The Darkness at the End of the Tunnel

So here we are. Two sad young lunatics use a pressure cooker to blow the legs off innocent people and kill an eight-year-old kid. Later that day they murder a young cop as he sits in his squad car. A foretaste of the coming Police State follows when black-uniformed S.W.A.T. enforcers blanket Watertown, Massachusetts, kill the older of the two lunatics in a dramatic, real-life firefight, then capture the younger one, a nineteen-year-old, who has run away and hidden himself under a boat tarp  in someone’s back yard. He’s got a gunshot wound to the neck, and one to his leg, which means the authorities will likely patch him up, interrogate him, and then kill him. Senator Lindsey “I’m SO Not Gay” Graham, from the Southern medieval state of South By-God Carolina, wants him declared an enemy combatant. This means he could be whisked off to Gitmo (you know, the prison Obamarama promised to shut down years ago) with no trial, no formal charges, no lawyer, no jury, no chance. But wait! He’s an American Citizen, so none of that scary Gitmo stuff applies to him, right? Wrong, Bunkie. Because of President Obamarama’s National Defense Authorization Act (which also legalized war propaganda), the Executive Branch can decide to jail, or kill, any American they deem to be a Threat To National Security, and all this without any Congressional oversight whatsoever. Mr. President doesn’t even have to tell Congress what he’s doing, or even that there’s anything going on. That should work really well for the “liberal” segment of the American population the next time a President Cheney or some other unindicted war criminal rigs a presidential election with the help of the Supreme Court Deities and institutes a modern version of the Enabling Act.

Meanwhile, down in the By-God State of Texas, a fertilizer plant has exploded, killing a whole bunch of By-God Texans. More unspeakable sadness, more good people killed for absolutely no reason. President Barry has declared a state of emergency and pledged emergency funds so “that the community will have the resources it needs to rebuild.” Governor Rick “Fabulous Hair” Perry has agreed to put aside, temporarily, the customary antipathy Texans show towards the Federal Government (or “gub’mint”) and accept the Federal Aid. When the town has been rebuilt, and the grief has passed, it is anticipated that most Texans will resume calling Barry O a “Socialist”. No mainstream news organization will be allowed to see ANY irony in this at all at all at all.

And speaking of Obamarama, he was incensed, incensed I tell you, that the weak-kneed, corporate-owned Senate had just voted down a bill which would require background checks for all gun sales, a bill that had the support of roughly 90% of the American public. Fascinating. He actually came close to telling the truth once or twice during his scholarly, mild-mannered Rose Garden tirade when he accused the gun lobby of “willfully (lying)” about the defeated bill (duh), and he was wearing his angry face the entire time. Truly inspiring. I wonder if he will now denounce all those Middle Eastern robot drone strikes because they, too, kill innocent women, children, and old people. After all, you would think a man that well-educated, a man with his finger on the pulse of the entire nation, the defacto leader of the free world, would be just as concerned with senseless death in Afghanistan and Pakistan as he is with the massacre at Sandy Hook. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before he balances that particular moral equation.

Hmmm. Ninety percent of the American public is in favor of background checks, yet their “elected” “representatives” totally ignore their will and vote against a clear mandate of the people. How’s that sit with you “work within the system” naïfs? Do you honestly still believe the men and women we send to Washington have any concern for what their constituents want or think or believe? Really? Are you still convinced that it’s possible to reverse the headlong leap toward a Corporate Dictatorship by finding candidates to run for office in a system that is totally owned and controlled by the Corporations? Really? Are you honestly that stupid? I’m sure you’re not ignorant, since you are at least as aware of what’s been going on as I, so that excuse doesn’t fly. So it must be stupidity. There’s really no other logical explanation.

What to do, what to do . . . how do we extricate ourselves from the oppressive yoke of Corporate Dictatorship? Media’s owned, which means all the news you get on the Tee Veeand magazines and on Clear Channel Radio is filtered through the corporate censors, so appealing to “journalists” is pointless. It’s almost impossible to live in our diseased society without contributing to corporate profits, since the major corporations own almost all of the consumer resources we need to live. They own the fuel we need to power the cars they build which we need to get to jobs we have to have to feed ourselves from their grocery chains and pay the bills for the utilities which they also own.  And the stuff they don’t own now, they will. For example, anybody notice the spike in advertisement for bacon lately? Maybe it’s because Monsanto’s trying to patent pigs?

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/monsanto-pig-patent-111/

Yeah, I know, I know, I should be wearing a tinfoil hat. Woo hoo!

We can forget about bankers or corporate behemoths like Goldman Sachs or HSBC or British Petroleum being held accountable for criminal activity, whether it’s destroying the world economy for profit, laundering money for drug lords and Al Quaeda, or despoiling huge bodies of water and lying about it. They are clearly better than we are, and have the exonerations (and tax subsidies) to prove it. Besides, they’re people now. We can also forget about any sort of righteous insurrection or, Gawd forbid, revolution in this fine country of ourn over these blatant rich-boy illegalities, since most of us (myself included, from here on out) are juuuuuuust comfortable enough to let all this stuff blow right by us. Many (most?) don’t even want to know what’s going on. I used to work with a woman who customarily walked with her back to the oncoming traffic, because if she were going to be run over she didn’t want to know about it. An excellent analogy, that. Keep your head down, keep eating Cheetos, and shut the fuck up if you know what’s good for you.

Here’s some words to live by.

“Be a good consumer! Consume in quantity! Go watch some television! Get your lobotomy!”

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/christopherdfee

So pop those Mouseketeer ears on your noggin, snap open a frosty adult beverage, and strap in for that long ride down the somnambulant consumer razorblade. It’s SO much easier than doing anything about it.

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My New Friend, Cancer

There’s an old Who song (but then, aren’t they all?) wherein Mr. Townshend wonders how many friends has he really got. If you want to find out the answer to this question in your own tiny life, get cancer. Any type will do, really, but just make sure it’s of the documented and doctor-approved variety. Mine happens to be prostate, which, although it is a common, garden-variety type cancer, still qualifies as something serious and “not-to-be-taken-lightly”. As my urologist said, it’s like being a little bit pregnant; you either are or you aren’t. With cancer, you’ve either got it or you don’t. Nobody “sort of” has cancer.

I already had had a prostate biopsy that turned up negative, so when I visited my doctor after the second one I was fully expecting similar results, namely that my prostate, although the size of a gorilla’s testicle instead of that of a walnut, was merely inflamed and not housing any of those nasty “C” beings. Nope. I was calmly informed that one of the twenty-four needle cores that had been unceremoniously shot into my semen machine had turned up malignant and I would need some sort of treatment to be rid of the errant cells.

A prostate biopsy is a wonderful gift to mankind and a gentle pleasure for the patient, said no man ever. For starters, an attractive young female nurse tells you to take everything off except your socks, which is mildly exciting until she hands you the scratchy blue hospital gown and tells you to put it on with the opening facing the back. So you do. Five minutes later she leads your chilly buns and your little stocking feet out of the changing room and into the doctor’s wonderfully clean operating area, whereupon she has you lie down on your left side, thereby exposing your shiny, white ass to the full glare of both the harsh doctor’s-office lighting and the bemused gaze of the attractive young nurse. I’m quite sure young nurses are totally unfazed at the sight of yet another pair of elderly butt cheeks, but it was nonetheless pretty weird for me.

Then the doctor came in, thankfully not reeking of gin, and proceeded to pull out what looked like a swordfish brontosaurus dildo while I lay on the table. This huge, medieval-looking device is designed to be greased up and shoved deep into a grown man’s tender, aging bungie-hole.

“Oh shit,” I said.

“It’ll be fine,” said the doctor, whose name, believe it or not, is Heinemann.

“For you, perhaps,” I said. The pretty nurse smiled.

Well, shove it in he did, ow ow ow ow ow, and let me tell ya, the procedure is just as awkward and humiliating as I’ve described. The dinosaur dildo takes up a LOT of room in your downstairs, and once it’s snuggled in there it shoots a tiny, hollow needle into your prostate. Twelve times. Granted, the soothing shot of rectal anesthesia beforehand mitigates most of the sharp pain, but it still feels like an angry midget has charged through your sphincter and is viciously punching you in the taint with pointy brass knuckles. And the whole time Mr. Funny Guy doctor is making jokes and you’re actually laughing because the whole situation is WAY more horrible than you ever imagined and you’ve got a pretty nurse girl watching you go through the whole business to boot.

I waddled out of that horror about a half hour later and got the sad results in about ten days. Oh shit again. One of the twenty-four (twelve times two) ass core samples had come back bad, finally, which explained why my PSA score was beginning to look like a Met relief pitcher’s ERA. My choices for treatment were:

1. Active surveillance, a process whereby I get the aforementioned butthole invasion every six months, or every year, depending on which doctor you’re talking to. Then they just wait around till I get more cancer. Or not. If I do, they move to numbers two or three, which are

2. Radiation treatment, where they either shoot me with lasers or implant little bitty radioactive seeds into my porthole region (which I guess frightens away the cancer cells, or something like that), or . . .

3. Prostatectomy, which means rip the squishy little sucker outta there once and for all.

Now, radiation seems rather benign when compared with having your ass torn open like a damp Christmas package, but what happens with the radiation is that it welds your bladder and your diseased prostate to your pubic bone while it’s wailing on Mr. Cancer, which means if he decides on a return visit, the ensuing prostatectomy now has to address a region that’s essentially been crazy-glued together into a pink, fleshy clump. Not good. The computer-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (ahem), on the other hand, is a done deal. Once the procedure has proceeded, there’s no PSA, no prostate to get cancer. You spend several weeks leaking into bags and pads and onto mattresses, and praying that your oldest, one-eyed friend will be able to stand proud and tall on his one leg again, but after that’s all done you have no chance of ever getting prostate cancer ever again, because you ain’t got one no more. Piece of cake.

People in my life have reacted to news of my latest fun adventure in several different ways. My incredible wife, of course, has been wonderfully supportive, loving, and File:Day 294 of 365 - Friendship.jpgunderstanding. Without her, I probably wouldn’t give a shit at all about treatment or anything else and just let the damned thing rot out of me.

My brother and his wife are similarly, genuinely concerned. They offered sound medical advice and in fact are helping to cart my aging carcass out of New York City (a horrible place to live but a GREAT place for surgery) when the operation is finished and my insurance company throws me out of the bed. My gratitude for their love and kindness cannot be adequately expressed.

Other friends and family members have offered help and shown interest to varying degrees. Some have made time to share meals with me and ask how I’m REALLY doing, face-to-face. These are the folks I treasure, the ones who make me hope that we really do live forever because I want to spend way more time with them than I’m able to down here. My true friends.

Some ask how I’m doing through a card or a text or an e-mail or a telephone call, which is very nice, considering how busy most people are here on The New American Plantation.

Another group shows tremendous concern for my wife, which is certainly welcome and reasonable, since she’s going through at LEAST as much as I am in terms of stress and worry, not to mention  legwork. I’m happy that she has such a strong support network, especially since she gives ME so much of her time and support. Since most of them are women, they apparently feel icky about asking me directly about my new disease, which I find bewildering, but I also realize their good intentions since so many of them are praying for my ass. Literally.

The final group is, thankfully, very small. These are the ones who have sought my help when they were going through tough times, but now that I could use someone to talk to, have vanished into their own lives and concerns. Oh well. Probably not much of a loss.

So enough with the whining already. I’ll come through this leakier and weaker, but I will no longer have prostate cancer, which means I can spend a few more happy years with my sweet little wife and my real friends, and for that I am happy. How many friends have I really got? Enough to realize how grateful I am for the ones who stick around.

Nice, Fat, and Ugly

I’m tire of bodies. They break. They decay. They squirt unpleasant substances. You have to feed them, and if you feed them too much they get all gross and nasty to look at. You’re supposed to exercise them, too, and if you don’t they get all tired and flaccid, and if you exercise them too much or incorrectly you pull muscles and wind up stiff and in pain for God knows how long. Bodies have to be lugged everywhere you go even though the speed of thought beats the speed of muscle every damn day of the week. Bodies get sick and have to be stuffed with all sorts of chemicals to make them right again, or chopped apart to have things taken out of them if they don’t work right. Bodies are a nuisance.

Im-Fat-And-Happy-Fugly-Fat-Guy

There are many complaints I have about bodies, but the first and foremost is the sex thing. Although sex is an activity almost universally enjoyable, “free fun for poor people” as St. Douglas Stanhope reminds us, there is more discrimination with regard to sexual activity than there are stolen elections in Florida. Very few people like to have sex with fat people, for instance, and even though many fat people are some of the nicest people in the world and are really good at doing sex, almost nobody ever gets to find out because of the current societal distaste for those who use more than their fair share of gravity. The fun parts on fat people work just as well as the ones on skinny people; they’re just a little harder to access. Sure, quick little sports cars are a gas to drive, but then they’re nothing when compared to the comfort and safety of a big ol’, fuel hogging SUV. They’re both vehicles. They both can get you to where you want to go. It’s merely a question of aesthetics. I’m sure you can see where I’m going here.

Same goes for old people. Despite the fact that old people have been having sex for, in some cases, upwards of half a century, they are disdained by young, smooth people because young, smooth people only like to have sex with other, young smooth people, even though the old, wrinkly people are generally MUCH better at making sex than young, smooth people. This makes no sense to me. A horny young woman is very popular and widely sought after by all men, and more than a few women, whether the seekers are young and smooth or old and wrinkly. A horny old woman is deemed disgusting, even though she knows WAY more about sex than the young smooth one and, unless she’s a Southern Baptist or a devout Catholic, more than likely enjoys it a whole lot more. There are no games with a horny old woman, nothing to figure out. You want to, she wants to, we’re good to go. Not so with the young smooth one, who has to be fed and cooed and fussed over for several hours, or even days, before she’ll even consider horizontally bopping. Usually it’s a waste of time, too, because, as I noted before, many young smooth women have very little idea how to do sex as well as an old wrinkly one. If the population of sexual partners were a law firm, the old wrinkly ones would have their names on the front door and everybody would want them first.

The general public also doesn’t like doing sex with “ugly” people. Have you ever noticed that after you’ve known a person for a while they cease being “beautiful” or “hideous” or “cute”, or whatever, and they simply look like themselves? If you have had a long association with a person, their physical distinctiveness becomes a mere afterthought and they magically transform into simply looking like, well, whatever it is that they look like. We usually don’t afford “ugly” people that luxury. We see them, we are repulsed, and we relegate them to the trashcan of sexual partners with “no chance” because they don’t conform to our idea of what “hot” is. The possibility of that “ugly” guy over there being able to lick his own eyebrows or that “pig” of a female sitting at the bar having the ability to suck a basketball through a funnel (OR lick her own eyebrows) is never even considered. They “look bad”, so you’re done with them. If that is your mindset and approach to recreational coupling partner selection, may I humbly suggest that you are an idiot? As in the fat population, “ugly” people work just as well as the “pretty” or “handsome” ones. And, since they have likely been treated like second-class citizens their entire lives for having the audacity to have been born with “undesirable” DNA characteristics, they are often MORE than eager to please you in any way they can, unlike the “pretty” or “handsome” smooth person who expects you to be eternally grateful because they deigned to allow you access to their perfectly-formed skinbag of bones and intestines. You want a really good time? Dump the cute one who treats you like a used shoe and hook up with the “ugly” one who really likes you. Trust me. You’ll be better off.

Another thing I really don’t like about bodies is that they all eventually age and fall apart, no matter how well you maintain and feed them. Whether you pee standing up or sitting down, there is no way to totally avoid the onset of scoliosis, bromhidrosis, brittle bones, liver spots, thinning hair, chicken skin, diarrhea, pyorrhea, seborrhea, corns, bunions, trifocals, Squatty Potties, Preparation-H, and Depends. Sure, there is the occasional lifestyle freak like Jack LaLanne, tugging huge boats across the Hudson with his ninety-year-old teeth every generation or two, but you have to admit not many of us are willing to put that much effort into staying that fit for that long. No, the overwhelming majority of us watch in helpless despair as our spines slowly shrink and our ears and noses grow to elephantine proportions. Gravity eventually kicks our ass too, and we wind up hoisting our tits off our tummies or sitting on our balls. It is at this point of human deterioration, I suppose, that the young smooth people can be at least partially forgiven for refusing coitus with what amounts to a wobbly herd of large, aging apricots that smells like stale cheese.

What I’d like really like to see implemented is a system whereby the truly nice people were also gorgeous on the outside. It takes a lot of effort to be genuinely kind on this shithole of a planet, and I feel that Mr. Gawd really screwed this one up. He should have doled out physical gifts only to those who put more effort into character development and integrity than mascara and gym memberships. Pounds and pounds of unwanted cellulite and flab should melt from the bones of kindhearted fat people so they would become blindingly, physically lovely overnight. “Ugly” folks filled with inner character and honest empathy for their fellow man should radiate that inner beauty outward to such an extent that Playboy and Playgirl magazine would besiege them with requests for photo shoots and cover shots. People like Mother Teresa should look like the blonde Sports Illustrated girl with the fat boobs instead of a moldy ham Danish. Folks would be falling all over each other trying to be as nice as they possibly could merely because they wanted to look good on the beach next summer, which I suppose is as good a reason as any to be a good person.different women The mean ones would get ugly really quick, and everyone would be able to see exactly what kind of disgusting pricks they really were on the inside, because it would show on the outside. All the shithead cheerleader and fraternity-guy types who’ve made a career out of stuffing nerds into trashcans and giving painful wedgies to their future employers would immediately look like the loathed love children of a back-alley tryst between Gollum and the bride of Chuckie. One could only attain external physical beauty by being a truly beautiful person on the inside. The moment you treated someone poorly, or cheated them out of money, or said something untrue or mean about them behind their back, or kicked a dog or drowned a kitty, you would immediately become a walking, bleeding, oozing facsimile of the painting Dorian Grey kept in his attic. Your inner ugly would goosh through your powdered, smooth skin and you would look exactly like the scumbag you really are in your soul.

It would change our election processes forever.

Guns . . . Lots of Guns . . .

Tommy GunI used to like to play with toy guns when I was a kid. Probably stemmed from the “having-a-penis” thing. Miniature rifles, tiny handguns,baby bazookas, they were all just fine by me. Guns made me feel cool and tough, just like the real cowboys and soldiers and secret agents I saw every night on the TV. My fake weapon of choice was a genuine replica Thompson Gun, and this was WAY before I ever heard of Roland or Warren. I could spray plastic death over an entire room full of imaginary bad guys for ten long, glorious seconds per pull.

Here it is: Mattell Tommy Gun

Some fun! When that broke (as all my toy guns invariably did), my tiny imagination took over. Give me a short stick or a pencil or just my own thumb and forefinger and I’d be pow pow powing the afternoon away without the benefit of Mattel or Hasbro products. I’d play Army, “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (if you have to ask, you’re too young), Civil War, “Combat”, or whatever other imaginary game that involved choosing up sides and hunting down the “other” guys till they were “dead”. Of course, they’d only be “dead” for a minute or so, or until they counted to fifty, or a hundred, or whichever length of time we chose till they were resurrected, but no matter. It was tons of fun, and we neighborhood boys threw ourselves into our pretend carnage with glee and great abandon. Most American males have a fascination with all things that shoot, and we were no exception.

Kent State My perception of guns as “really cool” started to change when I turned teenager. The high school my parents sent me to was on a college campus, so I was fortunate enough to witness several student demonstrations of the late 60s. I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on at the time, but I gleaned from all the earnest shouting and slogan-hurling that the big kids were upset about some war they claimed was illegal, and a bunch of other young people who were forced to fight it but didn’t want to. Or something like that. This confused me. My dad had been a WWII vet, where he earned a Purple Heart for getting wounded and some other sort of medal for saving other guys’ lives when his ship went down, so up till that point I had always associated war with heroism and bravery. These young college people were screaming about the evils of war and how we should all stop engaging in it. A warm, disillusioning cone of cognitive dissonance descended upon my noggin and I actually started thinking about what it all meant.

My exploration of this newly discovered dichotomy lead me to books and people I never would have consulted had it not been for my exposure to those angry students. I started reading Vonnegut and Chomsky, Hesse and Zinn, Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, and Smedley Butler. My first college roommate was a long-haired semi-activist who was far more well-versed than I in counterculture and anti-war sentiment, and I learned a great deal from sharing a space with him.

I eventually decided the kids with the signs and the yelling were right. War for any reason, I reasoned, is dumb, not only because it kills both the innocent and the guilty without discrimination, but it also ALWAYS makes money for the weapons manufacturers, at least in modern times, because the weapons manufacturers could give a shit less about who buys their product. They often give money to both sides (see: “Prescott Bush“) so it doesn’t really matter to them who “wins”, as long as there’s lots of death and destruction. Makes them happy, because it makes them money. Dead humans equal fat wads, stacks of Benjies yo. War is waged for the benefit of disgusting, soulless banker douchebags with no more regard for human life than a puker has for his shoes. War is a racket, just like the book says. People who wage war are the ultimate assholes. Yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda.

cheney_rumsfeld3

Filthy, Unindicted, Warmonger Scum

Regardless of these sad and embarrassing realities, and whether I like it or not, America actually prides itself on its ability to wage war. It’s hard for me to think of some poor kid who left his legs in an Afghani landfill as a “hero”, especially when his family is paying four bucks a gallon for gas (more like an unwitting, well-intentioned, misinformed victim), but if I dare say thatDevil Gun within earshot of a proud, True American, I’m likely to be given a righteous, Gawd sanctioned beating. We love being the tough guy, the one nobody messes with, the John Wayne Gacy-type hero who will wade into a “situation” and make everything A-OK by beating the living piss out of (or killing) anything or anyone America considers “bad”. And, to many Americans, soldiers and weapons and war are like ham and eggs and home fries, Mom’s apple pie and virginity, napalm in the moonlight and screaming children. They just “feel right” together. So why not bring the war back home? Forever! All the freakin’ time! Why, with a weapon of his very own, the average American bullethead can relive all the glorious moments when his daddy gutted Krauts at Normandy, or helped beat them pesky Nips in the head with a rifle butt as he herded them into internment camps way back in the good ol’ days! It’s a proud tradition! And hey, if Gomer Jr. finds that loaded Glock Pappy keeps under his pillow (fer “sicheeayshuns”) and blows his empty little melon off, it’s just collateral damage, right? Besides, it’s probably Gawd’s will to boot!

Super Patriot

Listen up, Mr. Super Patriot Bullethead. I neither want nor need your long, boring lectures on the history of weaponry. I realize you still have as much fascination for guns as we all did for our wee wees when we first hit puberty (ok, ok, and well beyond), but I truly don’t care about how wonderfully you think guns and ammo have contributed to the world or how much you know about either one. The arms industry drives death and destruction. It does NOT help build handy consumer products. Assault rifles are designed for one purpose only; killing humans quickly. You gun fanatics are arguing for barbarism, and that’s precisely why I can no longer stand listening to you pontificate on the wonders of magazine capacity and “stopping power”. You guys with weapons are no better than unevolved beasts, too afraid to do anything but shoot to kill rather than learning other, saner, more mature ways to resolve conflict, and the longer you cling to your precious little firesticks, the longer the rest of us must endure a world of pain and misery because of your atavism. Doesn’t matter which “side” you’re on either. If you rely on weapons of any sort to ensure “peace” in our world, you’re part of the problem, whether you’re a “good” guy or a “bad” guy, so try to get past your little “hero in  the 7/11” fantasies and grow the hell up.

And relax already. The pain of the most recent mass murders will all blow over pretty quickly, especially since the Super Bowl (America’s true religious holiday) is coming up and no one wants to be disturbed whilst watching all those neat commercials. When the next group of innocent people gets butchered by a lunatic with a legal weapon, you gun rights patriots will simply rise up once again, in righteous indignation, demanding armed guards in elementary schools or some new type of nonsense, and on and on we will merrily go, piling up heaps of unarmed, innocent civilians all over the country because frightened men refuse to grow up and learn how to deal with life without relying on dangerous toys. You’re going to prevail, Mr. Super Patriot Bullethead. Americans have the attention span of Muenster cheese, so chillax. The Liberals will all be suitably horrified when the next twenty or thirty American civilians are made dead by one of your Eskimo brothers, then go back to Starbucks and forget all about them too.

Smoking Dope on the Hindenberg

We are helping engineer our own execution and funeral service. And we’re all nervous lest we don’t get it exactly right and keep our executioners happy. Taking a stand against this lunacy or suggesting a different, less self-debasing course of action have been eliminated as options, because they might make the hangman unhappy. We continue to place the noose around our own necks, to drink purple rat poison, to march obediently over the cliff.

We timidly argue with our owners every once in a while, but we don’t really do anything except “agree to disagree”and move on to our next lethal entertainment extravaganza. We prattle on about weight loss, how great we are, the latest sports scores, what Betty Lou told Susie about that conversation they had at the bar last night, our tanning booth adventures, and become uncomfortable and vaguely annoyed whenever someone has the temerity to broach a topic that actually matters. We are doing away with depth, systematically and completely. We manage to make vague connections occasionally , but we leave them there to rot in the glare of the neon beer sign as soon as we realize those connections might lead us to conclusions we can’t handle, or worse, ones we haven’t already been told are true. There is NO acknowledgment that more and more humans are considered disposable and will shortly become human detritus. The minuscule number of citizens who question the validity of The Way Things Are are ridiculed and rebuffed, or jailed. And thanks to our latest Oval Office figurehead, they can now be murdered if he thinks they should be.

“You’re being ridiculous. Relax.”Yes, you.

“We all have to do this so just shut up and stop being so cynical.”

“Stop being such a bummer.”

“It’s going to be fine. You’re being paranoid.”

“Oh you’re SO radical (with a condescending giggle)!”

Maybe we’re afraid that we’re one of the expendable ones and are too terrified to even acknowledge the thought. We probably should be.

In our schools, tests and quizzes are right now being created to give our children assessment material for every day of the week. Do we give a shit? Nope. We read fairy novels and research witches and goblins while our kids are being turned into zombies. We’re getting a whipping and Massa has generously allowed us to  go out and select the stick he beats us with. And we tremble with the fear that we won’t select JUST the right one, the perfect switch to lacerate us into an agony of joyful subservience. Because down deep, we LOVES De Massa! De Massa has already won, and we want nothing more than to be on the winning team. To hell with integrity and courage. We are little mini-Winstons, joyously awaiting the arrival of the bullet that will vindicate our valiant tormentor. The degree to which we truly don’t give a shit about anything that isn’t trivial is truly mind-boggling. We worry about which clothing to wear and completely ignore anything that isn’t immediately consumable.

“Me? I don’t watch the news. And I don’t read much of anything that makes me uncomfortable. Tee hee!”

These are our College Graduates. These are the ones who are capable of turning this thing around if they’d only stop powdering each others’ noses and slapping each other on the back, but no, they’d rather play mutual admiration games than come to grips with the fact that their society is a farce, that their lives are shallow and meaningless, and that the facade of popularity and hipness they’ve willingly been brainwashed to believe in is crumbling all around their pedicured hooves at an alarmingly accelerated rate. I met a kid recently who is pretty much shunned by her peer group. Why? Because she takes an interest in the world around her and the other kids consider her to be weird and boring. She is one of the few non-zombies in her tiny society, and she is ridiculed because of it. She’s too intense. She argues too much. I told her she should be happy she’s not just another asshole, but it’s hard to be growing up as a kid who has actual ideas in a cesspool of educated simpletons who think Orwell was exaggerating.

Me? I have a front row seat to the circus, as Georgie once said. I’ve given up trying to make sense of the daily idiocy people roll around in like puppies and smear all over each other. Can’t beat ’em, can’t join ’em (and I’ve tried,  believe me), so I guess I’ll just watch ’em drown in half an inch of water and wonder why the hell they don’t just stand up.

In Praise of Idiocy

How they hanging, Henrietta, how they jigglin’, Jellybean?

Are you tired of the torture, are you sick of the machine?

If there’s one thing that all Americans can agree on, it’s the existence of idiocy.  Idiocy runs rampant through our streets and home towns like the mental patients Reagan turned loose to become homeless people. While fellow Americans often disagree about the style and specificity of the idiocy (after all, everybody’s got their favorite idiot), every person in America, from sea to oily sea (except maybe the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu whenever they come to visit), considers a certain section of the population to be drooling, snarling, toe-sucking boobs.  “Conservatives” consider “Liberals” to be idiots, “Liberals” consider Teabaggers to be idiots, Teabaggers consider “Progressives” to be idiots, “Progressives” consider Democrats to be idiots, Democrats consider anyone who finds fault with Obama to be an idiot, and so on and on and on and on.

Since it seems clear to everyone, especially non-Americans, that there is a preponderance of idiocy in America, I would like to state that American idiocy is a wonderful thing, a condition that is to be admired and envied. American idiots enjoy comforts that I, as an outsider, can never hope to achieve or have for my own. Once born into the idiot culture, the American idiot immediately has friends, security, usually a livelihood, and the assurance that everything he truly loves and believes will be supported by all the idiotic and twisted concepts on television, that all-pervasive teaching tool of the corporate owned media. The idiot is considered normal. The idiot is loved. The American idiot has big brothers in every imaginable area of American Society. They love him, they really do, and they want him to live their stuff, buy their stuff, love their stuff, touch their stuff and rub it all over themselves. And the idiot does, he really, really does. There are too many benefits to the idiot lifestyle to be listed here, much less explore thoroughly, so let us examine, in this post, just one of the various benefits idiocy brings to many citizens of our great country, namely “herding,” and determine exactly the wonder and joy that sparkles deep within this shining jewel of apple pie idiot culture.

The idiot has a herd.  Immediately upon entering the moist, warm fuzzy place that is the womb of all idiocy, the idiot is immediately embraced by the gentle mooing of all those brethren and sistren who believe, act, dress, and speak exactly the way he does. All the idiot need do is look around, emulate everything he sees and hears, word for word, repeating buzz phrases and catch words “just like everyone does”, and he will be A OK, good to go, he be chillin’, dude. The idiot has unlimited support. If the idiot makes sure he wears the same clothing as every other herdmember, including funny hats and epaulets when appropriate, and doesn’t bring up any topics that might disturb the mooing or cause someone to think, especially if it’s about something that isn’t on the situation comedy they all watched last night, and agrees blindly with every unfounded, unexamined, fact free certitude that poots forth around him (and he will hear many), he will always have something to talk about and something witty to contribute to the conversation. He belongs. He sees his ideals reflected in every dull stare, every inane, regurgitated comment. Idiot nirvana. Bliss.

More on idiots somewhere down the road . . .

Digital Children

There’s a difference between digital recording and analog recording. Analog recording produces a natural, smooth wave sound, whereas digital recording records sound in a series of discrete, jagged steps. Digital recordings are smaller and easier to cram into an iPod, but they’re not smooth. They’re not natural. But if you improve digital recording to the point where most humans can’t tell the difference between it and an analog recording, what’s the difference?  To the average person, a natural sound is virtually indistinguishable from a digital sound, so who really cares which is which, right?

But it’s still digital.  It’s still not the real thing. No matter how good it sounds, it’s not human, it’s not natural.  The human ear can’t tell the difference between real and artificial, so at some point it will be satisfied with the artificial sound instead of the natural sound. Seems like that’s more or less already happened, given the preponderance of digital playback devices nowadays. After a while, the real sounds won’t sound as good as the artificial sounds.  Human beings will grow to prefer the ever-so-slightly harsh artificial sound and regard natural sound as alien, or even wrong. It could be argued they already have. The digital, the artificial, has supplanted the real and natural, and after a while, people will forget what the actual sound was. Sort of like when our grandkids will have to be satisfied with pictures of polar bears rather than the real thing. They will have been thoroughly trained to prefer what is artificial and unreal.

This is exactly what’s happening with our kids in today’s schools, concert halls, and TV-anesthetized living rooms. They have no real idea how badly they’ve been brainwashed, and any suggestion that they really don’t know what’s going on is extremely insulting to them.  Big brother is winning.  He has convinced these kids that their slavery to blind consumerism, to ridiculous music, to idiotic television, and to everything else that hurts them while benefiting Big Brother, is good.  It’s the final victory.  They think the news is real.  They think television is the way life is supposed to be. There really isn’t any way to explain to them how badly they’ve been used, how little they actually know about what’s happening to them, because the artificiality is all they’ve ever experienced. The real stuff is merely a quaint rumor, or some dead rock star on a t-shirt whose music they’ve only heard on badly recorded mp3s.

I don’t think there’s any way to prevent them from becoming completely happy about their current condition.  They will eventually have been convinced that their slavery is just dandy.  Indeed, they will  be just as unaware of their consumer prison as fish are unaware of water. Those of us who try to get them to see their own servitude are regarded as lunatics, or curmudgeons, or just plain annoying.  They are comfortable, they are happy, and there’s no reason for them to question much of anything.  As far as they know (which isn’t very far beyond their cells phones or Facebook pages), there’s no need to question anything around them, because all their base needs have been met. Stepford nirvana. We see it every day in the vapid expressions, the slavery to electronic communication, the shortened attention spans, and the almost total resistance to anything that doesn’t fit within the tiny artificial parameters that have been pounded into their awareness since birth. They’ve been trained not to even look through the slats of the crib, much less try to get out of it. And it’s got nothing to do with cognitive ability or “intelligence”. Dumb kids, smart kids, it makes no difference. They have been bred to be obedient workers, obedient citizens, obedient consumers, and they outnumber us by a large number.

I guess the only option is to pity them and hope they don’t see us as the mutations and seek to eliminate us. At least not too soon, anyway.