It’s so Easy to Get Lost in There: The Disgraceful Treatment of Roseanne Barr

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania Roseanne Barr

Liberal media-figures and celebrities are having a field day with the cancellation of Roseanne and the public shaming of its main-star Roseanne Barr who instigated the show’s demise via her racist tweet about Valerie Jarett.
When it was announced that eponymous character would return to TV as a Trump supporter, many liberals already fiercely condemned it without even seeing it. It didn’t help that Barr herself has portrayed the basest characteristics of your typical Trump Supporter- meaning inflammatory rhetoric and conspiracy theory. In most cases, they weren’t unfair about Roseanne. We aren’t talking about subversive figures like Sam Harris or even provocateurs like Jordan Peterson; the contrarians who are often misunderstood and sometimes insidiously misrepresented by liberal media forces. Roseanne’s twitter history is full of misguided, borderline racist humour, 9/11 Conspiracy theory, Jewish conspiracy theory (Israel is apparently a Nazi state), Islamophobia and with her support for Donald Trump came the inevitable tirades against Hilary Clinton.

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One of Roseanne Barr’s typical insane tweets. 

In short, one can make the safe assumption that she isn’t all that stable. One can conclude that sometimes she likes to darkly satirize or joke about issues but in most of these cases she’s absolutely genuine about her political views. She always enjoyed rocking the boat. Her star turn in Roseanne was about a blue-collar woman who didn’t take any shit and would call out bullshit when necessary. In its early inception, before Roseanne’s fragile ego enveloped the show, Roseanne was about the plight and dignity of the working class. It wasn’t about the glamour of making it in America, it was about accepting your place and being there for each other.
The ninth season of Roseanne betrayed this with her character winning the lottery and going into madcap crazy adventures. In its final episode, the show tried to reclaim its authentic blue-collar glory by revealing that everything that preceded it was merely a literary concoction of Roseanne Conner as a way to deal with her husband’s untimely death. Needless to say it didn’t work and it wasn’t until its revival in March 27 that we were blessed in seeing these beloved characters again in the way it was always intended: struggling to make ends meet as they head onto an uncertain future. With age comes different struggles; the inability to pay for the proper medicine, coping with regret and never having achieved certain dreams and the awareness that death is always around the corner.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania Roseanne dan
Arguably one of the greatest sitcom couples. 

The show’s final ended with dignity but were it not for Roseanne’s tweet, we would have enjoyed another thirteen episodes in 2019. The media storm that followed came with of sacrilegious preaching against Roseanne’s hidden racism and when that subject lost its steam, it led to long prepared monologues of America’s systemic racism which was ultimately politicized as being part of Trump’s brand of Americana- it didn’t help that Trump turned the whole debacle about himself, as he wondered why ABC’s CEO Bob Igor, who apologized to Valerie Jarett about Roseanne’s tweet, didn’t apologize to him for the horrible comments made about him on his network. This was shortly after it was announced that Kim Kardashian came to the white House to discuss prison reform to Donald Trump- and its moment like these that makes you question your own sanity.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania donald trump kim kardashian
Two great intellects…. Yes this really happened. 

Political pundits, commentators and comedians quickly jumped on whatever network would have them to condemn Roseanne and make some liberal progressive points. Countless articles came out, pointing out the cultural significance of her particular slur and the current hard line against it. It’s a celebrity, a Trump Supporter, referring a prominent black woman as an ape- payday couldn’t be easier for them.
In all fairness Roseanne’s actions after the cancellation only made it worse. It seemed like she was begging to be roasted mercilessly. She should have just apologized but instead she quickly went on a mental tirade, calling out her co-stars for not defending her. She also stated that she was under the influence of sleep drug Ambien when she wrote that grossly offensive tweet. She also told Joe Rogan that she had no idea that Valerie was Jewish- this despite the fact that she had referred to a Black person being like an ape five years before in a tweet against Susanne Rice, stating that she was ‘’a man with big swinging ape balls.’’
The company of Safoni tweeted as a response to her: ‘’while all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication. Ouch.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania sanofi reaction roseanne

Her volatile behaviour makes it very easy to mock and deride her. In some ways I can fully understand and when one argues she’s asking for it, I can understand that too. Yet I also feel that the kind of vitriol against her is morosely excessive. It’s not just that it feels cheap and easy, to me it also overlooks one particular pressing subject of the human condition: living with a mental illness. Roseanne Barr, besides being a talented stand-up comedian and actress (you might disagree with me but I’ve felt she’s shown both great comic timing an emotional depth in her titular show), she’s also deeply mentally unstable. The origins of her personal demons are hard to uncover as Roseanne has a tendency for hyperbole and the unnecessary polemical. For instance she has claimed that she was sexually abused by her parents, something that was vehemently denied by both the parents and her two sisters Geraldine and Stephanie. On the Oprah show Roseanne regretted making those accusations and that she wasn’t in the right state of mind when she made them. During the time she made these accusations she was a heavy drug user, which along with her own prescription pills at the time, caused her to lose her grip on any semblance of reality. She however didn’t retract the accusations but did regretted the use of the word ‘’incest’’ which seemed to her to be the only word to describe it.
Her volatile marriage with Tom Arnold, who reasonably came to the limelight to also make the case for her mental instability, was one of enabling drug abuse. When she left him, she claimed that she thought Arnold was trying to kill her.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania roseanne barr tom arnold marriage
Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold, a particularly unhinged celebrity couple. 

There’s also the case of a car accident she endured when she was sixteen which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. The damage to her brain caused a rapid change of her personality and her parents weren’t able to deal with her anymore. Eight months after the incident she was institutionalized and during that time she also became pregnant and the resulting child was put up for adoption. She later stated that she was diagnosed with dissociative-identity disorder which in her case, meant that she had seven different personalities running around in her mind, all with varying degrees of extreme emotions. If that wasn’t enough, she also stated that she has ADHD and bipolar tendencies, and from the looks of her actions, it’s hard to dispute the validity of these statements.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania roseanne barr crazy
Her life in the limelights and the question of whether this exacerbated her internal frailty.  

Looking at these harsh facts of life, it’s easy to see how increasing fame and media attention, with the sudden boost of narcissism that comes with it, can cause disarray to an already fragile mind. Cue the inevitable fall of her celebrity- and the rise and fall that has happened recently- and you have yourself a perfect example of a celebrity mental case. Some people just can’t handle celebrity fame, their ego’s and insecurities taking them to strange places- Prince isolated himself and become a devoted Jehovah’s Witness, Nicolas Cage’s eccentric tendencies are heightened and Justin Bieber acts like a wannabee thug. It’s not a normal life and though it’s easy to make fun of them- as I more than often do- it’s also good to understand that if we were in their particular shoes, we might not be as cool as we imagine ourselves to be. When your life is dissected and judged by strangers, it’s easy to lose grip of who you are.
Especially if by the time of your infamy, you didn’t even know what you yourself wanted from this life. And even if you receive what you had always dreamed to receive, it might not be enough. The high ends and you’re back to square one. Perhaps you needed something else but now, as you’re lost in the shimmering lights of flash-photography, you don’t know where to look.
You’re lost. It’s so easy to get lost out there.

Jimmy Kimmel recently came to a slight defence of Rosanne: rightfully condemning her remarks but also calling for compassion on her side.  The obvious response was:  mental illness does not cause racism. Stating this means you are missing the point. Mental illness means losing your grip on reality and yourself. It means that you are able to unreasonable things, sometimes even dangerous things to yourself and others.
Consider Roseanne’s life before the infamous tweet: her health problems, the return of media exposure, the pressure of her work-schedule and let’s face it: her tendency to abuse chemicals, all of this can lead to a warped perception- such as thinking that such a racist tweet is ‘’humorous.’’

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania Jimmy kimmel defense Roseanne
Kudos for Jimmy Kimmel coming to her defense. The negative response might be partly an awareness that perhaps Roseanne isn’t just the racist demon they perceive her to be. 

It’s not an excuse and rightfully it was condemned by all respectable media forces- even some of the less respectable ones like the alt-right hack Tomi Lahren tweeted that her tweet was simply ‘’wrong.’’ Unfortunately, the current political climate of the progressive left is unforgiving, especially when it comes to any perpetrators of racism or sexism. Every day bloggers and journalists fill their sites or papers with solitary examples of racisms just to get the juices of social-justice warriors flowing. People love to smack down these racist and sexist evildoers and that’s perfectly understandable- and a lot of fun too. Perhaps this is also partly as a sign of resentment against the current buffoon in chief. But it has also become such an obsession that sometimes, the bigger picture is missed.
It’s certainly true that there is still is intense bigotry among the American populace that needs to examined and clarified but it’s not the only demon lurking in its culture. While victims of racism and sexism are almost fetishized daily on every newsfeed, the roots of some of these isolated moments of bigotry never seems important. It’s just people being racist or sexist, just white men ruining it for the rest of us.
But it’s rarely that simple. I’m certainly not stating that mental illness is the root cause of all racists. Some people are just bigoted. But trying to understand why people are saying such things instead of pushing them in a corner, especially when this very person might be suffering from mental illness should not be the right answer. Sometimes it’s just culture, influences of misguided parenting, traumatic events or being under the spell of populism. Undoubtedly Trump has fuelled racism in America, creating a frightening universe for some white men where their identity and culture are under attack by either Muslims or liberal-progressives. At the same time, Trump has also spouted simplistic and insidious conspiracy theories, something that attracts the paranoid mind to no end. Numerous studies have looked into how mental illness and conspiracy theories are often linked. We’ve all seen footage of Trump-supporters recalling the most ludicrous anti-Hilary theories on camera. The Russia state media thrives on fuelling identity politics and conspiracy theories into the fringe voters of Russians (or whatever country they are trying to influence).
The symptoms are there with many and it’s easy to make fun of them but in these divisive times, it’s especially necessary to try to understand them. It’s not easy but her sin is not ours to forgive. We’ve forgiven many other celebrities for greater transgressions while we’ve demanded the disappearance of others. Rarely is there any consistency. Is Jim Carrey’s endorsement of anti-vaccine’s propaganda not offensive and even dangerous? We’ve accepted Mel Gibson back in the Hollywood flock despite his history of domestic abuse. What about celebrities who were horrible and selfish parents? Doesn’t that cause immense suffering on the subjects? The outrage culture is selective in its anger and we should have the mental capacity to challenge it. We don’t all have to follow the stream of hate because if we don’t, we might channel our anger towards someone who might equally deserve our understanding.

Looking at Roseanne’s history of conflicting and contrarian politics- a socialist in the golden days of her Rosanne fame who fervently stood up for LGBT rights to becoming a deranged Trump supporter- one sees that we are not just looking at some simple right-wing ideologue. Being prone to conspiratorial fantasies, either one fostered by George Bush, a Jewish cabal or George Soros, reveals a deeply paranoid woman who is eager to fight the power. Like many misguided activists, she considers herself to be enlightened about the insidious mind-games being played on the voters. She doesn’t realize she’s trapped in her own mind-games or ones devised by the real villains of American politics.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania trump rally
The false profit and his flock. 

Through the years many voters have learned to distrust the media and politicians so much, that only the colourful words of populists seem to make any sense anymore. People don’t know what’s real anymore and they fear being fooled- as they have been, time and again. When somebody speaks to them without complicated political jargon, who tells them honestly that they have been robbed and lied to, why wouldn’t they listen to him? If you believe his version of reality, the world seems less complicated: you know who the bad guys and the answers of society’s ills are suddenly so simple.
Roseanne, like many of her kin, was always sensitive to unravelling the hidden machinery of the elites. She grew up in a time when the American dream was constantly proven to be fraudulent, whether this is due to the ever increasing popularity of John F. Kennedy’s assassination theories, the Watergate scandal, sheer gory pointlessness of the Vietnam war, the illusionary weapons of mass destruction of Saddam Hussein or the great financial crisis of 2008, where the dream of laissez-faire capitalism truly died. All these peddlers of the American dream turn out to be simply filling their pockets. The revelations of hidden money just made her mad, as it did to anybody who wants to rally against injustice. Roseanne, just like a near poignant half of American voters, became increasingly sensitive to the whims of a populist.
All she wants, just like the majority of Trump voters, was the corruption to stop.
But unfortunately the corruption has only festered. Though the American system still continues to be democratic, the institutions are continuously weakened and our supposed guardians have sold their idealism for self-preservation.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania trump rally
The giant swamp of corruption that is Trump Land. 

If Roseanne could see this, she would have been an essential ally for liberals but she can’t. And judging by her mental instability, I don’t think we shouldn’t judge her too harshly for it.
Many of her outlandish actions are almost bipolar or borderline-personality in nature. They seemed impulsive and she seemed unable to grasp the potential consequences of them. Nothing makes what she said or does right. But speaking from personal experiences, good people can say stupid or cruel things when they are not in the right frame of mind. I’ve been around people who suffered from all manner of mental illnesses and deep down all of them were loving individuals- it’s just that sometimes you couldn’t see it when they were lost in their particular neurotic mania.
If you consider yourself a social-justice warrior and want to fight for the rights for minorities, understand that Mental illness transcends race or gender. This is why I’m often annoyed with the constant mention of ‘’white privilege’’, as if white people cannot suffer equally or sometimes more horribly than other races or gender. They might not suffer in similar ways but if they happen to suffer from severe mental or emotional instability, their supposed privileges are not going to matter. It will feel to them that life has become a living hell.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania mental illness quote
Both Roseanne and I are not fans of Bill Clinton, but he’s certainly right on this issue…

And it’s not easy to understand them. But it’s easier to understand them than it is to suffer from their specific or multiple disorders. Roseanne Barr has made hundreds of inane tweets after the cancellation and her state of mind cannot be good right now. The response to this was the same cruelty and dismissiveness as before. As Tom Arnold stated in an interview: ‘’somebody should put a stop to this.’’
Jimmy Kimmel stated in his defense of Roseanne that ‘angrily attacking a woman who is obviously not well does no good to anyone. Mental health issues are real. The real Roseanne I know could use some compassion right now.’’ Kimmel received a lot of criticism for this and all of them reveal painful ignorance about what it means to be living with mental illness. And to me, the cruelty of the media and supposed compassionate social justice warriors is disheartening. Dismissing her as being ‘’a racist idiot’’ like John Legend does is not helping any of us. You might think racism or sexism are the most pressing issues right now, but mental-illness belongs to be their equally. With America’s treatment of mental illness of late- especially with the pharmaceutical companies taking advantage of people’s weaknesses- you’d think that more people would stand up for her. But instead media figures are just scoring cheap points as they degrade and debase her as their fan base cheers and hollers.
The real Roseanne Barr, the one who suffered enough as it is, deserved better than this.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania Roseanne better days


Our Disease 6

 The sheep

”Not my president!”
”He will not divide us!”
”Lock him up!”
”Say it loud, say it clear: refugees are welcome here!”
”Love! Not hate! Makes America great!”
They had heard their familiar chants. These were cries for sanity or perhaps for a return of their preferred brand of madness. Madness will always rule this world. This is not the problem. As long as you can handle the narrative of the madness. As long as you can play by the rules or find a way to break them without the madness breaking you. As long as you are able to laugh about the absurdity, you will be okay.
Harry and Stone were among the crowds of people watching the protesters marching in circle in front of city hall. The mayor was an avid supporter of the President and despite the majority absolutely loathing him, the magic of Gerrymandering kept him in power. Some protestors were holding apocalyptic signs and one of them struck a nerve with Harry: ”All of this used to mean something.”
It was an early saturday afternoon, the sun was beaming on all of us, as if encouraging the political unrest. A militarized police force was watching, some even through sniper scoops. They were dressed in body armor, holding massive assault weaponry, as if it was a warzone. That’s the thing about America: it isn’t a warzone but people act like it is and sooner or later, you can’t be surprised if the streets become to look like one.
A few months ago they decided to break up a march which erupted into violence. This has also become a fairly common occurrence in America, from all parts of the world. In fact, the violence was rather mild. Only three people died, all of them were protesters. One was shot dead on the street, another died in the hospital, another in custody (in rather unsurprising peculiar circumstances). A police officer stomped someone’s head and the victim became paralyzed. There were mass protests about this but the president had their back. According to him, they did ”nothing wrong,” and the protesters were just a bunch of thugs.
It was a small march, barely a hundred people. Such protests happens at least once every two weeks, depending on what ridiculous statement the president makes to bolster the fury of identity politics. Despite Harry mostly agreeing with the politics of these protesters, it saddened that none of them realized that this wasn’t going to do any good. As long as the party remains as disorganized and fractured, none of this was going to do any good. A strong leader was needed. Someone that could appeal to the more popular and lucrative anti-establishment sentiment but also someone incorruptible, a true believer. But true believers are in short supply and most of them are too disgusted or disillusioned to even consider politics.
”This must be how God feels,” grinned Stone with a giant blunt in his mouth, ”watching his creations pray to him as if he was ever going to intervene. I’m sure he gets a kick out of every time people thank him for something he didn’t even do.”
”It saddens me,” said a melancholic Harry gulping from a beer bottle.
”That’s because you’re a true believer. If you’re a true believer this hurts, because this used to mean something, this used to be the ultimate form of political dissent and now it has become the complete opposite: it’s engineered so that people aren’t seeing what’s really going on behind the scenes. While they are doing this charade, protesting whatever stupid fucked-up thing the president said, he’s sneaking another through the senate that will diminish the already fleeting democracy.”
He passes the blunt to Harry who takes it mindlessly.
”And let’s be honest here, most of them are also hipster liberals with only a passing interest in the lives of the real people that are suffering in this country- and around the world. They worry more about their colleges remaining as hostile to right-wingers than about the desperation and loss of meaning in the lives of millions of Americans.”
Harry passes the blunt, blows big smoke from his mouth and then takes another chug of beer.
””The consistent losses of elections has also made them more extreme, to the point that the average Joe is looking at two whacked out groups, not knowing who to join. People splintered from both these groups, engineering more political brands of extremism, disrupting whatever unity could be had and in the end, giving more power to the current and glorious president of America.”
Stone passes the blunt and after Harry pulled a big drag, he states: ”I need to get some sleep.”
”You hope to dream of a better world but you know very well, that you will always wake up in this one.”
”Maybe I was thinking of the big sleep.”
Stone looked at him and laughed, ”you think the soul is at peace there? You have no idea what’s waiting for you there old friend.
Suddenly the roar of of different chants could be heard in the distance:
”Hail our America! Hail our people! Hail our victory!”
”They will not divide us!”
”Lock them up!”
”Let’s keep America great!”
then their signature chant: trollollollintrolllllling….
”Oh god, not them,” said Harry while Stone kept smiling.
In the distance they could see a large mass of people dressed in white with black bowler hats with huge white cup supporters.
”Not the fucking droogs.”
There were less of them, though they matched their opponents fury. Many of them were carrying sheeps on a leash who were bleating desperately and wanted to stop walking. They would hit them and kick them and many of them were bleeding badly. The cops were smiling when the Droogs came. Harry suspected that they knew about their arrival.
When they came close enough, an encore of senseless screaming would commence. Both sides screaming their favorite obscenities. The droogs seem to be having the most fun. Many were throwing bananas at them- a racist reference to a previous American president of African-American descent-, putting their trousers, mooning them. Some made loud farting noises. It was a cacophony of madness and Stone was loving every minute of it.
”This could get ugly,” said Harry.
”We could only be so lucky.”
Many people were already leaving, feeling the oncoming of violence. The police seemed pumped but nobody tried to stop them. Perhaps, for many of them, it was more fun to let it escalate.
Harry then turned to Stone, realizing something, ”did you engineer this?”
Stone didn’t say anything but gave him a serious look, if only for a few seconds: ”does it matter?”
As if on cue, the two groups began to charge at each other. Harry turned and walked away. Stone stood there for a while, watching the spectacle. Harry could hear the manic bleating of sheep alongside the screaming of man, the loud screech of microphones and finally bullets. Harry began to ran away.

Forty people were arrested, five people died. None of the sheep made it.

Art by Norman Rockwell


Our Disease 3

    Modern Men

An old friend called Harry around 2 in the morning. Harry only made a sound when he picked up the phone, he was too tired to anything resembling a word.
”It’s me, the enemy of the people.”
”Ah fuck, is that you Stone?”
”Meet me in the Interzone. We have lots to talk about.
”I was living a different live in my dreams. I prefer it than the one I’m actually living. Could we have lunch there at twelve?”
”I’m all wired. There’s no sleep for me and I’m in town. See ya soon old buddy.”
He hung up. At first Harry just closed his eyes again. Soon enough he realized that he would never return to his dream anyway.
”Goddammit. Fine,” mumbled Harry, ”I’ll go.”

It’s hard, maybe impossible, to describe to what kind of clientèle The Interzone markets itself too. At first glance it’s your typical American diner with a nostalgia for the fifties. There’s even a jukebox filled with American songs. But if you would take a closer look you see it is a place in search of an identity. There’s African, Chinese, English, even Russian art on the walls. A Catholic cross hangs on the walls as well as a Jewish star. A confederate flag but it’s painted in the colors of the rainbow. A Gadsen Flag but it’s rattlesnake seems to have a pleading smile and the words below say: ‘Tread on me, but don’t squash me please!’
Sometimes you catch people looking absently minded at the architecture. They stare at a piece of foreign art. Most of the time nobody is paying attention. They are wearing their glasses and the glasses take them to different worlds.
There’s a hint that its fractured dressing is intentional, maybe ironic. But then again, there are more places like this. This place used to mean something, now it doesn’t know what it wants to mean. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything now and maybe that’s the point.
Miguel Stone loves it here. Harry doesn’t.

”You find yourself in the weirdest places and discover that you’re finally home,” said Miguel Stone, smiling, gazing through window to the night illuminated by pink-lights. ”I met so many people that rejected the weirdness of life. Everything has to be plain. By the books. The life they know. The life their parents lived. People like me, however wicked in the eyes of the unimaginative, we accept ourselves and are rewarded by God himself.”
It wasn’t the first time they would meet like this. Stone is all over the world sometimes. You have to make time for him, he won’t make time for you. They haven’t seen each other in almost a year now. Stone always drifts in and out of Harry’s life
Harry doesn’t really understand why he wants to meet him and why Harry always agrees too. They are both completely the opposites. Stone doesn’t have any morals and therefore became a very wealthy man. Harry does alright, there’s still enough money coming in from book sales that Harry can live the rest of his life, doing his podcast. Stone, a lobbyist who runs his own firm, goes all around the world, working for mostly Kremlin backed candidates and doing a helluva job- they don’t even have to falsify the election as much because of his help.
From outward appearance, you could already digest that these two come from very different worlds. Stone was twenty years older, with pearly white hair and teeth and immaculately tailored and colorful suites. Stone doesn’t give a fuck what you think. He knows that most people hate him. Perhaps this even gives him strength. Maybe he even thrives on soft-hearted liberals or morally righteous republicans.
Harry doesn’t care about his appearance. It’s a crummy T-shirt, some faded logo with a checkered shirt to cover it. Stone’s face is bald from his thorough shave in the morning with the straight razor. Harry hasn’t shaved in months. Stone, even at his ripe old age of fifty-five still works out and is in great muscular shape. Harry is sagging all over the place. Harry tries to do the right thing, Stone prides himself of being the villain.
Perhaps it’s Harry’s genuine nature that Stone respects so much. Perhaps it keeps Stone in touch with the common man. Perhaps it’s just Harry’s humanity.

”You look like hammered shit,” smiled Stone smugly, not a hint of concern.
”I was having this beautiful dream when you woke me up,” Harry said, rubbing his eyes.
”Maybe you should thank me for it. That’s the problem with America. People dream too much.”
”You don’t need to dream.”
”I don’t need to dream. I am the dream,” Stone smiled, grabbing cigar paper from his pocket and a cigarette case. ”That’s why I love Russia. People stopped dreaming there long ago. They know themselves. They know the limit of the freedom they can handle. Give them too much freedom and they’ll give it back. Americans are the same. Slowly they’ve been giving away freedoms. Yet they still act as if they are free.”
”And you represent what dream exactly?”
”I am the true face of America. I’m filthy rich and I act like it was due to my god-given talents. I don’t admit that I’m wrong to anybody even if its very obvious. I look beautiful and I sleep with beautiful women. Sometimes even men. I’m a perfectly contended Patrick Bateman but without the bodies in the closet- though who knows,” Stone winks and opens his cigarette case: showing thick green leaves of marijuana.
”It sounds like a nightmare to me.”
”That’s because you’re human.”
”And you’re not?”
”I’m enlightened. I’m a special case.”
”And what am I?”
”You’re a dinosaur. A beautiful dinosaur.”
”Schadenfreude. That’s why you are here.”
”Maybe it’s general affection.”
”Are you even capable of having genuine affection for anyone other than yourself?”
”I don’t know. I like to think so. Maybe I hang around you for nostalgia. Back when people knew who the fuck they were.”
”Before men like you took control of the world.”
”Men like me always did. We just want more this time. Your freedoms aren’t enough. We want your reality.”
Harry sighs and sips his coffee. A part of him enjoys this conversation, no matter how it infuriates him. Stone’s presence validated Harry’s view of the world. In a world where every view seems valid, this was a comforting thing.
”Answer me this, why do I agree to meet you?” Harry asked.
”You don’t have many friends. You lost most of them. You stopped appreciating them. You cling onto the asshole that’s left.”
Harry looks out the window, a man in a torn t-shirt, with faded letters stating ‘make America great again,’ walks by the window, mumbling to himself, waving his hands around. Stone sees him too, he smiles as he reads the rambling bum’s T-shirt.
”I remember Trump when I was a teenager. That’s when the fun started.”
”I just got born then. But I’ve read enough about him.”
”One day we will manage to clone him. Hope I’ll be alive to see that.”
”So how’s the world stage? How is managing democracies?”
Stone laughs and licks his joint shut.
”It’s beautiful chaos. Especially with Oblivion around. They can’t control them. Even the most powerful men are afraid of them. Many of their firewalls have been breached already. It’s great when powerful men are scared. It means they need people like me.”
”I heard you were targeted. You tweeted about it anyway.”
”Yes I was. Some asshole threatened to expose my sexual activities if I didn’t stop lobbying for those Ukrainians. I responded by just admitting it on Twitter. I don’t care if the world knows about it or not. There’s nothing they can blackmail me on. And if they find something, I’ve got enough of them in my employ to spin the story. I can spin everything. We make dictators look like bleeding heart liberals. There is nothing they can do to rattle me.”
”I talked about them on my podcast some time back.”
”I know, I never miss a show. I thought it was hilarious.”
”I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
”I know you weren’t baby. It’s still hilarious to me.”
Stone lights up the fat joint, inhales smoothly, passes it.
”I probably shouldn’t.”
”True, you probably shouldn’t.”
Harry takes the joint and inhales.
”Has the president been targeted to?” said Harry blowing smoke, ”he denies it but that doesn’t mean shit.”
”Tell you the truth I don’t know. I might be friends with him but he doesn’t divulge everything to me. I don’t have that kind of clearance. But I think he is. The way he’s cozying up to the Eastern bloc makes it seem that way.”
”Are you proud for having made him president?”
”It’s not just me. The people voted for him.”
”Did they?”
”Maybe. Does it really matter Harry? He’s president and he will be for another four years if the constitution doesn’t gets changed again.”
Harry passes the joint. Stone looks at the joint proudly.
”I made this shit legal again. I changed the presidents mind on the issue. My finest hour. Don’t ever say I never did anything good in my life.”
”You are a regular fucking saint.”
”How are you Harry?”
Harry sighs, looks out the window. The bum with the ‘Make America Great T-shirt’ is sitting on a bench, laughing heartily about something.
”I’m fine.”
”No you’re not. You’re still sulking.”
”I’m not sure I would call it that.”
”There are probably better words. But the word you should be looking at is ‘moving on.’ She is gone. She left you for someone more hansom and successful. The healthy thing to do is find someone more hansom and successful too. Even if its just to piss her off.”
”I don’t mind being alone.”
”We all mind being alone. Even people like me. Even people who don’t even like people mind being alone. You’re the kind of person that thrives in a relationship. Without one you’re lost. Like you are now.”
”Maybe it’s the world. Maybe it’s just getting to me.”
”That’s why you need a woman in your life. A woman that keeps you grounded. You need a deep connection. I don’t. I just need power. I don’t need to be connected with anyone. I just want to have a good time being around them. That’s enough for me.”
”I don’t know. I don’t feel like I could really connect with someone again. I’ve played the game long enough. Every time I think about it makes me tired.”
”You need to get out of your soundstage and into the world my friend. Write again. I know some connections. You could write some shitty horror movie. You will meet people, fuck around.”
”I don’t want to leave my soundstage. It’s all I have.”
”You know you lost nearly half your listeners after you vehemently opposed the president.”
”I know.”
”Those people don’t care about you. They will stop listening to you the moment you break their reality. Information is a vast market but you care too much. Most people don’t. Either start caring less or do something else. The work will otherwise destroy you.”
Stone passes the joint. Harry takes a deep puff.
”You don’t like my answers Harry,” smiles Stone, ”because you know I’m right.”
Harry doesn’t say anything, he just keeps puffing. He feels his mind going to weird and mysterious places.
”I don’t think I will be able to sleep anytime soon.”
”That’s okay, I’m here.”
Outside, the drunk man with the Trump T-shirt began to cry.
”But I was having a beautiful dream…” Harry came close to the beautiful dream but it kept slipping away.
”It’s better not to dream. Especially in this world…
In my dream I was almost there…

Art by Ralph Steadman