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America Since “Pleasantville” Fifties: Cultural Rebirth Aborted, Changing of Guard Denied, Elders on Life Support, and Abomination Fills the Land

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Culture War, Class War Chapter Seven: Cultural Rebirth, Aborted

It’s a (Not So) Wonderful Life…for the World War Two Generation Compared to Their Boomer Children

War Compelled the Dashing of Dreams for WWII Gen Youth – It’s a Not-So Wonderful Life

Sixties Youth Ideals of Freedom – So at Odds with Their Parents Lives of Heavy Responsibilities

The paramount theme in “Pleasantville”—which is that thinking for oneself and following one’s own unique path and being open to the change that comes with that brings “color,” truth, and aliveness to one’s life—is truly a Sixties Generation idea. Again, it is not that it has never been thought of before. All great ideas have been thought before, but that does not mean they have been implemented on a sociocultural, macrocosmic level. Many ideas have remained in the realm of the solitary pursuits of philosophers and mystics and been exemplified only in individual lives. But the Sixties was such a time of turmoil because the values of individual freedom, personal passion, feeling and experience, questioning authority, and thinking for oneself were shared by so many Baby-Boomers and were so contrary to the values of the generation in power.

It’s a (Not So) Wonderful Life

An excellent example of how opposed the Sixties values are to those of the WWII Generation is found in that beloved movie of all time, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart. In that film, the main character is prevented by circumstances from following his dreams. One event after another keeps him from leaving his home town. His story might be called “The Truman Show” in reverse for he comes to accept the loss of his dreams. He is rewarded for giving up his yearning for adventure with the warmth of a loving family and friends.

Nonetheless, he has been reduced to someone who simply follows a script or role and when it appears that he might fail in that role he considers killing himself.

Reassures a Generation

The movie is beloved and timeless, no doubt, because it reassures an entire generation and all those who have had to give up their dreams for whatever reason that their sacrifices were for a higher good and that it is a wonderful life after all.

Will never know what might have been.

It provides a rationalization against the painful feelings of knowing that one will never know “what might have been” by pointing out the truth that one’s life affects others and has meaning regardless of whether or not one has been fortunate enough to actualize one’s deepest desires, talents, aspirations, and dreams.

War Compels Dashing of Dreams

As mentioned, “It’s a Wonderful Life” calls out to and epitomizes the experiences and attitudes of the World War Two Generation in particular. They were called upon to fight a war, after all, which no doubt would derail many a young man’s (and woman’s) dreams. As in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the circumstances that arise to prevent their following through on their dreams are imposed from the outside–the state of being at war and being called upon by a draft to enlist or else be enlisted. For the women, as well as the men who stayed behind, the war’s influence on their lives and the carrying out of idealistic schemes and dreams are only a little less pronounced. For, as in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the war created a society heaving with needs and pain, which only the truly heartless (who wouldn’t have any dreams anyway) could not help but feel compelled to respond to.

Growing up too fast

In one way or another, the situation in the Forties, with the war effort and afterwards, created a generation who, except for the rare individual or one of unusual circumstances, was called upon to step up into mature responsible tasks long before the idealism of their youth would have preferred that they do so. And their generation is scarred for having missed this opportunity. They are individuals deserving of our sympathy; yet crippled they are nonetheless.

We Are the Centaurs (My Friends)… The WWII Generation’s Sacrifice Made the Idealism of Their Children Possible

The WWII Generation’s Sacrifice Made Sixties Visioning Possible

Mashing Butterflies and Drowning Kittens

This is not to say, however, that the generations before the WWII Generation were allowed their dreams and that the WWII Generation is unique in being crippled in its development. For we know that earlier child-rearing modes required the submission of children and youth to parental wishes (again, see “The History of Childhood As The History of Child Abuse” by Lloyd deMause). Therefore, dreaming or envisioning an adventurous life was not the norm. For much of the history of the world and in most cultures, indeed, even the selection of one’s spouse was decided by the parents. So much has our history–in both Eastern and Western cultures–been marked by the assassination of youthful dreaming, idealism, and choice that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet can be said to be a revolutionary work in even depicting that this assassination of dreams is a tragedy!

Roaring Into Life

Still, the WWII Generation can be said to have been especially affected by this slaying of self, for they did, after all experience the heady freedom of the “Roaring Twenties” and the dreaming that preceded the Great Depression. In the Twenties, victorious in World War I and with it now put behind, America was coming into its youthfulness and was heady with its achievements. Unbelievable accomplishments and inventions in all areas of life were speeding up sociocultural change causing some to believe that a new era was around the corner, just within reach, an era unlike anything the world had ever known. This was the atmosphere in the Twenties when the WWII Generation were in their childhood or adolescence. It couldn’t help making a very strong, because of its being early, imprint on their expectations.

Suddenly Depressed

However, these dreams would be dashed in the Great Depression, during which time they would be adolescents and young adults, and they would be harnessed into struggling like their parents had to earlier and were now again struggling.

Getting a New Deal…Light at the End of a Tunnel

Still, as time wore on the dreams of a new world would be reignited with the idealistic union movement and the Franklin Roosevelt changes in the social contract that rescripted the relation between the society and the individual, creating a symbiotic one which enhanced them both as champions of each other. Folks would magnify the power of the person when united with others. They would dream of a fairer world in which the rich did not dominate with their wealth because the poor could balance the scales with their strength in numbers, adding to their individual power by joining in unions and by combining their votes in elections. They could begin to envision the light at the end of the tunnel of the Great Depression in which they might realize the freedom and adventure they’d glimpsed around them as children in the Twenties.

War. Shot Down Again.

So it is understandable that they would not wish to enter World War II when it began. And Pearl Harbor Day, when their fate was inevitably forged, when it became clear that for the second time the light of individual freedom would be extinguished, would become an important marker in their lifetimes–a day almost as much to be memorialized as their birthdays.

We Are the Centaurs (My Friends)

Sitting on the Shoulders of One’s Ancestors

For this we can pity the World War Two Generation. As in John Updike’s The Centaur, the World War Two Generation is depicted as a generation that was required to give up its dreams and do its “duty,” above all. It was required to carry out a script given to them by their society, not allowing them to follow their natural youthful ideals. And as in Updike’s novel, they are beaten down in a life that is regimented and has no “color,” spark, life, idealism, or dreams. They have become the robot-like residents of “Pleasantville.” But Updike points out in his novel that their sacrifice, despite the personal tragedy of it on the individual scale, is both necessary and noble in that it makes possible the realization of dreams by the generation that they gave birth to.

Prince in Exile and Hundredth Monkey: Good Old Boys Are Always the Last to Learn in America’s “Pleasantville”

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The Hundredth Monkey: Good Old Boys Are Always the Last to Learn in America’s “Pleasantville”

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The Sixties Generation Arrived

It is significant that the protagonist of change in the movie “Pleasantville” would be a young male, Bud (David). This is in keeping with legends of old where a young prince comes bearing the new knowledge. But in postmodern style, wonderfully so, he is drawn only reluctantly into this role and we see that it is women who are the real instigators, the least threatened by change. At first, David/Bud opposes his sister and argues for the status quo, maintaining that his sister, who is actually the first one to “break the rules” and thereby to bring color to the town, must abide by the script.

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The Prince in Exile

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The Prince is Schooled in Tradition

sitaThe “young prince” knows the rules well. This fits with legend, where the new ways are brought by a prince who is not ignorant of tradition; in fact the prince is the one who has excelled in training in traditional ways. (See also, Common Themes from Myth and Mythology in Modern Fiction, Prince in Exile.)

In the movie, David is in fact a Pleasantville trivia whiz. He knows exactly the way things are supposed to unravel, the way events are supposed to go.

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The Prince Is Reluctant to Break with Tradition

So when his sister first introduces color by introducing sex, he admonishes her. And when he also is tempted to a change in the “script,” he refuses at first. This is when Bud is offered homemade cookies by the young woman who would be his romantic partner. He refuses because he knows that, according to script, it is another young man who is supposed to get the cookies and end up with that particular girl. Despite his attraction for the young woman, his strong sense of maintaining the status quo, not rocking the boat, causes him to try to refuse the cookies. It takes a great deal of forcefulness on the young woman’s part to get him, reluctantly, to accept the cookies that he actually does want. So, again, it is a young, significantly “colorized,” woman who tempts him into a change in the script.

The Prince Brings Change, Without Realizing It, Just Being Himself

It is not that the young man does not have the makeup for accepting change. In fact, even before his sister blatantly brings about change, and therefore color, by rebelliously introducing sex, he has already sown the seeds of change, although unconsciously, when he suggests to his boss, Mr. Johnson, that he think for himself, instead of following a rigid script. This he does unconsciously and out of selfish motives in that he by nature is different from the character he is supposed to portray and so he does not play his role exactly as it is “supposed” to be played. Specifically, because he is not really the robot character he has replaced, he ends up being late for his job–which heretofore was a totally unheard of event.

The Hundredth Monkey

It is also significant that it is the young that are the first ones in the town to become “colored.” As in the hundredth monkey phenomenon, it is first the young, especially females, who are open to new experiences, ways, and ideas. Then it is adult females–in this movie exemplified by Betty Parker, the mother of Bud and Mary Sue—who are next to consider alternatives and new ways. Adult males are the last to turn to color, but among them it is the sensitive of heart, exemplified by the artist/soda-jerk character, Mr. Johnson, who “turn on” initially.

Good Old Boys, the Last to Learn

Last to become colorized—i.e., to be open to change and thinking for oneself—are the “authorities” of the town, in this instance, those on the Chamber of Commerce. And among these the most recalcitrant of all is their leader, Big Bob, played by J.T. Walsh, in his final film role before his passing away. Though Big Bob displays a pleasing and affable persona on the surface (for this read “good old boy”), there is an insidious Hitleresque quality to him which provides the suspense at the climax of the movie where he presides over the fate of the artist, Mr. Johnson, and the “young prince,” David/Bud.

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Abortion of Cultural Rebirth Always Begins With a Conservative Backlash by The “Religious Wrong”

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A Conservative Backlash by The “Religious Wrong”‘ Attempts to Abort the Generational Changing of the Guard in America’s “Pleasantville”

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“You Can’t Legislate Morals”

With the support of the Chamber of Commerce, we know Big Bob has the power to do whatever he will with the two on trial. slide_194730_434143_smallAnd since the events preceding the trial has included mob actions which have included a book burning, the attack and destruction of the malt shop, and the cornering, physical intimidation, and physical attack of “coloreds” by gangs—images common to modern times which has seen these sorts of events in actuality occurring in the civil rights and anti–Vietnam-War movements, and currently in democracy and freedom uprisings in the Middle East, America, and throughout the world in the Occupy movement—the fate of the prisoners is imagined to include the ultimate penalty of death.

“Conservative Backlash”

Indeed, this ominous possibility is promoted by the actions of the soda-jerk Artist who, at the trial, pitifully pleads for a compromise. This is pitiful since we know that his art is his life, that it is the one thing that has truly enriched his life and made it worth living.

Sitting at the Lunch Counter

We know of its importance in that, even after the attack on his malt shop, he defied the “rules” laid down by the town’s authorities which outlawed art and color by working with the Prince through the night to produce a colorful mural on the outside wall of his shop depicting the current events of the town and the feelings swirling about inside its residents.

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This defiant act by the artist is reminiscent of antiwar demonstrators, who got fired upon at Kent State, of civil rights demonstrators, who police attacked with dogs, and of Tiananmen Square demonstrators, who were rolled over by tanks, shot, and killed, and most recently of all the courageous men and women of the Middle East risking their lives for freedom and of the Occupy heroes throughout the world putting their bodies in front of the most dire, widespread fascism ever to exist.

Since this character, recently so courageously defiant, is intimidated into pleading for a compromise in which he would be willing to use only certain colors or where he would submit for approval by the Chamber’s leader his ideas for painting beforehand—a compromise which his body language and facial expressions show, wonderfully acted by Jeff Daniels, is one near up against the very death of his soul—we know he fears for the loss of his physical life.

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“Just Sign This Confession.”

The compromise is too much like the compromises we have witnessed being offered and come to expect being offered to some of the Tiananmen Square and other political prisoners of recent times wherein they are required to do something along the lines of admitting their guilt, apologizing to the State for the trouble they have caused it, and promising to never again to engage in such activities…and only in the most benevolent of circumstance being allowed to continue anything like their former activities but if so only under the supervision and with the approval of authorities with veto power over their proposed actions.

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The Religious Wrong

So Big Bob and the Chamber of Commerce represent in the current social framework the Religious Right (sometimes referred to as the “religious wrong” and sometimes about which it is noted that the Religious Right is neither). Big Bob’s Chamber of Commerce represents Republicans, Tea Partiers, and those in general in our society who have succumbed to the rewards and threats of the World War Two Generation to live a regimented robot-like unfeeling passionless life; to become one of J. D. Salinger’s “phonies,” to abide by their misconstrued idea of “family values,” and above all to “behave” and not do anything to rock the boat of the status quo which might threaten the privileges of those currently enjoying power and wealth handed down, mostly, by heredity.

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Civil Rights Movement

It is highly significant that in the courtroom scene the “colored” would be sitting in the balcony, above the black-and-white men. One might say this represents their status as being an elevated state, something to aspire to, and yet not on the level where matters are decided. But even more so, this scene is important in that it is a near exact replication of the courtroom scene in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” wherein the balcony of the courtroom is filled with Blacks, another kind of “colored.” This makes it clear that when the movie is dealing with the conflict between the adult males of the town and the “colored” it is referring to the Civil Rights movement.

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Revenge of the Octogenarians and the American Tienanmen Square – Culture War

Abortion of Cultural Rebirth, Aborted Changing of the Guard – The King Refuses to Die

The American Tienanmen Square—Culture War

The events in China’s Tiananmen Square more than twenty years ago so affected and still affects some of us here in America because we know at some level that we have experienced it before. What happened in China two decades ago is so much like what happened here four decades ago, somewhat less graphically, around the Vietnam War demonstrations. Let me explain.

Standing Before Tanks, Flowers in Barrels

For one thing, the images of the demonstrations in China, e.g., the lone man standing in front of the tank, were so like those of Sixties demonstrations, e.g., Sixties youth blocking the paths of soldiers and placing flowers in their gun barrels.

Revenge of the Octogenarians

And the result of both was the same: In both cases the opposition, the youth movement, crushed— violently in China, subtly and behind the scenes in the US—at the command of an octogenarian generation, clinging desperately to power as much as to their waning physical frames.

The King Won’t Die

Assassinations—Character and Otherwise

We see the same pattern of violent versus subtle played out in the US as well where we no longer assassinate our president as we did with JFK, we character assassinate instead, as we did with Clinton and which the Tea Party and the wealthy right are trying to manufacture against Obama. One might say the WWII generation in America has gotten more finesse, with practice, in its beating back sociocultural change not to their liking and that the Chinese geriatric set didn’t have as much practice with it.

The King Refuses to Die

Nevertheless the results in both countries are the same. They involve the ultimate victory of sociocultural change in both instances being delayed until the dying off of an elderly generation in power—a generation refusing to die or hand over the controls at the proper time like the generations before them. Simply, the king won’t die!

Time is Running Out.

Time is running out for the octogenarians and ninety-somethings on either side of the Pacific.

The expected, supposedly inevitable defeat of the WWII Generation—their dying off—is portrayed in “Pleasantville” by Big Bob, head of the Chamber of Commerce, ending up fleeing the scene in the courtroom. (Strange coincidence, the actor actually died after making this film.) There are many ways his defeat could have been played out in the movie. I think it is highly significant that he runs away, never to be seen again, just as in the current context the dying off of the WWII Generation is a literal leaving of the scene, not an outright defeat, or some other means of change of power.

The King on Life Support and The Consequences of an Abomination: America Since Its “Pleasantville”

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America’s Aborted Changing of the Guard and The King Propped Up Mechanically: Since “Pleasantville”

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With these factors in mind, what have we experienced in the last two decades, as the Sixties Generation finally got its turn? As expected, it was at first quite different from what the WWII Generation had been serving up during its forty-plus years’ reign.

The Nineties

We saw the beginnings of cultural enlightening and progress during Clinton’s term in the Nineties. In retrospect it was a colorful time; it was an enthusiastic time.

The Nineties were bookmarked between the economic wreckage left by Reagan-Bush and their voodoo economics throwing money at the rich leading to a huge recession and a financial scandal—S&L Scandal—that involved, for that time, an extraordinary price tag for the country. And the other end was the assignment by the Supreme Court of the election to George W. Bush over Al Gore—a battle of a Sixties Generation member against a WWII Generation paid-for concoction, the W.

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A Culture War Raged

In between those two markers a war was waged, a culture war, whose battles—economics, abortion, sexuality, cultural expression, war/peace, child abuse, spouse abuse; and whose personalities—Clinton, Gingrich, Lewinsky, OJ Simpson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Brown, Ross Perot—were detailed and rehashed endlessly via the daily news mills.

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The W

At the end, the installment of the W represented a resurgence, in typical Culture War style, of the dominance of WWII-type oppression and manipulation of the masses.

The King Propped Up Mechanically

b209568907yuppieIt was the abortion of the changing of the cultural guard that was naturally occurring. It was the King propped up mechanically, robot-like carrying out the dictums of those who once lived but were no more. It was an abomination of the natural order.

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The Consequences of an Abomination

And its consequences during the first decade of the Twenty-First Century were exactly what would be expected from an abomination like that.

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Monsters Don’t Really Die in Horror Flicks

220px-David_H._Kochmatrix-podThe WWII Generation—like the endings of horror flicks, which leave always a hint or part of the monster living on somehow, thus setting up a possible sequel—left behind part of itself in the form of the Eighties Generation clones and the Fifties Generation. And these folks ain’t going away any time soon! They are here in the Tea Party; they are here in the wealthy right; they are here in the ownership and guiding principles of the mainstream media, now become principal propagandist of the American patriarchy (the “filthy rich”).

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Millennium’s Second Decade—Same Old Culture War

Currently, in the second decade of the new millennium, the Culture War has erupted in Nineties fashions, pitting Obama now against the cultural regressives.

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The Wisconsin-style anti-cutback, pro-union uprisings and the worldwide Occupy phenomenon have brought the lingering issues out into the open in a style not much different from the rebellious Sixties.

It is the same old culture war/class war, now brought to furious and fiery life, as a struggle suppressed by a decade of domination by untruths would be, as it emerges even angrier for having to wait.

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The King’s Gotta Die Sometime! Dangers and Prospects, Zombie Apocalypse vs the WWW

The King’s Gotta Die Sometime! Prospects and Dangers in the Post-WWII-Generation World

However much we cannot know the future, and despite the seeds of WWII Generation values left incubating in the minds of Eighties and Fifties Generation members and emerging under tea-bag hats, we can hope that the vision of “Pleasantville” will eventually hold out.

Hopeful News

People Fight Harder to Keep What They Have…For Good Things They’ve Experienced.

Just as in the movie when after everyone has experienced color there is no semblance of a wish to return to a black-and-white world, so also we might hope that as our society turns more and more away from war-making, selfishness, race- and sexism, ecological destruction, and all the other WWII Generation evils left behind, and turns more and more toward economic prosperity, peace-keeping, loving our children and having honest relationships, and the reclaiming of our natural environment and ecological balance, there will be fewer and fewer who wish to turn back the times to the unreal black-and-white world of the “Blue Meanies.”

Reason for Hope

We see evidence of this in both the election of Obama and the high popular ratings for him since in office. Earlier we observed it in the great support for Clinton even during the assassination attempt on his character.

People of Hope

The approval ratings of both of these Sixties-side-of-the-Culture-War Presidents certainly is not comprised only of Baby-Boomers. Sixties Generation values are infectious because they offer so much hope. African-Americans of all ages supported Clinton overwhelmingly; of course they support Obama. We can certainly see that our black population would not wish a return to the black-and-white world that included discrimination and violence against them.

Women of all ages, for the same reasons, would not be expected to wish a return to a less individualistic status, to a subservient state. And the young will always be idealistic if they are shown any ideals, which is what we can expect the Sixties Generation to be doing for them, as they continue taking their seats in the Wise Elders section of the parliament of sociocultural creation.

Last Ditch Battle

We have seen examples of this change all around us. In fact the current frenzied attack from the Right can be seen as a desperate last ditch battle in a war they will inevitably lose. That is the good news.

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Bad News

How Bad the Aftermath, The Devastation Left Behind

The bad news is that, similar to the way the Republicans cleaned out the Treasury and left huge deficits and several wars on the desk of the incoming Democratic administration in 2009, thus hobbling it before it began, we have no idea how great will be the destruction left behind from these culture waging, albeit waning, authoritarians in the current context.

Heavy with Gold

With their gains in stealing from all classes of society below them in their last dying clingings of a dying old guard, a king who simply won’t die, they are heavy with gold. They have the means to buy much more influence than their numbers.

Their Power Is Magnified

The multitudes are growing in size against them, but with their wealth and with the technology and science available now multiplying further their abilities, their capacity to control the minds of much of the population is magnified beyond anything previously and beyond anyone’s abilities to calculate or foresee.

Zombie Apocalypse?

So despite the trends toward a natural evolution like we have seen in the past, we might witness a strange aberration-—a zombie apocalypse created out of the thinking of a time long gone comprised of sick ghostly fantasies of a black-and-white golden age that never was. Such things have happened before; cultures have indeed stagnated for hundreds and even thousands of years. The Middle Age is one such example of stagnation beneath an oppressive deathly authority that would never renew.

Still, despite the scientific and technological monkey wrenches that might permanently upset a natural order of progression, it is more likely that things will work out as they have most of the time than that we will see an aberrant development. There is, after all, at least as much technology and science catalyzing progressive change as is not.

The Positive … Good News?

And the evidence for a natural development is there for all with eyes to see. With so much change needed, it is easy to forget how much has changed for the positive since the Sixties. Still, with no inclination to see it, no amount of listing of the evidence will bring them into view.

What might be helpful, though, is to note some other analogies from the movie “Pleasantville” which can provide insight as to what may be on the horizon or at least be considered food for speculation:

It Takes a Village; We Are a Global Village.

Whereas the black-and-white Pleasantville ends at the town’s borders and turns round again to the center of town, the post-color Pleasantville roads continue going, connecting Pleasantville with the rest of the world. Thus, with color and by inference imagination and thinking for oneself, Pleasantville has become part of a larger world, one in which Pleasantville citizens can participate and in which they can travel and take up residence. This represents the global village, the coming together of the interests of all nations–the emerging “global economy.”

We Have What Really Brings Down Tyrants – The Power of Individuals Is also Magnified by Technology.

But perhaps most of all this connection to a larger world represents those factors of modern telecommunications and travel that have made the world open to the eyes of all, which is the real reason the Iron Curtain fell, the real reason apartheid was overthrown, the real reason democratic revolution is coming to the Middle East and may yet be causative in bringing democracy to places like China and Iran, despite their oppressive propped-up elder-archies, their kings who will not die, their frozen non-renewing social processes.

The W’s Legacy Finally Overthrown by the WWW?

And the most potent analogy of all: the World Wide Web, bringing together all peoples of the world into a collective consciousness sharing ideas and together shaping a world, not just a neighborhood, with true democratization of information, uncontrollable by any wealthy elite of any country or any generation.

Stay Tuned.

Finally, the image at the end of “Pleasantville” is the most apt for what we may next expect: The only thing we know for sure is that it will be different.

Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Eight:
Creating an American Mind

Coming Up: The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths”–How The Big Lie Continued; The Fifty-Year Invisible Family and Community That Surrounded All Americans and Affected Every Aspect of Their Lives Including, and Intentionally, the Basic Components of One’s Personality, and the Erosion of Reason, Soul, and Independent Thought or Action.

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Six: “Pleasantville” as Culture War Allegory

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Culture War Allegory … “The Awakening” in America’s Not-So “Pleasantville”: Evolved Parenting Results in Authenticity and Defeat of Body Snatchers

Culture War, Class War, Chapter Six: “Pleasantville” as Culture War Allegory

To Follow or Not Follow “the Script” in America’s Not-So “Pleasantville”

“Pleasantville” as Culture War Allegory: Thinking for Oneself Gets You “Colorized”

Not So “Pleasantville”

The film, “Pleasantville,” is a postmodern sociological allegory or fable released in 1998. It begins in then-current time against a backdrop of the usual violence, chaos, and turbulence that we are conditioned by the media to believe characterized the Nineties in America. Two high school teenagers, David and Jennifer, played by Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon are planning their evening.

A Tale of Two Siblings

David is planning to watch the Pleasantville marathon on television and to participate in the trivia contest that will be part of it. Pleasantville is a an old sitcom from the 1950s in the Father Knows Best, Leave It to Beaver, My Three Sons style which has attained a cult-like following and is shown regularly on a cable channel similar to the “Nick at Nite” one that we know of which specialized in reruns of old sitcoms. It becomes clear that David is an ardent devotee of the show in part because it compensates for the lameness of his real life. Unlike his sister, who is portrayed as a real “firecracker” of a young woman, he doesn’t date or participate in the school scene. It is implied that he may be using the sitcom as an escape from not only a boring life but a threatening one and that he longs to live in the kind of ordered, safe, and unchallenging reality that the sitcom depicts. David is such an avid follower of the show that he is shown to be a master of “Pleasantville” trivia and is primed and eager for the contest on Pleasantville trivia.

But his sister, Jennifer, is planning for a hot date at home…their parents being away for the weekend providing an opportunity for her to be unchaperoned with her guy—which she eagerly anticipates. At odds over what will be played on the TV–Jennifer wanting to watch instead an MTV concert with her date—they wrestle over the TV remote and end up breaking it. However all is not lost as at just that moment and completely inexplicably a television repairman played by Don Knotts drives up in his truck, knocks on the door, and imposes his services on them in fixing the problem.

Don Knotts—perfectly cast, in a Jungian sense, for it is often the impish or normally overlooked and unnoticed element that initiates sweeping changes in people’s lives—indeed does introduce the magical element into the film. He produces a different kind of remote control, which he claims has special effects saying, “You want something to put you right in the show!” Sure enough, in checking out the remote they hit a mysterious button and are transported into the TV and thus into the sitcom and the town that is called Pleasantville.

To Follow Or Not to Follow “The Script”

After their initial confusion, they realize what has happened and try to return, but do not know how to. David–who it becomes apparent has been thrust into the role of Bud in the sitcom–advises his sister–Jennifer who has become Mary Sue in the TV series–to go along with events until they figure a way to get home. Since he knows all the plots of every show of the sitcom, his idea is that they act out the events as they are supposed to happen and that they do what the two characters–the teenage son and daughter of the parents in the sitcom, Betty and George Parker, played superbly by Joan Allen and William H. Macy–are known to do in the different episodes he has seen.

Essentially, then, David as Bud is advising his sister to “follow the script.” And of course it is not hard to discern at this point that we are beginning to see a metaphor for psychological realities and that “following the script” has a broader meaning for a choice that everyone must make in life in growing up, viz., to follow the script laid out for oneself by one’s parents and society in general or to follow one’s inner direction and inner guide in asserting one’s individuality and expressing one’s unique self.

The rest of the movie is the story of how these two characters–transported magically from the future as well as from the real world as opposed to a made-up TV world–introduce change into the town and thereby color. Mary Sue, formerly Jennifer, does it consciously. Rebelling against her brother’s admonishments to follow the script, she goes on a date with someone she is not supposed to according to the sitcom script and then–horror of horrors for a 1950s world – engages in sex with him at the local “lover’s lane”–where the farthest that anyone goes, according to “script,” is holding hands. We find later that her date describes this unheard of experience to his classmates, and, like ripples emanating from a pebble dropped in a pond, her action results in a number of the school youth engaging in sex and thereby becoming, to everyone’s amazement, colorized!

The brother also introduces change, and therefore color, but it is done unconsciously at first. As mentioned, he tries to get his sister to follow the script. Still, in a metaphorically powerful scene, when he is late for work at the local malt shop–this is unheard of as well because “Pleasantville” is a world where no one is ever late for work–he inadvertently introduces change himself. In fact, he introduces the most insidious element of change because he explicitly advises–without realizing what he has unleashed–that his boss think for himself!

In this scene Bud, formerly David, finds his boss and coworker, Mr. Johnson, played by Jeff Daniels, stuck at the end of the counter, cleaning away with a wash cloth, like a stuck record, at the same spot, even as the surface of the counter is rubbing away.

When the soda jerk, Mr. Johnson, explains confusedly that the normal regimen would have required Bud to arrive at work before he, Mr. Johnson, could go on to the rest of his chores, “Bud” simply suggests to Mr. Johnson that in the future he continue with his next chore even if Bud isn’t there.

So simply in being himself, coming from a future in which people react to change by thinking out new responses and thereby adapting to them, Bud, aka David, introduces a totally new element into the soda jerk’s script. This has far reaching consequences as the movie progresses and Mr. Johnson begins thinking for himself and having ideas about other things as well. In this way, the soda jerk, soon to be artist, too ends up “colored.”

“The Awakening” in a WWII Generation World of “Blue Meanies” and “Nowhere Men” … “Yellow Submarine” … “Pleasantville”

“Pleasantville” and “Yellow Submarine”: The WWII Generation World of “Blue Meanies” and “Nowhere Men” vs. “The Awakening”Blue Meanies


The 1998 movie, “Pleasantville,”thematically, is remarkably akin to the 1968-released movie “Yellow Submarine” put out by the Sixties Generation rock group The Beatles.

In “Yellow Submarine” there is a region ruled by the “Blue Meanies.” These Blue Meanies, especially their leader, are depicted as powerful and cruel, yet sniveling, insecure, weak, and selfish underneath. Their angry and oppressive personas are shown to reveal poor little whining babies behind them. Their actions are shown to be those of “big babies,” whose gruff exterior must remain intact at all costs, lest their hidden sniveling and hurt little selves be revealed. The analogy the Beatles are making to those of the WWII Generation—at that time the parental generation, those “over 30″—is impossible not to make.

“Nowhere Man”

The movies are so similar in theme that the only major thematic difference between “Pleasantville” and “Yellow Submarine” is that it is music that is not allowed in “Yellow Submarine” whereas in “Pleasantville” it is color. But the idea behind them both is the same: Music and color both represent deep feeling, aliveness, thinking for oneself, and change. In “Yellow Submarine,” the man without music is Nowhere Man, who “knows not where he’s going to, doesn’t have a point of view.” In Pleasantville, the men without color act in the same ways, performing the same actions, day in, day out, without change, zombie- or robot-like–like characters in a 1950s-style sitcom in which nothing unpleasant, different, new, or too emotional is allowed to occur.

And above all, the black-and-white men do not think for themselves. This is graphically portrayed in the scene mentioned where the owner of the town malt shop, Mr. Johnson, portrayed by Jeff Daniels, is left cleaning the same spot of the counter for hours so that its top is rubbed away because his coworker is late and the routine they use to close up cannot be completed in the way it is done, everyday, in exactly the same way. Confronted with this small change, he shows himself to be the “Nowhere Man” and like a needle stuck on a record, he is rigidly stuck repeating the same action, not having the power to think of an alternative action in response to a change in the usual routine.

“The Awakening” – No Longer a Distant Vision

The differences in the years of the release and the different artistic modes used to express the themes of these two movies have something to say as well. In 1968 the changes in culture of the New Age were a vision and a hope. It is appropriate and telling that “Yellow Submarine” was expressed in animated form. Like a dream that would take a long time to realize, it needed to be expressed in cartoon-like fashion, for the time of its emergence in reality was too far off.

By contrast, “Pleasantville” blends a fantasy world–appropriately it is a TV sitcom, which has more similarities with reality than an animation – with the actual reality of postmodern times. The advance toward reality is patent in the evolution from an animated form–indicating the change is far off, a fantasy, a wish, a hope–in the 1968 movie; to a black-and-white form involving real actors, real people; and then to a colorized version involving real people in what is supposed to be real time and real cultural reality, in the movie released thirty years later. One might say that what was a fantasy over forty years ago is, however unconsciously, being heralded as, hopefully, emerging and coming into being now–in actual, black-and-white or colored, real time and place.

Reversing the Invasion of the Body Snatchers: The Preeminence of Inner Authority – Authenticity Rising

The Preeminence of Inner Authority – Authenticity Rising:
Reversing the Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Reversing the Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Concerning the movie “Pleasantville,” noted movie critic Roger Ebert quite astutely pointed out that it was “like the defeat of the body snatchers” (from his excellent review, “Pleasantville” ). One might also say that it is one in which Holden Caulfield, the character in J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, wins out and children do not grow up to be adult “phonies.” Another analogy would be that it is a depiction in which Peter Pan stays young, when he succeeds in keeping the children from ever growing up and thereby losing their capacity to “fly”–representing the capacity to dream, to envision, to be open to new possibilities, to adventure.

What It Is That Makes One Alive

Against this backdrop of lack of real aliveness, the introduction of “color” into the town of Pleasantville through the introduction of sex is not seen as something bad at all. Similarly, in recent history, despite the increasing drum beating of the Religious Right in the last three decades, those of us who grew up in the Fifties know that the introduction of sex–in the Sixties, as in the “sexual revolution”–was a step forward from the hypocritical sameness and plodding repression of the Fifties.

Other elements introduced into Pleasantville that produce colorization in the participants include thinking for oneself (Jeff Daniels in his role as the soda jerk), intellectual passion (the sister), questioning the way things are supposed to be or, in Sixties terms, questioning authority (when the brother finally becomes colored), artistic and creative passion (Jeff Daniels again), and even the passion of honest rage (the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce). These elements arise in Pleasantville just as they arose into the collective consciousness of those of us living in the Fifties and Sixties.

Of course I am not naively saying that these elements never existed before the Sixties. The underlying factor that was introduced into the movie causing color and that was also introduced into our society causing all the sociocultural changes that we, usually, complain about is the factor of choosing something different than what is expected by society, than what is expected by the outside. What is introduced in the movie–as it was introduced in our culture–is the preeminence of inner authority in making decisions, as opposed to outer authority.

A New Psychohistorical Era!

In psychohistorical terms this difference is marked by Lloyd deMause as a difference in a mode of child-rearing. The black-and-white Fifties Pleasantville is a representation of a mode of child-rearing—which characterized the Fifties—wherein the role of the parents is to “mold,” model, and guide children along paths that the parents have deemed to be correct–called the socializing mode of child-rearing. The child is expected to be a clone of the parents, a mini-me, or at least to represent the parents’ ideas of proper behavior, ideals, and mode of living, irregardless of whether the parent models them or not. And when not, the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do” and the term hypocrite as applied to the parents are apropos. The basic nature of the child is considered to be sinful and evil or at least beastial; the classic novel Lord of the Flies depicts this view of human nature. Therefore the child needs to become other than itself and conform itself to something outside of itself in order for she or he to be considered “good” and to receive good responses in turn from parents and society.

By contrast, the colorized Pleasantville represents the mode of child-caring that came out, big time, beginning in the Sixties, wherein the parents’ role is that of “bringing out” from and supporting, encouraging, and helping the child to discover what the child’s talents and inherent abilities, feelings, and proclivities are, and then encouraging the child to “believe in him/herself” in the expression of those inherent and inborn good qualities and values–termed the helping mode of child-caring. [Footnote 1]

This mode contains a radically new view of basic human nature. Humans are seen to be essentially good (even “divine”). It is evil and painful events impinging upon the child from the outside—family and society—that are deemed causative in taking the child from its natural state of innocence and goodness and inherent unique talents to one wherein the child is corrupted and thus becomes beastial and lacking in inherent good qualities and talents.

Therefore the solution is to protect the child from traumas coming from the outside, especially the huge one of feeling unloved through not being seen or respected as a unique individual…as opposed to being seen as a mere outgrowth or mini-me of a parental entity. And in so doing the parents’ role includes helping the child to discover his or her uniqueness and dispensing unconditional love, that is, love that is given freely, without the requirement, as in the socializing mode, that the child do and be what the parents want before the child is accepted or shown approval or any emotional warmth.

In representing this advanced mode of being (and child-caring) the “colorized” people in Pleasantville open themselves to possibilities that were never before considered; they stray from the earlier mode requiring strict conformity to parental scripts. Robert Kennedy’s Sixties quote comes to mind as expressing this: “Some people look at things as they are and ask, why? I think of things that never were and ask, why not?” This means, then, a capacity to experiment and adventure in one’s life, which, at bottom, involve a belief in questioning authority and thinking for oneself in Sixties terms or, in Sathya Sai Baba’s words, a belief that we are, each of us, “experiments in truth” in our sojourns on Earth. And just as these elements and beliefs became more and more a part of America’s collective consciousness in the Sixties and Seventies and ever since then, they also gradually develop in “Pleasantville.”

Love Uncertainty – We Need to Stop Bemoaning the “Messiness” that Comes with Freedom

What It Is About Change… Revolution Is Not a Tea Party
(But It Can Be a Tweet Party)

The “Messy” Scenery of Healing

“Love My Uncertainty”

One reviewer described the ending of the movie as “not at all easy and tidy, but rather very, very messy” ( “Pleasantville” by Chris A. Bolton). Ebert–more astutely but not quite correctly—wrote that the determining factor in whether someone became “colored” was the factor of change. The first reviewer, like someone with one foot still in “Pleasantville” or one who is still not fully colored, does not understand that the ending, wherein the characters proclaim that they do not know what is going to happen next, contains exactly the essential message of the movie. The ending can only be “messy” if one expects a particular ending.

The reviewer is very much like the critics of Occupy Wall Street who claim the protesters do not have a message, or a leader…essentially don’t know where they are going. He is wrong for the same reasons those critics are.

The whole point of change is that it is always something one does not expect. Likewise, when people act out of inner rather than outer authority, one can only expect that what happens will be unique, like people are when they are not conforming to external expectations. So there could be no pat or predicted ending. The moviegoer could not leave knowing whether Betty Parker, the Stepford housewife turned liberated woman, returns to her husband, George, or takes off with the soda jerk turned artist, Mr. Johnson, because that would destroy the uncertainty inherent in change, growth, aliveness, and so on. So the ending is exactly what it has to be.

And this ending expresses the spiritual razor’s edge each of us must cross during our life’s sojourn. Whenever we try to put life, or love, into a box, package, or a gilded cage, it dies or stagnates—just like a boring black-and-white sitcom world. Real change and spiritual growth means letting go and opening oneself to the unexpected and the unknown. So it is in this vein that the spiritual teacher Sai Baba tells his followers, “Love my uncertainty,” in helping them to deal–after the usual “honeymoon phase” at the beginning of their spiritual path–with the trials, changes, tribulations, and suffering that his devotees experience later on, along their path to greater purity of heart and compassion, and eventually spiritual liberation.

The Scenery of Healing

One of the reasons the movie, “Pleasantville,” so appealed to me is that its view of current events is so akin to that which I have been expressing in other of my more recent writings–e.g., the articles The Sometimes Messy Scenery of Healing and The Emerging Perinatal Unconscious and the books Apocalypse – No!, Apocalypse Emergency: Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth? and Apocalypse, or New Age? The Emerging Perinatal Unconscious–wherein I make the argument that recent events are not evidence of a downfall of civilization, as conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Pat Buchanan would have us believe, but are the necessary “birth pains” of a new age being born.


In Pleasantville, indeed, though everyone smiles and there is no crime or unpleasantness–which is supposed to reflect the view of reality presented in Fifties sitcoms like Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver–it is inherently flawed in that it is lacking in “color.” Those of us who lived through the Fifties know that the lack of color is an apt metaphor for exactly the way it was at that time. It was a back-and-white world–a world that covered up its underlying nastiness and evil by repression and denial–psychological defense mechanisms that characterize the World-War-Two Generation especially.

New Mantram: “Thinking for Oneself Is Good!”

The point in the movie, which is so appealing, is that it causes us to look again at the changes in our society that have occurred because of the various “revolutions” of postmodern times–civil rights, student antiwar, women’s rights, sexual, and so on–and to stop bemoaning the “messiness” that comes with freedom. We have more choice, more freedom now than ever. And this freedom allows us the opportunity for a higher spirituality—some would say the only true spirituality—which involves the harrowing path of deciding for oneself, based upon one’s ability to intuit or “feel” the correct path, and experiencing the consequences of one’s choices, as opposed to the preordained religiosity of following a script.

Though many would argue this, one has only to look, as this movie forces us to do, back at where we started. And from that perspective, with that stultifying, hypocritical, dishonest, and phony kind of supposed “living” in mind, we can easily see the changes and progress made in individual freedom and, dare I say, genuine spirituality, and accept the uncertainty, emotional pain, apparent evil, “messiness,” social and political turbulence, and all the rest that comes with it.

Footnote

1.See The History of Childhood As the History of Child Abuse by Lloyd deMause on the Primal Spirit site.

Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Seven: Cultural Rebirth, Aborted

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Five: The King Won’t Die – An Aborted Changing of the Guard

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Republicans – Blue Meanies Naked and Looking Foolish

Oh, Those Prankish Republicans

This follows from “Obvious Truths,” for those who are interested. This is called “Naked Republicans, Blue Meanies Fleeing or Foolish.” May 8, 2009…so maybe some of you seeing the news lately will know what I am talking about as what is going on currently is merely a continuation of what was started then, as I explain.

To start, this follows from how George W. Bush and Hank Paulson managed to get away scot free with their last-minute cleaning out of America’s cupboards—taking even the silver—and leaving America, and the world, closer to an actual doomsday within a generation or two at the most…leaving us closer to the end of all time than ever before….

Yea, I know… that made me feel real good too *sarcasm* … Happy thoughts…  [Continued below audio]


Cantor on Hardball.  It was Reported He Looked Foolish. Refused Questions, Was said to be Blabbering.Naked Republicans: Blue Meanies Looking Foolish
an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned, sometimes, humorous, reading of this chapter. For the author’s reading of “Naked Republicans,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here.

 
Image of Naked Republicans Blue Meanies Fleeing or Looking Foolish by SillyMickel Adzema

 


Blue Meanies Fleeing or Looking Foolish

Ironically, however, by knee-capping all efforts we were put on a worse financial footing even than the already horrible financial footing caused by the war and the eight-years of massive Republican tax giveaways to the Filthy Rich that was already going on and was going to be left to Obama and America to take care of. So what they did with TARP at the very end of Bush’s reign took a very bad situation and turned it into the emergency that we’re experiencing…. Yea, that cheered me up to.

Ironically, however these Republicans-that-got-away by kneecapping all future efforts to steady ourselves made sure we would never forget them either. For the last-minute clean-out was an overreach of the most red-handed, leaving us far worse off than the already horrible financial footing they had left America on, which was the result of a long war and another eight years of massive Republican tax cuts to the filthy rich…following from the twelve years of the same during Reagan-Bush….

So much for Republicans being deficit hawks

So the Republican facade had come down as surely as the Berlin Wall had. However, leave it to Republicans to never let the facts get in the way of saying whatever lies they can dream up to support their benefactors, showing in this way their true servitude to those outside interests. Unfortunately for them, after their embarrassing rejection in 2008 these Republicans were not even allowed the dignity that the Communist hard-liners had when they were so openly shown to be wrong and were allowed to disappear from public life.

Cantor and Bonior with bogus Republican response

They looked all the more ridiculous when they attempted some kind of reverse outrage at Obama for having been put in the position that, actually, their policies over the eight year’s of their governance with Bush put them.

But don’t cry for them. Because Republicans are extremely wanting when it comes to self-consciousness. It is impossible to imagine they they ever look at the “man in the mirror.” They are so other- and outside-oriented (towards money). Naturally it follows they are horrible at soul-searching or even looking inside to their conscience.

To keep this squarely on hard realities and not overreach, I am going against my gut and laying out that huge assumptionthat they even have a conscience. Certainly, John Dean of Watergate fame was not facetious when he wrote about “conservatives without a conscience.” So that is the context of this new era.

No. Republicans have ridiculed the inner life, any inner life, for many decades. They have been notoriously ripping into the prospect. Somehow they have convinced too many Americanswith their juvenile and effective substitute for reasonthat is, ridicule, mocking, and shamingthat if you have compassion for others you are a “bleeding heart.” They have advanced a perspective that if you shed a tear during a presidential campaign, for example, you are weak, unstable.

 

If you attempt to raise yourself  above feeling and seek the Presidency as someone who would NOT put himself above the law (See how great the opposite idea has worked out during the eight years of the W…that is, we had someone who did put himself above the law)…. If you would attempt to show that you would follow the law no matter what your personal feelings and you would give a legal answer to a personal question about your wife…for those who aren’t as old as me, I’m talking about Dukakis…well, then you are a zombie and have no feelings.

Somehow Republicans had convinced Americans it is better to be irrational and murderous for the sake of one’s family and to shred the Constitution and act dictatorially as a president than to aspire to deal with one’s feelings personally and abide by the same laws as everyone else so that Americans could still have the sense that there is still some democracy left in this country. Like I said, this was Dukakis’s approach in the first campaign we saw of a Bush for president. And somehow America decided it wanted a tough-guy, Bush, rather have than a rational person, Dukakis. That is strange.

Anyway, my point is that the Republicans disability in the region of the heart, has left them completely vulnerable to making total fools out of themselvesThe polls are showing they are not believed anymore. But that is not the whole truth, which is most Americans just do not think them credible when, after eight years of robbing Americans blind and creating the biggest and most punishing economic debacle in almost a century, it would be discovered the only progress or benefit of all that was to create a brand new class status in America. It was widely seen that Rich-publicans major accomplishment under Bush was the rising up of an entire new level of moneyed power which is above the very, very rich and which is so far removed from normal Americans the cable documentaries to report on it have struggled with any kind of normal sounding name for this class. Lacking even an acceptable euphemism the reporting  on this very very very very very very very very rich was forced into the obvious, calling this new class the “filthy rich.” That was the actual name of a documentary, “The Filthy Rich.” So don’t blame me folks, I didn’t make up the term.

So immediately after the end of Bush’s term and after the Bush-Paulson-”filthy rich” caper that cleaned out the Treasury and nearly eliminated Obama’s hopes for economic justice once he became President, they looked ridiculous when they turned right (around) and proclaimed as foolhardy, unworkable, and unnecessary Obama’s attempts to save the economy by funneling money to the actual people who do create wealth in America. These ordinary folks actually create the wealth in that they work for a living, not suck off others’ wealth. They actually pay taxes back to the government when they work…again in contrast to those other people we are talking about. And they actually create jobs because, not being “filthy rich,” they have not had the lives of ease of Bush’s Republicans and his “filthy rich” constituency. So when they get some money, however little it is, they maximize it; they do not feel like they have the privilege to blow it.

I mentioned Bush’s “filthy rich” constituency for certainly his administration was not a government run for the benefit of any but that new aspiring American royalty, those faceless people inhabiting that tiny slice of status above all the rest of us yet controlling  more than sixty percent of all America’s wealth.

The Republicans began embarrassing themselves within a few weeks of the outcome of the 2008 election by completely reversing their rhetoric soooo quickly. They had no trouble doing this because they are not ones taking to anything smacking of any namby-pamby “psychobabble” so they do not have a clue, and therefore no shame, about the way they are being perceived. This blind-sightedness is their way of covering up, to themselves as well as others, not only the fact that they are disabled in not having a heart but also the fact they have not the faintest glimmer of what an inner realization, understanding of one self, or even an insight is.  

So they could not help but expose themselves and their personal inadequacies before the majority of Americans who have had enough classes in the school of hard knocks as to have had to learn a few things about themselves and to have become at least a little savvy about human motivations and the hidden agendas of others. Because of their confrontations with the hard realities of life, ordinary folks are able to see through at least the most obvious of the dishonest ploys or self-serving lies of the people around who might occasionally resort to that.  So they were able to see these “emperors” sans clothing and their respect for Republicans turned toward pity. Therein we have our context.

Specifically we have these Rich-publicans…at this point now shortly into Obama’s term and after having blown all that money at their turn…squealing about big spending Democrats! Keep in mind this was only weeks from the ending of their dominance of government which had them, instead, opt for…well, not free spending…like they say “free spending Democrats”…but blatant and free stealing , with the obvious consequence of breaking the bank—the Treasury—in their all-consuming greed.

So, Boehner and Cantor, as Republican minority leader and Republican whip, went squealing and setting the squealing chorus going and keeping it high-pitched and ongoing about the very results of their own actions just previous, which added to the transparency of the shame they were displaying to … the world!  For, tragic but funny enough…and they so deserving of being laughed at…what we all saw was a small bunch of squealers who were obviously knowing of their guilt over the years and the suffering , immense, over the years they caused. They could not help but be keenly aware of the way they had enriched themselves and their circles of cohorts (the “filthies”). So rather than…. Christ, their behavior was the kind of thing you are able to see through at least by the time you make it into junior high! They opted to flaunt their shame and hypocrisy…”you lie”–Joe Wilson…rather than stand idly by. Undoubtedly they knew if they respectfully retreated at all, it would leave the center of the circle open to be filled with nonguilty voices. And these voices they knew would circle in increasingly on them and their despicable actions in the not too long ago.  So, terrified their silence would leave them naked and exposed to the truth…culpable, perhaps criminal…they opted for tactics of the most, let us say…well, unsavvy and unslick are two words that would apply and would be kinder than they deserve.  It didn’t take Shakespeare to see through their juvenile, laughable fakery and lies, which they then were stuck with and trapped inside of. And this caused them only to increase their proclamations to higher and higher levels of—hilarity for the rest of us—inane, embarrassing  and telltale inanity for them.  [continued after video]

True Deceivers

It didn’t take a Freud to see this tactic. In the common way of thinking of this Republican ploy–not the psychological way…like Freud–people say the best defense is a good offense. Others might say they made spectacles of themselves caught up in the shame and fear of being caught in their criminality if it were ever to come out what they had done under Bush. So, overburdened this way with anxiety, they could not then think with any rationality, nor even come up with any smooth or artful cover-ups. 

But America is not as averse to understanding other humans as these Republicans wish they would be. For a long time they could get away with their habitual lying, and they forgot that things had changed. Remember how McCain was brought down by his lying during the campaign against Obama in much harsher fashion than any of his predecessors?  He wasn’t a bigger bald-faced liar. No, he was just as big. But he ran in an era that had seen a rapid increase in technology, including the sort that allowed the production of ever cheaper and smaller little cameras without film, with immediate recall and which also recorded video, all from a tiny box. 

So, McCain, being like most Republicans out of touch with the waves on which the normal folks must surf or at least move, also made a laughingstock out of himself…remember this? He time and again and on stages small as well as grand (Meet the Press, for example) adamantly denied ever saying exact wording that, sure enough, the moderator would produce in video showing him, plain as day and exactly, saying and meaning.  So it was really rough going for all Republicans whose political skills all ran in the direction of their ability to lie and deceive while hiding their true agenda.

No, technology hasn’t been kind to liars.

And they had been so successful over the last few decades, half century that in the last fifty-eight years prior to Obama’s win, Democrats had held the Presidency for only sixteen of them. Indeed until Clinton managed to prevail for eight years, it had been a measly eight years out of forty-two. 

So, many Republicans had become reliant on deception. Hell, perhaps they became Republicans for that reason: They could apparently seek office with even the sleaziest, most criminal, or most selfish of reasons, but they would be surrounded by a sea of true deceivers–liars who made sport, game, and a perfection about that that.

Just ask them. As even McCain was accused by Bush in South Carolina of fathering a black child and came to the obvious conclusion that at least Bush was a big liar and deceiver and so on. Unfortunately that did not stop McCain from doing the same kinds of things. That’s the tragedy there. But that’s Republicans for you. I can’t understand them.

So, that’s the history, the thrust, and the wind behind them, as decade after decade, they turned truth on its head and got away with it.  Indeed, they were able to make American heroes out of the best in that art—Reagan the penultimate example. And in doing so they aided their cause of confusing Americans about truth. America’s mind became seriously muddled through Republicans getting away with blatantly and self-servingly turning white into black. Just add a little anti-abortion or a little evangelical sounding talk and they were able to come across to some as as white as the proverbial driven snow.

But things change.  I mentioned the technology as helping this along.  But how can anyone forget eight solid years of Bush-lies.  More than the lies:  How could anyone forget all the suffering caused by those lies!  No, people were getting harder and harder to lie to.

But when, being a Republican, that is the only tool, the only political skill, the only reason you are even a politician in the first place… well, though they might know that there has been a change in people’s abilities to see through them, still, skunks can not change their stripes, but funnier still is the stench they can’t cover up. 

Imagine that, and you’ve got an idea of how they appeared, how funny, how stupid, how much appearing to be the obvious fools, liars, self-interested, uncaring of the public interest, the Constitution, or anything that they they’d ever espoused, and which for most Democrats would be their actual reason for being in office…as it should be for all politicians in our democracy.

So, let’s take a little gander back at the fun of, no, not yester-year, actually not so long ago.… And would you believe it?!  I don’t believe they are going to allow themselves to realize how foolish they are appearing.  Look, if ya got no clothes, you may have an inkling at times that people are laughing at your foolish, saggy hide, but, well, YA GOT NO CLOTHES!!

So, a little fun, and, then, too, for the record:

I won’t go into the stupid things that Boehner and Cantor and the other bewildered fools said and that were laid out one after the other, the pundits almost chuckling at the spectacle as they, well, being reporters, they HAD to report on this idiotic behavior.

Basically, these Republicans are obviously the guys who blew all that money there at the beginning of their control. And even at the end, just a month or so earlier, they had wrangled the largest single payout in American history by extortive means. And then there you see them saying Democrats are spending too much money…. And, for what are they spending? The Dems are criticized for wanting to put money into the hands of people who might actually make jobs and could really use it…. Wow.

And but for all but them this is obvious and unseemly. Shameful. But don’t feel too sorry for them. Like I said, they have no capacity for insight. They may even shed a tear on occasion, giving you the impression they have a heart; but, no, not at all, none at all, absolutely NO insight into themselves. Let’s see…. Put this another way…NO self-awareness. 

For them it is, “Hell, where’s the time for that psycho blather when there are endless high wire games of swindle, intrigue, and self-interest to attend to!” And all of it with the added wrinkle of it having to be totally lied about. They are become consummate pretenders, precision actors. And of what would seem to be the hardest acting to pull off. Oh, lots of people could pull it off for a moment, a spell. A scene, let us say. But they have to pull off for a lifetime (!) that they are…check this out…that they are the EXACT OPPOSITE of what they really are. 

They have to boldly pretend in defiance of every single nerve and thought that comprises them and is obsessing every second how to get a personal advantage out of every, every little thing. Against that they have to appear they are “serving” the interests of the nation. Or, caught in that lie, well, it’s their “constituents” they are serving…

Though, think about it now, just who exactly lives in a district whose constituents want you to enrich yourself? Or who has constituents who are ALL, or even predominantly, so wealthy it enriches them as well? What kind of constituent could there be who would want for you to have power or advantage of whatever secret sort that is the object of your game or who would want you to work to benefit those “filthy rich” folks I was talking about earlier which…and this is match, point, game, no question!…which boon for them is achieved completely at their expense!

What kind of people would want that? What constituent would like seeing the already-haves having more at the expense of their having to accept lower wages, lower standards of living…having to worry about their not being able to afford health care and having to live the rest of their life with the knowledge that but for that unneeded manna on the filthy rich their child would be alive? Or who would want knowing that a war that cost them a child, and much else, was made up to distract and enrich certain corporations and not for your protection or benefit at all?

What kind of constituents are like that? Who has constituents who are like that?

Or, just simply, who lives in a district where your actions increase virtually all of the struggles of their lives so that you might slavishly carry out the wishes of the hidden puppeteers who have paid for your seat, bought your election for you, and so on, and who you wish to get ever closer to, in the thought  that sucking up enough you too can suck yourself, too, right up and through and into the tiny sliver class of the filthy rich?

So, that ploy, you know, goes like,

I have to screw all you Americans because the people in my district basically aren’t like real people and so the increased burden added to life’s struggle by my actions, well…

and here’s when the “heckuva job, brownie” really comes splattering back out from the fan

…because WE are AMERICANS, who’ve NEVER SHIRKED OUR RESPONSIBILITIES, BUCKLED UNDER A BURDEN, RUN AWAY FROM A FIGHT.  No, WE are AMERICANS!

And the smell of that bodily waste…well that’s a stench that even that skunk would run from.

I mean, say I’m in that district that person is talking about. Or the person who is representing that district is running for president and is showing me what the years with him leading our country are going to be like. Like I’m going to go…ok, because of course he’s right and I and all the rest of us in the district are the most blitheringly idiotic humans ever spawned…so we’re going,

Wow, yea. You’ve just made me feel so proud, you’re wonderful.  This being an American is so great, how fortunate that I am one.  Why, now I see, when you’re an American, you get to have stren…no, kind of like powers, Superman like powers. 

Yea, that’s the ticket.  ’s gonna be so fucking great having McCain as President, what a life I’ll live!  I’ll go to war but will kill multitudes and never get a scratch!  And, well, who gives a shit if this guy does everything the exact opposite of what would help improve the economy and make jobs. 

Damn, that don’t matter.  I’m like Superman!  I could probably work ten jobs; as he said, y’know, “we never shirk,  we never run away from a fight,  we will shoulder all responsibilities ,and never buckle under a burden.” So since I’m superman, as he’s pointed out,  that’s not going to be a problem for me, I could probably work ten jobs.

But if there weren’t any jobs, I wouldn’t even starve.  Thank God I’m a freaking American, how weak those sappy European weaklings who…heh!…have to eat to survive. 

Ha!  This is going to be absolutely such fun with McCain as president:  I’m going to Fight! I’m going to bear heavy burdens, I’m going to have responsibilities that never let up.  I’m not going to make much money…them “filthy rich” sorts, well they’re the ones that care about that.  Whereas me, because of this incredibly wise and pandering McCain (or Bush, Dole, Romney, Bauchman, Pierce… go ahead, any Republican name will work perfectly), I’m gonna get to have superpowers. 

Oh, how dumb, I just realized how dumb that sounded,.. Sorry, my bad, I’ll get this right… No, of course I’m not gonna GET superpowers, just because of this politician, however good, kind, wise, and caring of me.  Of course not.  He can’t GIVE me any such thing. 

But, I’m so alive and happy and grateful because, well, of course you see, it’s so obvious, HE’s opened my eyes to the fact that, well I’m an AMERICAN  AND THAT MEANS THIS INCREDIBLE GIFT, Gol Dang, thank you, Lord, and forgive me for not noticing the obvious: 

That I ALWAYS had these super powers.  How wonderful to be awake.  I’ll try my best to forget how stupid I was to have not realized it myself…ever…my whole life long.

OK, enough of that.  No, things are changing.  I don’t really know how these self-serving phonies, these pretenders, these highest wire liars, perfecting, ever more precisely, their deceptive skills, can continue the mass fooling of people they need to do.

So, there they are, wind no longer at their back but, like salmon, only knowing one thing one direction. And the only thing they know, stumbling and mucking their way forward, are those invisible strings pulling the same way, pushing them now into the wind! No matter how the winds have changed, they cannot change course. For they never got to set it in the first place. 

And so, in tandem they march, no matter how foolish they appear stumbling into the head winds, and falling down in their words–their words no longer seeming so artful as they go on and on about having to save the American workers and the middle class as they hand over, so fast it lookin like a holdup, to rich thick bankers the hugest sums ever dispensed by Congress. And this most quickly. And this outflow not to end cancer, achieve world peace, give solar energy to everybody in America. But, no. Rather this effusion into the hands of a jet-owning billionaire who is later going to brag how his bank is not going to give any of that money to people needing loans, homes, autos. No, they are going to store it away as it will increase their corporation’s profitability. And when the quarterly earnings come out, hell, they’re going to look great, their stock will go up… .more money, more money… and in the meantime, they’re going to triple the interest rates of those who already have loans with them…more money, more money, more money, feel like dancin…more money…like singin.

Well, believe me, they did that. It happened to me and virtually everyone I knew.

Well anyway these naked squeaky voiced Republicans…it’s a  blessing that they have no self-perception really…idiotically crumbled before that gang of the “filthy rich.” And, like I said it was a damn good thing for them they have no shame either when these bankers did not even cover up or hide…well not much anyway…the fact that they made out like bandits and they had no intention of having that money be anything but for feathering their nest.  Indeed, it was all the more suspicious since such a huge calamity was predicted if the money wasn’t forked over. I mean,  the Democrats were told it was going to be a “worldwide economic breakdown.” So then when the bulk of the money was not used to help the situation at all, and…well…we’re still all here….  Wow, it really looks like it was quite the con job, I’m afraid to say.  

And so these stumbling over their feet and their tongues Republicans…well, Obama is in office and a few weeks go by and now what?

What’s this?  They’re claiming that they’re standing straighter now. How’s that? Well, to a person, no one of them voted for the stimulus. Keep in mind that money was to go toward serving the entire economy, even the world economy. And both would of course serve to reverse the suffering and eventually go in the direction of easing the burden of all. Well almost all. After all the filthy rich bunch…well, it don’t help them.  You have money going into the hands of ordinary folks and well, that’s not money that they can steal from the government now is it.

So, there you see these Rich-publicans, talking as if they’re not absolutely exposed and naked in everything they say to you and me and the cab driver, butcher, computer nerd, and all the rest of the kind of people you actually see walking about in this world and in its cities. By the way, as for their “people,” where the hell do these faceless “filthy rich” live, anyway? Do they walk? Fly? Are they in fact alien beings? Superior ones, maybe? Well at least then it would have SOME kind of sense to it. 

But no, they are so pathetically proud, the Republicans, that they stuck together to “do a Hoover” and to screw over ordinary Americans. Do they really think we really believe them when they burden us, when they take the rug out from beneath us when we think we might be getting ahead, and so on? And then they call us Americans who can bear any burden, shoulder any blah, blah, blah, fight this, carry that, blah, blah, blah.

Ok? Now, there was that stimulus package and there was all the Republicans in the house, not one of them voted for it. And they’re saying they’re all helping us all out. Well, sometimes it’s funny…sometimes it’s just sad. but they made fools out of themselves, that’s one thing.

I mean were there EVER any people so pathetically lacking in self-esteem that such claptrap about where they were born actually made them grateful to the politician, who just added another, well not brick to their load, let’s say more like he just busted their truck with the load and now they are going to have to start all over again.

Ok, so now let’s say I’m one of those “constituents.”  I’m thinking…

“Thanks a lot, bastard, you think I got it easy?  You jerk!  Who the hell you think you are down there in Louisiana, Mr. freaking Governor who don’t need no additional unemployment money.  No, idiot!  You GOT a job! 

It’s me that can’t find work and that’s worried about my kids getting sick and, well, now the almost certainty, by the way because of your stupid-assed spiteful action to turn down my money for me.  Now, I ‘m gonna lose my house, worry about my kids staying healthy.

But you’ve done what?  You’ve stood up to Obama (the guy who was gonna give me money?)  You’ve said we don’t need no stinkin’ money and made yourself a spectacle on the national stage and, you think (here’s that lying again).  You screwed us over and then you’re thinking you can tell us that we were better than that or something of other of a slick confusing fog of insanity.

And you think that this will give you a leg towards the Presidency.  You screw me over and then tell me I’m a better person than you? that’s… eyaaaah!

Well, Mr. Jerk-off turning down my money for me like it’s my pride your fighting for, do you really think we are still that stupid, still that happy to be burdened and crushed for your aspirations, which obviously don’t include, you’ve made that damn clear, doing anything for any person, any “constituent, any citizen, no, not anyone”

And it’s clear that our burdens are so meaningless to you that you will heap misery on us to do, now what was that again?  You “stood up” to Obama?  What the fuck, are you in grade school? 

Do you think I give a shit who’s staring who down?  I’m trying to live a life; a life that you have just put a cloud of unhappiness and worry over that will not go away for many many years. Thanks a lot! In fact I may never own a home again.

Thanks for the radical change in my life that I wasn’t expecting.  But I won’t go on about things that cause your eyes to glaze over.  Just let me ask you this Mister, wise-potato?  You “stood up” to the guy who’s gonna give me money, and hold out his hand to me?  Ok, Mr. more principles-than-brains, what’s your next big plan?  

Oh, I see, you’re gonna stand up to, uh, Santa Claus.  Oh, yeah, I hear it all right.  Out on the National stage; spoutin out as if you’re talkin our mind; shit, you ain’t even one of us.  But I hear you:”

“Nope, Mr. Matthews, you see we’re Louisianans?  Not beggars.  We don’t need Christmas.  We can take care of ourselves.”

I hear you saying…

 ”Let you folks out there have Christmas.  I mean, if you’re so weak.  So you’ve had it your whole life and now you’re kind of like addicted to it.

“Well OK.  I’m not going to talk down any on those who are obviously so weak and needy.  But, you see, Mr. Matthews… Mr. Matthews, well let me put it this way, you ever come down to Louisiana?  Ever?  To visit us, anything?  You have? 

“So you’ve met with some of our citizens, have you?  You have.  Well, then you know what a strong-willed,  strong-spirited, and PROUD people we are down here, don’t you?  You agree. Thought so. 

“So you see that’s why.  I knew you would agree because it’s so obviously true about the folks that live down here, I didn’t see how you’d miss it. 

“So that’s OK, let Santa go somewhere else where he’s , you know, where they’re the folks that need to have a handout and can’t get by the year without having a good time.  No, my constituents are strong-willed, and they wouldn’t have me letting any squirrely funny-suited guy out here prancin around and lookin foolish.  Well, not us.  We’re not foolish.  We’re PROUD.”

Continue on this site with

Culture War, Part Twelve: American Dictatorship

 


Cantor on Hardball.  It was Reported He Looked Foolish. Refused Questions, Was said to be Blabbering.Naked Republicans: Blue Meanies Looking Foolish
an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned, sometimes, humorous, reading of this part. For the author’s reading of “Blue Meanies,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here.

 
Image of Naked Republicans Blue Meanies Fleeing or Looking Foolish by SillyMickel Adzema


Continue on this site with
Culture War, Part Twelve: American Dictatorship

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Continue on this site with
Culture War, Class War, Chapter Twenty-Six
American Dictatorship

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