Myke Johns and Nick Tecosky are the producers of WRITE CLUB Atlanta. In an ill-conceived bid to remain hip and relevant and also to vent their anger and bile at people who actually are hip and relevant, they have devoted themselves to reviewing the #2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
For the week of February 17th, the #2 hit on the Billboard charts is:
Comrades, I salute you. Our journey has been long and you have each shown the courage and strength of character which befits your title. God and His divine provenance have brought us together on this day and in this place and as I stand before you, sun on my shoulders, I might even betray that I love you–each of you–like sons and daughters.
In a moment we will begin our glad task, but before we do…you have traveled with me this far, I pray you’ll follow now and raise your hands. Yes, up–outstretched and reaching as if toward your reward. And your faces, let me see your faces, handsome and well. Today is a day of celebration and I feel within me a great well, overflowing and I sense you feel it too. Sons, daughters, let that joy spill out of you–let it erupt like the reports of a thousand cannons. Comrades, if you are happy and you know it, clap your hands.
And you will clap your hands. And you will dance. You will skip through the streets and shed all of your worldly troubles. Yes, yes, minions mine, allow that manic energy to spill forth from the most secret parts of your soul. Expose to me that which is most deeply held, those dreams which you have been afraid to whisper aloud except in your most private moments, lest they be extinguished before they flourish. Cast open the doors of the sanctum sanctorum and render unto me your innermost selves.
For while you are distracted, I shall devour them. And you shall not realize their absence until it is far too late. You will wake to discover that I was the bump in the night that you’d dismissed as the wind until- suddenly, too suddenly- my shadow hung above you in your fetid beds. I am older than time, and greater than the heavens. I am darkness incarnate. I am destroyer of Worlds. I am the infernal machine that is fed by your sorrow, and I chew and I swallow and in my wake I scorch the Earth and set fire to the skies while you look the other way, absorbed in cynical plugs for Despicable Me 2.
All the while, I shit in your garden. I cut your brake lines. I pocket dial your best friend while you are loudly disparaging them. Go on. Say my name. I know that you know it.
I say unto you, Happiness is the Truth and the Truth is Happiness. Look not toward the ground, but through the room with no roof and into the Creator’s own heavens. Blessed be the joyous.
Carry on not with bad news, but bring it to me, no matter the weight. Allow me to carry your sorrows, your fears, your sins, that you may be free. And let he whose heart hangs heavy be brought before me, that I may be his vessel. And should his soul still hide in sorrow, let us gather about him and sing our songs and clap our hands, so to drown out his thoughts and his words and his cries. For just as joy is contagious, sorrow will come as a thief in the night. And we must be vigilant. Be ever at the ready, your hands set to clap. For sorrow is the death of the soul and joy is the light and the life. Bring me your death that I may give you life.
Eternal Life shall indeed be yours, though you shall pray for death. You shall exist forever as Tantalus in Hades, bound, naked, parched and empty as a dry husk, fruit-laden branches and cool waters eternally just beyond your grasp, and yet you shall live. Your ears shall ring with the piteous wails of those whom you have held dearest, and they shall echo hauntingly in your broken mind. Dry winds shall blow across the wastelands, casting course sand into your eyes and nose, flaying your flesh from your bones until it becomes ugly and putrid and unrecognizable, and yet, still, you shall live. Pustules shall fester in the crooks of your arms and legs, wet shit shall run down in your inner thighs in thick rivulets, hollow-eyed carrion birds shall tear the ragged flesh with razor talons and cruel, crooked maws. Maggots shall worm through your veins and into your heart. And yet.
You shall live. You shall live, until living and suffering shall become indistinguishable from one another.
Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’entrate.
The time is drawing nigh, my children. It is so close that my forked tongue can taste the sulphur in the air and my cloven feet can feel the vibrations in the earth. It is coming, though it is not yet upon you.
For now, dance. Dance, children, and dance, and while you can…
Clap your hands.
Illustration by Joe Karg.