Welcome to Hell World – Luke O’Neil

The result, if you really dig down to the very core of that what-the-fuck moment that happens again and again throughout the book, is not a sense of morbid delight or nihilistic surrender but rather a fragile, translucent shard of hope. It’s small and it’s tender and I certainly wouldn’t go digging around too hard just yet in the hope of holding it in your hands, but it’s there all the same. And at no time is this pathetic little scrap more apparent than in that brief moment when O’Neil lays out a story about baby jails or the Sackler family or fucking Amazon and it hits you, yes, this whole thing is unbelievable. You’re not weak or subpar or unfit for the game, it is being played under conditions objectively terrible and cruel. Moreover, the rules are designed to hide the fact, to pathologize the suffering as a failure of the individual. In acknowledging this, O’Neil opens up a space to redirect the energies of anger and guilt away from ourselves and toward the systems of oppression. Which is to say, O’Neil might have no answers here, but at least he’s figuring out what, and more importantly who, to ask.

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