I include in this group Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, Sam Lipsyte's The Ask and my absolute top of the list fave -- Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.
The idea of America going down the tubes -- socially, politically, economically and spiritually -- resounds for me because it is exactly what I believe is happening.
America's economic melt-down is obvious and ubiquitous. With the sore-loserism exhibited by a large faction of the Republican party after Barack Obama's election a new phase in the history of our nation was ushered in, characterized by a shocking lack of civil discourse, insane accusations and, most scarily, the subversion of reality.
The force promoting these behaviors with great zeal is, of course, the so-called Tea Party.
Generally, I try to tune them out because I find the Tea Party spokespeople unspeakably stupid AND shockingly arrogant, a lethal combination. When I am feeling less charitable, I entertain fantasies of their imminent demise through a variety of means -- natural, extraterrestrial, man-made and otherwise.
Because I am so aggravated and unnerved by their disrespect of our president, I try not even to tune into the news but being a gym rat, it is hard to escape their talking heads on CNN and Fox News.
Though I tried valiantly to close my eyes and run to the music of "Stadium Arcadium" last night at the JCC fitness room, the huge television monitor over my head had a report on denials by leaders of the Tea Party that there is a debt crisis currently underway in the US.
While most sane American busy themselves with understanding the dimensions of this crisis, we have Sarah Palin, Herman Cain and others stating that Obama is exaggerating the problem and, in fact, there is not really a problem.
This one took my breath away.
It also put me in mind of the milieu of Macbeth, a world gone awry, a dimension where witches host the evening news, reminding us that we have entered a place where reality is subverted, where fair is foul and foul is fair.
This place also goes by another name.
America. Summer 2011.