Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Transformers

“You haven’t heard of the Transformers?” asks Sebastian.  His height in feet is six, his grade, eight, shoe size, eleven.  Like he’s not a transformer himself.

“No.  What’s the general category?  1960’s toy train hardware?  General knowledge?  Films—that’s it, isn’t it?  Modern films.”

“Who hasn’t heard of the Transformers?  You and, I don’t know, some kids in Africa.”

“What are their names?  I’d like to meet…”

“Point is,” says Sebastian, “it’s these sci-fi movies about these evil aliens that have turned themselves into cars and are destroying the world?”

“They’re trying to say that’s fiction?”  I shake my head.

“I’ve grown this much since we moved in,” Liam says, spreading his fingers from the bottom to the top of his brain cavity.  Oh-oh, I think, a nine-year-old with a brain.  Better get on that.

Later we’re paddling north on Rusholme contemplating hanging a Louie on Bloor, but the water main’s not that broken.  Bloor’s a reef.  Liam’s in the twelve-foot Old Town but I’m cheating a little by pulling him on my bike.  I see some American redwhitenblue in the distance—Canadian pigs do love their American cars—but by the time I’m off the reef and back into clear water we’re slowjaysimpsoning south on Rusholme with pigs in tepid pursuit.

“Just what exactly are you doing?”  The question at my elbow is close enough that I can smell donut breath, undertone of steroids.

What are we doing?  I’m all over that strategy, the old lure, the snappy-answers-to-stupid-questions routine.  The what’s-it-look-like-we’re-doing comeback.  Not going to get me that way.  “Ah, so you’re a skeptic in the fundamentals of ontological perception?”  I stick to explaining what a canoe is.  Suggest that maybe it’s Miller time and we’ll be coming in off the river now, eh.  “Yeah, you do that,” says Steroid.  His partner shows us how he can make the back of the car shrink according to the laws of perspective, and we go “phew.”  Few seconds later there’s just silence and a bit of car wake.

Liam records the event in his new brain for future consideration.

“Our people were canoeing this creek for five thousand years before some bozo buried it forty feet down and called it a street,” I say to Liam.

“Our people?”

“Their doing that for five thousand years—that’s how we know they’re our people.”

The water in the “street” is three inches deep.  What I’m thinking but not saying is, the water main’s not that broken—yet.  Plenty of time to have a crack at daylighting that poor creek down there.

Later I’m on the roof with my Book of Calamities.  The pro-torture senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, shrugging off photographs of the victims of Abu Ghraib, has apparently said, “you know they’re not there for traffic violations.”

But of course they are, I’m thinking.  I think it into the computer for twenty-second-century “readers”—and yeah, even now we know that word’s a bit old-fashioned, just for the record.

Of course they’re in places like that for traffic violations.  The world is ground under by American lust for violent trafficking of all sorts, including the literal kind that leads to literal traffic.  American wars are only partly for oil but they are entirely about America’s freedom of violation, its liberty to violate whomever, whenever, world without end.  Anyone trying to prosecute a case against this license will be cut down on the principle that prosecutors will be violated.

Oppress people for three generations and it starts to look natural.  By the fourth generation, it seems like destiny made manifest.  A hundred years can seem like forever.  But the worst oppressors are still just a scab that can be sloughed off.  We’ve been here for thousands of years.  There’s time.

DAVID Ker THOMSON lives in the Dufferin Grove watershed of Toronto.

 

More articles by:
May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
stclair
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail