You may know of Dennis Rodman as the babyface on the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons. Or as Michael Jordan’s personal rebounder in Chicago. Or as Madonna’s boyfriend. Or Carmen Electra’s. Or his 3-year professional wrestling career. Or that time he promoted his book wearing a wedding dress, claiming that he was bisexual and was going to marry himself.
Kids growing up in the Trump era will know him as America's first ambassador to North Korea, and possibly a Nobel laureate. But don't take it from me, take it from the former Director of the NSA (caveat needed whenever relying solely on Jim Clapper's word: he lied under oath to Congress).
Dennis Rodman. In North Korea. To promote Potcoin. And forge peace. In that order.
I’m honestly at a loss here. Normally the astronomical madness/sadness combo of the Trump administration provides plenty of easy avenues for content. Having anxiety is actually helpful in this era. I can squeeze out 500 to 1,000 words of anger in my sleep. But here? Looking at President Donald J. Trump, meeting with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore, while Ambassador Rodman floats around the periphery —with a serious chance for Korean peace on the line (that locks tons of U.S. interests out of the region, but hey, that’s just Trump’s standard foreign policy)—I feel like Ron Burgundy right now.
100% true story: I spent election night 2016 in a catatonic shock, interspersed by bursts of what can only be called hysterical laughter. As I processed the darkness which America had chosen (with a big assist from dark money from both foreign and domestic oligarchs), a realization washed over me—momentarily paralyzing my runaway train of anxiety. America had officially surpassed parody. On a performative level, what we were experiencing was objectively hilarious once you stripped away the sheer horror of what we had done.
At least during the Bush administration, its rank stupidity was accompanied by pure evil in the form of Dick Cheney. Every time something like this happened,
It was balanced out with some vague bullshit about known unknowns from Donald Rumsfeld about why we needed to let Dick Cheney’s former company secure a $7 billion no-bid government contract to rebuild a country we were about to destroy for no good reason. The performative American parody emanating from the White House felt like an intentional distraction while the real rulers operated in the shadows. In the Trump Administration, there are no real rulers, just unintentional parody (I think). Dennis Rodman really kind of is our ambassador to North Korea, and someone that we should all desperately want to have more influence than Trump’s new National Security Adviser, the bloodthirsty John Bolton.
The kookiest star of the basketball team which captivated America in the 1990s is now running some foreign policy in North Korea on behalf a “billionaire” who captured millennials’ attention in Home Alone 2. All the promises of the 1990s—all the dreams of our futuristic digital age—are now being parodied, but as reality. Facebook helped elect President Donald J. Trump, who shook hands with Kim Jong-Un. That happened. Dennis Rodman played a small part in making that happen. And it might wind up being a good thing for the world!
Since I have nothing more meaningful to say on the saga of Rodman other than to point and hysterically laugh, I’ll leave you with a quip about simulation theory. It’s a hypothesis which requires one major leap of faith, and then it actually makes a lot of sense.
We run simulations of humanity all the time. Facebook is a kind of human simulation. So is Paste. Video games are the most obvious form. If you counted all of the digital characters that we have created on the vast expanse of hard drives and the internet they connect to, it likely exceeds how many actual humans exist. So, simulation theory posits that if a futuristic race achieved the technological prowess able to create a reality that feels as real as what you’re experiencing right now—given what we know about ourselves—it would stand to reason that there would be more simulated realities than real realities. On a pure mathematical level, the odds would dictate that it’s likely we live in a simulated reality.
What I’m getting at is that if that hypothesis is true, the aliens (or futuristic humans, or the AI that already destroyed us all) running our simulated reality are clearly just messing with us now. Honestly, it almost feels like a more rational explanation than simply accepting the truth of what we just witnessed.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.