22 January 2020

22 January 2020


 22 January 12020 is possibly Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, though I don’t know where I found this one. It looks like one of those made-up days inserted by various outfits to keep people like me from copying their information wholesale. It looks like there are holidays of some kind in Bolivia and the Ukraine as well, but I can’t get my eyes to focus properly for some goddamn reason and nobody’s reading this crap anyway, so why should I bother to try to achieve some spurious precision?
The one thing I’m sure of is that it’s Robert E. Howard’s birthday. Howard was an obscure pulp writer who achieved posthumous fame for his creation of the character Conan of Cimmeria, who wandered about various mythical kingdoms during a forgotten period of earth’s history that survives only as distorted legends told by various peoples of antiquity. Rescued by John D. Clark and L. Sprague de Camp from literature’s cutting-room floor, Conan achieved phenomenal success post-Tolkien when Lancer books re-issued the stories in a series of paperbacks, with later boosts coming from Marvel Comics and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The stories—with the notable exceptions of The Hour of the Dragon and The People of the Black Circle—don’t really hold up all that well, but Clark and especially de Camp deserve full credit for recognizing the sales potential of the stuff well before the rest of the world. It’s too bad Howard wasn’t alive to enjoy his success; he unfortunately chose to shuffle off this mortal coil with a gunshot to his head at the age of thirty.
I don’t know what’s happening in the news; my head hurts when I try to focus on the screen. I’m going to confidently assert that the impeachment proceedings are going on as expected, and that we’re going to see the Founders’ error of judgment painfully exposed. I suppose a nation that cannot bring itself to do justice to torturers and extortionists deserves to fail—but I’m an American, and you can’t expect me to see it in that light. So as the lights go down on this once-great empire, and the vast production fades to oblivion, I ask posterity to judge us kindly in terms of our aspirations and not our achievements. With our feet mired in genocide, slavery, and oppression, maybe it was too much to expect us to reach new heights. But we tried, damn it—we did try. I hope that counts for something.

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