Cruel Summer

Hot summer streets
And the pavements are burning, I sit around
Trying to smile
But the air is so heavy and dry

Strange voices are saying
What did they say
Things I can’t understand
It’s too close for comfort
This heat has got right out of hand

— “Cruel Summer,” Bananarama

So far, summer’s actually been cooler than usual here in eastern Kansas. I’ve been busy with work and family, and there’s not been much time or energy left for contemplation or writing. My literary muse seems to be on an extended walkabout in the Australian Outback—no clue when she’ll return, but I expect she’ll arrive on my doorstep coated in aboriginal greasepaint and toting a didgeridoo.

That should make for an interesting reunion.

Conversation in the media, social and otherwise, continues hot and humid, with no cooling trend in sight. A pleasant shower of reasonable dialogue might be nice, but that’s as unlikely as a green front lawn in the San Joaquin Valley. Someone observed this morning that Twitter hashtags may have become our modern stoning grounds. True, that, and nobody seems the least shy about throwing the first rock.

I’m starting to think there’s nothing to be said about religion, politics, or literature that won’t place the speaker squarely in the center of an L-shaped ambush right now, and that makes sharing one’s opinions in public…challenging.

Perhaps I should take refuge in metaphor:

Ahem. Maybe I’ll steer clear of social commentary altogether and talk about what I’m reading right now:

Recently finished:

Justice Calling, by Annie Bellet – Magic and mayhem in Idaho.

Master of the House of Darts, by Aliette de Bodard – Magic and mayhem in an ancient Aztec empire.

In progress:

Confessions, by St. Augustine – Youthful mayhem, and redemption, in ancient Alexandria.


The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff – Philosophical mayhem in the Hundred Acre Wood.

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger, by Stephen King – Mayhem in an epic quest through a parallel world…or something.

So, it’s pretty much mayhem all around. Cruel summer, indeed.

2 thoughts on “Cruel Summer

  1. The problem with looking at the world from many angles is that you are likely to alienate most everyone. Because the majority who look at the world from only 17 angles will condemn you, while another majority who look at the world from 22 (3 are the same as the other majority) will also condemn you. It’s the “since you don’t agree with me completely, I will kill you” mentality.

    When one majority wins – they lord it over the other side that lost. And it’s “Hatfield, McCoy” – it only makes the other side want to stab back. It’s like Olly in Game of Thrones – he simply couldn’t grasp that Jon Snow was trying to break the chains of this tit for tat. But, then again, “You know nothing, Jon Snow”.

  2. It’s interesting how the internet, which is touted as a force for breaking down barriers, leveling debate, opening minds, and liberating human conversation has in many respects accomplished the opposite. We’re more tribal and opinionated than ever, and information technology has provided all sorts of fiendish ways to anonymously smite our enemies from the comfort of our easy chairs. In pajamas. While munching cheesy poofs.

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