We spent Christmas day the way it’s meant to be spent — in Chinatown with the Jews and Asians. The Virgin Mary had a baby boy and we had Peking duck.
We stuffed ourselves and people-watched; the rest of the city was an eerie ghost town of newspaper tumbleweeds and too-available street parking. In Chinatown there were comforting signs of life-as-usual.
Without the normal hordes of humans and traffic, center city Philadelphia looks like it’s set in the post-zombie apocalypse. Which is to say this place is already such a shit hole that a violent pandemic and total breakdown of civilization could hardly scar the landscape any further but only leave it emptier. And by “violent pandemic and total breakdown of civilization” I’m referring to a zombie apocalypse, not summertime in Philadelphia…but eh, well, you see where I’m going with this. The city is so filthy and run-down and joyless already that the distracting throngs of living moving beings are the only thing keeping people from realizing how bad it is.
I’m not entirely sure what’s worse — slow-motion decay or catastrophic destruction. I guess in terms of the outcome, it’s an easy answer. Nations and people seem to bounce back from wars with the same ferocity they fight them. But when the enemy is entropy, cultural erosion, diminishing prosperity…people don’t seem to know what or how to fight. Government accelerates the demise in the name of staunching it, contriving enemies with the same cynical transparency of someone drawing editorial cartoons.
There’s a theory that the only thing that can bring about world peace is an enemy that the entire world could get behind. In a word, Aliens. A galactic bloodbath is the only way to ensure that we’re too otherwise occupied to skirmish over our differences, that we’re more invested in being united than in dividing ourselves.
If you want Peace On Earth, then you’ve got to Take It To The Skies.