Hi. I can’t believe I am back here in the twenty-first century writing to you guys. I’ve thought of you a skillion times over the decades and I am laterally shivering to be back here at my desk in Old Brooklyn keyboarding you.
21st Century-Jennifer is up at Harvard giving a talk. I’m visiting from 2111, where my students have convinced me to do a Timeback100 with you guys.
In 2088 the Portuguese Michigans came out with a time visiting machine that allowed the visited time to see the visitors, with the visited time forgetting the whole experience days later and time proceeding unchanged. The 3001 model allowed some remembering and reality changed, we lost some good people, and the whole thing was outlawed.
My Steg student had access to one and is so enraged by this chapter in his textra book that he brought it in and since I have one of the last original poetic licenses, I decided to do it and risk radical dislocation and possible disappearance. I mean, what are the odds that we’d have both the machine and the license and an idea worth trying? And what are the odds we’ll disappear?
This was my Steg student’s idea and I’m trusting it, but of course he didn’t tell me exactly how to say it. So it is tough, but here goes.
For ten years after President Obama, the first, shows the birth certificate the thing is sort of a nonevent, it helps him win his second term and then is forgotten. Then starting in 2024 the Papers movement actually starts around a similar issue with President Green but takes all its images and really its energy around this incident in 2011 with Obama’s papers being shown.
If there is any explanation for what happened in the 30s, it begins here, with this act, with the meaning and humiliation and rebellion of what became both the Show Me Your Papers movement, and Papers Please. And in all fairness it also started the Cage Age Rage Page Events which has been the source of everything wonderful about the second half of the 21st and this first ten years of 2100.
But my Steg says the 2030s and their aftermath is to be avoided if possible and we are going to try. I’m going to start with an excerpt from the textra book.
The history of Papers Federal must begin in 2011, ten years after First Bombing and ten years before the Great Landing – two things which are often forgotten and must not be. The country was still thinking in terms of skin color (black, white, brown) and categories like asian, african american, hispanic, and jew. Some early subclubs and Rebrownings included Old Brooklyn, whole areas of Prequake California, and many of the unfederated universities that dotted the country until the 2050s.
This was also when the money corporations were at their zenith, just before the seeds of their collapse are sown in the Landing, and some of these money corporations also resembled the subclubs that would eventually become Blend Times and the whole Darker phenomenon. Still, in most food halls, whole sections of diners would clump up according to self-identified categories of the type described above. Even in the most mixed communities, photographs clearly show that in restaurants most tables were taken by a single one of these categories, though age and gender was as often mixed as not.
Then on April 27, 2011 sitting first-term President Obama the Father made public his Papers (then called birth certificate, which is where the term Birthers comes from).
This gesture was the catalyst that changed the world. Historians have argued over the real significance of the publication of the Papers, but there is no way to deny that this is the moment that people stopped accepting the racism and individualism of the previous century.
Well, I’m not sure how much good quoting the textra is going to do. Let me try to put it in terms that make sense to us, where I come from, in my time. Here goes. Before the Landing, humans had for a few centuries been festering in a bad feedback loop of outsiderism based on age, skin shade, tits or pricks, and the various cults, even still some ultra prims like gods born of virgins.
The skin-shade thing started like this: The biggest iron deposits on Earth, and most of the few domesticatable animals on Earth, happened to be located in one of the human habitations that had very little sunlight, proportional to what human body’s need to make what you called Vitamin D, which we need to live. So the skin in these places gets very translucent and looks much lighter in color than is the case for most humans. The iron and farm animals allowed the humans of this area tremendous ease and tools for creativity.
The problem was that the riches were seen as marked by the translucent skin, as if the two were connected. There were many wars in this period where humans murdered other humans by the millions, also under the idea that the wrong category of them had access to particular metals.
When White Europe found the Americas they accidentally gave the people there all the diseases they (the White Europe People) had caught from the domesticated animals all those years. This nearly emptied the continents in one century. It was an unrecorded horror imaginable only because we have a recorded version: Because literature can only flower where there is surplus riches to make time for writing stories, and that surplus comes only from domesticating animals, the whole history of literature has occurred under the dark cloud of those diseases, which killed the White Europe people, especially their children, but also hacked away at people in their prime and old age.
So White Europe, with its recorded culture (a sad literature of dead family members and aftermaths), claimed America and built New White Europe. For a heartbeat or two the biomarker of a certain kind of visible WhiteEuropeness stayed congruent with ease, wealth, and culture (sad images of family members lost to disease because of use of animals to stockpile resources to allow surplus time in order to write, to write about what? mostly about the sorrow of early death from disease).
Anyway by 2011 the brown is folding the white back in (baking metaphor) and yet wealth and power are still grotesquely graphable by this biomarker. The big problem is actually resource distribution, but the feelings behind that problem are obviously still aligned with these biomarkers. As long as some people want to feel special for being white or rich instead of feeling special for being human we continue to destroy our own best resources which are hope and a feeling of wanting to work hard together to do something worthwhile with our time on Earth. Look we know it is hard t work all this out, but you have to do better because after the Landing, it is all going to look so crazy. In my reality, humanity grows up fast and it hurts. I'm racing because the Timeback100 has started to skate.
So I've come back here to tell you that from where we sit we can not figure out how you tolerated these unthinkable indignities. I know you have to live in the knowledge and reality of your own time and your own values but how about you cherish Fr. Obama a little?! Be nicer to each other humans! It could change everything.
Oy, I have to go, the Timeback100 is skating and will soon gaff out. More soon. I’ve been trying to put this in terms you’ll dig, or grok, or feel, or strack, or chunk, or what have you, but I don’t really know how any of this sounds to you, whoever is actually reading this, whenever you actually are. So just, if there’s anything you need explained please ask! I’ll be back – I hope! Until they stop me. Didn’t I used to sign off with “Don’t Kill Yourself”? Well, don’t.
The Portuguese from Brazil who have the Great Lakes are going to give you so much techno that all the problems you are imaging get gone, but the other ones, about having trust and faith in one another, and sharing your resources, that doesn't go away and could make all the difference after the Landing. That's why I'm risking everything. Wait till you see what CARPE does! No cage, no rage, no papers. Is the Jewish Obamas thing in the news yet in 2011? Dayenu. Remember what SKD said, "Show me a Black Birther and I'll show you a metaphor for a melting-pot poured on a hot mosaic." Also: "If you enslave and mass rape a biomarked people and a hundred years later most of them live in your cages or in poverty, you are an asshole and no rhetoric can save you."
can i see YOUR papers?
Twenty-Second Century Jenny