Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Defiant Donuts, Cluster Bombs and Wokism!

Jul 21, 2023

[Vientiane, 7/20/23]

Last night, I achieved a milestone! On my eighth day in Vientiane, I dared to get dressed after 5PM, for an intrepid trek to the night market. Careful not to aggravate my remaining wounds, now mercifully few, I took forever to pull on each pant leg. For the handful of ants on my bed, it must have been a butoh farce. Shaking their speck sized heads, they had to mutter, “Cut the drama, fool!” They were there to hunt for my scattered scabs, so nutritious.

This night market is made up of a hundred stalls selling cheap clothing, dozens of food stands and a mini amusement park. Against an inky sky, two Ferris wheels lit up in primary colors innocently spin. Rotating without cares, they’re retarding everyone’s childhood.

Many Vientianese head to the night market for their evening stroll, since there’s a wide promenade next to it, hugging the Mekong. No one has to buy anything, not even a fistful of sticky rice with diced mango still in its skin.

Three years ago, though, I had to snatch a T-shirt that clearly screamed at me. White on black, it had a Star of David enclosing a smaller, or distant, one. “STAR TREK,” it said. Even in space, there’s no escape? We’re meant to be cattle chuted.

[Vientiane, 1/5/20]

Last night, I was delighted to see other people’s children become ecstatic from just jumping up and down. Others seemed uncertain about what joy or revelation they were getting from endlessly revolving on a hard horse or shortest choo choo, the last painted with Captain America stars and UK flags. Within seconds, they realized there were no surprises to their circumscribed journeys. Over and over, their eyes collided against some white-haired weirdo with two cameras. Sternly focused, he was after some dubious goal or prey. Still, it was fun to be among other kids in the open air.


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