From the point of ignition
To the final drive
The point of the journey
Is not to arrive
Anything can happen
— Rush, Prime Mover
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and feel like I’ve got the cheat codes to the world, that, like Neo in The Matrix, I can see the code behind the world they parade in front of us.
But, I know, in my heart that this is, itself, just another illusion. It’s just another layer of false reality that forms the core of the conflict in Philip K. Dick’s seminal work that The Matrix borrows heavily from, UBIK.
I also know that sometimes I come off as some insufferable (and vulgar) know-it-all, but that’s all just part of the quest to sift through the mal-information and get something vaguely resembling but not quite unlike The Truth(tm).
Mark Wauck is a guy who writes about what I write about a lot. He’s on his own truth journey. It’s a laudable mission. He’s got a great Substack in general called Meaning In History that I recommend.
He recently posted a two-part review of a recent interview I gave with YouTube channel Not the BBC, which is linked below, called “Tom Luongo’s Theory of Everything.” (Links: Part I and Part II). Seb is also a person on that same journey.
Mark literally transcribes some of my tracing of recent history, in effect, translating my somewhat chaotic ramblings into a coherent vision of what’s in my head.
And all I could think of was this moment from Bruce Timm’s excellent Justice League Unlimited where someone finally did my man, The Question, proper justice at DC instead of trying to turn him into something woke and broken.
Funny story about this ‘cartoon.’ I first ran across it in the before time, when I still had DirecTV doing its predictive programming thing on my household. Mostly I had it to watch the NHL, because, at the time that was my side hustle, writing for AOL’s Fan House and blogging about my eternally frustrating Buffalo Sabres.
I was working away from home at the time, visiting my life on the weekends. In hindsight it was brutal. And it did nearly irreparable damage to my relationship with my daughter. Thankfully, she forgave me for not being there for the first five years of her life.
After putting my wife and daughter to bed one night I was flipping through the channels when I came across Mr. No Face spouting Ayn Rand and Aristotle at Lex Luthor and had to suppress not only a fan boy squee but the desire to rush in and wake my wife and have her corroborate what I was seeing.
The Question is the primal detective, more so than Batman or even Sherlock Holmes. He is the man seeing the world for what it is but steadfastly refuses to be sucked into the moral relativism of modernity.
His creator, Steve Ditko, was a staunch Randian Objectivist, much to his professional and, from what I’ve read, personal detriment. For anyone interested in one of the most controversial figures in comics’, and therefore 20th century pop art’s, history, I recommend highly David Currie’s excellent book, Ditko Shrugged: The Uncompromising Life of the Artist Behind Spiderman and the Rise of Marvel Comics.
The Question was Ditko’s first attempt to embody these ideas. They got progressively more didactic and less interesting.
Part of what makes my work what it is is the balance between believing enough in one’s ability to parse information while constantly remaining humble in the face of an overwhelming amount of it trying to distract you and lead you down dead ends and dark alleys.
And I don’t want to sound like some hopeless egoist here, because I’m not. If I’m wrong I’m wrong.
I’ve been a real functioning scientist testing failed hypothesis after failed hypothesis in my life. Humility doesn’t come easy, but the Universe is nothing if not consistent in its application of lessons.
I’m as aware of the potential for my own confirmation bias as I call it out in others.
If you don’t like it, fight me, Bro!
I found the titles of Mark’s posts simultaneously amusing, flattering, and burdensome — not necessarily in that order. We all crave some amount of approval for what we do in this life. It’s part of the ‘uneconomic’ return on our time investment that Marxists like to tell themselves doesn’t exist in others to justify their envy-driven evil.
But it’s not all that drives us. There is a burning need, an obsession if you will, to find a path out of the dark world we live in today. The stories are all around us. The anxiety we all feel is written in them. It’s why the cultural touchstones are so important. The zeitgeist tells us both what we are feeling and what we want.
That’s what keeps me on target and the give and take from those I’ve inspired inspire me to stay the course, even when it would be so much easier to let up, have a drink and coast. But, there is no coasting in this journey, only recharging.
In the end, I don’t think there is just one big conspiracy. This isn’t my Geopolitical Unified Field Theory.
But there is a dominant one that has been in operation for a long time. When opportunities arise thanks to shifts in circumstance, that’s when you see the various players make their moves to regain some of what was previously lost. Until a group is categorically taken out, they will always be there lurking for the next opportunity to validate some long-form narrative of their supposed potency.
As Hippolyta said so eloquently in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, “Evil does not sleep. It waits.”
I want to thank Seb for structuring the talk in such a way as to lead me to laying everything out in a kind of coherent order for the listener to parse.