Tag Archives: satire

Elegy for the Giant Meteor

The aggressive, repetitive chanting that has come to dominate modern pop music, the way I encounter it in almost identical conditions every day, has elevated its own banality to the realm of the sinister. If there’s a collective unconscious this is its Tell-Tale Heart Moment.

I hear repeated over loudspeakers at least 10 times in a given day:

“WE AIN’T EVER GETTING OLDER

WE AIN’T EVER GETTING OLDER”

Before this it was another chant about partying like there’s no tomorrow, with a heavy emphasis on the no tomorrow part. Is the end of the world an aphrodisiac? I suppose it must be.

Before the election happened and the actual lines of the laughable revealed themselves, there were polls where Trump and Clinton both were trailing “A Giant Meteor Hitting the Earth.” We could’ve had that, but the two-party establishment kept the meteor out of the debates.

It was presumed that Trump was finished at numerous times; in the beginning of his campaign he was treated as a joke. In the debates he came across as incoherent and possibly coked up to the gills. Trump was the ultimate post-modern candidate, the one who existed outside the binary of “true/false” and won despite it? Because of it?

I wondered as I walked my dogs this week about another world where in fact the Giant Meteor had made it to the debates. Where people laughed off the Giant Meteor but the Meteor had more get up and go. Where members of the press warned “This is literally what killed the dinosaurs” instead of “This is literally Adolph Hitler.” Where the Giant Meteor chose an appropriate running mate, say an outbreak of cholera. I could see the signs on peoples’ lawns.

“METEOR/CHOLERA 2016:

GETTING THE JOB DONE!”

“GETTING THE JOB DONE!” because, of course, “BETTER TOGETHER” was already taken.

As directly as Trump managed to connect with voters in the apocalyptic rust belt, I feel like a Giant Meteor could’ve connected even more directly. The Giant Meteor has had at least as much exposure in TV and the movies over the last 30 years as either of the other candidates and unlike Trump, who only did cameos for the most part, the Giant Meteor has been the de facto star of every vehicle it’s appeared in.

armageddon-poster06

We thought the threat of an American Hitler was enough to warn off most of the US public from voting for one and we were wrong. It’s not like we as a culture didn’t spend enough time obsessing over Hitler. At least one US cable channel could be accurately renamed The Hitler and Aliens Network. They broadcast 24/7.

What odds would Nate Silver have given the Meteor? Who would have been the Meteor’s secret constituency? Who would the Meteor have appointed as its advisers on how best to collide with the Earth?

The Meteor is the bigger outsider. The Meteor could’ve effected substantial change and overcome congressional deadlock. The Meteor has never held public office. The Meteor has never sent any e-mails.

You laugh at this. We all laughed at Trump months ago.

“The Meteor promises all this stuff but it’ll disintegrate in the atmosphere before it gets to congress. It’ll just be business as usual soon enough,” NPR would have said..

Dear god let’s hope so…

Operator’s Manual for Hillary Clinton PotUS Unit, Mark II: An Excerpt

A Note: All those wishing to write letters to Robotical Presidential, Inc. complaining that people are always judging Hillary Clinton’s appearance because she’s a woman, be aware that the purpose of this excerpt is to demonstrate and assess her operational realism solely in her capacity as a politician. That even those lovely jowls on Chris Christie don’t make him look as much like a bunraku puppet as Hillary Clinton is not a reflection of either of their looks, but rather a reflection of Clinton’s exceedingly well-programmed politician expressions and cutting-edge artificial intelligence providing her with the general cognizance not to become too emotional in public. Conversely, Christie’s psychotic tirades make it apparent that he is exceedingly human. Thirty-five years ago, this would’ve been an Operator’s Manual for a Ronald Reagan PotUS Unit (also Mark II, incidentally).

8. Uncanny Valley and Your Clinton Unit

When operating your Hillary Clinton PotUS Unit Mk. II robot, it is important to note that Clinton-bot’s various modes are accompanied by expressions that convey varying levels of realism. The more emotional or otherwise-stirred-up a crowd is, the more susceptible they are to comments delivered in spite of robotic expressions, audible distortion, or visible discharge of mechanical fluids.

Boot System Malfunction: Please note that Hillary Clinton PotUS Unit Mk. II bots still contain a minor design flaw of the prior Hillary Clinton PotUS Unit Mk. I and Senatorial Unit bots. If, when booting up your Hillary Clinton PotUS Unit Mk. II, you engage the activation mechanism too quickly, Clinton-bot’s enthusiasm circuits will receive excess stimulation. You can most quickly identify issues of this sort should you be greeted after turning on your Clinton-bot with an expression not dissimilar to this:

Should your Clinton-bot begin acting erratically–eschewing pantsuits, talking about Barry Goldwater, or reminding you that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican–consult your nearest shotgun in order to engage the “active shutdown” method. By no means should your Clinton-bot be used as a sex-bot, although your Clinton-bot doesn’t really mind if you use a proper sex-bot as a sex-bot in the next room while your Mk. II is activated.

Folksy Back-Home Type: Though not a distinct mode with its own unique library of expressions as it was on our renowned Palin-bots, Clinton-bot’s shameless adoption of her “true” accent when campaigning the South demonstrated to us that this feature was an important-enough element of the PotUS Unit Mk. I to justify bringing back in our Mk. II units.

Now we can get on to the modes proper.

Enough is Enough mode: With all the authenticity of a Turkey Italiano Melt from Subway, your Clinton-bot will fiercely scorn her most threatening adversaries with complaints about disingenuity and the vagueness of policy proposals slightly less vague than Clinton-bot’s own. Though Clinton-bot’s policy parameters can be updated with the most recent polling from Pew Research, we recommend avoiding the “policy” elements of Clinton-bot’s functionality.

Advantages: Clinton bot es un robot muy fiable y puede hacer muchas cosas excelentes . Para obtener instrucciones en francés, por favor refiérase a la sección 17.3 en el manual “G”, que se encuentra en el tercer disco en el segundo aglutinante de instrucción proporcionada con el bot Clinton.

Disadvantages: Watch in horror as Clinton-bot cries “Shame on you!” for reasons you could never quite grasp at black politicians threatening her foretold ascension to the Presidency. Clinton-bot’s movements in this mode appear cold and mechanical, so it should be used when there is a podium for cover. Clinton-bot has been known to engage fins not unlike a Dilophosaurus before similarly shooting acid at observers when highly-agitated while in this mode.

Capitalization Mode: Clinton-bot takes advantage of ham-handed opposition attempts to impugn her integrity, causing area-of-effect Democratic victories in off-year elections. 

Advantages: In addition to the area-of-effect, Republicans fail to notice actual shortcomings by Clinton-bot for another three turns (this effect is stackable). Mana pool is fully restored immediately, Clinton-bot takes a turn in place of her next opponent’s turn. 91-98% chance of supporter applause and subsequent statistical buffs.

Disadvantages: Republicans still hate Clinton-bot for imagined and outright-slanderous reasons. Media continues airing their grievances with minimal accountability.

Hell Hath No Hillary Like a Hillary Scorned: The most-realistic and possibly even the only outright-genuine of Clinton-bot’s expressions. Denoted on the graph by red, the color of passion and of hatred. Best summarized by the quote “He’s a hard dog to keep on the porch.”

Advantages: Victim sympathy from the left.

Disadvantages: Victim-blaming from the right. Also that acid-spitting thing from earlier.

I must say, in reading this manual excerpt combined with other reviews I’ve seen for the Mk. II Clinton-bot, I feel that it seems Robotical Presidential, Inc. has fallen into the same bad habits of other technology companies, purveying new, cyclical editions of items that are of little improvement upon their predecessors and are even less durable. Additionally, this new and “improved” Clinton-bot’s much-touted “Capitalization” feature was used to poor effect in the latest Democratic debate when she invoked Nine Eleven to defend her ties to Wall Street. I was thinking I’d hang on to my Obama v1.1 (the more resigned 2012 upgrade; poor Bo didn’t get his own second version outright for the re-election), but as it is, an old, balding politicobot with rusted circuits has gone rogue in my home and taken up residence in the downstairs guest room. I’m not quite sure what his angle is, but he keeps hollering on and on about how we already live in a socialist country and demanding I stop trying to plug things into him and instead give him some food.