Did Jack Torrance stumble upon a truth much deeper and more primal than he knew when he wrote, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? My girlfriend seemed to say as much a couple of weeks back and subsequent events in Winnebago County, Wisconsin lead me to believe that she just may have a point.
Aviva kicked me out. Said I was “no fucking fun anymore” since I started crusading against the Brylcreem Brigade1 and their weird rhetorical war on the middle class and just plain common sense. “Goddamn it, Liam, it was funny at first, but it’s getting old. Now you’re starting to sound more like my econ professor than the writer I thought I was living with.”
I guess I could see where she was coming from. When we’d met at a mutual friend’s holiday party last December I was riding high on the crest of a fresh wave of creativity. I couldn’t stop blabbing about this novel I’d planned to write. It was a Kabbalistic parody of contemporary American religious culture centering on a cabal of ambitious up-and-coming angels who set up to hit God’s target numbers of human souls by dealing in volume rather than quality. They’d try to do it by exploding the human population, stretching the available supply of human souls by patching them with bits from the souls of animals like foxes, sharks and sheep, who’d be dying off at any rate due to the environmental damage caused by the extra human population. It seemed like a great crack at the time, with no end to its scope to satirize religion, finance and industry.
Aviva ate it all up with a spoon. She’s a pretty sharp girl who appreciated the seamless elegance with which it seemed to comprehend all the sickest contours of 21st century American culture. And she had more than a little to add to the mix herself; she was in the middle of a rebellion against what she saw as the stupid complacency of her conventional, limousine-liberal Reform Jewish parents. With a business career closed to her not only by the economic downturn, but by an undisguised personal disgust for the stupid banality of Rotary Club wankers, she’d settled for draining her college fund pursuing a degree in comparative religion — with an emphasis in Kabbalah, the loopy esoteric tradition of her Polish great-grandparents. The same great-grandparents her father couldn’t stand living with as a ‘progressive’ secular kid during the Boomer era. Using the Kabbalah’s legends about angelic hierarchies and the architecture of the soul to collaborate on a big literary ‘fuck you’ to her parents’ generation was just the sort of gig she was looking for. And if she could top it all off by sleeping with some big, nasty Mick, it’d be all the sweeter.
More at Dystopia Diaries
*This bit is an allegory, okay? By nature it is a symbolic, fictional narrative illustrating in a subjective way factual realities whose tangible real-world importance could get lost in a dry technical account.