Monday, October 13, 2008

Thomas Disch on the decline of Western civilization

Today's bit of unfortunate poetic justice from Tom Disch brought to you by Little, Big author John Crowley:

Tom, thou shouldst be living at this hour

It's of course just the kind of thing a SF writer of the 70sw would project for a a future declining and degraded America -- but only Tom Disch seems likely to have thought up the name for the moneyed entity that sweeps them both into its maw -- Cerberus Capital Management [Cerberus Capital Management is the private equity firm that owns Chrysler and is negotiating to take over GM].

One of the things Tom claimed was keeping him alive was his desire to see the whole world go down with him; he searched the Drudge Report and similar sources for signs that the end was near, the Triumph of Anarchy in society and nature, and used to call to tell me gleefully about some new unstoppable collapse. How he would have relished the last few weeks. He once wrote a long poem about New York in the style of Blake's Prophetic Books -- amid the various titanic allegorical figures is Moolah:

"Revivified Moolah, lovely & mysterious, streams invisible
Through the trembling fingers of Nasdaq and Amex.
"Caress me," she croons, "and comb my long golden hair
Braid it with silver bangles; employ for each dainty foot
Its own podiatrist; bankrupt an Iowa hamlet each time
I think of raspberries in a Spode rspberry bowl.
Nothing is too good for me; Imelda & Leona are my handmaids..."

Etc. Of course Imelda and Leona are both gone now. A free subprime mortgage to anyone willing to update poor Albion's plight and lissome Oosa's: "Anoint thy limbs, lissome Oosa, wIth balm of Aloe/And Liquid Ivory").

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