(From the Archives) Welcome to the Dimformation Age! from the desk of Ned Mudd, reporting from the crawl space of history

Note: This ‘Dimformation Age’ first appeared in the December ’05 Zephyr…

If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.

E.O. Wilson

Most scientists now agree that Neanderthals didn’t cross pollinate with Cro-Magnons. I hate this, as it severely undermines my theory that Homo erectus asphaltus, as exemplified by my fellow Americans, is regressing towards a return to Neanderthal status. But science is often wrong. Take modern medicine, for example: Eat eggs; don’t eat eggs; eggs are cholesterol bombs; eggs are loaded with lutein (good for the eyeballs). So, which is it? Take your best shot and have fun until Oprah figures it out.

As one guru recently postulated: “…medicine today is, more or less, a huge experiment. And, unfortunately, the general public is the guinea pig.” If medicine is a leaky ship, imagine what must be sneaking through the planks of the erudite disciplines of anthropology, genetic statistics, and existential sociology. It’s a dangerous game we play, risking our lives on ersatz factoids that evolve faster than a Super Bowl commercial. 1

Artwork by Ned Mudd. Return of Frogs.
“Return of Frogs.” Artwork by Ned Mudd.

Mudd’s Theory of Anthropod Regression goes something like this: Due to an overabundance of industrial hormones, fungicides, fumigants, organochlorines, transfatty acids, benzene, auto exhaust, sugar, and television, American DNA is transmutating into a new art form, tweaked to a frequency akin to that of a juvenile marmot under the influence of backyard methamphetamines. The evidence of our grand experiment can be witnessed in the pages of any newspaper: Cancer, arterial sclerosis, diabetes, war, and widespread depression, to name a few. But the buck doesn’t stop there.

Let’s look at some recent data, which is what science is all about. And, to keep it lively, I’ve added tidbits of pithy commentary. In today’s ultra-hip newer journalism it’s a writer’s job to dig deep into the quantum fractals and rearrange reality to trump the reader’s built-in subjective bullshit meter. Think of it as emergent satori in print, done up by a cyberpunk with a bad case of dyslexia. That ought to make you feel better as the words hit the back of your retinas.

Factoid No. 1: According to the U.N., “The world’s population will increase by 40 percent to 9.1 billion in 2050 but virtually all the growth will be in the developing world.” And, to add spice to that bit of flotsam, the U.N.’s own Hania Zlotnik added, “It is going to be a strain on the world.”2

Commentary: Imagine intelligent primates choosing to increase their numbers to the point that the planet’s natural resources are harvested unsustainably. Add to the mix: Massive poverty, diminishing potable water supplies, global warming, crashing ecosystems, bad television, karaoke bars, computer sex, widespread illiteracy, and oil wars –– what do you get? Voluntary de-evolution.

Factoid No. 2: As reported by the American Society of Civil Engineers, “Crowded schools, traffic-choked roads and transit cutbacks are eroding the quality of American life, according to an analysis by civil engineers that gave the nation’s infrastructure an overall grade of D.”3

Commentary: Want to downgrade the world’s most powerful civilization? Dumb down the schools and social infrastructure. Nuff said.

Jean Paul Sartre. Artwork by Ned Mudd.
Jean Paul Sartre. Artwork by Ned Mudd.

Factoid No. 3: “…. when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes ‘too far’ in the rights it guarantees.”4

Commentary: This simple quote should scare the fleas right out of your hair. Who’s brain-washing America’s kids? Certainly not their parents; they’re too busy eating Zoloft in front of the boob tube to pay attention to how their progeny relates to the First Amendment, assuming said parents even know what the First Amendment is.

Factoid No. 4: The Georgia Division of Public Health has figured out that “obesity is responsible for $2.1 billion in health care costs each year and about 6,700 Georgians die yearly from obesity-related health problems that include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.”5

Commentary: A friend of mine was admitted to the hospital. After a fitful night’s sleep, an orderly rolled in a fine institutional breakfast, to wit: One bulbous biscuit; scrambled eggs (see above); and a strip of bacon. The patient, a savvy character, sent the mess back to the bowels of the hospital, whereupon a dietician appeared to determine what sort of food might be suitable to somebody smart enough to refuse a dish of saturated fat. Here’s what was said: “You’d think of all the buildings in town, a hospital would be the one place where wholesome, healthy food would be served, seeing’s how 90% of the people lying in these beds are here because of their lousy diets.” Answer: “We serve fast food because that’s what people want.” Well, at least our local dieticians are honest.

Factoid No. 5: Wired magazine says that “In the absence of new regulations, pollution-related illness will suck up as much as 15 percent of [China’’s] gross domestic product by 2030.”6

Commentary: America, that bastion of growth at all cost, is paying down the same debt, but denies the karma associated with poisoning the air, water, and food supply. Let’s get this straight: Pollution is a choice. Very few of us pollute by accident, certainly not at the corporate/military/industrial level. Pollution has no loyalty to any nation or ideology; it is an equal opportunity bastard with an insidious propensity to invade cellular tissue from the liver up. Only the most retro of species would willingly poison themselves and the food they eat. There’s nowhere to hide. We have met the enemy and it is us.

Enso No 8j. Artwork by Ned Mudd
Enso No 8j. Artwork by Ned Mudd

Factoid No 6: My hometown paper, The Birmingham News, says “the average family here will spend $4,448 on gasoline this year…… That accounts for about 13.4 percent of the average family’s after-tax income…”7

Commentary: You do the math. If you’re driving a hulking idiot-mobile that gets less than 30mpg in town, you’re throwing your hard earned cash down a rat hole, or Saudi Arabia, whichever you prefer. Let’s be honest: There’s no excuse for pissing oil. It’s another choice, one that has a geo-political reality: Your gas expenditures are fronting dog house terrorist training camps, whose adherents can’t wait to see what a suitcase nuke will do to suburbanites in some nice quiet piece of the American Dream. Take it from me, you can drive like a cat in heat and still get 50 mpg. All you need is less ego and a diesel. Make that a bio-diesel and you’re a serious revolutionary in need of a place to stash your extra cash. Sad to say, from Tampa to Oakland, there’s a sea of SUVs –– symbols of our species’ unconscious determination to return to the days of old, when having a protruding occipital ridge was a sign of tribal chic.

Let me wrap this malarkey up with a quick reminder of where this all started – Smart monkey’s don’t choose to poison the Earth and each other. Intelligent critters don’t voluntarily dumb down their kids’ education. Wise mammals avoid killing themselves with industrial shit food. Forward thinking students don’t belittle hard-won freedoms and constitutionally guaranteed rights. Hipsters don’t equate gas hogs with their sexual apparatus.

But here we are, beleaguered by a crumbling civilization that’s obviously lost contact with its own higher reasoning faculties in exchange for cheap trinkets and an endless supply of seriously idiotic entertainment. This is not the proverbial edge that ensures survival in a harsh environment. This is not the road to enlightenment so highly spoken of by Buddha and his merry men. This is not how Cro-Magnon sidled past the competition and became the world’s primo omnivore. No, ladies and gents, we’re on a highway of ever diminishing returns, a road that leads back to whence it came –– the Neander Valley and all that goes with it.

You heard it here first: Homo erectus asphaltus is poised for genetic anthropod regression. And the end result will not be pretty or gratifying to those who measure themselves in the mirror of Manifest Destiny. These things happen. Big apes come and go like clouds in the sky.

And regardless of what the scientists say, we’re never more than a few genes away from our cousins, the Neanderthals. Which is irony in its purest form, being as the old brutes never demonstrated the wholesale tendency to overstep their bounds as a matter of hubris. In fact, the Neanders were fairly civilized when you think about it.


1. (Dr. David Williams, Alternatives magazine, Spring 2005).
2. “Earth crowded now? Wait ’till 2050,” The Associated Press, Feb. 25, 2005
3. “Crumbling nation? U.S. Infrastructure gets a ‘D'”, MSNBC online, March 9, 2005
4. The Associated Press, Jan 31, 2005
5. “Nearly 1 in 19 Ga. Deaths obesity-related,”” The Associated Press, May 21, 2005
6. “China’s Next Cultural Revolution,” Wired magazine, Issue 13.04, April 2005
7. Birmingham News, June 13, 2005 (editorial, “”Money out the tailpipe””)

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3 comments for “(From the Archives) Welcome to the Dimformation Age! from the desk of Ned Mudd, reporting from the crawl space of history

  1. Lynn Jackson
    December 15, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    Always enjoy the column. A couple of quick notes that fluttered thru the brain while reading this one. First E.O. Wilson is wrong! The world has never been in a “rich state of equilibrium”. Oh sure for a few millennium it might seem like equilibrium, but then poop happens, A massive volcano, a tilt of the earths rotational axis, some big spit from the suns output, a comet, etc, etc, then the earth is off to the races again, adjusting. Always adjusting. The only constant.

    Secondly, don’t fear. What ever happens will happen. If you don’t believe in a God, then you should think of humans as a population biologist might, where we just follow the course of any animal population. Sometimes those populations over populate for a variety of reason, usually associated with abundance of resources that population exploits. All populations of animals exploit the resources they need for survival. Then boom, they either exceed the carrying capacity of the resource(s), or some external factor limits or removes that resource (volcano, comet, disease, glaciation, overpopulation, etc), and the population is adjusted. Some die, some move, and occasionally they go completely extinct. It’s the natural evolution of any animal or plant species. However, if you do believe in God, then at some point he/she/it will intervene and save our sorry asses. This is how I get through the day.

  2. Gary Cox
    January 27, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Just because human beings have become geological agents does not make us special – at least not in the sense most males would like to be thought of as special; which is, special in understanding, special in interpreting supernatural authority, special in cleverness, special in the ability to synthesize authoritative philosophical systems, special in being endowed by nature with imperial teleological insights.

    Cyanobacteria became an agent of geological change by simply transforming the toxic atmosphere of the planet into one rich in oxygen. The preening patriarchs who feel proud that our species has become a geological agent should deeply consider the humble one-celled organism that made it possible for us to breathe.

    Those pretentious patriarchs who rule the planet, those who have established and are perpetuating the economic and societal games we all are obliged to play, are blindly (even though they claim great insight) making it impossible for anything to breathe. How can one take pride in that? Blue green algae studiously followed their unconscious proclivities in becoming geologic agents. The ruling planetary patriarchs have become geologic agents only in the name of an economic system the prime motive of which is to further enrich themselves at the fastest possible pace. Becoming geologic agents was an unforeseen (because of willful blindness) accidental consequence. We as a species never set out to become geologic agents. We set out only to follow a patriarchal ideological construct that places the efficient maximization of wealth above all else – and damn the consequences! Calling this period in history the “Anthropocene” insidiously dignifies what the patriarchs are doing, which is why it is the term favored.
    The suicide bandwagon era, much better describes what is going on. Consider for a moment how suicide rates have dramatically increased with increasing affluence. And yet, providing wealth for all is a goal that no self-respecting patriarch would ever question. A discussion among patriarchs concerning what actually constitutes wealth would never deviate one iota from the conventional notion that wealth must consist of an ever accumulating personal mountain of consumer “goods.” Hunter/gatherer societies possess an abundance of leisure time but very little “wealth.” And yet, when one delves into the ethnographic record for evidence of suicide in these cultures, one finds nothing. Absolutely nothing!!!

    Suicide however is rampant and accelerating in what patriarchs term “advanced” societies – nowhere more so than in the United States. Suicide has become an everyday news story. Somewhere today, in an “advanced” society, someone is killing innocents in a suicide bomb attack. One could conceive of the entirety of patriarchal industrialist society as a burly would-be male superhero wearing a collective, prettily digitized, suicide vest someone has convinced him is a tuxedo. Countless indigenous groups have been raped, slaughtered, subdued, pillaged and their souls ripped out because the patriarchs perceived them to be obstacles in the path of imperial triumphal industrialism. So what is to prevent the patriarchs from adopting the same attitude towards any and all species that present a similar obstacle? “We are not going out alone,” say the patriarchs with a smug grin of self-satisfaction, “We are prepared to take millions – even billions of species out with us, unless our demands are met – that God the Father suspend the laws of physics so that we can keep getting away with our delightful and exponentially accelerating accumulations of wealth.”

    We as a species are working ourselves to death, and sacrificing (completely in line with the dominant suicidalist ideology) ourselves to death on the altar of an impossible work ethic designed to make the patriarchal bandwagon a more efficient fountain of consumer items that no one needs. Death, death death!!! What is there to be proud of here? What is there in our current existential situation that in any way justifies us? The debate about the so called “freedoms” at play is simply a cosmetic jumping through philosophical hoops in stunning displays of discursive virtuosity in order to rationalize the dearly beloved suicidal juggernaut. It seems the one percent have hoodwinked even the analytic philosophy community into convoluted contortions of seemingly rational discursive formations that are really nothing more than sophisticated suicide notes.

    Certainly what we are doing to the planet should rudely evoke the big picture perspective, and if our poets, intellectuals and artists are to be something other than abject handmaidens of the one percent, they should be focusing on deep time and its implications. Instead the vast majority of the best educated among us focuses all their intellectual power and attention on maximizing investor (the one percent) profits for the next quarter.
    Greta Thunberg’s straightforward appeals for survival, since they are not couched in the convoluted and arcane vocabulary of the professional philosopher, are dismissed as naïve, insufficiently “disciplined,” and lacking in “rigor,” – as if in a dying person’s screams for help we are preeminently concerned with grammar and usage.

  3. Judith La Montagne
    January 27, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Loved your article. I agree 100% with all of it. We have become superficial beings who waste our time and talents on things that don’t really matter. You are a very clever writer! And you speak the truth, especially about this generation of Americans. BTW, I don’t own a SUV!

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