Thursday, August 26, 2010

Freedom Redux

I'm fairly certain that this post will piss off the masses, but for me it is just further 'proof' that myopia, at least in the US, is right up there, with cancer and heart disease, on the list of 'most debilitating diseases'.

We, as citizens of this 'great' country, are as blind and stupid as any mole or lemming has ever aspired to be. We are guided by an ideal that no longer belongs to all but a very few. So, in defense of this assertion, I give you what for me has become the most aggravating statement of all---'They are fighting to preserve my freedom'.

The men and women of our armed forces are no more fighting for my freedom, or yours, than Rush Limbaugh pumped up on amphetamines, although in order for anyone to be fighting for it, it would need to actually exist. Long ago, we gave up any right to call ourselves free, and as long as our freedom is defined and dictated by the real movers and shakers (and by this I mean oil companies, drug companies, financial markets...fuck, I guess I just mean capitalism in general), the lives we lead will continue to devolve upon the extremely narrow path that they allow us. War, beyond all its evils, is simply a profit-making machine, at least for those at the top of the economic hierarchy, and we ordinary citizens pay the piper with the lives of our sons and daughters. And we do it as though it is the most natural thing to do, believing that it is somehow right, believing fallaciously that it is for the benefit of all of us. We cling to the notion of 'common wealth' despite idly sitting by as job markets, housing markets, all markets (not to mention oil rigs) crumble into ashes.

You do have the freedom to continue to believe, but tell me...who is trying to take that away? Yes, you can continue to believe if you choose to, but take a moment, if you will, and examine what they want you to believe in...that a lottery ticket will bring you happiness...that your fat ass child might become the next American Idol...that BP is cleaning up the Gulf out of the kindness of their hearts...that whole grain Chef Boyardee ravioli is good for your kids...that Barack Obama is not just another good ol' boy.

There are only two economic classes remaining in this country...the sinful rich...and everyone else who will never quite get there. We continue to reach out for the holy grail of acquisition, as we go to work each day (at least those who have jobs), in search of the American dream, convinced by the pablum flow that we need more. We all need the same things. None of us need more. And those at the top...the sinful rich...will continue to use the power we give them, to make certain that we never get the things we really need...things like a better life, or a life at all, for our children. The lives of our sons and daughters are worth no more to BP or Smith-Kline than the dollar bill we chase after every day.

So, go on, and continue to believe, as you swallow your next anti-depressant, fully aware that chemically, you feel much better, despite knowing that it might be exploding you stomach, irritating your bowels, increasing your odds of stroking out, decreasing your urine flow, deflating your erection, rotting your liver, stealing you hope, and bringing you a giant step closer to unavoidable death. Don't worry. There's another pill for all those things. We treat symptoms, symptoms that are created for us, because as long as there are symptoms, there is always the possibility of future profits. You can count on your fingers the number of eradicated diseases, because there is no profit in eradicating them. And don't try to tell me that we are not smart enough. The choice has always been to be smart enough to be greedy enough. Go ahead...ask your doctor.

Can I give you a better way? Probably not, but there is one. I don't know what it looks like, but I do know what it contains. It contains genuine concern for every other being on this planet. It contains an altruistic devotion to the common good. It provides for the needs of every living creature on this planet. It ensures the survival of this planet. It sees a common future...a good future...for everyone.

I treated myself to a little pablum flow the other night. I watched the movie 2012. It contained this memorable quote, which I am making up: "Being human is caring about everyone else". Hold on while I laugh hysterically and roll on the floor for a while. You don't give a flying fuck about me...nor do I give a rat's ass about you. If we did, we would choose to live life caring. We would choose to care more about kids than we care about stray dogs. We would choose to cure disease instead of treating it. Who know? Maybe there's a pill for that. Or maybe a nice little war. Or maybe I just need new glasses.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Value of Television

Beyond its capacity to pass endless hours, vacating our brains of any cogent thought, television does provide a wealth of information, albeit cloaked within a subliminal, mind-numbing, devilish assumption, that being the general belief that we, as humans, cannot absorb it in any sort of orderly, logical manner, thereby serving no redeeming purpose at all.

That being said, I did watch Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story the other day, and while it did reinforce my dislike of its pedantic, bombastic director, and while it also informed me that Walmart employees are worth more dead than alive, it also provided much of the fodder for this post, and for that I am grateful.

I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but I can categorically impugn this nation for its almost universal acceptance of myth (a myth being something patently false that we have been taught or believe to be true). Foremost among these myths are the Jesus story, the greatness of America, and the nutritional guidelines of McDonald's cheeseburgers.

In the gnostic gospel according to Judas, not only was Judas' betrayal of Christ painted as the ultimate, altruistic sacrifice, but Judas himself is portrayed as the best and brightest of the disciples. Of course, this book could never be included in the New Testament, because in it, Jesus tells Judas that he is only betraying the human body of Jesus, not the son of god part, and while there were centuries of debate, under the Roman emperor Constantine's guidance, it was finally decided at the Council of Hippo which books of apostolic writing would provide the most digestible pablum for the plebeian masses, setting the foundation, still in effect to this day, of letting the fat cats decide for the rest of us. Constantine needed to figure out what to do with popular perceptions of the rogue messiah, so he figured he might as well keep his absolute power intact, and the bible seemed as good a way as any.

Which leads me to the 'melting pot' perception of America. While I truly believe that at one time we did embrace this notion, the fact remains that we are now a nation comprised of diverse, homogenized, xenophobic self-interest groups, the worst of which is the typical nuclear family. Yeah, that's right! I'm talking about that mom-dad-kids thing. Of course I believe that kids need parents, but the family itself has become representative of the single greatest retreat from truth. It has become so grossly insular, so firmly rooted in the personalization of truth, so centered around the accumulation of personal wealth, that it is destroying the very foundations of the good ol' USA. If you need further proof, take a moment to consider the aluminum baseball bat. We routinely shell out $200 or more, in the hopes that our child might become better than we were, not wanting to burden them with the cumbersome weight of wood, knowing full well that these bats have caused the deaths of countless little leaguers. You's all about the family. In the preamble to our constitution, you will find the words 'to promote the general welfare'. Clearly, where family is concerned, this is not the case.

Nor is it the case with nations. In my ever so humble opinion, the abolition of all borders is the only thing that will save us...and by this I mean family, town, social and national borders. OK...that's an old post. No need to rehash.

Which leads me to the point of this entire essay. There isn't a prayer in hell that we are ever going to send humans to Mars. First of all, given our current technology, it would take over a year to get there, and over a year to get back. And that's not even considering that the planets need to be aligned just so...before we can begin the journey back. So, whether we ask a group of just men...or just women...or an equal mix of the two, the group dynamic does not bode well for success. I mean, we'd be asking these people to go two and a half years, or more...without sex. There have already been several incidents of crew mutiny in various deep space adventures, and they occurred in trips of only a few months. We're talking close quarters here, with nothing to do, and nowhere to hide, and a long, long time. So, if we send all men, they are either going to kill each other, or revamp their sexual preference...or that capsule is going to reek of that musky smell of surreptitiously disposed Kleenex. And if they send all women, they better pack a few hundred cases of chardonnay...and Kleenex. And in order to send an even mix, we either have to abandon the ridiculous notions we have about sex, or be ready for the single greatest incident of bilateral sexual harassment suits this nation has ever seen.

And that takes me back to the shining example of an employee shared company, where all the workers shared equally in the profits, and the company thrived. No ponzi schemes, no stock options, no hierarchy. Just a bunch of people, realizing they don't need everything...realizing they just need what they have...promoting the general welfare.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Very Big Decision

I reached a major decision today, one that will greatly affect my life, and, should also eradicate 99.9% of the world's problems. I found myself distracted from the grand undertakings of the chronically unemployed by a small spider climbing up my wall, googled a bit, and took a sacred oath that I will no longer masturbate. No, dear reader, this is not a tantric choice. I am not trying to retain the gobs of energy released in a self indulgent orgasm. Nor, indeed, did it arise from a most astounding declaration, offered by my best friend, that, despite my man breasts, despite my overhanging gut, despite my male pattern baldness and despite my normal sized penis, that I am the sexiest man alive. No, I am not saving myself to share the wealth, so to speak. Although, sharing the wealth is indeed at its core. It is a decision reached after several seconds of logical mindplay, as huge numbers clicked off in rarely used neurons of my brain, bringing to bear the pittance of information that I can recall from my last macroeconomics course. Yes, dear readers, if it isn't obvious by now, I based my decision entirely on the ethical and economic consequences of, what I now consider, the single biggest obstacle to a loving and equitable world...toilet paper.

Ah, you think I mock you, but let me assure you that I am not. This is serious business. For those of you living in Eritrea or Chad, where there exist no sanitary facilities of any kind, let me assure you that I can understand the doubting laughter gurgling from your diaphragms, but, if you will allow me to illustrate, I will present a compelling case in favor of 'eliminating' toilet paper entirely from the global mindset (I am not advocating a return to saturated corncobs, or arctic mosses, or even banyan's just that I think, given that we can create computers more capable than the human brain, that we can invent a less impactful substitute). So, let's start with the numbers.

In order to keep up with world demand, we currently produce over 83 million rolls of toilet paper per day...over 30 billion rolls per year. Admit it...those numbers are staggering. In the United States alone, we spend over $6 billion per year to keep our asses clean. I think you will agree that there are better places for that kind of money. And let me digress for just a moment, and offer my hearfelt gratitude to those of you doing your share...the 60% that are folders. I myself am a quadruple folder, but I believe that triple folders are the norm (It is also interesting to note that 60% of you are also lookers).

So, let's assume that the remainder of the world in its entirety,uses half again as much toilet paper (India, for example, spends only a tenth of what the US spends, but...well, I saw Slumdog Millionaire too). That would bring annual expenditures on toilet paper to 9 0r 10 billion dollars worldwide. Over a 25 year period, that's a quarter of a trillion dollars, not enough to balance the budget, but, I am certain that whether you are a front-to-back-er, or a back-to-front-er, a folder, a looker, or a crumpler, that there are much more needed things worldwide that we could spend the money on. I leave it to you to decide where it goes.

I am only trying to do my part. I realize that this cannot happen overnight. Given the frequency of my self pleasuring, I think the savings would be huge (just think of the savings If Howard Stern would join me). Yes, it is a baby step, but it is a step in the right direction. Join me. I beg you. Rue the invention of Thomas Crapper. The waste! The waste! There is so much more to share with the unclean masses.