I think I may have had a vision of Hell last evening. This remarkable event took place during the brief time I was home between my return from the day job and my departure for Vacation Bible School (where one of my fellow congregants mentioned to me that her husband often refers to the week of VBS as "hell week"). I won't try to deny that I effectively invited this terrifying vision. As I was sorting out my gym bag, depositing some fragrant socks and shorts and towel and so on in the dirty-clothes basket and replacing them with the corresponding clean items for this morning's use, I turned on the television set -- or, as my friend Ron likes to call it, the magic-talkin'-Satan-box -- and, on MSNBC, I caught some of "Hardball." Now, that's as bad as my vision of Hell gets, but it's quite bad enough. I mean: just imagine being condemned to spend eternity watching a discussion between Christopher Hitchens and the Reverend Al Sharpton, "moderated" by the amazingly-rabid Chris Matthews, all held outdoors in what appeared to be some wilting heat, before a crowd of howling youthful persons. I suppose that in real Hell, the viewer would be strapped to a chair with his head clamped facing the screen and his eyelids clipped open, a la Little Alex in A Clockwork Orange. But a vision isn't quite the full, real thing.
I wanted to link to a transcript, but there doesn't seem to be one available yet. When it is (Saturday, 6/30, maybe?), you can find it here.
But there they were: Mr. Sharpton in all his ebony incoherence and idiot's perfect confidence; Mr. Hitchens looking every bit the debauched Britisher enduring a death-dealing hangover in the dreary Colonies, sweating out partially-processed Beefeater's Gin and squinting out the broiling sun; and Mr. Matthews, looking as if he were pining away for just one more snootful of Fred Thompson's delicious cigars-and-Aqua-Velva Daddy-smell, keeping things stupid as he does so well.
Maybe what I saw wasn't Hell; maybe it's the future. In that case:
"I have seen the future, and it don't work."