Because we’re here, lad

In the classic 1964 film ‘Zulu’, there is a quietly moving scene where a junior soldier, realizing what is coming for them, plaintively asks, “Why is it us? Why us?”

Colour-Sergeant Bourne, ever-stoic, simply replies: “Because we’re here, lad. Nobody else. Just us.”

Rita is fond of quoting one of my own aphorisms back at me:
“Things never turn out as good as the optimists hope, nor as bad as the pessimists say.”

These two quotes are oft on my mind these days.

I tire of the doomsayers; of the “black-pilled” “prophets” who have been wrong at every historical and political turn in my lifetime, yet whom do not allow their past total abject failures at soothsaying deter them from once more forecasting of  Doom! And Gloom!

“Worst economy EVAH!” Well, it’s not good, but does no-one else remember stagflation in the 1970s?

“Worst political climate EVAH!” Not happy about it, but the America of the 1860s would like to have a word.

“World turmoil!” Yeah, that’s what the world does. Anyone else remember those decades where we were all going to die in atomic hellfire, with the few survivors being chased through a nuclear winter by mutant cockroaches the size of Volkswagen Beetles?

“Waaa-aaar!” I was raised in Africa. I have yet to see a decade, hell, a year, in which the Red Horseman isn’t plying his trade on at least one continent somewhere. I was a soldier during the era of Ronald Reagan, whose brash braggadocio and jingoistic rhetoric were “sure to start World War 3”; and I understood — and accepted — that my fate was to be a speed-bump, to die slowing down Soviet tank columns long enough to allow the Abrams crews to wake up.

Yet … here we are.

Remember the folks who wrote giant walls of text about how aeroplanes were going to fall out of the sky, cities would go dark, and the Internet crash, leaving all of us at the mercy of warlords ruling a post-Y2K apocalypse? Does anyone actually remember Y2K these days?

Remember That Guy who talked your ear off about how Carter, err — Clinton, err — Obama was going to declare martial law so he could stay in office after his mandated terms were up? (Insert Reagan, Bush, Bush, Trump for the other side of politics.) And — so far — wrong every time.

And probably the same guy who has a quick-draw dissertation on how — via some United Nations shenanigans and a convenient spouse or family member — the same aim would be achieved. And how many decades has that one come up wrong?


Are things great?

Oh, I didn’t say that. Politicians are lying, self-serving bags of o-rings, morally bankrupt; and greedy beyond any fevered dream of Mammon could have hoped for.

But … is anyone actually surprised by this?

The media are hypocrites, who dissemble with pious expressions or noble brow, all the while shrouded in cloaks of sanctimony and mendacity; safe and happy in the knowledge that they will never be held to any sort of account for their lies, perfidies, and libels.

No, you don’t hate journalists enough. You think you do, but you don’t.

Again, though:  Is anyone actually surprised that the Legacy Media has returned to their roots with William Randolph Hearst and Yellow Journalism? Were they ever actually that noble, or are we looking back through rose-coloured lenses at a carefully-curated image?

I realize that the afore-mentioned media has a vested financial and political interest in keeping the very worst of news up under your hat with you; that their profit margins require that they keep smacking us in the face in a 24-hour cycle of doom, gloom, and despair …

… But we don’t have to listen. We don’t have to watch.

I understand that social media has a vested financial and political interest in bringing the absolute worst that we as a species do on the regular as a barrage into our phones, and computers, and homes …

… But we don’t have to access social media.

Are things right now as good as the optimists claim? Hell, no. Are things as bad as the pessimists are dooming about? Also, hell, no.

Is it comfortable, nay, reassuring to be alive during this time? No. God, no.

But we’re here. Nobody else. Just us. And we can weather Teh Stupid that pretty much is the Sum Total of Human Existence (just writ large on Social Media and a 24-hour news cycle) with calm, confidence in our neighbors, and honest preparedness …

… Or we can run around with our hair on fire, listening to every kook who hasn’t been correct since Christ was a corporal, spewing panic, and just generally making things worse (as well as looking like a complete oik, historically)*.

I know which path I’m going to take. I invite you to take the same one.


*Having seen how fast the average person panicked during the Recent Covid Unpleasantness™, I have my doubts, but I’m trying to  not to be a doomer here. Give me a break.

Hail the victorious dead!
Well, hello, there!

11 thoughts on “Because we’re here, lad”

  1. I think a lot of it is all going to depend on where you live. Certain places are probably going to have a very hard time. The place I left I can see that it’s the government that’s going to be providing that hard time because they want to regulate and tax everything.
    So if you’re middle class you will be taking it in the shorts.
    There are places that get overlooked (the flyover states and such) that no one cares about and hopefully things there will never get so stupid. (Hence why I moved here – I want a nice quiet relaxed old age – now if only the F**@$2$ tornadoes would cooperate).
    I remember the 70’s well. I remember how many people in my neighborhood lost their homes. I remember seeing a lot of stupid shit and people having to adapt to it. Just more of the same.
    But when shit is always flowing down hill, sooner or later that pile of shit at the bottom is bigger than where you’re standing.
    Sooner or later it always happens.
    I just think there are some folks out there who are starting to notice that all this nice shade they’re standing in, has a smell…

  2. One of my first memories was stagflation, then the farm mortgage mess of the early 1980s (Midwest), Abscam, Iran Hostage crisis, Three Mile Island (“Nuclear meltdown we’re going to diiiieeeeeee!!”), Mt. St. Helens, the Tornado of ’75 that ate Omaha, and a few other things. People joking about (R) getting caught with their hands in the till and (D) getting caught with their trousers down, the nightmare of the Lebanese wars of the 1980s, Beirut barracks bombing, and seeing evidence of Baader-Meinhoff fans when I was in Austria the first time.

    Oh, and we were going to freeze in the dark because of global cooling and overpopulation, then because of nuclear winter.

    Things aren’t spiffy right now. But when were they? Since the days of Numa Pompilius, or the reign of Saturn, or the “Produce Incident” (as I once referred to it), things have been going down hill. The trouble is that now we hear about it over, and over, and over.

  3. I completely agree with you.
    My biggest worry is that the government’s deficit spending will drive us into stagflation. I remember 14% interest rates for home loans. But, the individual’s best solution for this is pay down debt and spend less.
    As far as the media goes, I think a large part of that is that we now have enough information at our fingertips to see the bias and lies. Walter Cronkite and his ilk were not fair and balanced. It’s just that most people did not have the information available to see through the lies.

    1. Walter Cronkite may have been biased, but he loved America, at least, which we can’t say about many of the current crop of media personalities.

  4. Once I had time on my hands and a copy of The Histories by Herodotus lying around. So I spent a week reading through it.

    War, devastation, famine, war. One after another after another.
    And all though it human nature that hasn’t changed in thousands of years.

    We’re gonna make it.

  5. “There shall be wars and rumours of wars. Flood fire and famine, but the time is not yet…..”

    I have often wondered what it felt like for my parents and grandparents to watch the World Wars come over the horizon. Particularly WW2, when WW1 was remembered so clearly.
    I remind myself that I am not watching the coming of the Mongol Horde, the Black Death (30% fatality rate) or any one of dozens of historical catastrophes.

    There are no guarantees, and death is personal, whether you die alone or in the company of millions, BUT, the odds in favour of living out a comfortable life and dying peacefully have never been better.

    Rather tham prepping for the Zombie Apocalypse or a Red-Dawn rerun, I’m being a little bit ready for things that are a lot more probable.
    A multi-day – or week – power outage.
    A wildfire.
    Getting older ….. more of a certainty. Eating right and keeping healthy seems like a smarter thing to do that worrying about black helicopters.

    Prophets of doom look like just one more bunch of manipulative bastards. Yeah, maybe we “could” have that civil war or that dictatorship…. Either is a lot more likely if people are panicked, or if good people believe the lie that there is nothing we can do.

    Just as the future will be somewhere between the forecasts of optimism and pessimism, the right strategy is somewhere between panic and apathy.

  6. I tell younger people, which lately seems like everyone, that we’ve been through things as bad as this before and came out the other side OK. The 70s were a definite low time for America and can remember Jimmy Carter sounding the alarm when the federal deficit hit a billion dollars. Seems quaint almost, doesn’t it?

  7. “Anyone else remember those decades where we were all going to die in atomic hellfire …”

    “HOW can you dismiss microaggressions?!”

    “I’ve had MEGATONS aimed my way. Micro-anything is, by definition, a TRILLION times less significant.”

    [NOTE: My math might be a bit off… it was a long shift and I’ve had a couple.]

  8. Chicken Littles, one and all. And they prey on the sheeple to get their power and profits, time after time.

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