Two weeks ago I rediscovered The Matrix soundtrack and I have been re-listening to it at maximum volume in my minivan. The album brought back so many fond memories, particularly during the time I got sucked into Flash animation. I used to chop up those heavy metal, techno tracks into loops to accompany text effects and motion graphics, in which I spent countless hours of sleepless nights crafting in Flash. Although I had moved on from Flash over a decade ago, I always felt nostalgic about it. “Bonjour Vietnam” was created in Flash and it went viral all over the world, especially in the Vietnamese communities. Flash was officially dead on December 31, 2020. Listening to The Matrix, in which I had used every single track to create a piece of animation, was like mourning the death of an era in my design career. Rest in peace, Flash.
Tonight, after the challenging first day of ice skating class, I drove the kids home with The Matrix soundtrack playing in the background. My nine-year-old son asked me to dial the volume way up as Meat Beat Manifesto’s “Prime Audio Soup” was playing. For about six minutes driving home, the pounding bass, hard-hitting drums, and electronic sound effects made me feel upbeat, but it was the chanting, “set me free,” which repeated over and over again, that transcended me. Tomorrow we will be free. Free from all the craziness that had turned our lives upside down in the past four years. It started out as a joke, but it had quickly consumed our lives every single second. I kept asking myself how we could buy into all of this nonsense and stupidity. Somehow the more absurd it became, it found its way into people’s heads. It destroyed relationships, friendships, communities, and moralities. It damn-near killed our democracy. It mindfucked half of the country. It turned half of my own Vietnamese-American community into sad, embarrassed, disillusioned souls. Though I am not sure which half because I had been called the delusional one.
Although I had checked myself out, unplugged from its universe, and set my mind free, I sincerely hope that its effects will fade into darkness. Like Flash, it will be officially gone tomorrow and an end to an American tragic. Let’s break out some champagne and celebrate because America had won the battle for the soul. Long live democracy.