A Machine to End All Machines



Can you feel it coming? The machine? Can you feel it, can you see it from your high window, beneath the yellow sun, in the distance, furrowing beneath that black soil as it makes its way toward you?

In July 1945 Kenneth Bainbridge, the a physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb, turned to Robert Oppenheimer after the successful Trinity nuclear explosion, and said:

“Now we are all sons of bitches.”

How way leads on to way, and here we find ourselves, on the rim of chaos: inauguration day in the United States, January 20, 2017.

A bit over the top, you might say, old chap. Well, it was YOU, Bennetts, who reached out and awoke X from its winter isolation to ask for its “thoughts” on the ascendency of DTrump.

Truth be told, X has built a machine, Bennetts, a terrible machine, to set in motion an elaborate reversal of what is happening in Washington, D.C. today. X is not sure if readers of Berfrois (is that still what you’re calling it?) will want to hear this, so maybe you ought to put some sort of disclaimer here (is “disclaimer” a word you Brits use?) (And speaking of Berfrois, do you think poor X, feeble and emaciated as it is, has forgotten how it subsidized the initial “publication” of Berfrois with three crates [“gallons,” you had asked for, as if!!] of A. H. Hirsch Reserve Kentucky Bourbon? Gratitude, Bennetts, gratitude!!!!! That’s all X asks for, and that you have cruelly withheld!!! A simple word of thanks. A nod to acknowledge the largesse of X that made possible your publishing concerns. How much more neglect do you think poor X can take at the hands of you, a people who LOST the American colonies?!)

The device-contrivance, Bennetts, exists tentacled underground. X began constructing it during the American Civil War, burying its cables and coils, and then in the 1890s sending out “hoppers” and “climbers” to replace the electrical wires sagged and slung between telephone poles. The hum of electricity across the vast expanses of the American midwest is not what it seems.

For a century-and-a-half, X and its machine have anticipated this January 20th moment. The coils began warming during the ascendency of Jimmy Carter in the mid-1970s, amidst the chaos of the rise of punk, Carter’s outsider, insurgency presidency predicting a darker emergence.

A machine of reversals, of undoings. Capitalist Realism be damned, this is the real thing.

X has had it up to here (indicates a slashing motion above the eyes) with the leftover dissent actions of the 1960s.

To destroy the destroyer, much must be destroyed.

There is an abundance of work to be done, Bennetts, in such little time. To activate the machine necessitated six weeks of channel switching, UHF frequency blocking, mobile phone saboteury, phone book directory redactions, and the labour-intensive re-wiring of several rusted-out transistors.

Once activated [NOTE: don’t include this in this report, but the machine has already been activated] the machine will begin eating back at history, removing the bits and pieces (do folks on your “island” use phrases like this?) that led to Jan. 20.

History redacted, with some collateral damage.

Ah, Bennetts! Ah, humanity!