“It is now clear that my optimism was unfounded. I can’t stand by this disgraceful administration any longer, and I would urge anyone who once supported him as I did to stop defending the 45th president.” — Julius Krein, New York Times op-ed, 8/17/17
When shit began to fall from the sky, I, like most people, thought it was just a publicity stunt. Then I caught a whiff of it.
I was riveted.
As early as September 2015, when the shit was still sliding around at ankle level, I supported its presence, arguing in multiple media outlets that it was simply the best wading option we had, that even though it, the shit, was certainly shit, it had a certain panache that couldn’t be denied. Critics argued that I was trying to understand shit more than shit understands itself. I hoped they were right – of course shit can’t understand itself! But that’s not its job. Its job is to be shit, which is more than I can say for most of us.
You may be wondering, in light of the fact that the shit is now up to our ears and is clearly no fun to have around, what did I see in the shit in the first place?
I saw an unapologetic willingness to be shit even when people said, “Hey, that’s shit. There’s shit everywhere.” When other parts of the world like grass and trees bent in the wind, obeying whatever dictates the current provided, I saw shit continue to rise without any regard for the fate of material reality, sentient or not. The shit flouted normally accepted conventions, like not having shit all over you, or wanting to walk around shit-free for most of the day. It was just so refreshing to see our constructed reality marked by shit.
As one of the few people actively supporting the shit as it began to engulf us, I was asked to comment on what many considered to be the shit’s more unsavory tendencies. For months, despite the unrelenting stench, the thousands of lives in danger, and the distinct inability to move around much, I gave the shit the benefit of the doubt. “No, I don’t really think the shit is made of feces,” I told skeptical audiences. “Yes, the shit smells terrible, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unclean.” Or, especially, “It’s early. Give the shit a chance – it may prove to be something that looks, smells, tastes, and acts like shit, but isn’t really shit.”
It’s no longer early. Not only has the shit continued to rise, it has remained committed to its pungent aroma and utter disregard for human mores. In short, we are up to our necks in this shit.
Those of us who said the shit just looked like shit but wasn’t shit were deluding ourselves. Now that it encompasses all given reality – now that all the cup holders in my Mazda are filled with it, now that it has replaced all gas in gas pumps, now that people don’t buy clothes anymore because the shit clothes them – it is impossible to deny it is shit.
Now, there was a certain appeal to the shit as it descended from the heavens and started to cloak everything the eye touches. After all, it was different than normal. It was new. It said, loudly, “NO!” But now, I have to admit: we are covered in it. We are all covered in shit.