Winter Is Coming


At the start, let me thank all my friends who have Foxtel who have invited me to watch the return of “Game of Thrones” with them this morning (Australian time). Not. Hence I’m blogging instead, while the fate of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in balance.

Winter Is Coming. Everywhere. In everything.

If you are one of those thinking at the moment that the world is, like, literally, going to end, and pretty much right now, it’s probably because hordes of (to mix the poultry metaphors) headless chicken are running around and screaming (out of their blood-gushing necks?) that the sky is falling. Millions of people, supposedly intelligent people, seem have lost their minds, like, metaphorically. It’s a hyperbole apocalypse.

Ages ago, in a galaxy far far away, I used to watch Phil Donahue’s talk show when I wasn’t at school or uni. He retired years ago, but he doesn’t look a day older, mostly because he always looked old.

Former talk-show host Phil Donahue on Saturday reflected on President Trump’s administration, calling it “the darkest political moment in American history.”

“This is the darkest political moment in American history,” Donahue said on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” Saturday. “Who’s going to argue that?”

I will, Phil. I mean, really? This is the darkest moment in American history. Darker than the revolutionary army shivering at Valley Forge. Darker than the four years of the Civil War. Darker than the Great Depression. And World War Two. And almost half a century of the Cold War, lived under the shadow of a mushroom cloud. Darker than Korea, Vietnam, JFK assassination, MLK assassination, Watergate, September 11. Honestly Phil. Unlike many of his predecessors, Trump hasn’t invaded anyone; unlike Lincoln he hasn’t suspended habeas corpus; unlike FDR he hasn’t put hundreds of thousands of American citizens in internment camps. There is still no Wall, Obamacare is still in place, and there have not been any tax cuts “for the rich”. Trump hasn’t actually done anything yet. But it’s already the darkest political moment in American history. Sure.

Donahue, of course, is far from alone. Millions of people think that the United States is on the brink of a patriarchal theocracy a la “Handmaid’s Tale”. Because some Republicans want to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion abattoirs. Or something. Respected history professors like Timothy Snyder think that Trump will declare martial law and end democracy in the next twelve months. Millions more, less tenured though no less passionate, share his view that Trump is the new Hitler and that they are the brave “Resistance” trying to makes sure the United States in the 2010s won’t retrace the disastrous path of Germany in the 1930s.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Trump is already plotting his own “Reichstag fire” in order to make himself a dictator for life (he is of German origin, after all). Maybe him and Vlad Putin will create a new axis of evil to Make Authoritarianism Great Again around the world. Or maybe him and Vlad Putin will fall out, plunging the world into another world war. But I rather think that a lot of people are hyperventilating and have lost all sense of context and proportion. The spectre of hysteria is haunting the world.

It doesn’t matter though who Trump is and what he might do, because we’re all going to die anyway as a result of climate change. Al Gore is cruising around the world, promoting “An Inconvenient Sequel”. He was in Australia recently, and, as is now customary, has brought a vicious cold spell with him. I don’t know about Al’s inconvenient truths, but I can think of a couple myself: such as that the world temperature hasn’t increased in the time between “An Inconvenient Truth” and “An Inconvenient Sequel”. Or that the climate change hobby-horse has been very good for Al.


But then we are starting to come full circle:

Isn’t everything?

Except “Winter Is Coming” was the environmental scare of the 1970s, subsequently replaced by Summer Is Coming. And in George RR Martin’s world, the long seasons are cyclical too, just as our climate has been over the ages.

Or maybe “Game of Thrones” is a metaphor for Trump. Maybe we’re all waiting for Daenerys Clinton to tear down the xenophobic Wall so that all the wildlings, White Walkers and their zombies who want to have a better life in Westeros can have it (while offering an amnesty to all those who are already in the Seven Kingdoms illegally, err, I mean undocumented).

Winter Is Coming. The Dead are Walking. Trump is Hitler. And we are all going to be burned alive or otherwise die in “rolling death smogs”.

You’re all crazy, people. Take a deep breath. Try to find the life’s meaning somewhere else than in a fantasy that you are an important person playing an important role during an unfolding apocalypse. You’re likely just a normal boring person living a pretty good life at a comparatively happy time in human history. Chill.