I tried and tried to stop what I knew was coming, I talked to my therapist and asked if she could help, I called my old probation officer and asked her if she could help, I called my brother in Wyoming and asked his advice. In the end it was too much for this person to handle. This person ended their life in the summer of twenty-eighteen. The Q movement hadn’t yet risen to prominence, but the MAGA delusion was in full effect, and the writing was boldly scrawled across the wall for all those who cared to see. This person was into all the most extreme examples of the MAGA cult; Comet Ping Pong and the Satanic adrenochrome club, Obama was a Nigerian Imam, climate change isn’t real, the moon landing was a hoax, even the beginnings of the JFK is still alive saga. Three years ago that was extreme, now it’s as common as anything else. What would it look like if fifty-million Americans suddenly snapped? How many more around the world are just as fucking cracked as the MAGA cult?
I used to enjoy exploring conspiracy theories, shit, Critical Theory is nothing more than conspiracy theory with a solid foundation! I used to love sitting around and smoking joints and talking about alien abductions and Tupac sightings and the CIA running amok in South America, but somewhere along the way the moral fabric of the nation seems to’ve been rent asunder and a few dozen million mother fuckers forgot they had been playing along with the joke. To all those of you who can’t shake the feeling that things aren’t as they should be, you are right! You’re right to feel violated, you’re right to feel disenfranchised, you’re right to be angry! There are solutions to these problems, don’t give up hope! The rugged individualism that permeates American culture and the accelerated atomization of our daily lives makes very fertile ground for the fanatical fatalism and outright fascism of MAGA to take root and thrive. When we’re playing around pretending that ghost stories are real, we always have our friends to turn to if we need to be brought back down to reality, we have but to reach out to be reminded of what is real and not. When we spend all of our time working or preparing to work or recovering from working and what little time we have for leisure is dominated by curated streams of confirmation bias, it’s not difficult at all to see why America has gone stark raving mad.
If you know someone who’s lost themselves to the delirium, don’t blame it on yourself. If you know someone who’s close to the edge, do what you can to remind them what’s real and what’s not, but keep in mind that you’ll never be as effective as the MAGA machine and don’t let it kill you along with what’s left of your friend. If you, yourself, are in a bad place, reach out, help is often uncomfortable at first, but it gets better. Thank you for spending some of your time with me here, I sincerely appreciate it. See ya’ soon.