David Bouchier

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Now that the election is over we can return to more traditional and less stressful forms of entertainment, like murder. When the evenings draw in and the temperature falls with the leaves, there’s nothing as comforting as a good murder. The actual homicide rate in America has been going down for a long time, but in movies and on television it has gone the other way. Movies were always violent, ever since the earliest cowboy epics. Now they are more violent by far. By the age of 18, according to Mr. Google, the average citizen has watched 40,000 murders on the small screen.

By (top)Cezary and (bottom)MattWade / Wikimedia Commons

Anyone who voted last Tuesday, or who lined up for early voting during the previous week, must have been impressed as I was by the sheer number of people who turned out, sometimes standing in the rain for hours. I’m not speaking about the result or about the process (which is crazy), but the participation, especially when so many people had so much else to worry about. Sixty-five percent seem to have voted, up less than half in recent elections.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

It was a stroke of genius by the framers of the Constitution to schedule the elections immediately after Halloween. We are in the right frame of mind — so thoroughly accustomed to thin disguises, thinly-disguised blackmail, and magical thinking that we can no longer tell the difference between fact and fantasy.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Good old-fashioned trust is in short supply these days. It has been worn down and worn away by millions of advertisements and campaign ads that are indistinguishable from lies, decades of telephone scams of every conceivable kind and by a deluge of trickery and criminality on the internet. We are the daily target of credit card scams, time-share scams, tax scams, identity theft scams – if you can imagine it, somebody else has thought of it already, and tried it on us. The fake news can’t be trusted, and even the most plausible conspiracy theories are hard to believe.

Architect of the Capitol

Christopher Columbus was fortunate to live in what we now call “The Age of Discovery,” when there was still plenty to be discovered — by European explorers, at least. Five hundred years later, what we see on the world map is what we get, now and forever. Modern explorers are left with nothing to explore except a few muddy ocean depths and the remotest corners of the remotest forests.