November 15, 2004
(Swans - November 15, 2004)
Day-to-day life within an empire consists of the
mendacious leading the ignorant. By popular
plebiscite, the corporatist subjects of the United
States of Halliburton have proclaimed to the world
that they are comfortable within their bubble of toxic
obliviousness. The tenets of progressive change -- if
not the practice of being evolved to the degree of
possessing the ability to walk upright without one's
knuckles dragging the ground -- have been rejected and
rebuked by the mouth-breathing American electorate.
So how might one adapt and function within the prevailing regressive order?
Perhaps one should cease to struggle and accept defeat. Become: Narcissistically numb. Live by the consumer's credo: "I am what I buy; the facade I show to the world is who I am...and if I begin to believe the shimmering lie myself -- then it becomes fact...It's a win/win proposition all around...Now about this little problem of the aching hollow feeling I'm carrying within...Well, maybe there's something on TV...perhaps in the refrigerator...Maybe I need to buy something new...Give my life to Jesus...then it will all become clear to me...and when my healing vision arrives -- I will proclaim it to the world: I think gay marriage is the cause of all my problems...My new faith teaches me life contains so many mysteries: Where would Jesus shop? Can he heal my bad credit rating? Can he change the water to Latte? Comfort the afflicted with Prozac? Deliver me to the Promised Land where queers stay in the closet and only come out every four years to scare the church folk to the polls, and unborn babies are provided with assault weapons while in the womb to protect themselves from stem-cell lusting abortion doctors and their own murdering mothers, and blessed are the chemical makers, industrial polluters, and environmental policy deregulators -- for those who can adapt to dioxins, mercury, lead, and various and sundry heavy metals will inherit the earth."
Then there is the option of becoming socially and agreeably dumb -- its credo, the ascendant and defining credo of our age, being: "The less you know the smarter you are." Let me explain (very slowly for those reading this without moving their lips and can't wrap their big, snobby, reason-bound brains around the concept): Time, in the corporate era, is more valuable than intelligence; therefore, anyone who would waste valuable time pursuing mere knowledge is stupid; therefore -- stupid is smart. Get it, stupid?
One must make oneself non-threatening to the bullying order -- or join the ranks of the bullies and cheer them on...added bonus: you even get to call your hate, fear and bigotry "values."
The thinking goes something like this: "My values are precious. I have no healthcare plan, but I have values. My job was outsourced and I've been forced to work two low-wage, zero-benefits jobs, and still I have trouble making ends meet, but I have my values. I don't have any time to reflect upon my life, but I have my values.
"I know that there are people, very bad people, who want to destroy my values. How do I know? Well, just look around you. Somebody has to be to blame. Somebody has to be getting my share. It must be the fault of the poor...It all makes perfect sense...You see, those sneaky, poor people -- who, cunningly, have even less than I do -- they are, in fact, the reason I have so much less than the blameless and beleaguered rich people -- who, of course, have, selflessly, so much more than all concerned...How do I know this? Because the people with more tell me so...And I believe them...You see, I must believe them...Because if I were to voice any doubts or show any sign of displeasure they might get annoyed with me, label me a trouble maker, "a bad team player," and I might be fired from my job...Then I'd be poor myself. And then what would become of my values? Not only could I no longer afford them -- worse still -- I would be poor myself and would be completely to blame for the misery of everyone who has more than I do.
"So my values tell me to shut-up and thank God for the small blessing that my betters don't hold me to blame. And from this vantage point not being held to blame seems like total victory. But still -- why I do I feel so tired and angry all the time? If I didn't have my values, I don't know what I'd do.
"And, of course, my values tell me that the lives of one hundred thousand dead Iraqis had no value. Without our sacred values we Americans would most certainly become a morally-centerless people.
"The people of Iraq are suffering so badly due to the fact that their belief in their false god has made them a callous and cruel people. So much so that it leaves them indifferent to the suffering of the American people who feel a deep sense of betrayal because their cruel rejection of our charitable desire to share our values with them. Therefore, it leaves us with little choice but to bring on the faith-based bombing. Oh where would the people of Iraq be without our values?
"And they wonder why we have grown indifferent to their suffering. They're so damn self-absorbed. They're the ones who started down this path. They were indifferent to us long before we were indifferent to them. They started the whole thing with their pre-emptive war of indifference against us."
The American people love their values like prisoners with broken spirits love their prison cells. The safety of confinement seems preferable to the anxiety evoked by the ambiguities and uncertainties inherent to freedom. Though many conflate safety with certitude -- it remains a prison.
How has it come to this? Perhaps the populous has tacitly internalized the sad fact that the concept of freedom, in this era of proto-fascistic, corporate rule, is illusionary -- just another marketing device used to sell everything from SUVs to wars of imperial conquest.
Americans might give lip service to the idea of freedom, but deep down they realize: Those without money, power, and influence have no freedom.
What they have are their values.
And what are values?
Values are what the clergy and the oligarchs let you keep -- after they've made off with all the valuables.
· · · · · ·
America the 'beautiful' on Swans
Phil Rockstroh on Swans (with bio).
Do you wish to share your opinion? We invite your comments. E-mail the Editor. Please include your full name, address and phone number. If we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country.
Please, feel free to insert a link to this work on your Web site or to disseminate its URL on your favorite lists, quoting a few paragraphs or providing a summary. However, please DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work, text and graphic on the Web without the expressed written authorization of Swans. This material is copyrighted, © Phil Rockstroh 2004. All rights reserved.
This Week's Internal Links
The Sopranos, Capitalism And Organized Crime - by Louis Proyect
Checkbook Imperialism - by Joe Davison
Killing People - by Richard Macintosh
Bruce Anderson's AVA Oregon! - by Gilles d'Aymery
Lisa Appignanesi's The Cabaret - Book Review by Charles Marowitz
Passions Unleashed - by Milo Clark
"Voting" with the Non-Voters - by Philip Greenspan
Help Is On The Way: Implications Of A Stolen Election - by Eli Beckerman
Ride This Donkey: Why The Left Needs A Fundamental Realignment - by Joel Wendland
Dear Democrats - by Manuel García, Jr.
November 4, 2004 - by Milo Clark
The President - Story by Ian Werkheiser
The Resurrected Dead-Horse - Poem by Gerard Donnelly Smith
Blips #6 - From the Editor's desk
Letters to the Editor