Rat Nation

 My friend Moya just sent me the link to this drama that unfolded sometime recently in New York City (and can be investigated further at: http://gothamist.com/2009/10/23/possibly_the_saddest_thing_ever_rat.php).  It is hard to imagine an image so diabolically torn between "cuteness" and "heartbreak."  But beyond activating that part of our stupid mammilian brain that makes us want to help all small furry animals (even ones that carry thousands of diseases), the image is also a potent emblem of our nation's current plight.  The late 20th-century was such a party for the USA that even our rats got slow and stupid, and now they are also stranded alone in an uncaring world hoping beyond hope that someone, anyone, will forgive them for their disgusting history of gluttony, complacency, and colonialism.  Oh won't you please free me from this crack in the sidewalk?  I promise to never again bite your kids, shit in your corn flakes, or try to bring democracy to your attic.  

[A sad update to report--as noted by Moya in the comments section below, it turns out this poor critter was already dead at the time of the photograph.  I guess he decided to go out in a serene, uncanny pose that would spook New Yorkers one last time]

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