Monthly Archives: September 2013

On Showing Off

….After witnessing the behaviors of the indigenous people, the government was appalled at the ritual of Potlatch. They saw the ritualistic act of giving away nearly all of one’s hard-earned possessions as a sign that the indigenous people were ‘unstable’. Under the encouragement of the Indian Reserve Allotment Commission; the Indian Reserve Commission; and the Church, this behavior was deemed possibly as a destabilizing force in the nation because it was so dramatically opposed to the values of the ideal “Christian capitalist society”…..  [Wikipedia]

Ever since her triumphant return to the Plutocratic Corporate States of America [PCSA] Mrs. N. has been intrigued by something she was told and something she observed while touring through The Netherlands, which was a lot like touring Holland.

People in The Netherlands don’t put bumper stickers on their cars.  Announcing on your automobile what university you or your children attend, what political party you support, or, what your particular religious affiliations are is considered to be a form of showing off that is culturally unacceptable in polite society.  It isn’t done.  They are against showing off.  Imagine that.

On the flight home to Utopia Mrs. N. could not help but wonder why The Netherlands did not place very high on the list of countries that are the “ENEMIES of FREEDOM”?  North Korea has a crazy leader, nuclear weapons and tortures and starves its people into obedient submission.  They are on the list.  Iran, since its Islamic Revolution, refuses to permit international corporations to loot their natural resources with impunity.  They are on the list.  Granted, both North Korea and Iran have earned a place on any decent capitalists list of bad actors… but, none of them dare to hold the Goddess of corporate consumerism up to ridicule!  None of them DARE to even hint that showing off, the very foundation of American Exceptionalism, and the driving force behind the most powerful economic engine ever constructed by man is… rude, or…culturally unacceptable in polite society.  

Why the citizens of the Plutocratic Corporate States of America [PCSA] haven’t bombed the Dutch (who don’t amount to much) back to the Stone Age for their insults to our way of life remains an enigma.

[On the other hand]… In his book Escape from Evil, Ernest Becker describes modern consumerism as a second rate religion.  He goes on to say… “today we are living with a grotesque spectacle of unrestrained material production, perhaps the greatest and most pervasive evil to have emerged in all of history.”

Hmmmm

OK, so what are we supposed to do if we can’t show off?  Just how are we supposed to feel, WHAT are we supposed to feel about a person we observe talking into their I-phone 5… when we have an I-phone 7?  How much are we capable of appreciating a kitchen with formica countertops and a white stove (that isn’t gas)?  Above ground pools?  How do we begin?  Are they “good” in the sense that children can get wet and laugh and make good memories in them, all on a hot summer day, or, are they bad in the sense that they detract from the appearance of neighborhoods with in-ground pools, forcing the passer-by to experience vague feelings of embarrassment for someone, or, a whole family, that they have never even met?    What’s worse, a snob, or, a phony?

Culture gives us our reasons for doing stuff.  It tells us what is valuable and what isn’t.  It tells us exactly what REAL is and WHY it is.  Provided one understands a culture one can, if one is careful, disagree with some of the aspects and ideas promoted by a particular culture without getting oneself tortured, killed or, otherwise inconvenienced.  You have to be careful.  But, it can be done.

The Dutch continue to walk the Earth…  after all

Mrs. N. is of the opinion today that one of the most curious things about homo sapiens in the Age of Consumerism is their extreme passivity.

Billions live in want and filth, short pathetic lives that make those of us in the West want to look away… change the subject.  Two and a half billion people will live their entire lives without ever seeing a flush toilet.  On the other hand, just about all of them will get to see TV.  On the TV will probably be re-runs of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and definitely will be commercials that will be centered on someone showing off and bragging about something THEY have that YOU don’t.  In the case of the billions and billions that don’t have Jack-Shit…. That would be just about everything under the sun.

What strikes Old Mrs. N. as curious is how this nonsense manages to perpetuate itself.  I understand greed.  What I don’t understand is what “makes” those in need and those who want “feel” like it’s somehow their duty to accept the status quo, ignore the utter unfairness, and actually look up to and treat with respect those who flagrantly parade and display the fact that they have ever so much more than they could ever need, or use.

Is that innate?

Are we hard wired to kiss ass when we are confronted by a bird with more feathers in its tail than we have?  Is it as simple as that?  Does that little quirk of a possible neurological left over from another time and place hand the keys to the Kingdom over to the graceless Plutocrats among us?  Can they sleep tight and secure knowing that the masses are hardwired for kowtowing…. and not throat slitting and bloody murder at the thought of the greedy laughing and eating cake while the less fortunate suffer and starve?

Or, is it culture that, universally, somehow, teaches us all that “IF” a person has more “THEN” that person not only must deserve more, but, should have power over those with less?

Is it some of both?

It’s gray and dripping here in Dixie and I’m wondering how it will start.  If it will start.  I’m wondering what idea, what group, what person will prove to be the catalyst that starts the chain reaction that transforms the greedy among us into the repulsive that are no longer tolerated in our midst..  Who will begin to Judge and when and how will the Judging take place?  What will it take?…  How bad does it have to get before the phrase… “Tis better to give than receive” .. is considered to be more than something dumb to put on a… bumper sticker?

Such a transformation will be hideous and painful and it may never work for long, if it works at all.  We just may not be up to the task.  Inequality, needless suffering and pain may just be our lot as humans… pathetically squishy experiments in sentience that we are…  Or, maybe there is a kid out there right now dragging a sharp key along the side of a new foreign car that costs more money than he will ever earn in ten years… and he has a toothache, and no money for the dentist.

He is hungry.  He is hungry a lot.  He is dirty too, most of the time, but, he has this thing with putting words together.  And his eyes have this special “something” that you really can’t explain that makes you feel good as you listen to his words flow out in a way that makes you feel inside that he is nothing but right about everything he says.

I would advise him to lay low.  I would advise him to quietly build an army of like thinkers as fast as he can.  I would tell him that drawing attention to himself would be deadly too early on…

Who am I kidding?  If I were honest I would tell him that he is already dead if history is any judge of what is to come.  The Plutocrats have their hounds out perpetually sniffing all around for the likes of troublemakers such as he.  It will be a miracle if he lasts the year.

Given enough time they say that anything can happen.

Given enough time they say it has to.

The question is, how much time have we got?

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

 

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Jack-Shit

“…From 1891 to 2007, real economic output per person grew at an average rate of 2 percent per year — enough to double every 35 years. The average American was twice as well off in 2007 as in 1972, four times as well off as in 1937, and eight times as well off as in 1902. It’s no coincidence that for eight decades, from 1890 to 1970, educational attainment grew swiftly. But since 1990, that improvement has slowed to a crawl…”

“…Poor academic achievement has long been a problem for African-Americans and Hispanics, but now the achievement divide has extended further.  “family breakdown is now biracial” Among lower-income whites, the proportion of children living with both parents has plummeted over the past half century…”

“…Many children are culturally disadvantaged, even if one or both parents have jobs, have no books at home, do not read to them, and park them in front of a TV set or a video game in lieu of active in-home learning. Compared with other nations where students learn several languages and have math homework in elementary school, the American system expects too little. Parental expectations also matter: homework should be emphasized more, and sports less…”

The title of this little slice of the absurdity that is my existence is “Jack-Shit”.  If I were asked to use the title in a sentence it would go something like…  “It’s rather obvious to me, after speaking with you, that you don’t know Jack Shit about anything.”

More and more each day I find myself thinking ..”This person doesn’t know Jack-Shit about what we are discussing.”  Because of this unfortunate reality I find myself engaging people in conversation less and less.  I avoid people I don’t know well.  In point of fact I have come to realize and accept the fact that the only thing holding America together is our collective disease.

[…”Positivity-peddlers are working overtime, but the big picture is sobering. Consumerism and predatory capitalism are not viable long-term organizing principles for a society. Our myths about progress, superfluous wealth, limitless expansion and endless resources are formulas for global ruin. Hyper-competitive individualism is a lonely straitjacket that fuels frustration, alienation and rage. Freedom has cheapened into a demeaning free-for-all in a prison of petty wants. As a springboard to happiness, emotional health and social wellbeing, ‘the good life’ is an exhausting flop…”  (John F. Schumaker)

 

Now, I wouldn’t blame any of my gentle readers if they asked themselves… “What the hell got up Mrs. N’s dress today to cause all this fuss?”

It wasn’t much really.  A new business opened up in my little town last week.  It’s a Tanning Salon.  You give the owner money and watch a video.  Then you go into a little room, take off your clothes and get sprayed with a chemical that makes you look  orange/brown.  The woman who runs the joint is orange.  This is not her, but, she is this color.

When I was a teenager and crashing a car at about the rate of one a year there used to be this guy named Earl Scheib.  His commercials were on the radio all the time.  …“I’m Earl Scheib, and I’ll paint any car, any color for $29.95.”..  My first car was a 1964 and a half Mustang.  Earl’s gang did the body work and painted that car 5 times in the years I owned it.  Earl had quite the business back in the day.  You might want to read about it  …http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Scheib

Anyway, my point is this.  In the fucked up place we call America it now costs 5 cents more to get your body spray painted a sickly orange than it did to get your car spray painted when America was the undisputed champion of the world and Americans were walking around on the moon.  Back then, if you told someone you were opening up a business to spray paint people so they looked tan… people would laugh at your stupidity.

Not any more.

Not any more.

 

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

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