Remembering the Unreal

It's terrifying to me that whole groups of people can have the same half-submerged memory of trauma that never existed except as a television fantasy. Everyday we are inundated with millions of images of sex and violence and bizarre juxtapositions that tantalize and demonize and horrify, and then when we wake up the whole churning mess starts again, leaving us wondering if what happened the day before really happened at all or if we dreamed the nightmare up. The turning over of images and ideas in the cultural landscape is like a compost heap, old images break down and disappear and become part of the morass of memories and nightmares, even as new images are tossed on the pile and shuffled in.

I wonder how many things I remember that never happened. I wonder how many nightmares of Hollywood writers became my nightmares. And I wonder how many of them are now yours, like a copy of a copy of a copy of a picture of the chupacabra. I wonder what all this amounts to, or if, like the roar of a stadium full of cheering fanatics, the endless stream of garbage is good only for cheering the players on the field as they punt the ball over and over and over again.