Things are not like they used to be. In 2002, my second grade teacher talked to the class about Saddam Hussein. She talked with a tone of condemnation and concern, but I don’t remember what she was saying. I sat at a desk listening to her talk with my head cocked slightly, not really understanding what she was talking about, but feeling the impact of something weighty and significant, heavy and solemn. The words “Character Counts” were printed on a poster in the back of my second grade classroom. As I listened to my teacher, these words came down like soft hands and elevated me onto a castle turret, on top of which a flag read, “We are the community and we are concerned.” Of course, we are very concerned. The order and purpose of things is important. Always important, always present. I care for my community. I am concerned for my community. Citizenship, teamwork, compassion, discipline. The six pillars of character will get you far, so you best memorize them while you can. Here, I think it is important to be a kind person. A caring touch, always tender and true. And I don’t understand it—why can’t we all just get along?

Things are changing, though, I can feel it. I’m in college. I’m in a matrix in which words are access codes. They have their words, I have mine. This is too much now. I can’t breathe when you tell me about my racist or my fingers. I can’t breathe when you size me my sexist. My whiteness pangs what? Do I have to slap you? I think I do. I might be what? If you ever go so far as to suggest there is a bug creeping through my body you will never see the light of day. Your words have the curdled texture of a cream, cloth-like material and I don’t think you are able to understand it. I can’t even do this right now. Close the door, forget the past, I hang on to my code, you have yours. We’ll talk again, if not in the next life. Just don’t press my buttons.

Things just aren’t the same anymore, I can feel this. I knew it all along. Watch this channel. These videos say exactly what needs to be said. I am subscribing. Clearly, these people are a problem. It’s sad, honestly—the script of the past life is consuming the new life into one orb of regression. These people are beyond repair. Everything they say, the opposite is true. I’m so glad I have access to this new truth. I am inside the bio-shock geo-dome, streaming through fiber optic cables at night, guided by the light of the AT&T coverage plan. I am a truth seeker. I seek the truth. I understand things. I see beyond the cables and into how it really works. He might be the one. Yes, he is definitely the one.

I’m a different person now. When they come in my way, I can just shout loud enough. I don’t even have to think about it. The other day I imagined myself screaming inside a circling pit of his supporters. The scream would come out so easily. That’s how I know it has to be true. I would probably beat my chest, too. Yeah, I like it that way. Pure sheetmetal beauty, Jaguar XK on the freeway. A little draconian at the edges. New things come in new packages. They are good things. I wish the rest of them knew this.

The world is not what it used to be. Honestly, I’d be so happy if he wins. It’s going to happen, I can feel it. You can’t stop what is going to happen. That’s why they call us “the Silent Majority.” Many people feel suffocated. We are silenced to speak up against this thing. My white is what? My race is racing this? Get off my axe before I do it to you. Don’t fem me. Privilege is for pilgrims. If you got in my way, I would spit out flames that could take you down so hard I wouldn’t even need to pick up a stick. I spit on your flame like a thing made out of tar and asphalt. Your hemp goods and fair trade knapsack have no currency where I live. And by the way, you over there, nice hat—I wouldn’t wear it yet, but I like where you’re going.

Things are different now in some way. I am saying things in reality. Truly, these people are this way. Don’t make a mistake, they are this way. Your simple perspective is made out of corn husk and confetti, while I spit my words with the urgency that matters. These people are this way, actually. I can raise my voice for it, if you’d like. The new truth is in the generalizations, sleek edges, and gunmetal radiation. Into discomfort. Now my heart is beating and I feel out of breath. You are condemning me. The martyr lives. You are treating me differently. I am in the bio-shock timeout box and you are the ref. A cosmic shift has occurred that is beyond my powers of comprehension.

Reality is not the same anymore, I knew it all along. But now I understand this in a different way. I’m off this pill now, I’ve just decided. It takes too much energy. I feel too much anger for this to be truth. False somehow, I can feel it now. I see it clearly again. The god descends into an innocuous sphere. Yes, that’s right, straight into focus, a little to the left now: he’s evil. Just an evil guy. I’m so glad I decided not to vote for him, honestly. The thing is, nothing really changes in life. There is no truth. So what on earth do I pick? Well, if I have to pick one thing and make it my map, let it be love. Love forever, love in all things, love in patience and understanding, love and turquoise, streaming into eternity.

A reality in fiction: the problem of representation

Oftentimes, rather than embracing femininity as part of who they are, these characters only retain traditionally masculine traits.

Colin’s Review Rundown: Future and Metro Boomin, Lizzy McAlpine, Benson Boone, Civerous

Is it bad? Definitely not! But I found myself continually checking my phone to see how many tracks were left.

Live updates: Wallis Hall sit-ins

Editor’s Note (5/4/24): This article is no longer being updated. For our most up to date coverage, look for articles…