The Life of a Killer

I highly recommend this long and fascinating profile of Michael Reinoehl, the Portland assassin. (That is, the most recent Portland assassin. It’s getting hard to keep track).

The article paints a great picture of the type of individual these riots are attracting. It also demonstrates that this tragedy could have been prevented if the killer had been prosecuted for his earlier offenses.

Raise You

“COVID is taken this year, just since the outbreak, has taken more than 100 years. Look, here’s, the lives, it’s just, it’s uh mean think about it. More lives this year than any other year for the past 100 years,” said the person who is being run for president by the side that wailed for years that Trump was incoherent and demented.

Generational Markers

Existential threat

Public health emergency

Peaceful protesters

We are all in this together

It’s just stuff

But they’ve got insurance

Flatten the curve

Systemic

Stay home save lives

Mostly peaceful

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Our generation will shudder until the end of our days whenever we will hear these words. They will remind us of what gigantic assholes we’d made out of ourselves back in year 2020.

History will not be kind to the rioting coronabro generation of extraordinary snowflakes. We will be mocked.

“Gramma, can you tell me about that time when everybody freaked out, locked themselves up in a huge timeout and then threw a tantrum and burned cities? It’s such a funny story.”

“Yes, grandpa, I misbehaved but it’s nothing like that time when you were young and everybody broke everything for no reason. I saw it on TV, and it was really crazy.”

Material Life

Clive James is also one of very VERY few Westerners who understood what the Soviet Union was about:

Except in periods of deliberately induced famine, nobody starved in the Soviet Union, or died of thirst or went unclothed. But they ate, drank and dressed at a level too low to leave them untouched by a desolate envy of the capitalism they were supposed to despise, and finally it was that corrosive spiritual deprivation that brought socialism down. The deprivation was comparative, not absolute: but the comparison was real. Thoughts of it filled the day, the week, the month, the year and the whole wasted life. In the West, someone obsessed with material things is correctly thought to be a fool. In the East, everyone was obsessed with material things from daylight to dusk.

Absolutely, 100% true. A lifetime of constantly thinking about stuff, stuff, stuff, how to get stuff, nothing else but stuff. This kind of life is intolerable. Only the most primitive human beings can be satisfied with it. Life of the stomach instead of life of the mind is degrading.

Another thing that people don’t get is that all of this didn’t end the second the USSR was dissolved. I described earlier how there were still no stores, cafes, or restaurants in my large city almost a decade after the USSR had fallen apart. In the same way, there was still no life of the mind (after a brief but happy explosion of interest in reading in 1987-89) all throughout the 1990s. And it’s not like there’s been much since then, to be honest. I mean, there’s some stuff going on. There’s also a sushi restaurant in Kharkiv now. But the quality of both is… yeah.

Once you kill the human spirit, it takes a very, very long time to sprout back to life.