Saturday, October 25, 2008

Maybe We'll Have Dust Tupperware, Instead

While driving into D.C. today to check out some of the new exhibits at the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery (which, most excellently for a rainy pisser of a day, are located in the same building in Penn Quarter), I heard an excellent Freudian slip on NPR. Discussing the collapse of Wall Street and the coming D.C.-based economic summit to discuss it, the reporter noted that "the crisis will be held in Washington."

Indeed it will.

And in (gulp) barely more than a week, we'll know who's going to be holding it. Whether it's Obama/Biden or The Exoskeleton Formerly Known as John McCain and the Gleeful Moose-Killer, they're going to have a hell of a job ahead of them.

Last week Forbes reported that seniors are selling off previously purchased cemetery space in order to nab a little cash. Forget that sweet little space in Forest Lawn; sell it now to pay for your medications. When you die, just have your next of kin stick you in a Hefty bag and drop you in the nearest 7/11 dumpster.

Every time I hear news about the economy, visions of Cormac McCarthy's The Road dance in my head. For those unfamiliar with the plot of McCarthy's Pulitzer winner, here's an extract from Wikipedia's summary:

Civilization has been destroyed, and most species have become extinct. What happened outside of North America is left unexplained. Humanity consists largely of bands of cannibals, their captives, and refugees who scavenge for canned food. Ash covers the surface of the earth; in the atmosphere, it obscures the sun and moon, and the two travelers breathe through improvised masks.

Good times!

I'm not sure I could say that visiting the gallery cheered me, exactly, but the American Art Gallery contains some amazing works created during the Great Depression, some under the auspices of the WPA. There's a stunning mural by Thomas Hart Benton, and Alexander Hogue's Dust Bowl (above) could have served as the cover for McCarthy's novel. Hopefully we won't be seeing similar images on the cover of U.S. News and World Report any time soon.

Get tips on surviving the apocalypse to come here. Enjoy them while you can; it's hard to access hilarious online videos from the back of a boxcar.


Anonymous said...

i don't read eliot much anymore but stumbled across these lines in an anthology yesterday:
"Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;/
The worlds revolve like ancient women/
Gathering fuel in lots."

-- moose

M. C. Allan said...

Thanks, Moose. That's a great image. I was going to stick some of Philip Levine's amazing work into this, but I didn't want to demean him with smartassery.

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