This is America.

It is 2 am and I am wide awake. I’ve had a nightmare.

It’s my own damn fault. I’ve been watching this video a couple of times a day for the last several days, and I think it’s doing things to my brain.

That transition…it hurts so good. It starts sounding a bit like Simon & Garfunkel, light and happy, and Glover is mugging like an old time minstrel, and then wham, we get a rumbly throb, an act of unspeakable violence, and “This is America”. Oh, sure, pop music has to have a catchy hook so it sticks in your brain, but this is more like a 2×4 upside your cranium. As the song goes on, it keeps on alternating between shuckin’ and jivin’ in the foreground and casual crime in the background.

That’s the dichotomy that jars me out of my sleep. I dream about this video, it’s in the forefront of my mind, but I’m thinking about all these other events going on recently.

I see Lauren Southern, her conventionally pretty white face blown up to ten times the height of a man on a video screen, her amplified voice indignantly declaiming to a crowd about how her free speech has been taken from her.

This is America.

Gina Haspel, the woman who helped cover up the CIA’s record of torture, is asked in her senate confirmation hearings if she would obey a direct order from the president to torture someone.

“I do not believe the President would ask me to do that.”

Oh my god. She really said that.

This is America.

The New York Times runs a really long piece on a collection of apologists for the status quo, people who represent nothing but the shabby id of white people, and puts on the pretense that these are radical intellectuals. No one on the NYT staff notes the irony.

This is America.

The NRA, a criminal terrorist organization, announces that their new president is Oliver North, a convicted criminal who sponsored terrorism in Central America. His first major speech representing that organization denounces the survivors of the Parkland shooting, a group of high school kids lobbying for gun control, as “civil terrorists”.

This is America.

Bitter old white guy on Fox News sneers at John McCain to defend torture.

“…it worked on John [McCain]That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.’ The fact is those methods can work, and they are effective, as former Vice President Cheney said. And if we have to use them to save a million American lives, we will do whatever we have to.”

I don’t even like McCain. I detest McCain. And oh my god, Cheney is back?

This is America.

That video by Donald Glover is great art, it’s shaking me up. But I shouldn’t blame it for my loss of sleep — it’s only the musical accompaniment to the real nightmare. This is America.

This is where I live.

Can’t sleep. This is America.


  1. gijoel says

    Jesus, I haven’t had my mind screwed like that since Aphex Twin. Wow, I have to lie down now.

  2. specialffrog says

    @lofty: I tend to view the US as an early warning system for other countries.

  3. hemidactylus says

    I am reminded of the Rush song Distant Early Warning. Now This is America.

    After reading Weiss’s NYT article on IDW as a sidenote I am left wondering “WTF is up with Kanye?” I cannot wrap my head around it all at all.

    I also noticed how much Peterson is making. Consider it contract work to help the IDW with their SJW infestation problem. I ponder the pied piper fairytale as Peterson sings a tune luring the IDW audience into the Platonic cave inhabited by Jung’s geist. Since he knows all he plays shadows on the wall.

    And ponder this from Harris:

    “…I don’t know, Dan, if you’re aware of this — you don’t squander as much of your time on social media or in your inbox — but I heard from so many of our mutual readers that they were despairing of that contretemps between us. It was like Mom and Dad fighting, and it was totally unpleasant.” Are they our parents?

    I watched an episode of Atlanta. One where one of the characters checks out a piano. Disturbing.

  4. hemidactylus says

    This article dissects the video:

    Guns are pampered and the dancing distracts from what is really going on in the background. Well played.

    Being CNN this is “fake news”. This “is” America. [sarcasm warning sticker]

    We *are* awash in bullshit. From the highest levels. And the cattle rustlers on the intertubes and casts. Some take the fact that the MSM is an exercise in lulled complacency and spin that into Illuminati and lizard kings. This is America.

  5. JoeBuddha says

    Totally reminds me of Caberet. Especially the sequence where caberet slapstick is intercut with scenes of the real thing.

  6. militantagnostic says

    Lofty @3 & specialffrog @4

    Lauren Southern is Canadian, so yes it is other countries and not just in Europe.

  7. A momentary lapse... says

    I remember seeing a while back an article bemoaning the lack of protest music these days compared to the 60s. Clearly the authors were looking in the wrong genre.

  8. waydude says

    Goddamn. I admit it, I wasn’t on the Donald Glover train. I didn’t like community, I tried, I really tried, maybe it was Joel Mchale, I don’t know. But GODDAMN this guy is alive. Atlanta and now this. This is what art is supposed to do. Shake things up. Make you think and question and disturb you deep down so you walk away doubting the reality of your situation. Push you out and beyond your limits, stir up the hornets nest and make the racists, and the status quo, and the comfortable easy to spot by their vociferous opposition. NO! They scream, What about THIS America?! Blind. Blind pigs. Wallow little pigs, wallow. Goddamn, I’m on the train now.

  9. tacitus says

    I can’t watch the Donald Glover video at the moment, but another song that still resonates today, even though it was written over 20 years ago is Iris Dement’s Living in the Wasteland of the Free: