Transmetropolitan

I started rereading TRANSMETROPOLITAN the other day and I’m about a third of the way through the series.  For those of you who’ve never read Transmet, it’s an amazing piece of science fiction told in the current 60-issue / 10-volume graphic novel format.  The protagonist is Spider Jerusalem, outlaw journalist, who is a hyper-exaggerated version of Hunter S. Thompson and the setting is the dystopian American future, some several hundred years from now.

Reading the first several issues, I found myself laughing my ass off every few pages or so at the glorious, over-the-top dialogue and the impossibly cool futuristic gadgets like the Bowel Disruptor (a gun that does exactly what it says…it has three settings: Loose, Watery, and Prolapse…boffo!) or the gravity-defying “Air Jesus” sneakers that allow you to literally walk on water.  But the (relatively) lighthearted satire that is prevalent in the first year of the series gives way to much darker territory in the second year as the story shifts it’s attention to the upcoming presidential election.

On the one hand, you’ve got the incumbent president, nicknamed “The Beast” eight years earlier by Spider, and on the other hand you’ve got two candidates from the opposition party by the names of Heller and Callahan.  Heller is a short, racist twat who doesn’t stand a chance at getting the candidacy, and then there’s Callahan, who’s even worse.  His nickname is The Smiler and he’s a soulless, callous piece of shit, whose personality is cobbled together from a dozen beloved, long-deceased politicians.  He’s the guy who hides behind a handsome smile and a great head of hair, who tells us that he loves us and cares about us but in truth hates us just as much as the people he claims to oppose.

At one point in the story, Spider is given the opportunity to interview The Beast.  These three pages are part of that interview.  Keep in mind that this issue was released in May of 1999, which means it was written either earlier that year or in late 1998 (click the images to view larger versions):

At that point, the secret service prevents Spider from strangling the president.  But let’s look at the really important bit of dialogue from those pages:

“You traded on fear and hate and snaked your way into a place where you could make your wet dreams come true — by turning America into a fucking third world country that bleeds money and exports fuck all but shit television and transplantable organs — because you killed medical aid and created a culture of crime and presided over America becoming the murder capital of the world…”

Again, that was published in May of 1999.  As I write this, we’re wrapping up March of 2012, and that dialogue seems much more relevant today than it did back then.  I’m not saying we’re a third-world country yet but, goddamn, you have to admit that some of that speech is unsettling as hell.

When these stories were first published, I was smack in the middle of a years-long breakdown and was a very different person from who I am today.  These days I’m much less self-involved, I’m much more connected to the world I live in and I’m a much happier person for it.  But somewhere in between then and now, as I’ve become (in my opinion) a better person, I’ve had to let go of some things, mostly out of necessity, and rereading these stories is stirring up all sorts of shit inside me.  I’ll spare you the tedious details (mostly because I don’t think I can discuss them without sounding like a pretentious twat), the point is that I’d basically forgotten that it’s sometimes alright to be doubled over in anger and hatred.  Sometimes the shit that’s going on around you calls for exactly that.  That doesn’t mean you should run out and punch a Republican in the cock and it doesn’t mean you should engage in verbal abuse on Facebook, but…godfuckingdammit, sometimes you just need to call bullshit and you need to do it loud and you need to do it with lots and lots of F-bombs.

And sweet, holy fuck, after three days of reading one Spider Jerusalem hategasm after another, I just can’t continue to pretend I don’t care about this fart-sucking train-wreck of an election that’s been plowing slowly up our asses in slow motion for the last six months.  How the fuck has it come to pass that the American people can’t come up with better than the carnival sideshow jack-offs I see on TV every night?  All of the players in this election – all of them – are fucking lunatics who shouldn’t be allowed sharp scissors, let alone any kind of actual power.  I don’t have the slightest idea how Gingrich weaseled his way into a position where people took him seriously and I SAW IT FUCKING HAPPEN.  I don’t have the slightest idea why someone doesn’t push Santorum into a volcano.  I don’t understand why people think Ron Paul and his idiotic gold standard are the solution to our nation’s troubles.  And I really don’t understand why Mitt Romney hasn’t wiped the floor with these ass clowns yet.

Which is not to say I like the idea of Mitt Romney for president.  I’d rather punch myself in the cock until my fist broke than vote for Romney.  But I’d also rather punch myself in the cock than vote for Obama.  Obama signed the NDAA into law.

Fuck Obama.

The election to determine who our next president will be is less than eight months away and WE DON’T HAVE ANYONE TO FUCKING VOTE FOR.  Fuck that.  That is fucking ridiculous.  I am beyond tired of looking at the lesser of two evils and pretending to be excited about voting.

I really don’t have any clever way to wrap all that up into a neat little package without it sounding like I’m trying too hard to be Mr. Angry Pants, so I’ll just end this here.

About

Tim Hatch lives in a secret volcano headquarters somewhere in the South Pacific, where he controls the world economy and writes confessional poetry about his disappointing childhood.

His poetry has been published in MungBeing, East Jasmine Review, The Pacific Review, The Vehicle, Touch: The Journal Of Healing, Apeiron Review, and he is the recipient of the 2014 Felix Valdez Award.

He finds writing about himself in the third person to be an overtly seductive invitation to tell lies.

He once captured a French Eagle at Talavera.

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