Book In Common: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

18 Sep

Every now and then I need to take a break and read a good book. As Halloween approaches, I try to read a scary book or story every year. This year my son handed me a book by Cormac McCarthy, a “post apocalyptic” story called “The Road”. He told me it was weirdly appropriate for the times, and he’s right.

I’ll say, this book is scary, violent, and raises images of a world way beyond civilization. Makes Mad Max look like a children’s story. Very depressing as well. But, it’s well written, well thought out, and, frankly, who would expect the Apocalypse to be like a Disney movie?

We don’t know what has happened, we don’t get names. We pick up “the man” and his child on the road, making their way through a burnt and destroyed landscape, ash and smoke from perpetual fires blocking out the sun. Scavengers, continually looking over their shoulders for “the bad guys”.

With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south. Barren, silent and godless. He thought the month was October but he wasn’t sure. He hadn’t kept a calendar for years. They were moving South. There’d be no surviving another winter here.

The first thing that struck me was the vision of perpetual fire – is he describing the California of the future? “Burnt forests for miles… fire-blackened boulders like the shapes of bears on the starkly wooded slopes…The grainy air. The taste of it never left your mouth. The barren ridgeline trees raw and black in the rain.”

And of course, they wear masks. That really made me laugh out loud. Masks are now an institution, I don’t know if Cormac saw that coming.

What a world to raise a child. Well, look around yourself. What are children learning from the perpetual state of disaster we are enduring, the hysteria over disease, and the fascist edicts coming from the state capitol and the White House?

The man repeatedly reminds his son that “we are the good guys,” and “we carry the fire“. I think he means, our culture, our civilization. Isn’t that what most parents expect to hand down to their children? The same values they were raised with, or at least, the values they consider to be important. But right now, right here in Chico, our values are being challenged, our sense of decency is being questioned, by our own government.

You have to ask yourself – how did these people get elected? They don’t represent the community as a whole. I’ll blame the voters there, people don’t follow the issues, they just follow the hyperbole. They vote based on what others are saying, instead of doing the research. That’s the problem with Democracy, you get what you vote for.

I don’t feel our state government reflects the values of our statewide community either. I don’t believe most California voters want to continue to shut down the schools and the economy with mask and vaccine mandates. I don’t think they’re happy with Newsom’s edicts or his blatant hypocrisy, based on his own science. I think most California voters are very unhappy with the state of our state.

So why did the recall fail? Because there was no unified support behind it. The California Republican party is a total disaster. They didn’t support the recall petition, they didn’t endorse any candidate, they just stood by with their thumbs up their asses and let Larry Elder pull the cork out of the whole thing.

So we are enjoying a similar post-apocalyptic scenario today. That’s why I’m declaring “The Road” our “Book In Common” for 2021. Hope you’ll join me! Here’s a link to a PDF copy. There are other sites that carry it for free.

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