Married couple having a bad dream about SNL characters penning letter to them in 2026, living in America

“It wasn’t like we didn’t know. We did”, nodding at her partner who dutifully picked up the cue. “Yeah we did” They then fell silent.

“But who knew. Who knew?”

Cities had been set alight. Vigilantes openly marked their territories in cahoots with authorities. Economic boom, if you can call it that has come at great costs. A sure way to purgatory is to… print more money. The Germans almost got away with it in the great war. In the 1990s it was sugar coated as “quantitative easing”. This however was a dump. Traders jokingly called it “The Trump Dump”. You saw it coming, simply held out anything and the money, like a dark cloudy shoal of Sardines, just fell into your hands.

There’s a moment in America’s revolution in international finance unfurled by Gregory Millman’s Around the World in a Trillion Dollars a Day, when Asians finally lose it. No more debt swaps or financial packaging of money you don’t have. If this were a Scorcese film, the character’s words couldn’t been plain enough: “A fucking debt, is a fucking debt. Don’t matter how you dress it. It’s an IOU. Quantitative my ass”.

And that was the give.

Eight years ago in a presidential race, all muslims were victimised, hate crime against persons was openly and insouciantly sanctioned. Mexicans, he said, raped their women. Erh ! The approbation was loud but didn’t stick, but then the give, a fault line tear appeared — demeaning America’s daughters was a no go.

Purchasing power was another touchstone. It didn’t matter a jot whether you were city or rural when your dollar tanks, you seek whatever financial instrument there is to correct it. You spend less. Then the government lowers borrowing rates. Then quantitative eases.

America’s Apprentice was one of the spectacles that brought some mirth, and outrage like when the president met the queen at Buckingham Palace and said audibly for the cameras. ‘That’s bootiful. I have a similar one, desk, in my study. Tudor isn’t it. 13th century — or something?’ Her majesty as discreet as ever smiled.

The ultimate that year was contestants on the Apprentice being briefed in the oval office. Their tasks this time took on gargantuan proportions — how would you reconfigure a new trade war, with an ally who wasn’t playing ball? It was as if they were being groomed as understudies — the next generation of secretaries.

From a distance it all seemed surreal, an illusion of validity. The administration was particularly adept at dumping new, seamlessly harmless new words onto the market. “Fake News” wasn’t one of them, but its sheer existence as a foil to a lack of probity by journalists made everyone feel it was OK. The first thing God gave Adam was the power of speech and labelling. Adam subsequently had dominion over the world’s species — even when many mammals could floor him in one swipe.

It’s not the taking part, it’s the win — a mantra that envelops a nation’s competitive spirit. And there’s nothing wrong in winning. In fact there’s a lot in winning, but at what costs? Lies, obfuscation, tyranny.

Ask most people what a war is like, and they’re bemused; question them about their own freedom’s being curtailed and they’re unsettled. Tell them the presidential race was one big game and they’re nonplussed.

You had no idea what dictatorship is like, because like all the aforementioned you’ve never experienced them. Hence, you did nothing. We didn’t, “but who knew. Who knew?”

Notes: Alarm goes off…

Couple: Honey did you leave the television on or something?

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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