On totality and the milkshake duck

On the radio they’re talking about the milkshake duck
which, along with path of totality, has earned the distinction
of being one of 2017’s words of the year. A close third,

in my opinion, should be virality, which is what enables
the widespread popularity of both milkshake duck and path
of totality; and which the English Oxford dictionary defines

as the tendency of an image, video, or piece of information
to be circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user
to another.
Remember that hot Monday afternoon in August,

sitting on the university’s grassy lawn, sweat sticking
to the backs of our shirts and shorts? We’re far from being in
the swath of totality; nonetheless there’s something momentous

about being among the hundreds there, eyes properly outfitted
with NASA-issued solar filter viewing glasses, tilting our heads
back, waiting for the moment when the moon completely

obliterates the sun’s big brassy face as a band plays jaunty
music in the shade. It doesn’t last long, and neither does summer—
its salty tang, the crowds of tourists splayed out on the beach,

drinking from sand-crusted water bottles or pushing boogie boards
into the waves. After becomes the inconceivable season of one
milkshake duck after another: as Twitter handle Recognize

the Vox Union Now put it, we are now milkshake ducking
at speeds heretofore unseen by man.
Every public figure
revered in one glowing moment quickly unmasked, undone

in the next— Another age gave us gods with clay feet:
that picture, at least, conveys some sense of gravitas.
This on the other hand is shifty, has something opaque

and odious about it— made uglier by prejudice flying off
the tongue; webbed feet sticking out from under trouser hems,
or worse, an ass or penis flapping its pathetic flag in the air.


In response to Via Negativa: Demagogue.

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