Cognitive Dissonance — The BannonConWay®!

Artist’s conception of a multiverse where the Crypt Keeper and Grown Up Alcoholic Augustus Gloop may coexist.

A recent study at UC Davis placed grad students in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while watching a clip of Kellyanne Conway being interviewed by CNN’s Don Lemon. Following is the analysis by technicians.

This… this is fucking bananas, man. I have never — and I been doing this for a while — I have never seen activity like this. So right here [refers to image of brain on monitor, indicates region of frontal cortex, lit with mellow orange glow] is where Lemmon asks her [consults transcript] quote — Did President Trump direct Flynn to indicate that the administration would roll back the sanctions put in place under the Obama White House? — end quote, you see the kind of moderate activity you associate with a more or less standard deflection of a White House spokesperson. Yaddayaddayadda. No biggie, right? [fans hand out to indicate slightly elevated pulse shading to yellow.]

But if you skip ahead to around here [selects a spot later in the video, brain lit up in all regions like a goddamn pinball machine] you can see everything firing — pain center, short and long term memory, fear response — all of it. Going totally ape shit. I mean, look at THIS [indicates region at base of brain, near top of spinal cord] — this fucking part here? There’s usually NOTHING happening back there — it’s all “respiration and watch for sabertooth tigers” back there — and now it looks like one of those gymnastic dancers, with the ribbon stick, you know? On meth. And fighting a mongoose. While falling off a cliff. And hitting every outcropping on the way down.

This is what BannonConWay® is after. This form of “shower of fucking sparks cascading from your fucking ears every fucking time they open their lying fucking mouths” cerebral overactivity is not a consequence of the ongoing convolutions of communication, it is the goal.

Misdirection is an expected form of political hackery, but in our recent history, it has been put forward with the understanding that When Pressed, I Will Answer Your Question. The BannonConWay® holds that When Pressed, I Will Open a Fucking Wormhole In My Face and Rick-and-Morty You Right Straight Out of What You Took To Be Reality. You put the demagorgon in a blandly tasteful pantsuit, and this is what you’d have — not dissembling or engaging in spin, but a full-scale assault on the foundations of actuality itself.

This idea of “normalizing” — it is frequently cited as a danger where crackers expressing intolerance of every description are emboldened, which is undeniably true. But what ought to be equally alarming is the blithe pretzeling of language and meaning and, shit, I don’t know, time-space that these fucking fuckers are engaging in. It is not merely that we must abandon previous conventions of civility in our interrogations of the fucking dementors the goddamn administration — we will need to cultivate the kind of reductive single-mindedness of the turtle kid in that viral video — we need to become more willing to stand on their backs, jumping up and down if necessary, and hollering “Answer the question! Answer the question! Answer thequestioanswerthequestionanswerthequestion!”

Because we are going to need some Mad Eye Moody-level shit to meet the forked tongue-Lovecraftian shit show that’s being perpetrated on us every fucking time these villainous henchpeople open their deception holes.

If as I do you do not wish to wind up in a Cormac McCarthy cave, staring wild-eyed into a guttering fire that’s consuming the last pages of the final books, rocking back and forth cradling yourself and sputtering “Science is real, science is real,” then you will continue to lose your shit every goddamn time these assholes skull-fuck the corpse of meaning with their barbed demon cocks of language that they don’t even have the decency to lube with syntax.

And yes, I recognize that it is fucking exhausting. And yes, I also would prefer to while my days away in the more edifying pursuit like Smashing My Nuts With a Hammer. But if we hang back waiting for some Guardians of the Galaxy-style intervention to reclaim the remaining shards of reality, then it will be too fucking late, and the Syd Barrett clown fire that is currently being inflicted upon us will be all there is.

So if you do not wish to lay your head down each night to the nightmare chorus of burning clowns, then stay sharp. When these demagorgons open their fucking meat-flower faces and shriek at us, summon your Eleven powers and send them careening into the wall. And when they rouse themselves to come after you again, you suit up in that Ripley forklift suit and twist its fucking head off. And yeah. I realize I’m ricocheting all over the collective dreamscape, but we’ll need every weapon and superpower and bit of sorcery we can gather.

You can find longer essays, satire, fiction, and info on the workshops I teach in Chicago on my site: ianbelknap.com — also, check out the WRITE CLUB podcast

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