Logic Bomb

Two soldiers wearing pith helmets stare up at a slowly unfolding mushroom cloud: “He instinctively knew that the only way to avoid his son being involved in a fatal car accident once the boy turned sixteen was to constantly tell his son that when he turned sixteen he was going to be involved in a fatal car accident. At least once a day he would remind his son that soon he would be driving and that soon after that – or maybe much, much later, who knew – he would be involved in a fatal car accident. He talked about it so much that at some point his son himself became convinced he would be involved in a fatal car accident, which didn’t stop his son from wanting to drive, per se, but which did have the effect of making his son extra precautious when he did drive. As the years passed his son had still not been involved in a fatal car accident, and even though his son was now a man and a father himself, once a day he would call his son and remind him that he would be, at some point, involved in a fatal car accident. That his son had never been involved in a fatal car accident he chalked up to the fact that he had never once stopped mentioning it. He knew that the day he stopped telling his son he was going to be involved in a fatal car accident was the day his son would be involved in a fatal car accident. All he was trying to do was postpone the inevitable, at least until he was dead and gone, and he didn’t have to worry about it anymore. He figured that if his son could skate through life without being involved in a fatal car accident then he had done his job as a father. After that his son was on his own. Hopefully, he thought, his son would perpetuate the ritual and mention it to himself on a daily basis (“You will soon be involved in a fatal car accident”), and this would be enough to stop it from happening. He didn’t quite understand how these things worked.”

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An Excerpt from Jean-Pierre Dupuy’s The Mark of The Sacred

“…[Guther] Anders recognized that on 6 August 1945, human history entered into a new phase, its last. Or, rather, that the sixth day of August was only a rehearsal for the ninth – what he called the ‘Nagasaki Syndrome.’ The atomic bombing of a civilian population, once it had occurred for the first time, once it had made the unthinkable real, inevitably invited more atrocities, in the same way that an earthquake is inevitably followed by a series of aftershocks. History, Anders said, became obsolete that day. ┬áNow that humanity was capable of destroying itself, nothing could ever cause it to lose this ‘negative all-powerfulness’ not even a general disarmament, not even a total denuclearization of the world’s arsenals. Apocalypse having been inscribed in our future as fate, henceforth the best we can do is to indefinitely postpone the final moment. We are now living under a suspended sentence, as it were, a stay of execution. In August 1945, humanity entered into an era of reprieve (die frist), the ‘second death’ of all that had existed: since the meaning of the past depends of future actions, it follows from the obsolescence of the future, from its programmed end, not that the past no longer has any meaning, but that it never had one.”

A Field In France

Vincent van Gogh, his face covered with fresh bruises and minor lacerations, sits in a field of wheat and smears the remnants of some stolen strawberries across his forehead, the bridge of his nose, his cheeks, his lips and his chin: “I stood up, Theo, and I announced to the entire cafe, which was filthy with painters like myself, that there was in all likelihood an improbable and unforeseen event that would cause the world to drown in fire before the end of the century. I then said that my final revelation was that in order to avoid this fate someone would be needed to sacrifice themselves so that the rest might be protected and preserved. I nominated myself. I told the room I would offer myself up as the victim. No one seemed to mind my display of magnanimity, until I reminded them that by sacrificing myself I would be granted not only symbolic immortality, but, at a later date in time, actual immortality as well. It was this particular sentiment that did not go over very well with the drunken mediocrities I was addressing. While I was not surprised at the violence visited upon my person, I was surprised at how long it took for it to occur. Before the blows rained down upon me there was a most delicious sort of pregnant pause, a breach from which they momentarily could not escape. The look on their faces told me that perhaps I had tapped into something elemental. This, more than anything else, Theo, filled me with what I can only describe as a sort of cosmic delight. Please send money at your earliest convenience. I am presently out of paint.”

Bits And Pieces Put Together To Present A Semblance Of A Whole

A group of lanky young men shuffle languidly through a series of dreamily-lit spaces within the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and stop – when directed to do so by their guide – so they can appreciate another convex disc which seems to be floating in mid-air: “Ruud had to be dragged to the Robert Irwin exhibit, where he was told that he would not be allowed to enter until the Australian Men’s Beach Volleyball Team (fresh off their second place showing at the World Beach Volleyball Championships, a much higher finish then had been anticipated, hence their surprise visit to the museum, a gift from their coach, an ex-art school professor) was done with their private tour. What bothered Ruud most of all wasn’t that he had to wait, but that he was being reminded, once again, of his station in life. His sense of agitation mounting with every passing second, Ruud decided to excuse himself and told his wife that he was going to use the men’s room. As he walked away he heard his son (technically his stepson, but the boy’s father had disappeared as soon as the boy was born and Ruud had been in his life since even before the boy’s first birthday, so, you know) mock him (Ruud had a naturally high speaking voice which had the habit of rising a couple of octaves when he was annoyed, and his son enjoyed copying him whenever his voice sounded like this, probably because it matched his own pre-adolescent pitch, making it especially easy, and therefore all the more satisfying, to mock Ruud) and something in Ruud snapped. He walked back over to his son and punched him as hard as he could in his arm, which caused the boy, naturally, to sob uncontrollably. Ruud immediately knew that what he had done was abnormally abusive, and he began to worry that the relationship with his son would suffer a permanent rift, which turned out to be exactly what happened. It also precipitated the demise of his marriage. At some point Ruud excused himself for what had happened and began to blame the Australian Men’s Beach Volleyball Team, and then, after a time, all of Australia. There was something about Australians Ruud didn’t like, and he couldn’t put his finger on it. They were loud and cocksure and aggressive and it was a toxic mixture (not to mention that there was a whole return-of-the-repressed aspect to the way they were slowly insinuating themselves into the fabric of American culture, with our acceptance of their wacky lingo and bloodless rock and roll and bitter breakfast spreads, as if the British had banished the dregs of their society to the end of the world, only to have the spawn of those very same dregs come back to destroy the country that had succeeded England as the world’s most formative superpower [this was the one part of Ruud’s platform against Australians which met the most resistance from those apt to follow his line of thought, as it seemed strained at best and nonsensical at worse]), Ruud would say to anyone who was interested in listening to why he didn’t like Australians. As it turned out, there were a lot of people who were interested in listening to Ruud rant about Australians, more than he ever imagined. It seemed to Ruud there was a latent hostility towards Australians, and he was more than happy to foster and encourage this hostility. Ruud led a series of protests in front of the Australian consulate (Ruud thought the Visa program available to Australians was absurdly lax, not to mention unnecessary, as most of the jobs Australians were taking were of the Personal Assistant and Personal Trainer variety), which garnered the attention of the local press, and soon he became publicly known as The Man Who Hated Australians, which led to series of volatile appearances of The Wally George Show. As far as identities went it was the not the one he had foreseen for himself, but it was who he was, for better or worse.”