Introduction to Misfit 33

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As the Marvel franchise of superheroes expands and fills the movie screens, our streaming TV screens, our video games, the question most asked and commented about these days is, “What’s your superpower?” As the plague soldiers on, as the bar for acceptable social behavior lowers and lowers to microscopic levels, as conspiracy theories of increasingly cynical and outlandish levels prevail, as organizations (Q anyone?) that once would have made headline “news” in the much-lamented former supermarket tabloid, Weekly World News proliferate it has become obvious that the putative leader of one of our political parties has a specific superpower: Stupidity. 
Years of dumbing down the education system, of creating a completely mind absorbing culture/propaganda network centered around a visual medium without restraints or intellectual boundaries, Newton Minnow’s statement in the middle of the last century that television is a vast wasteland, seems not only quaint but naïve. It has become a medium of mind control pure and simple.
Reality TV is like something out of 1984. It isn’t real world reality like the former news mediums would have had it but a self-contained, uncritical, televised reality.  People on quiz shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire can mock a med student who doesn’t have a vast backlog of television programming stored in his brain. Viewers can feel superior and be able to mock the ignorant bastard who doesn’t know the complete cast of “Sex in the City” or name the principles on The Real Housewives of Toledo.
This is how farce becomes tragedy is when this kind non-critical thinking yields a group of millions who refuse vaccinations because they don’t trust their doctors but prefer to listen to non-professional personalities with an agenda. There is an end game for this kind of group think and it is anarchy and/or autocracy. When you hear a nihilistic, self-centered man with no morals or conscience, basically a sociopath, and an ignorant one to boot, calling the shots (or not, pun intended), well guess how that movie will end? 
The new groupthink (Jonestown anyone? what’s your favorite brand of Kool Ade?) is convincing millions of people that dying is in their best interest. Having convinced these same people to vote against medical care, infrastructure, improvements in education, civil rights and any number of beneficial social contract items, wasn’t enough. Only the ultimate sacrifice will do. And decidedly not for your country. 

I’m not sure what happens after death, but you can bet there are people working on ways of making sure no one in power ever dies. Remember, he who shall remain nameless called soldiers killed defending their country Losers for being killed. As if he would never die. A good case of Covid may have cured that delusion but you can never tell.

The situation is like the Don DeLillo novel, Zero K, where a consortium tried to monetize death and, if possible, do away with it. Satire becomes tragedy becomes farce. Remember cryonically frozen Ted Williams, “The Splendid Splinter” decapitated and frozen during an epic legal battle after his death. Remember all those people waiting for JFK Jr. to return in Dealey Plaza to declare and reinstate the most recent former president to power and then run on the same ticket with him for re-electio?. Think of those hundreds of people waiting for him like Millerites who gave away all their worldly possessions, in the 1800’s, knowing the second coming of the savior and end times were at hand. And how disappointed they were to learn the date had “miscalculated” as it has been for time and again since. To this day. Barnum said it best, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Beware of what you wish for. . .

Poetry is our superpower. Enjoy the words! My thanks to the many poets from all over the world who submitted their fine work to us for this issue. And to Jennifer Lagier for her tireless work seeing the issue into its present form and to our resident artist, Gene McCormick for his lively, colorful creations.