As we struggled, with little hope of success, to articulate the precise nature of the discontent—some might say affliction—that continued to beset us, despite our best efforts and the liberal use of our generous pharmacopeia, we were repeatedly dismayed to find that our vast array of tools—which had of late acquired an unprecedented degree of subtly and sophistication, and which had been the subject of much optimistic conjecture, both of a practical and ideological nature—was not only unable to provide us with anything in the way of actual solutions, but in fact appeared, against all logic and expectation, to merely exacerbate our difficulties; and while we lacked for practically nothing in the way of opportunities for distraction and entertainment (using those terms in their broadest possible sense) and despite the general consensus that the current situation, whatever its shortcomings, nonetheless represented a significant improvement over the regrettable conditions that had prevailed in the past, we were forced to conclude that our worries were very much far from over, and that both our capacity and appetite for cruelty (each of which could, without any exaggeration, be described as boundless) remained essentially undiminished.