Untitled

Сенсанс_Рондо Капричиозо2

We are increasingly a race of isolated and anonymous creatures, faces glued to miniature screens.  Even as I write these words on my MacBook, I recognize just how much I also have succumbed, having become an appendage to my appliances, and not the appliances an appendage to me.  Sitting in a breakfast café in lower Manhattan, watching all of those sitting alone, playing with their iPhones reminds me that this is our fate.  Do we play to avoid human contact, or forget the contact because we are busy playing?  It was the same on the airplane, and wherever else you look we are prisoners of these appliances, plied to us by those who have the money and the power to get their messages out. 

Well, let me stop and correct myself folks.  I just witnessed some of our great Independence Day celebrations, right here in Southern California.  People are not isolated with their Macs.  Why, no! They are gathered on rooftops, balconies, and beaches, lined up on roads on foot or in their cars, all anticipating the big spectacle in the skies. They are barbequing, drinking and marveling at the colorful lights from the pyrotechnics across their horizons.  Now, if that isn’t communing with one another and with nature, I guess I don’t know what is.  Am I speaking tongue in cheek?  Of course I am.  The charade of community and communication represented by such affairs is obvious to the touch.  Do such events allow us to overcome the isolation of increasingly alienated lives?  Of course not.  And is there not a specific irony in such Independence Day spectacles in any event, given the increasing gravity of our current awakening – independence from what, and for what?  We are like cattle lined up for the slaughter.

The idle chatter encountered at such events itself betrays the paucity of real connectedness among the revelers.  The ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ that accompany the apparent spellbinding nature of the heavenly displays are the best we can hope for at these times in terms of meaningful expressions of concern or appreciation.  And even there the appliances are on display, the smart phones, the digital cameras, all to help freeze the event and capture the spectacle for posterity.

Does the question even get asked or considered among these folks: why are we here?  What is the nature of this freedom we are celebrating?  Where is Julian Assange and Bradley Manning?  Why is Eric Snowden being hunted down like a criminal?  And what of the others being persecuted by this State, our State?  No, the questions are not posed.  The drinking and barbequing continue apace, while a lone bugler intones the national anthem from his balcony.  People exclaiming ‘God bless America’ and other trite expressions of citizenship, of “belonging.” God, how heart wrenching! And, when you are free to stop your car in a line-up with a multitude of others in the middle of the paved roadway to partake of the mesmerizing spectacle of your own freedom, boy is that freedom!  Isn’t it?  And that is community, is it not?

Further, they must awaken the next morning feeling good about themselves, having shown not only their patriotism, but their fellow feeling, their community, their connectedness, and their right to ‘free’ assembly.  This is a joke, right?  I have no idea what gives people the idea that such gatherings are bonding events, expressions suggesting that we are not still anonymous and isolated individuals in a crowd of others, glued to the spectacle on the screen.

We remain imprisoned by the appliances and the State, by Wall Street and Madison Avenue, and by the illusions of our own freedom.  They can censor us, monitor our communications, crush our attempts to have our voices heard, take away our savings and our homes, humiliate us and lie to us, snoop on us, x-ray us, and strip us at the airport; but give us a place to stand among a crowd on the beach and watch the fireworks with a beer and a brat in hand… now that’s freedom!

Advertisements

100 Responses to Untitled

  1. DrCiber says:

    What can one add? “America” is superficial to the core and has been for as long as I have drawn breath, though it isn’t alone in this. For the life of me I can’t find the link now, but I read a statement sometime over the last couple of weeks attributed to one of the former directors of the CIA. I think it might have been Colby: “The mission of the CIA won’t be complete until everything that the American public believes is false.” Chilling enough if he did indeed ever say such a thing, but even if it’s a total internet fabrication, the general idea certainly strikes me as a fait acompli.

    The appeal of the mini-Telescreens is that they let you completely turn off your higher cognitive functions making the nightmare you are surrounded by easier to ignore.

  2. Terry David says:

    But everyone is convinced that they are “connected” to other people by staring into that little screen! As far as I can tell, Faceburg and twatter allow ego-managed Personae (or “Personalities”) to “connect” to other managed Personae.

    If I don’t want real contact with someone, I’ll call instead of visit. If I really need to keep someone at arm’s length and am afraid they’ll sap my Precious Bodily, um, Energy, I’ll text. For extra arm’s length there’s Faceburg. And finally, if I really don’t like someone but need to keep up an appearance (so the persona illusion can remain intact and contact-free), “brain droppings” * can be left on twatter.

    Each one progressively distances its user from looking someone in the eye, feeling their presence, hearing their voice or knowing their heart. Now *that’s* freedom!

    Terry

    *the term “brain droppings” is not mine. I saw it in a good “Non-Sequitur” cartoon by Wiley. And I use it frequently.

  3. Hi Sandy, thank you for reminding me I’m not the only party-pooper at these empty rituals.
    The funny thing is, whether we wake up or not, the solution is coming.
    It doesn’t care whether we choose the easy way or the hard way, or no way at all.
    It doesn’t care about our projects for a new american century,
    or our pissing contests and pots of gold.
    It doesn’t care and neither do we.
    But we will. We better.

  4. the Heretick says:

    oh but they are connected, to the network, all of them their own little units, busy building the world of tomorrow……………

    of course there is the added advantage of the NSA, CIA, and FBI being able to monitor all of their communications for thought-crime.

  5. Malthus says:

    Who in the hell can get excited about the 4th of July except grown children blowing up miniature bombs and pretending to be patriots to the core and scaring the hell out of every animal within hearing distance. I always tell em to go to Afghanistan if they want to hear loud noises and what is this with independence and the revolution? We are spawn of hypocrites of the first degree. A bunch of slave owning white guys wearing wigs and talking about freedom and liberty. My god how pathetic. Of course I write this with my eye balls glued to a screen thinking that there is some one out there that might read this dribble which in the long run doesn’t mean a damn thing but it is fun to pretend to write something so absolutely astounding and insightful that people will go to bed tonight with a smile on their faces and dream dreams of something that is probably more real than these words I write.

    • kulturcritic says:

      I’m smiling and dreamin, Malthus 😉

    • Disaffected says:

      Almost had to laugh about this:
      http://www.startribune.com/nation/214348601.html

      A fireworks show that actually delivered on its promised “drama.” I wonder if everyone involved at least felt like they got their “money’s worth?” I’m sure their lawyers are answering in the affirmative at least.

    • Disaffected says:

      As I was gonna say last week: Independence Day? Independence from what? The idea of imperial colonialism, which we promptly stole from our British masters and then merely exchanged roles?

      But I must say, the appeal of imperial colonialism certainly has been remarkably long lasting and internationalist in its appeal. As we turn the corner toward a truly multicultural society in the 21’st century, its appeal has still apparently lost none of its luster. For example, in my part of the country in particular, I’m continually amazed at the willingness of first and second generation hispanics to turn their backs on recent emigres, whatever their status (family members excepted of course).

      • the Heretick says:

        multicultural does not mean classless, or should i say class free? because we have the classless part down, or should i say tasteless?

        it’s all about the money honey.

  6. kulturcritic says:

    Well, it looks as if at least the radicals in San Francisco had something contrary to offer the lazy drunkards on this special day!
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/04/restore-the-fourth-protesters-nsa-surveillance?CMP=ema_565

  7. Disaffected says:

    Appeals to patriotism – much like its kissing cousin religion – is indeed the last refuge of scoundrels, as both rely on blind allegiance to a narrowly defined cause based on a misguided sense of community. Patriotism is a misguided belief in the truth of arbitrarily decided geographical borders (first and foremost always) and beliefs, and religion a belief in the truth of likewise arbitrarily decided objects/ideas/people of devotion. Neither possesses any objective truth, other than to their devotees. But don’t dare tell them that!

    JMG was particularly eloquent on that point this week:

    It’s a standard element of the trajectory of literate civilizations through time. Every human society comes out of the shadows of its origins well equipped with a set of beliefs about what does happen. Since most human societies in their early phases are either wholly innocent of writing, or have lost most of a former tradition of literacy in the collapse of some previous civilization, those beliefs are normally passed down by way of the oldest and most thoroughly proven system of information storage and transfer our species has invented—that is to say, mythology: a collection of vivid, colorful stories, usually in verse, that can be learned starting in early childhood and remembered letter-perfect into advanced old age. Since the information storage capacity of myths is large but not limitless, each myth in a mature mythology is meant to be understood and interpreted on several levels, and learning how to unpack the stories is an essential part of education as an adult in these societies.

    For human societies that rely on hunter-gatherer, nomadic pastoral, or village horticultural economies, mythology is amply suited to their information storage and transfer needs, and it’s rare for these to go looking for other options. Those societies that take to field agriculture and build urban centers, though, need detailed records, and that usually means writing or some close equivalent, such as the knotted cords of the old Incas. Widespread public literacy seems to be the trigger that sets off the collapse of mythic thinking. Where literacy remains the specialty of a priesthood jealous of its privileges, among the ancient Maya or in Egypt before the New Kingdom, writing is simply a tool for recordkeeping and ceremonial proclamations, but once it gets into general circulation, rationalism of one kind or another follows in short order; an age of faith gives way to an age of reason.

    That transformation has many dimensions, but one of the more important is a refocusing from what does happen to what can happen. At the time, that refocusing is a very good thing. Literacy in an age of faith tends to drive what might be called the rationalization of religion; myths get written down, scribes quarrel over which versions are authentic and what interpretations are valid, until what had been a fluid and flexible oral tradition stiffens into scripture, while folk religion—for the time being, we can define that messy category “religion” in purely functional terms as the collection of customary rites and beliefs that go with a particular set of mythic narratives—goes through a similar hardening into an organized religion with its own creed and commandments. That process of rigidification robs oral tradition of the flexibility and openness to reinterpretation that gives it much of its strength, and helps feed the building pressures that will eventually tear the traditional religion to shreds.

    I myself have had this conversation/argument with literal religionists more times than I care to remember. Wanna set a hard core religionist off? Tell them their religion is “merely” a myth or a metaphor for a higher truth! But wear a flack jacket to the argument – you’ll need it!

    • R. Gates says:

      I think the nature of patriotism is rather two-edged and requires a balance. On one hand, carried to the extreme, we get the horrors of Fascism, but without any at all, we can get the equally bad horrors of anarchy. It’s a tough balancing act to unify 300 million people under some common set of accepted laws. Go too far and you get the boot on the throat. Don’t go far enough and you get roving gangs with machetes. Small is beautiful, but If you simply must have a big country, best to have citizens who are fervently moderate in their love of country, as in “America– it’ll do.”

  8. Carol Newquist says:

    That certainly is one perception of cyberspace, Terry. For example, without the distancing of cyberspace, all these doomer gurus, like McPherson, Kunstler, JMG et al, would be seen for what they really are; just some half-baked incarnation of David Koresh or Jim Jones. Instead, because of that distancing, we have otherwise intelligent people signing on to be followers. See how that works? It applies equally to all, not just the superficial dolts on Fakebook, Instaspam and Spitter.

    The upside of the internet, should we choose to adopt that upside, is that we can drop the personality bullshit and let it be free-thought discussion without the onerous suppression that many times accompanies the tyranny of physical presence. Afterall, isn’t it an intellectual threat to say “you wouldn’t say that if your were in my physical presence?” Discussions in cyberspace can preclude that threat, especially if we were to create an environment where you weren’t a name, but merely words. This is a very difficult thing for people to accomplish. We’re conditioned to gravitate to personality, and therefore must name and characterize that which we like or hate, so we can either kill it or possess it. Take that mechanism away, the mechanism that enables our penchant to kill and possess everything, including ideas, and who knows what’s possible. A new frontier, perhaps.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Virtual life; bodiless mind? No thanks.

      • Carol Newquist says:

        I’m not saying in permanence. What I’m saying is, cyberspace can be an outlet where we can venture into another world, another reality, where ideas can flow freely, unencumbered by the tyranny of physical presence over the intellect. There’s no rule that says we have to create in the virtual what exists in the physical, but that seems to be what we’re doing, and I believe we’re doing it because of conditioning. We bring the chains with us wherever we go…by default. Yes, the physical reality is important and has its place, but it doesn’t mean the virtual can’t have its place. We can make the virtual work for us as another form of existence…as another world; we just have to leave the chains at the door…or portal, if you will.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Certainly, this virtual reality instigates action; just look at the demonstrations of late across the globe. And, like reading a good book; it can expand your view of things. But, it may be a poor substitute for the physical surround. Although, I get the impression Carol that you are a ‘spiritualist’ of sorts. On that note, I would disagree, if that is your direction. The mind, the self, the soul is meaningless (for me) without the body.

          • Carol Newquist says:

            I believe there is an evolutionary force greater than the body….that the body is just the current vehicle for this force and at some point, this force will shed this incarnation as it travels further down its evolutionary path. Yes, the body is important, but it’s a vessel to get us to the next stop on this evolutionary journey. The destination and path of this journey are still a mystery and may always be a mystery. I like mysteries. Mysteries are illusive, and I love the chase. Now excuse me whilst I go feed and nourish my important body; weather permitting, I’m going to try to fit in a seventeen mile mountain bike excursion. Want to talk about some free-thought flowing? On a ride, I let my mind wander, and wonder, so much, I’ve taken several nasty spills for not paying close enough attention to the physical. It’s a wake-up call to the evolutionary force; yes, this body may be temporary, but it’s necessary for this leg of the journey, so you better mind it.

            • kulturcritic says:

              You confess to liking mysteries… that might be the explanation for your mysticism. It satisfies a desire… maybe for you even a physiological desire… but I’m no scientist. lol Watch those spills. “Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.”

              • Carol Newquist says:

                What mysticism? I should elaborate. I don’t vest in much, so therefore it’s not so much belief, but rather exploration. I explore, plumb the depths, or the abyss, but I don’t like to attach like a barnacle to any one notion or idea indefinitely. To do so, is to miss out on so much more. This existence is infinite; it’s only confinement is the the limit of our imagination.

                • kulturcritic says:

                  I hear you, Carol. And I respect your explorations. I only get concerned when I hear certain words. Certainly, I would not deny that there is an intertwining of all we see, hear, touch, taste, smell and imagine. But, the last, can do nothing without the former five. IMHO

              • Carol Newquist says:

                And I wouldn’t call my liking mysteries a confession; that’s too religious a term. It’s a proclamation. Nothing to hide. It’s there, out in the open, for all to see. I don’t like mysteries because I want to solve them, but because they draw me further down the exploratory path of my imagination. Once you think you have a mystery solved, you’ve become a barnacle. If that’s someone’s thing, so be it. It’s not mine.

    • DrCiber says:

      “….just some half-baked incarnation of David Koresh or Jim Jones.”

      Wow! …and I thought I could be accused of hyperbole!

      • outsider says:

        Carol’s rank seems like a bunch of new age nonsense. Comparing a great thinker like James Howard Kunstler to Jim Jones shows a complete lack of understanding of what is happening in the ‘physical’ world.

  9. FIDO says:

    Sandy,

    We are all interconnected by our original internal clocks of emotion, feeling and shared memories. The most powerful network is the nonverbal one that flows from one human to human.

  10. Scrap says:

    Even in cyber space the so called self will be doing the connecting. The connection is our energy that never dies. At death we lose everything and the energy returns to the universe to start the worldly activities once again even if we return as a corn tort. Perhaps even getting us closer to understanding what the self discovering the self is,The nature of consciousness remains hidden and unknown until we can turn into it and make that essential connection between our mind and the essence from which it arises realizing that we are all part and parcel of the same dynamic universe where all for one and one for all.
    “A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.” — Albert Einstein

    • Disaffected says:

      I tend to agree with your first paragraph and who am I to possibly disagree with Sir Albert and the second? Kind of ironic that it’s the physicists themselves who lead us toward mysticism, although certainly fitting as well. Study the nature of physical matter close enough and you find out it’s not matter at all, at least not in any way that our physical senses can relate to. It’s funny that as far down that road of knowledge we’ve traveled in the past 50 years or so, we’ve seemingly advanced nowhere at all with regard to our spiritual advancement. A large part of that has to be blamed on organized religion – the politics of faith – I think, but a lot of it has to blamed on plain old human resistance to change. Matters of faith and belief in particular, seem to be prone to such resistance. Not surprising at all I guess, since all of the Abrahamic faiths in particular claim to represent universal and unchanging truths and indeed, popularized the idea of “written in stone.”

      • Disaffected says:

        With reference to the above: great book I read right after high school. Kind of put the idea in my young and impressionable mind that we might be turning the corner on religion and all that. In context, I was 18, had just joined the Army, and had moved from the midwest to Hawaii, of all places, and so was ripe for such ideas. Needless to say, we haven’t advanced hardly at all in the interim. Sigh…!

        http://www.amazon.com/The-Tao-Physics-Exploration-Parallels/dp/1590308352

  11. Disaffected says:

    Well, if you simply must stare into a small screen, then at least stare at something like this, by an actual gifted songwriter/musician who had something real to say about someone real who left a mark on him. Oh that we should all be so lucky.

    And the recording’s almost 30 years old no less!

    • Disaffected says:

      Talk about a “math in public” moment. I guess this one’s almost 40 years old already. My how time flies, eh?

  12. Disaffected says:

    A further example of the timelessness of music and lyric verse:

    • Disaffected says:

      Glad I didn’t offend anyone with my Jackson Browne mancrush here. I go through phases musically, but Browne’s a lifelong one. A real man among boys when it comes expressing lasting truths.

  13. R. Gates says:

    You are free to express your allegiance to the state/flag/country/Jesus/Yahweh/capitalism/consumerism/wallstreet/etc so long as that expression is within the acceptable bounds of expression. If you deviate or express negatively toward these aforementioned symbols of our blessed Freedom, you will be crushed, or forced to flee to Venezuela.

      • Carol Newquist says:

        That’s not necessarily true, and my saying so doesn’t mean I condone, or defend, the security state or the imperial hegemon. Oliver Stone’s doing pretty nicely, meaning he hasn’t been crushed. Disaffected speaks out often and loudly at this forum and yet he himself has indicated he’s comfortable. He hasn’t been crushed or forced to move to Venezuela. It may one day come to it, but that day is not yet, so let’s not premature in asserting it’s here now, when it isn’t.

        • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

          A somewhat better answer is offered up in the following opinion piece.

          People like DA and myself can emit criticisms of the gargoyle state all we like, because to them we are losers and make no attempt to pose as heroes bidding to lead the proles in righteous revolt. They don’t mind some tribal griping, actually it pleases them because that’s how they know they’re doing a good job. In addition to a monopoly on force they also reserve the exclusive right to award heroship and demonicity. Assange, Manning (Bradley not Peyton or Eli) and Snowdenstein are guilty of the most unforgiveable crimethought, usurpation of Imperial Perquisites. Peyton and Eli got their heroship through approved channels. Since their tapping of the entire planet has detected zero instances of satanic comms, they must assume the non-existance of a hellacious afterlife and therefore must instantiate Hell-on-Earth for the usurpatory crimethinkers.

        • Disaffected says:

          Not yet anyway! But realistically, who else is going to speak out other than the moderately comfortable? The truly uncomfortable are busy enough just getting by, without wasting time mouthing off on boards like these and risking what little they’ve got, and the really comfortable are paid well to just keep their mouths shut. Looks like it’s just us, the middle-class “losers” here on Sandy’s board left to pick up the mantle.

  14. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    Once upon a time an admiring comment was made to my uncle about his sister’s incredible memory. He responded, “her memory is so good she can remember things that never happened.” (Strangely enough, I now have that ability as well 🙂 )

    My point is that I believe we all have implanted memories of a freedom we never actually had, courtesy of your public or private schools. Individual freedom that is. As a collective we have granted unto ourselves the freedom to juice up the energy levels of the planetary climate system in pursuit of sybaritic pleasure. I have just now watched the best and perhaps scariest report on the weirding weather that I have yet seen.

    • Disaffected says:

      Phlogger,

      It’s called history, and it’s all manufactured, even when there’s no ill-intent. Now, let me watch that video.

    • Disaffected says:

      Looks like some of the fatties in the first world might wanna be losing some of their poundage. All that blubber insulation ain’t gonna be none too comfortable in the coming years. Lucky for them, droughts leading to grain shortages should greatly assist their efforts.

      • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

        If we’s a’gonna go hungry, and we are, does it really make sense to get an early start? In any case we might take some comfort from the message of the Cult.

        • Disaffected says:

          Oh yeah! Took MANY a bong hit to the sounds of BOC back in the day!

          • Disaffected says:

            That song still sounds excellent too, unlike much of the old stuff (Zeppelin!) that merely sounds drunken, stoned, and/or self-indulgent all these years later.

      • Disaffected says:

        But what’s this? The US is now exporting obesity as well as war.

        http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57592714/mexico-takes-title-of-most-obese-from-america/

        • kulturcritic says:

          SUure Cinabon, KFC, Subway all over Barnaul, Siberia

          • Disaffected says:

            The gifts that keep on giving! Genuine artificial manufactured food-like stuff whose main goal is to taste addictively good and thus generate a large repeat customer base and max profits. The fat you gain from eating it is all gratis. But when the droughts come and you have to live off of stored fat for a while it should at least give you a few extra weeks of agonizing sustenance. If your arteries don’t go on lockdown first, in which case the medical community will be happy to service your needs as well. Who says corporate America ain’t looking out for us? I think the MBAs call the whole concept “win-win.”

        • Disaffected says:

          I guess in fairness, I should provide an explanation/disclaimer. This one strikes close to home, since I was on the weight loss treadmill myself just last year and continue to struggle with weight/body image issues currently, as do a majority of the US population in my experience.

          A follow on article to the one I posted above:
          http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-201_162-10016059.html ,
          which ranks the states in terms of obesity (clinically, BMI above 30, but a greatly simpler version which provides the same results divided by ten is simply weight in pounds/ height in inches) kind of struck a nerve.

          I’m currently 5’10” (70″) and weigh 210 lbs, a weight which I struggled mightily to get back down to last year. Now granted, I was indeed fat at 240, but even at 210 – still technically obese by the currently accepted scale and the basis for this study – I’ve found that very few of my close associates have even noticed that I’ve lost weight, or indeed, ever was overweight in the first place. Of course I know better and I’m certainly glad I took it off regardless and I’m also aware of the peer group effect of being surrounded by other fatties and accepting that as the new normal. Believe me!

          Nonetheless, I’m pretty damn active even in my old age and even my doctor says I’m definitely NOT obese at 210, weight charts be damned. A fact that I suspect quite few of my fellow first world would be fatty peers share, so I think at least SOME of all this overweight hysteria is overwrought and underthought. Not to excuse any of the genuine rampant obesity that truly DOES exist, as there’s certainly more than enough of that to go around as well.

          But anyway, the CBS News/Gallup “study” found to virtually no one’s surprise that (as usual) it was the poorest states who were to blame. Why? We can only speculate (although speculation is always strongly implied in such articles). So let me speculate!

          Aside from the obvious ideas that poor people eat poorly; i.e., corporate manufactured shit MEANT to make them fat (due to local culture, marketing, lack of education, and lack of money), which is of course true and provides the base for true obesity in America/the world, poor people are also more likely to work at menial, meaningless jobs with little or no advancement/personal fulfillment potential, and thus more likely to get caught up in poor life decisions/relationships along the way.

          Poor people are also more like to get caught up in American cultural drama, a drama that first and foremost glorifies BIG, when it comes to males at least. And BIG is a trait learned early and not easily unlearned later. As in, learn to eat BIG early and JUST TRY to unlearn it later when it no longer serves you.

          Poor people overwhelmingly live in the mid-west and south. Well duhh! Where did the great depression hit hardest and where do its poorest descendants continue to live? Think they might be hard-wired to eat like there ain’t no tomorrow, especially when there very like ain’t? Ever wonder why sports like football and wrestling continue to flourish among the whites in those regions, and a “healthy rounded” figure as well among the many who inevitably fall out to mere business pursuits soon thereafter?

          But anyway, I’m rambling. Bottom line is, I think obesity figures are skewed, especially with regard to first world nations. We really have grown culturally, and not all of it is legitimately chalked up to obesity, although much of it is.

          And secondly, I think the rich/poor explanation is greatly oversimplified and needs a great deal more exploration, even as I definitely recognize that the poor are essentially being targeted with industrial sludge to exterminate them over the long term, which they, unfortunately, are seemingly more than happy to comply with.

          On the other hand, if you want to watch a bunch of first world guys who definitely DON’T have a weight problem (although they equally definitely MIGHT later on in life!), watch this:

          Emaciation meets self-glorification for dollars. Believe it or not, I used to emulate these guys.

          • Disaffected says:

            On the flip side, there’s always this:

            http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/jul/08/mos-def-force-fed-guantanamo-bay-video

            Third world “criminals” being force fed against their will. NICE!

          • Terry David says:

            “a drama that first and foremost glorifies BIG, when it comes to males at least.”

            Oh, it’s come to women too. It started in the Reagan 80’s with the “Women With Big Hair” and has slid, um, “downward” from there.

            And have you ever noticed that BIGness in the American physique has neatly tracked the ever increasing size of the front grilles on Dodge pick up trucks? There’s a theory in there somewhere but I’m not sure what it is. Well, whatever it is, I’m sure BIG tattoos are in there somewhere.

            • kulturcritic says:

              my tattoo is kind of puny!LOL

            • Disaffected says:

              Agreed. We are a definitely a nation in love with linearly large concepts. Big military, big bombs, big fiascoes, big budgets and deficits, big incomes, big houses, big cars, big parties, big physiques, and the list goes on. I think Morris Berman commented on it fairly extensively in Why America Failed, and it probably started with conquering an entire continent. We love BIG with no apologies! No sign that’s going to change anytime soon either.

  15. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    This video, complete with fireworks, shows an extreme example of what happens when a little too much energy is added to a normally smooth working reliable system.

  16. Carol Newquist says:

    A somewhat better answer is offered up in the following opinion piece.

    Yes, I think your assessment is a better one than R. Gates, but it still doesn’t explain Oliver Stone. He’s a very wealthy loser, you must admit, and whilst he travels to places like Venezuela and interviews Chavez and Castro, he’s free to return, unfettered. No crushing. No deportation. Mine wasn’t an answer, but rather a questioning of hyperbole.

    I’ve mentioned before that if it’s Big News, meaning all the major news outlets are carrying a story simultaneously, than that story is more than likely a fabricated propaganda event meant to accomplish many things at once aside from natural catastrophes and SOME plane crashes. You say that “Peyton and Eli got their heroship through approved channels.” So too did Assange, Manning and Snowdenstein et al. They can be both, concomitantly, depending on the audience. To some they are heroes, and to others they are demons. The script is developed with these conditioned responses in mind. When you jump in and take a side, you join the Kabuki they’ve created for you. I choose not to play, but rather watch…..and sometimes I can’t even do that…I have to look away because the script is so ridiculous. Full Spectrum Dominance means they are creating an environment where any and all dissent is created and controlled by them. It’s time to stop listening to journalists who live a lavish lifestyle. They don’t have your best interests at heart. They are deceivers for a quick buck. It’s time to quit pointing to personalities and hanging on their every last word for your daily nourishment. I’m so sick and tired of people pointing to guys like JMG for their thoughts and ideas rather than thinking for themselves. When I say you, or your, I don’t mean you specifically, Phlo, I mean anyone at large that does this, and many do. It gets tiring; these EF Hutton moments:

    • Disaffected says:

      The script is developed with these conditioned responses in mind. When you jump in and take a side, you join the Kabuki they’ve created for you.

      Yep, that’s the bottom line. But that’s pretty much the definition of jumping in and taking part at all these days, isn’t it? Even at the local level out here in the NM stix I’d be hard pressed to escape it with anyone I meet. Below the age of 80 or so at least.

  17. the Heretick says:

    i wonder why such a hullabaloo is made over snowden, manning, and assange; the same ruling class is in power as has been for 100 years.
    people like us are no threat at all, at all.
    the media companies own the airwaves, the web, cable, and cinema; the media is in turn owned by trans-national conglomerates, defense contractors, GE, Westinghouse.
    really, why should they care what gets out? there’s nothing the public can do anyway, the govt. controls all the heavy artillery, what do they care what anybody says?
    i tend to agree with Ms. Newquist, it’s all a big song and dance.

    all designed to gin up a fake paradigm of the freedoms we never had, and to keep the discussion inside the approved framework.

    about 90% of what passes for meaningful political analysis is irrelevant, but i’m just not going to get into it, too much risk of conflict, not going to do it, wouldn’t be prudent…………..

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      Of course it’s a song and dance. Newsrooms fell under the sway of sales departments and owners with despicable agendas long before any of us were born. They’ve been doing nothing but singing and dancing ever since. It’s all entertainment now.

      I don’t think there should be any puzzlement over the focus on the so called traitors. There is a reason I call him Snowdenstein. I guess I just assume that most everyone has acquainted themselves with 1984. Silly me. When an Orwellian State has no credible external enemies, it must manufacture credible traitors the better to convey a message that betrayal can yield defeat by even puny enemies. Orwell called it “the two minutes hate” that appeared regularly on the telescreen. I guess we can try to be thankful that we are not, yet, required to actually watch it.

      It works. Hitler had the Jews-did-it song and dance. The American War, as I hear they call it in Vietnam, yielded up claims that traitorous youth and academics did it. Not exactly one of the brighter moves by the elite. Youth have the bad habit of eventually growing old and taking ownership of sizable chunks of wealth and power. It wouldn’t really do to have them permanently laden with the betrayal albatross around their necks. It’s just me thinkin crazy thoughts here, but might it not be simply coincidence that Oli Stone came along to paint a bit of lipstick on that pig? It’s pretty damn hard to make a credible war movie without DOD support.

      • Disaffected says:

        Funny thing is, American wars always seem to work out best for the vanquished. Almost makes a country wanna sign up to be conquered, eh? Especially when most of the heavy lifting (i.e,: dying) gets to be done by the working poor, who mostly don’t vote anyway.

    • Disaffected says:

      Simple. They’re the outliers. The little prairie dog/ground squirrel guys who stick their heads out of the whole, decide it’s safe to run across the road into oncoming traffic, and promptly got squished (We seem to especially prone to them up here in LANM. I SWEAR they run right at my tires.).

      As for Snowden, if Manning wasn’t the canary in the coal mine, then he certainly is. As in, be a political martyr if you must, but it ain’t gonna get you anything but locked away for the rest of your days. The American people ain’t gonna magically come riding in to your rescue, never mind be appreciative in the least either. We’re mostly sheep these days, cue The Floyd, who had a thing or two to say about that when I was but a wee laddie:

  18. the Heretick says:

    well, you must remember Smith was a party member, and what Orwell said about the proles, that they would have no way of even thinking of rebellion, nothing but an “inchoate feeling” that something was not quite right.
    we lost it 100 years ago with the first red scare, i no longer argue politics, they don’t matter; now it’s simply a question of assimilation into the machine, which is why the Borg is so apropos.
    to my taste “Brave New World” is much the better take on what the world has become, genetic manipulation, ubiquitous sex, a pill to cure your ills. not that ubiquitous sex is a bad thing, it’s the context.
    most people would just get a puzzled look on their face if you were to say corps. are a form of AI, but just think about it for a minute, they are artificial legal entities, non-corporeal, the are owned by people, granted, but they do control physical infrastructure.

    more than a little Kraftwerk-ey

    let’s try this this one

    i’ve probably posted it before

    • Disaffected says:

      Agreed, As I find myself occasionally glancing at the ubiquitous TV as I stare at the only slightly less ubiquitous internet in front of me, it strikes me that I’ve probably signed off already. Planned senility? Kinda makes the idea of early onset Alzheimer’s redundant, doesn’t it? Permanent vegetative state?

    • Disaffected says:

      I’ve read similar comparisons elsewhere. Very apropos I think. Gotta admire our tenacity anyway. The simple homespun determination to ride this sinking ship right on down to the bottom.

  19. Disaffected says:

    Just read JMG’s latest missive Asking the Hard Questions, which, as usual, is very insightful and thought provoking. Pretty much a summation of his recent series of posts which lays out the case that extremists/hysterics on both sides of the current industrial society progress/peak oil/ climate change argument are wrong, first and foremost historically, and thus predictably. But, as usual, I’m equally torn as to what it is he’s actually saying and who he’s actually supporting and/or denigrating. He seems to lump Guy McPherson and JHK together in one breath as virtual apocalyptic religious zealots over and over again, but then to back right off again when describing their opposites, either the TRUE religious zealots who are praying and acting fervently in support of current energy practices, or the altogether more “reasonable” of their colleagues who are basically saying all the same things, albeit in a bit more palatable form.

    From my perspective, Guy, JHK, and JMG are all basically saying the same thing on a continuum of emphasis.

    Guy is obviously the extreme outlier on the left. A true hardliner/believer with a fair amount of scientific street cred to back him up and totally unafraid to pull his punches. I respect that TOTALLY. And I think I’m grown up enough to decide for myself whether or not he’s “right” on any/all of his contentions. Regardless, I respect and listen to what he has to say, simply BECAUSE I know the bad news is not filtered! His message, plain and simple: “We’re fucked.” Data point number one.

    JHK is decidedly more measured, especially lately. My sense is that he’s been reading his negative reviews regarding his forecasting/prediction efforts (from JMG especially!) and taking them to heart. He’s also getting older and gaining notoriety – read: getting more conservative – and so I sense he’s starting to pull his punches. Nonetheless, he’s smart as hell and contains a hell of a lot of insight.
    His message: “The stupid among us are fucked, but if you listen to me, you might not be.” Data point number two.

    JMG is definitely ascendant. Smart as hell with a folksy wisdom to boot, he’s simply hard to argue with. JMG definitely embodies “the middle way,” going to great lengths to discredit any foolish extremists on either end of the spectrum. History is his motto, and accordingly his message is: “As we have done, so shall we do. POSSIBLY, if we learn from our mistakes, we can do better.” Data point number three.

    Who is “right” among the three? I suspect none. What will the future 50-100 years hence actually hold? I dunno, because it’s safe to say I won’t inhabit it, at least in my current form.

    • DrCiber says:

      I’ve never been able to get all the way through anything I’ve started from JMG, but it’s clear that a lot of people think highly of him. Based on your speaking so well of his latest post, I went back to his blog to check it out, but I find that he still leaves me cold. Maybe it’s just me (I really don’t think THAT for even a second), but I find him unbearably patronizing. Talks down to his readers with every word.

      • kulturcritic says:

        That is precisely JMG’s schtik, DrCiber. He is intolerable… the ego is just too big for him to carry around in a small pouch. LOL

        • Carol Newquist says:

          Yes, and not only that, he’s BORING….and the all caps are an important distinction. It’s one thing to have and ego, but it’s entirely another to have an ego and be BORING. Twain had a huge ego, but he wasn’t BORING. His entertaining prose balanced his swelled head.

      • Carol Newquist says:

        That is exactly my experience and sentiment. You’ve captured it perfectly. On the other hand, I can’t get enough Dave McGowan, whether I agree with him or not.

      • the Heretick says:

        the other day someone climbed onto the roof of the pizza joint where my daughter works, smashed the breaker box, stole the panel, and ripped out all the copper wiring from the ceiling, a rare feat of strength indeed. this is the one thing JMG has correct, look around you and you can see the collapse, because it’s not just the eco-systems that are collapsing, it’s human society itself.

        of course the various political systems have been tried and found wanting, the masses have been fully indoctrinated, and we are now dependent upon our collective exoskeleton to survive. this is where comparisons to the past break down, there is no comparison in human history to where we have gone in the past 200 years, and it’s not just the energy, it’s the biology, the information systems, the whole ball of wax.

        yes, it is a noble effort to attempt to preserve some sort of standards, morals, ethics, whatever you want to call it, during the coming and present trying times. then there is the heretical view, and that is that a cathartic cataclysm is exactly what the doctor ordered.

        • Disaffected says:

          …our collective exoskeleton…

          I like that analogy. And agreed on the lack of historical comparison to our current circumstances as well. I think JMG seriously glosses over the current facts on the ground when he tries to make the case that this time is likely to be just like all the others. What others? We’ve never had 7B+ and growing armed to the teeth humans on the earth at one time totally dependent on an industrial infrastructure that is itself entirely dependent on a single rapidly depleting energy source. Never mind the environmental damages that we’ve already locked into place that may or may not make all of that a moot point a lot sooner than any of us (but a few anyway) think. I’d say that it definitely is different this time, and that’s not even being apocalyptic, that’s just viewing things the way they actually are.

        • Disaffected says:

          then there is the heretical view, and that is that a cathartic cataclysm is exactly what the doctor ordered.

          And I think that’s exactly what it will be too, especially in the wealthy first world. The higher we are on the socioeconomic ladder the longer and harder the fall will be, military hegemony or not.

      • Disaffected says:

        Yeah, he is undeniably patronizing. And I’m not sure I’m speaking favorably of him either. He always leaves me puzzled as to exactly what he’s saying. He seems at times to totally agree and totally disagree with Guy (for example). It’s almost like he wants to discredit everyone else just enough to put himself at the top of the heap as the most reasonable and thought provoking. Nonetheless, I do enjoy reading his stuff. Kind of like a bedtime story or something like that.

        • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

          Perhaps DA is on to something. Maybe it is best to think of JMG as the Hans Christian Andersen of the Late Anthropogene Epoch?

  20. Disaffected says:

    Comfortably Numb:

  21. James says:

    Previous civilizations compared to today’s monstrosity is like comparing a pre-cancerous spot on your nose to an aggressive neoplasm that has spread to every organ of the body and is rapidly and competitively consuming it. JMG wants to avoid scaring his acolytes with the “C” word and creates a comfortable narrative of long, slow decline. J. Kunstler knows a spreading cancer when he sees it but he’s not a biologist and cannot establish the details of its emergence although he does use some colorful descriptions. Guy McPherson knows what Stage IV is, but perhaps it’s too intellectually confounding for him to reconcile the technological evolution of human civilization and its novel tools with what happens within cells. There are many limbic mirages to beat down before “seeing” reality detached from emotion. And once you see reality, you may get emotional and listen to your favorite song or try to reconstruct some of the old mirages that make you feel good. But once the mirages dissipate it can be impossible to get them back and there you are stuck with a rather unsavory mental companion.

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s