, January 24, 2019
(view all comments by Antonio Gonzalez)
Vigilance is a novella of the current times. It’s a parade of horribles criticizing US responses to current problems. Global warming and the student debt explosion are in the background. The US obsession with guns is in the foreground but the theme of the book is the absolute refusal to assess and solve the issues facing us today. It’s easy to see the metaphors for Fox News and people like Murdoch, Bill O’Reilly and their interchangeable blonde counterparts. Patriotism puts on the costume of outrage and respect while the actual citizenry is delinquent in their patriotic responsibilities. Guns and televisions become props of the unengaged citizenry falling down on the job.
Although the society RJB describes is one that’s embraced the nihilism of the NRA I don’t think he’s totally pessimistic. You don’t write a criticism like this if you think it will fall on deaf ears. But RJB has no faith in the older generations. They’ve failed and continue to fail the US. His hope is with younger people and those left out of the American mainstream who are better able to see the narcissism and consequences of current choices of the Baby Boomer generation.
It’s short and worth reading as a piece of social criticism before turning off cable news and talking to your friends about organizing for change.