A Critical Overview of The Stranger
Hi there. I'm the ninth-century Chinese guy who discovered gunpowder, and I've come back from the mists of history to ask you all a simple question: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?
Seriously. I cannot fucking believe what you all have done with my dumb little discovery. You know who I was when I discovered gunpowder? Just a simple Taoist alchemist, searching for the elixir of life. That's right—I discovered gunpowder while looking for a cure for death. Talk about irony. On the advice of an old lady who lived next door, I mixed up a bunch of saltpeter with a little charcoal and a little sulfur, and BOOM! (Literally. It wasn't pretty.) Turns out, saltpeter plus charcoal plus sulfur wasn't the elixir of life. But some of my neighbors thought it was "cool" and invented fireworks. You know, to make the kids happy on special occasions. Fine by me. I love special occasions as much as the next ancient Taoist alchemist. I didn't even mind when a couple of jackasses from the next town over thought it'd be funny to fire up some of my discovery in an outhouse while the town bully was taking a dump.
But now? Exploding each other at a marathon? What point, exactly, is that supposed to prove? That you're anti-fitness? That you're anti-people? Either way, you got your wish—your bomb packed with ball bearings shattered through a large crowd, separating runners from their limbs and at least three people from their lives, including at least one child. I just can't fucking believe this shit. And you've been doing it for centuries! People exploded at Pashtun weddings. People exploded at shopping malls. People killed in carpet-bombing campaigns. Over time, it's dawned on me: You're all fucked. Totally fucked. I can't believe you people would stoop to that for any reason at all.
Mostly, as the peaceful Taoist who discovered gunpowder, looking at all this with centuries of perspective, I want to tell you this: To live in the world is to participate in the world, and you all are participating in a world of extraordinary viciousness. And I'm not talking about the piddling forms of rhetorical dissention peddled by this here newspaper. CHARLES MUDEDE writing about a library whose architecture he loathes? MELODY DATZ writing about some dancing that she feels is "so goddamned boring"? BREE MCKENNA introducing a band called La Luz to a clairvoyant with fairies in her pocket? This is harmless stuff. It's fluff. Enjoy it while you can. It can almost make you forget about the very real harms out there, many of which I am responsible for.
See you on the other side (and sorry, in advance, if you get exploded on your way there).