I recently sat across from a friend of mine at one of those self-indulgent bistros, where the patron in front of you orders her coffee in a short paragraph.  "I'll have a 'cinnamon dolce latte' venti, extra hot, with whipped cream and a sprinkle of white chocolate."  The cashier attentively took the order.  He stood before us in an applejack cap, with multiple small rings through his left ear and a larger one through his nose.  The young woman filling the order, a few feet away, was approximately nineteen years old and tattooed extensively over her neck, arms, hands, legs, ankles, and one could only wonder where else.  Her food-handling was not an appetizing sight.

My friend and I sat drinking "regular" coffee; you know, the plain $1.50 a cup variety.  A pall of psychic depression hung over our conversation.  He was troubled that his life-savings had largely disintegrated and was at a loss how to salvage what remained of it.  He occasionally mentioned that the dollar is sinking into oblivion and that thoughtful people he knows are hording food and gasoline and are moving to places far away from Starbucks and other "meccas of American culture."  Neither one of us seemed able to find a way to escape the heaviness in the air. The worried expression on his face seemed chiseled in concrete. Even the appeal of an attractive female, dressed for warm weather, could not arrest his attention for long.

He asked if I knew what "killology" is.  "I suppose," I responded, "it is the study of killing."  "Exactly!" he replied.  Then he explained "that people are divided into 'lambs' and 'predators.'  The former do not survive, but the latter do.  Lambs are in denial concerning what is happening around them.  Even when they are attacked, they don't believe it!"  There was a pregnant pause, after which he stated, "The United States of America is composed of lambs.  Most people in this country are in denial."

"In denial" – well, yeah.  I could mention the steel and automotive industries -- how one is gone while the other is taking its last gasp.  I could talk about the banks, which are on their way to being government owned and operated.  I could elaborate upon the stench of Hollywood and the public's fascination with the latest photographs of some overpaid hussy.  I could expound upon the media and what liars they are.  I could talk about the impotence of mainline protestantism and how "praise teams" in worship have taken on the character of "rock musicians."  (I visited a church recently where worshippers sat back, watched, and listened while a praise team "entertained" them with trite lyrics couched in popular culture.  An elder was on the keyboard and was bobbing up and down with his eyes closed, as if he were high on pills he bought the night before in a bar; a young man was playing the guitar, wearing jeans and a dirty, wrinkled tee-shirt, along with a cap on backwards. The lead singer was a young woman in high heels and tight leotards.  It was all a genuflection to the sorry state of American culture.)

"Oh, no," you exclaim, "you are merely a 'gloom-n-doomer.'  We live in the greatest country on earth!"  Really?  Would someone like to tell me what it means when industries are biting the dust one after the other, when the stock market is tanking, when you boot up your computer in the morning and witness news headlines regarding one stupid celebrity after another, when universities are about political correctness, when churches think that in order to survive they must hawk cheap entertainment, when preferential treatment in university admissions and employment results in a guy like an Alberto Gonzales or an Eric Holder being confirmed as Attorney General of the United States, and when our borders with Mexico are simply a minor inconvenience for the trash invading this country on a daily basis? 

Let me tell you "lambs" what all this means.  Are you listening?  It means that we are vulnerable.  It means that we are sacrificing our culture. We are losing our identity as a people.  We are forfeiting every semblance of excellence.  We are giving it up without a shot being fired.

Oh, well, why worry?  What the hell!  By the way, what's Britney doing these days?   Who's gonna' win the Super Bowl next year?  How about a caramel macchiato, with a serving of chocolate blackout cake on the side?  Así es la vida.  Buenas días.

March 28, 2009