Back in 1999 I left my last corporate job (acting IT director of This Old House Magazine) in a wave of mutual frustration and discord. Fwiw, I had gotten in a vicious feud with the powers that be because I was insisting that the AOL-Time/Warner merger was going to be a disaster and I was refusing to merge our email system with the AOL one, I had been called lazy and/or incompetent by a Time, Inc. V.P. because I hadn't been able to get him and his staff the kinds of subnotebooks I had agreed were an excellent idea, and I had spent about a hundred thousand dollars getting current equipment like real workgroup printers for the departments (such as marketing!) that hadn't been upgraded in five years while telling the art director that it would take a while to get her the kind of dual screen, massively souped up, massively untested Mac she was demanding.
And then they held up my last three thousand dollars worth of paycheck for about two months.
And told me that my health insurance was expiring a month before I had been told it would.
I was pissed. And I decided for the first and last time in my adult life to try to write fiction. Now, I write the worst dialogue of anybody in the known world. And my characterization makes the WWF seem nuanced and subtle. So fiction isn't usually my thing. But in the mood I was in, writing a Swiftian, bitter, "modest proposal" kinda story seemed like just the sort of tonic I needed. First I dashed off a few even worse short stories that the world has been saved from and my mood while writing those was so foul that my apartmentmate was afraid to be in the room with me when I was at the computer. Then I sat down and wrote out a "vast exaggeration" of the world going very wrong. The kind of thing that would happen if our society just flat out lost all common sense. I put lots of work into putting in all sorts of telling details. The freaky ruling at the center of it came from the Ninth Circuit because they have a reputation for that kind of thing. The mechanism for the virus was based on recent DNA findings. My crazy right wingers were based on recent statements by anti-abortion preachers.
And when I was done I felt much better. And I thought that what I had written was pretty doggone funny. In a sick, end of the world, kind of way, of course.
Well, my friend Sara says that I telegraph like Western Union so I'm sure you know what I'm about to say next. By today, about seventy percent of what was in that story has come true. And I just saw an article on Reuters that puts another piece in place, in just about the way my story had predicted.
And since my story ended with the reestablishment of widespread slavery throughout the western world, I'm just not feeling any too secure right about now. And I don't find my story funny these days; not at all.
Folks, we'd better make damned sure that Obama wins and successfully takes office. Because if we don't we're really and truly going to see Western civilization fall. It's just that simple.