Paul D’Agostino, “One Fine Day Shit Finally Seemed to Really Hit the Fan” (2018), graphite on paper, 12 x 9 inches (courtesy of the artist)

WASHINGTON, DC — On the day it became clear to everyone that something along the lines of shit was truly beginning to hit something like a fan in a most remarkable way, some media outlets took the easy route and called it “a miracle.”

Others took the almost-as-easy route, citing “divine intervention.” Of course, “comeuppance” came up as well. Several outlets, noting the iconic fountain missing from the lawn, referred to “draining the swamp.”

Still others viewed the astonishing destruction as a blatantly revolutionary act, calling it, somewhat approvingly, “a novel form of coup d’état.” One journalist assumed it was a film shoot and went on record with, “This movie is gonna be cool as fuck.”

This latter take of course inserted just enough doubt into the discussion — even if patently dismissible, as the comment was live on social media for only three minutes before being taken down and followed by a new post, “oops scratch that last one wtf” — to allow the usual mainstream media suspects to deny that anything had happened at all.

In a strange turn, a high-profile art magazine even ran an article that took the stance of denial into the sphere of critical theory. Titled “Holographic Universes and the Dialectic of Simulacral Non-Events,” and essentially full of crap start to finish, the piece was initially taken seriously, not least because the publication in question isn’t really known for parody. The pedigree of authorship also granted it validity, as it was allegedly written by a Geneva-based academic collective that espouses “hyperstructuralist anti-positionism,” “empathic ventriloquy,” “non-relational telepathy,” and “hypno-voyeurism.”

This of course caused quite a stir among the magazine’s readers, but savvy sleuths readily debunked all of the article’s claims and analyses and, soon thereafter, proved that the collective does not exist, nor did it ever. This did disappoint some newly minted fans of hypno-voyeurism.

Still reeling from other recent scandals while not really doing anything about them, the magazine was quick to issue an apology, claiming with awkward boldness and pride that the article had never been reviewed by its editorial staff prior to publication:

We place full trust in our writers and critical advisors to submit only quality articles for publication in our journal. We feel that reviewing, fact-checking and copy-editing are tantamount to unnecessary limitations of free speech, and that this position is a mark of journalistic integrity in a time when that is of crucial importance. We side with our readers, always and exclusively, and do everything in our capacity to convey that we agree with all of their opinions. For this reason we also maintain the opinion that most of our articles are not worth reading, so we also do not read them. Our official position on the unfortunately eventful non-eventness of the event in question, assuming that it did in fact happen and that our perceptions of reality are not in fact a hologram, is that we do not have an official position on it. Still, we are very sorry.

It’s almost not worth noting that the internet had a field day with this. In fact, the frenzy might be better described as an intercontinental championship of field days. Online users’ parodical recycling of the magazine’s reference to itself as a ‘journal’ proved particularly entertaining. Seven people were said to be hospitalized from laughing too hard.

Naturally, all of this additional discussion — even if irrelevant due to its origins in the art world — served to embolden the already aggressively idiotic platform of the politically motivated event-denialists, thousands of whom, having already codified their beliefs over pitchers of whiskey and soda at an ad-hoc town hall meeting in an undisclosed location, almost immediately founded an organization called It Never Happened.

The members of It Never Happened quickly began to compile lists of other demonstrably provable events that they nonetheless believe to have never happened. Their list of officially denied events soon included such things as the moon landing and, in short, the thrust of the history of the human species. For some reason they were particularly vehement in their refusal to acknowledge the signing of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

Within just the first 24 hours following this event which did, indeed, take place, a veritable storm of commentary, speculation, denial and critique was already swirling around the mediasphere. Documentation abounds, much of it far more credible and descriptive than the crummy image provided above, and witnesses were many.

Those in doubt of the event should take into consideration that fact that the building is no longer there, that many of the building’s immediate trappings are no longer there, that the setting is still a disastrous mess, that all of the secret service agents patrolling the rooftop somehow survived and are still in the hospital, and that all members of the administration who were on the premises that day have been missing for seven days.

The matter of the missing structure has led a fringe group of event-denialists to advance the claim that the entire structure had never been there in the first place, which they were able to substantiate almost admirably with quotes from “Holographic Universes and the Dialectic of Simulacral Non-Events.”

Pointing out that the article was full of unfounded ideas and written by a group that never existed only strengthened the event-denialists’ formidable convictions, and they continue to disregard all of the evidence that would verify most facets of reality for most people. Some watch groups are beginning to suspect that It Never Happened members are drinking more than just whiskey and soda. The issue of experimentation on behalf of the Deep State has been raised.

Although much of the aftermath of the event has yet to be worked out and many questions remain, most commentators now just assume that the whole episode was a decent, albeit sloppily executed (see image), literalization of an idiomatic expression on the tips of many Americans’ tongues at the time of the event, and for the latter part of August 2018 — ‘shit’s hitting the fan.’

Many Americans now also agree that it’s a shame to have lost those nice trees, and that whoever made that fence really did one hell of a job.

Seventy-two hours after the ventilatory act, responsibility was claimed by what we have been directed to call Unnamable Entity. The same Entity also had exquisitely executed stone tablets delivered to media outlets all around the world by what we assume were drones, though most firsthand accounts have called them “angels.” Either way, we presume they were non-denominational.

Inscribed on the stone tablets in, conveniently, every single language ever spoken or written in the history of humankind — plus several others that are still being developed or don’t yet exist at all, which some of us find very exciting — was simply:

“You’re welcome.”

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Paul D'Agostino

Paul D'Agostino, Ph.D. is an artist, writer, translator and curator. He is former Art Editor at Brooklyn Magazine and The...