Kris an’ Murphy: Chern-onzo

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He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
Samuel Johnson
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“You know when you can’t hear your speakers, and you keep turning various volume controls up higher and higher in confusion, and then someone hits the mute button and there’s a deafening blast of sound? That’s basically what happened at Chernobyl.”

Kris:This is supposed to be funny?

Murphy: “You don’t care for the way Mr. Munroe is sticking it to you?”

Kris: “It’s one of the saddest strips I’ve ever read!

Murphy: “What’s sad about it? The wastage of the environment around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor? The appalling management bunglefest that created the accident? The senseless loss of human life that resulted? All of the above?”

Kris: “Worse! Far worse!!”

Murphy:What then?”

Kris: “Here. Let me put on my whiny student voice. ‘I don’t understand, Professor. Isn’t it your job to make this easy for me? Is any of what you said going to be on the test?'”

Murphy: “Oh. The arrogant, aggressive embrace of ignorance by our students. Not to mention the rest of our fellow citizens of the Untied States of America. I thought you were going to tell me something new.”

Kris: “Which I’m sick to death of enabling in the name of our university’s increasingly desperate attempts to keep students in classes and paying fees! Don’t these peeps have some responsibility for recognizing that we just might know what we’re talking about, and investing some minimal labor of their own to share in that knowledge? Not according to the Registrar’s accountants. Not according to the media’s accountants! Dammit, Murphy, if I didn’t have tenure, and I had to face what our junior colleagues are facing these days, I’d be downtown flipping burgers, grateful for the improvement in pay and working conditions! We’re only three weeks into the summer break, and already, two words sum up how I feel about the coming fall semester.”

Murphy: “Hm?”

Kris:Fear and loathing!”

Murphy: “We’re not in Vegas, y’know.”

Kris: “I know and don’t care! Gonzo guru Hunter Thompson applied that Fear and Loathing title to lots of places and things. If he’s still got ashes floating about, some of them are probably writing Fear and Loathing in Seattle Traffic right now!”

Murphy: “Ah yes. A nostalgic retrospective on a time when Seattle still had cars. And students.”

Kris: ” … whut?”

Murphy: “I’d be applying your angst to the oil tanker situation right now if I were you, rather than the student situation.”

Kris:Speaking of arrogant ignorance! What kind of a pass have we come to, that people will only talk to our President through intermediaries, and can talk seriously about US forces mounting false flag operations?”

Murphy: “You mean, like weapons of mass destruction? Or the Maddox? Or Poland?”

Kris:Dammit, Murphy, you’re scaring me!”

Murphy:Not before time!! If any of us had anything but ignorance in this dog-forsaken cesspit of a nation, the election of Donald Trump and his party of boot-lickers would never have been allowed to happen, and when it did happen, the country would have been brought to an economic standstill, by its citizenry with a vestige of a clue, until the atrocity was reversed. Exactly the opposite has happened. Just as it did in Germany after Hitler’s ascension to power, and with far less excuse: Germans were starving, we were just pissed off that we had a nigger President. It’s too late, we are all Nazis now, worshiping our Führer in the White House and the petty Führers at the heads of our corporations. How long will our MAGA last? … You’ve read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, correct?”

Kris: “Of course.”

Murphy: “So you know why he opened the book with that quote from Samuel Johnson.”

Kris: “Yeah. The only way he could cope with what he saw as the failure of the 1960s counterculture movement was by getting blotto and staying that way.”

Murphy: “And, when you do that, you shake off all the burdens of socialization, the ‘pain of being a man’ in Johnson’s words. Manners are hard. Sobriety is hard. Humility is hard. Acquiring knowledge is hard, to say nothing of wisdom. So much easier to be an ignorant animal and ignore the herd. Or follow it. Until you run into a larger and stronger herd. But then, if that happens, you probably wind up being beyond all cares, so you still don’t have to do any of that hard stuff. A New York Times critic wrote that Thompson had a ‘notion that below the plastic American surface lurked something chaotic and violent’, and that his text and Ralph Steadman’s drawings ‘are the plastic torn away and the people seen as monsters.’ If that doesn’t describe Trump’s USA …”

Kris: “So what’s in that bottle?”

Murphy:Everclear.”

Kris: “Speaking of blotto.”

Murphy: “You’ve got a better idea?”

Kris: “So pour already.”

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