Apocalypse No! Chapter Five: Death Wish – Thanatos Walking
Apocalypse is How an Over-Achieving Species Like Ours Does Its Will to Death
Freud showed we had a will to die…so — Will we survive? Will we wake up from global apathy to save our planet? Will we resist cowardly denial or die out like the dinosaurs?
Will We Survive?
This chapter discusses an age-old question which has currently become of immense, literally vital, importance: Will our species survive or die out like the dinosaurs? is the most crucial issue of our time. It is related to the fundamental fact of our existence for it is about the struggle between the forces of Life and those of Death. The consequences as to the winner of that inner struggle have to do with no less than the continued survival of life on this planet or total planetary collapse.
Eros vs. Thanatos
In the struggle between the current powers of life versus death, it is helpful to remember Freud’s paradigm-shifting observations about the human psyche on Eros and Thanatos. Freud showed how all human lives are drawn out against the background of each person’s inner struggle between the opposing forces of life and death…Eros and Thanatos. Specifically, for our purposes here, Freud advanced an understanding that made his insights paradigm-shifting, specifically, that each of us carry within us a Will to Die, which he referred to as Thanatos. [continued after video]
Thanatos Walking/ Will to Die, Pt 2:
Fleeing Freedom, Hating Goodness, Wanting Apocalypse
by SillyMickel Adzema
For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this chapter, click on the link to youtube above or click the audio player here:
Freud established that we act out a will to live and to be in the sun and to have fun and to love and to like goodness and health and truth.
“Other Times I Can Barely See.”
Freud also saw that we have at other times an opposite feeling that causes us to want to live in the dark; to not be around people; to shy away from life and the light and being seen and recognized and even to wanting to be lonely. This feeling causes us to not care about fun, to hate and be angry, indeed to hate everyone and even to want to lash out at them for no reason other than what might be self-labeled as spite. It makes us jealous of those who find happiness or pleasure in their lives and impels us to lash out at them and make them suffer the way we, on the inside, know we do. Because of this self-defeating tendency we irrationally beat up on our own bodies as well and abuse them with all kinds of substances and behaviors.
Thanatos is why there are always Republicans or something like them — Pharisees, Inquisitors…
And times in which they hold sway—stifling, life- and creativity-averse, stagnant and little changing times: the Middle Ages, for example…
This downward pull makes us want to hate goodness, calling things “kumbaya moments.” This part of our nature causes us to be jealous of others who are more giving and to hate them for that, to call people “goody two-shoes” or say something is “schmaltzy,” or to be saying that all that good stuff is just “drama.” It has us putting out terms like “bleeding heart” liberals. It causes us to not care about the truth, but rather to say things instead to hurt, get revenge, to get back at. Or it has us say untruths to get advantage, to disable our competitors, to hide from the evils we commit which enslave us further in the hiding of them, and so much more.
Struggle Will Out
But Freud took it beyond our inner struggles and talked about how the events of the world, the actions and movements of history, and the dramas of all the ages are in fact the products of this inner struggle.
At this very moment, our lesser selves are taking us on a path that leads inevitably, one way or another, to total species extinction. But not just that, being the “overachieving” species we are, we are bringing total life extinction to this planet and possibly even planetary annihilation–the death of virtually all life on this Earth.
Our Dogma Barks Out Our Specialness
Dogma Barks Out Specialness
Well, Ain’t We Special?
Freud pointed out we have a Will to Live, too–nothing earth-shattering there. In fact, so far he is stating nothing more than the common-sensical beliefs of the masses. Indeed, it is the universally held mainstream near-definition of humans…one of those “obvious truths” about us we like to bless ourselves with. Freud’s first point, taken by itself, encapsulates the cliched view of What We Are—that what distinguishes our species above all others revolves around a superior Will to Life.
While common-sensical that our Will to Life is part of a species superiority of ours, it is wrong…going too far. For would anyone say that other species don’t also have an incredible Will To Live?
Not So Much
But this hyperbole or over-reaching in stating humans are unique in the degree of their Will to Life reinforces my point about Freud’s ideas being zeitgeist-shattering. For in this common, frequent, pervasive even universal, and nauseatingly repeated promulgation of supposedly the obvious, by any and all who speak before an audience—large or small, from a principal speaking in front of a gathering of high schoolers or a preacher before his gathering of church-goers to the TV media pundit before a world-wide audience, and even to a US President’s audience of even greater global reach—it is shown that our special Will to Life is not as true as is assumed. For if we had such a superior drive in us, would it need to be constantly reinforced and upheld, as if against some attack, or attacker? And if so, what is the feared attack or attacker?
And here we get a clue into Freud’s discovery and its utter undermining of all that which is normally said regarding our humanness. For regarding our being special in our Will to Live, this kind of “protesting too much” and its flip side of repeating it ad nauseum, as Shakespeare obviously saw points to a hidden agenda. Truths do not have to be repeated endlessly, mantram-like, even ritualistically. For they are self-evident and need as much propping up as the belief that the sky appears to be the color blue to us—and you don’t hear much about that, do you?
My Dogma Barks Out My Specialness
But the pervasive repetition of the supposed Truth of our species Will to Life—especially the blown-up version that has it being the thing that makes us human, different from other species, “superior” to other species (there’s a clue), and even “special” (clue. Getting it?)—points to its being, not so much truth as dogma. And dogma does need to be endlessly repeated in that such things are exactly about things that are not obvious truths.
In fact, this repetition of an obvious truth points to its being not true. In the previous chapter I showed how our “sad proselytists” have to say their untruths and unrealities out loud in order to buck up or reinforce their believability. So also human societies need to endlessly repeat, in order to reinforce against onslaughts of insight, their precious untruths.
But the reasons behind the promulgation of this supposed “obvious truth” go even beyond, since we are not dealing here with any conscious or acknowledged, let alone written and standardized, set of things not obvious. For indeed, in this sad repetition of our superior life-valuing, it is put out as being something not needing institutional backing, being simply true in its obviousness.
So what then? Well, this repetitive characterization of Us, as Humans, has all the indications of something that has an intention, however unconscious, that has a calculation, however desperate our desire to not see it, about it to achieve an effect on the audience—in this case—the masses of all humans.
Humans’ Uniqueness Among Species? We Suck Up
What is that pathetically overlooked intention? Well, let us take a look at what that effect might be.
Anytime you place our species above all others (true or not), you are making as much as anything else a play to butter up your audience of fellow humans and appeal to their vanity…and thus, making them feel good, hoping that they will feel good, or, like you in return. In commonspeak, that’s called “people-pleasing.” In the vernacular, it’s called “sucking up.”
OK, so we’ve established that people in front of audiences near-universally want to say things that will make their audience feel good towards them. No, not so fast. For that overlooks the fact that somehow…and get this; for if the spoken thing were of the obvious truth category, then why would this follow…that somehow all these people speaking out to others about the unique will to life they have know—somewhere inside them—that saying such a thing will, in fact, give people a good feeling. That’s another clue.
More Socratic Dialoguing
And again, continuing this Socratic dialogue, well, wouldn’t humans just, of course, feel good hearing about their being superior? Doesn’t everyone feel good when told they are better and such? Well, now we’re getting to where Freud took us. For he knew, as we all do if we simply think about it. The answer is “no, not necessarily or even usually.”
Think about it. If the Beatles were to be told they were a good band, would that give them a good feeling? No. certainly not. For that was so true as to be overwhelming and almost scary in its near-universal belief. And we can suppose that to them having that kind of power and influence because of their talent—especially when you come out of nowhere, from humble, unassuming backgrounds—may have been distressing to think about and hardly something wanted from others. How could they not wonder about this power, its source, where it would lead, and all that? I don’t think it happenchance that this success sent all of them into drug-taking—to both block it out as well as come to terms with it—into soul-searching of the spiritual and, especially John, of the therapeutic sort. Sometimes one does not want to be reminded of how “good” (and therefore powerful…therefore responsible) one is; there’s such a thing as feeling one is scary good.
Or take the obviously accomplished anybody, Pavarotti, say. Wanna tell Pavarotti he sings good? Don’t think he’d feel a thing.
But, you say, that’s because they hear that all the time.
Ok, granted that. But think about when it would have felt good to them. Look to your own experience and you realize that you feel good when people tell you things about yourself—especially when they state them as self-evident and obvious to all—about which you are not certain, about which you often or at least sometimes have doubts, and about which you are insecure! Look to your own life. Can anyone be flattered about the things they know to be without question? Can you be flattered about the color of your skin or hair, or about…. Well, not stated as a fact, you wouldn’t. A person would be flattered only if they had some bad feeling, insecurity in that area, first; and second, if that quality of them is not usually noted though it be assumed by everyone to be a good, positive, or “superior” thing.
This pervasive, mutual stroking we do has a result which is of dire consequence currently: We scapegoat our planetmates because of this pathetically low self-esteem and those who play on it.
Sycophantic, Suicidal Ape – “Quit Hitting Yourself!”
“Quit Hitting Yourself!” and Sycophantic, Suicidal Ape
Skipping to the point here. People can be made to feel good about things of themselves they are not sure of.
How to Make Someone Love You: Tell Them Something Wonderful About Themselves They Normally Doubt Is True
They will feel good, because the thing they would want to believe, the thing that would make them see themselves positively, the thing that would feed their slanted bias toward themselves…. Ok, I’ll finally use the word: The thing that would prop up and feed a person’s “ego” or the belief in one’s goodness, superiority, and so on, in a world of so many others, well that makes one feel good, whether it is true or not.
So, we see that the intention of this pathetic public pronouncing of a superior human will to live is to salve the egos of the masses. Why does it feel good? Because it is universally true that the ego is in constant assault from something which makes it feel not good.
What is that thing that makes people feel not good about themselves, so that being told something that counters that would make them feel good? Well, the answers, by psychologists since Freud, have many terms attached to them. And by the way, before the psychologists there were the theologians attempting to answer this. But Freud’s analysis not only answered it, but put it in the largest context possible—one into which both psychologists and theologians would find an inroad.
We can say, to backtrack a bit, that this pandering by those in front of audiences makes people feel good because it supports the defense system that all humans have erected against the real truth—that zeitgeist-shattering one that Freud was first to fully explicate. It feels good because it supports the denial that all humans have against the real truth that they feel about themselves, one of the things that human societies universally consign to that black hole of the Unapproved and Hidden. [Footnote 1]
“Quit Hitting Yourself!”
So this repetitive obvious truth about humans having a strong Will to Live is repeated to please audiences and make them feel good—”people-pleasing”—because it is a salve to the egos of the masses, which in reality are not merely bruised. No, this goes directly toward propping up a particular defense, a particular denial that we all carry. And that denial is that, IN TRUTH, humans don’t at all feel like they have a tremendous Will to Live. How can I say that? Well, how many things do you know you do which are “not good for you”? How many things do you not do which you know would aid the cause of our supposed universal desire to Live and to Live as long as possible?
The point is that humans, along with a Will to Life that is undeniable, also have a Will to Death.
How many times have you woken up, thought about all the pressures and obligations, or complexities, responsibilities…. thought about all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles or challenges that you are facing… thought about all the things that just have to get done, yet you feel that you could not possibly have the time to do all of them…. How many times have you woken up and felt overwhelmed with what life has become and not wished to just curl up, go back to sleep, and never wake up again? How many times have you taken to drugs or intoxicants in full knowledge of their negative and even dire concomitants and simply thought to yourself, “Aw, what the hell. If I were to die, so what? What’s so great about life anyway?” Or, with less clarity, simply said, “Well nobody lives forever!”
Do they sound like the pronouncements of a species that has a tremendous will to live? No, in fact, alongside our Will to Live, we have not only a Will to Die, but even a will to self-destruction.
Right about now, it might be occurring to you how this makes sense of so much, seemingly insane, human behavior we’ve seen of late. This Will to Die explains why we continue nonchalantly our march to armageddon. It shines light on how we can suck up air in cities that gives us raging allergies, clogs our lungs as bad as chronic smoking would, and will kill off the children we raise there long before their times. It reveals how we could drink poisoned water, blithely go about our business as the globe fills up with nuclear radiation and makes its way into our food supplies and as our government refuses even to test for it, and turn our backs as the oceans die, and killer tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis chalk up thousands in the kill column. It explains why people allow themselves to be enslaved and controlled by others—allowing fascism in established democracies—unconcernedly voting for rabid folk who would take away their rights and security and bring down their freedoms, health, and even lives, while watching those living under totalitarian systems risk their lives for a such freedom and rights and democracy. So much more.
Now, the intention here is not to repeat all that Freud and psychologists have said in showing how this works. Besides, just look at the evidence around you of addiction, chronic accidentalism, unhealthy behavior habits without number, and of course the ultimate evidence: suicide.
And by the way, if we have such a strong Will to Live, superior to all other species, then explain why it is so that we are the only species that has suicide? And we’re supposed to be the conscious ones?
What Freud pointed out has tremendous explanatory power, especially now in our current worldwide financial upheaval, depression/recession, expanding global fascism, nuclear meltdowns, oil spills, near environmental collapse, wars and terrorism, nuclear armaments of planetary annihilation, and tendency to pollute body as well as environment, and even to do it thoughtlessly, in full knowledge of the consequences.
The Only Important Question and About That Inner Monster of Yours
I repeat: Freud established that we act out a will to live and to be in the sun and to have fun and to love and to like goodness and health and truth.
I repeat: Freud also saw we have at other times an opposite feeling which causes us to want to live in the dark—to not be around people, to shy away from life and the light and being seen and recognized and even to wanting to be lonely—that causes us to not care about fun, to hate and be angry, indeed to hate everyone and even to want to lash out at them for no reason other than what might be self-labeled as spite; that causes us to hate goodness, calling things “kumbaya moments,” that causes us to be jealous of others who are more giving and to hate them for that, call people “goody two-shoes” or saying something is “schmaltzy”; or saying that all that good stuff is just “drama”; and putting out terms like “bleeding heart” liberals; that causes us to beat up on our bodies and abuse them with all kinds of substances and behaviors; and that causes us to not care about the truth, but rather to say things instead to hurt, get revenge, to get back at; or to say untruths to get advantage, to disable our competitors, to hide from the evils we commit which enslave us further in the hiding of them, and so much more.
Pandavas versus Kauravas
Freud said we struggled between these two opposite feelings throughout our lives. It is because of this contradiction we carry inside that we can never be truly sure of who we are and even that we can question our motives and intentions (those more self-analytical of us). It is because of this contradiction that we can always feel we could have done better, that people don’t know everything about us, even when they say they do, and that sometimes we fear, especially when we are younger, that if people knew what we had inside they would shy away, not like us, think us to be bad, even monstrous.
By the Way, About That Inner Monster of Yours…
It is because of this contradiction that people are so terrified of revealing themselves, lest some of that not socially appropriate, not socially sanctioned, not socially approved part of themselves slip out. And the fear there is that then we will be seen to have been found out; and that then we will be confirmed in our worst fears that indeed that “other” part of ourselves is—the horror that cannot even be spoken in one’s mind—that dark part of ourselves is the real us…which carries with it the view that any of the “good” in us is just a cover up so that other people will not know.
Mask on a Monster, Lipstick on a Pig
But Freud took it beyond our inner struggles and talked about how the events of the world, the actions and movements of history, the dramas of all the ages, are in fact the products of this inner struggle. Desperate between these poles, we join together with others of the same feeling—whether of lightness or of negativity—in multiple relations and groups on both sides of that struggle. More than that, while driven unwittingly from sources on one side, we expend ourselves in complex ways, in concert with these other, to represent these groups as well as ourselves as acting out from sources on the other side; we mask ourselves as the other.
Babel’s Inner Blueprint
Ultimately, these groups magnify our powers. And the cumulative acts of many individuals, along with the actions of groups and their leaders, all within complex and contradictory motives at all levels and in every matter, create the complex events of all times. All these happenings are at base the story of inner conflicts—complex outer conflicts notwithstanding. In a cumulative manner and over time, things are ever more convoluted and twisted and complicated through the actions of the myriad characters—all of whom conflicted inside, act inconsistently, and out of their own unique struggles which have all of us perceiving and interpreting things in ways totally unique to ourselves.
Again, The Question
These huge world events, then, Freud laid at the feet of the individual struggle. Basically the world becomes an arena of the acting of the Will to Life against the Will to Death, of Eros versus Thanatos.
That is why I say what we are discussing is an age-old question. Although to our detriment…or fortune?…it is now more than any other time crucially relevant, and it is the most immense importance and consequence as to the winner of that inner struggle.
For while we watched with paralyzed hand on one side, on the other our lesser selves are presently taking us on a path that leads inevitably, one way or another, to total species extinction. And not just that alone, but in fact total life extinction on this planet, and possibly even to planetary annihilation—the destruction of this planet itself.
That is why in upcoming sections I focus on this question of dire importance. I talk more about this Will to Death manifesting currently as planetary suicide. But unlike Freud I do not address this Will to Death in a general sense. I deal specifically with its existence as an element of the current struggle between those of us who would live and those opposing that.
I deal with the question of the sway of the the “dark side” as over against the Power of Truth, Love, Higher Power; God…if you will; Sathya Sai, that is, Truth Love…if you will; the Universe; or simply the Better Angels of Our Nature manifesting in increasing numbers of lives….
The questions we need to ask are about which side will win in the end. For certainly it will be decided one way or the other, and soon, of that we can be sure. And that is what makes this time and this question different from any other time. Because this question is not an academic one, now. It is one whose answer will become known far sooner than we would ever wish.
So, we will continue to live, and we will become good citizens of this planet and our species will continue on?
This discussion is only now beginning.
Strange Days, Indeed. “Most Peculiar, Mama!”
Beginning in the next chapter, “Strange Days,” we begin discussing this question of life-death, eros-thanatos, survival-extinction.
Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Six:
1. The “Unapproved and Hidden” is discussed in the chapter, “The First Prasad,” in my book, The Great Reveal by SillyMickel and the Planetmates. The planetmates describe the origins of this tendency of ours to need to speak out our supposed specialness, tying it to our creation of the Unapproved and Hidden in societies. I write about this more generally on one of my blogs in particular, “Sillymickel’s Blog of the Obvious Unspoken Things.”
Thanatos Walking/ Will to Die, Pt 2:
Fleeing Freedom, Hating Goodness, Wanting Apocalypse
by SillyMickel Adzema
For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this chapter, click on the link to youtube above or click the video player here:
Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Six:
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Foolin’ the People About America … It’s About Creeping Corporate Insertion Into Every Aspect of Your Life. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago?
Peaking in the Sixties, Starving for Prosperity, The Compassion Gap, Starving the “Beast,” Humbug for the Poor, Democratizing the Hate … Your Money or Your Life
Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fourteen: Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago?
Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part One: Peaking in the Sixties
- Americans are innovators and problem-solvers.
- There’s nothing Americans can’t do, no problem we can’t solve, once we put our minds to it.
- Things just keep getting better in America
- Republicans are for small business.
So unfortunately, after Reagan instituted “voodoo economics,” with prices on health care and pharmaceuticals going through the roof along with the sudden unexpected increases of other necessities of life, you had that lowered standard of living we have now become accustomed to for the great majority of Americans. You had a population that was poorer, in relative terms, and got increasingly poorer.
Over time, over the course of my lifetime, though we might ostensibly have appeared to prosper we did not. The apparent rise in standard of living was a result of the glut of new consumer items produced in an increasingly technological and complex culture. You might be able to afford plenty of cheap trinkets and toys, but for things that pertained to your well-being and quality of life, such as health and medical care, good schools, wholesome food, higher educational opportunities, a clean environment, recreational opportunities, fuel and energy, leisure, family, and quality time, and so on we were ever more wanting.
Peaking in the Sixties
In retrospect I can see we prospered in the Fifties and Sixties. The records show that Americans achieved a peak of affluence in the Sixties and that since then, and rapidly accelerating since the Eighties, we have been on a downward slide.
Poor Mothers Could Afford to Stay Home and Take Care of the Kids.
I can see the ways we, living in the Fifties and Sixties, were as a culture fairly well off, though personally my circumstances were anything but that. My father made only fifty dollars a week for a time. But my mother never had to go to work. She actually did get a part-time job much later in life for the enjoyment of it. Can anyone today imagine that?
How Much for That House? Ok, Let Me Get My Wallet.
My father never made over a hundred dollars a week until later in his life he actually started his own small trucking outfit…that’s another story about who are the real job creators in America that I get into elsewhere. Yet he bought his home with cash he had saved up. Eight thousand dollars smack on the barrelhead in 1953. He never had to work three jobs to get by either, like some folks have to today. No mortgage on his house and he bought every car he owned—roughly once every five years—also with cash he had saved.
College Educations for Free in the Sixties and Seventies. #occupycollege today
No loans, never in debt and yet five of his six children attended at least some college and two attained at least Master’s degrees. I was talking with my older brother about his college education, which mirrored my own, and we both remember getting by with very little or no debt afterward. We both received enough to cover all college plus living expenses most years just on scholarships and grants—mostly state and federally funded—yet we both attended private, somewhat prestigious, colleges.
I know, millennial generation, but don’t blame us, we’re on your side. #occupycollege.
What’s Health Insurance?
My family didn’t have any health insurance, had never even heard of it. We were not well off, but we like most people could afford to go to the doctor. And similar to others we could even normally pay hospital bills, for maternity and so on. If anything very serious developed that required more money no one ever imagined that they would be turned away at a hospital. The Mercy Hospital in my city, run by a religious order of Catholic nuns and funded by contributions, was a place one could always go regardless of one’s means. Sounds unbelievably quaint, doesn’t it? I know. I can hardly believe it was once that way myself.
Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Two: Starving for Prosperity
Foolin’ the People About America
There is an abundance of food in America
There is a huge problem with obesity in America because folks actually have too much to eat.
People are overweight because they eat too much.
Starving for Prosperity
“Have Some More, There’s Plenty!”
And my family never starved back in the Fifties and Sixties. The dinner refrain was “Have some more, there’s plenty.” Though we were fairly poor by the standards of that time, I never, ever, ever imagined there being a lack of or limitation on food. There were big restrictions on sweet treats and goodies, but not on wholesome food. So it shocks me to see how much more concerned parents are today about how much their children will eat, as well as how precisely they mete out their gustatory offerings when entertaining.
“You’re Not Leaving This Table till You’ve Eaten All Your … Ketchup.”
When not long ago I worked in a group home for troubled boys I was shocked and distressed to see the controversies over the food portions given and the restrictions on when they could eat. This was a government-funded group home and had to abide by all kinds of minimal standards in nutrition. Still, ever since Reagan determined that ketchup qualified as a vegetable serving, I have noticed this public stinginess about food.
Where I worked, sugared-water drinks qualified as juice, and peanut butter consumption was limited to a thin layer like that of butter that’s spread on bread. Cheap sugar this and thats and nutrient-low, colon-clogging baked goods, noodle dishes, and pizza were the at-hand substitutes for wholesome, more substantial offerings. The resulting blood-sugar swings and erratic, aggressive behavior were handled with drugs and listed within their case histories.
“Please, Sir, Some More?”
There was much more like this but suffice it to say that I could hardly believe the happenings in this Oliver Twist world. My heart went out to those young boys who in this once wealthy land and still surrounded by plenty in this post-millennial, rich suburban California stood near the kitchen with plate in hand, their eyes pleading if they might “please have some more.”
This miserliness about food seems a prevalent thing throughout the culture as it is evident in school lunch programs also. Whereas at the grammar and secondary schools I attended while growing up I enjoyed complete wholesome meals on a par with and sometimes surpassing the enjoyable repasts at home and even seconds were allowed, what is considered a decent school lunch today is shocking. Corporations have taken over as suppliers. Can you believe we had a Joe the Cook in grade school who concocted home-style offerings, which were ladled out by those of our mothers, including my own, who had volunteered?
The Beloved School Cook–Pepsico
Today the school meals are akin to that in fast food restaurants and just as monotonous … pizza, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, greasy burgers, hot dogs, fries. They are not “cooked.” From what I understand, they are taken from freezers, popped in microwaves, and dealt out to pupils like one would cards. The epidemics of obesity and diabetes in our country attest to how much worse is the nutrition for young folks today.
Aren’t America’s “Extermination Policies” Just More Undetectable Than Nazi Germany’s? Starving the “Beast”—That Means You: Your Money or Your Life
Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Three: Starving the “Beast”
Your Medical Payment or Your Life
What else is different now than fifty years ago? Well, there’s people who can’t pay for health care… can’t get health care? …. Now that’s something new for me too. Can’t get health care. Wow. You mean you’re sick, you’re gonna die, but you can’t get help in the medical system? Unbelievable. That used to be unheard of.
I know. You’re thinking, “But we passed universal health care in recent years.” Remember though, we passed universal health care “coverage” … not care. Everyone has to be insured does not mean everyone gets taken care of.
At any rate, none of this “universal health care” has “trickled down” to the very needy as far as I can tell. Now, I don’t know if folks are being turned away from hospitals like they were before it was passed. Folks got refused care for lack of coverage in recent decades. And sometimes they died. (I wonder how many others died while struggling to fill out the forms to apply for health care for the needy? *sarcasm*)
Regardless, health care that is delayed, rationed out, or cut back and denied for certain conditions can be just as much a death sentence as being turned away at a hospital door. Example? After we passed “universal” coverage Governor Jane Brewer of Arizona allowed a change in policy in their state-funded health care to deny organ transplants to those folks who could not afford it otherwise. These were organ transplants needed to save their lives. These people would have received them under some other coverage, but falling through the cracks and being poor—some of them born too disabled to be able to work at a job—they were essentially told, “We can’t afford to keep you alive (we’ve got tax cuts for the rich to pay for).” So they did. They died. Republicans clamored about “death panels” beforehand; then promptly implemented one as soon as they could.
Isn’t this the kind of health care the opponents of “socialized medicine” say we would get if we went to single-payer? Well, we’ve got it folks—delays, rationing, denials, complications … and stress!—without any of the benefits of “socialized medicine.” I’ve watched it take two weeks to get a prescription in Riverside County, California, when it should have taken 45 minutes or less. The folks there handling health care for people who include poor folks on Medi-Cal are so overworked and stretched thin that you need to stand in line, literally stand in line for sometimes four hours or more to get a prescription filled. Think I’m exaggerating? I’m aware of at least one elderly gentleman who collapsed while waiting and was removed on a stretcher. I felt like I was in a scene from the movie Soylent Green, wondering where they were taking this one who had fallen by the wayside.
And the answer is no. No to the other question in your mind: “Don’t they have places you can sit down?” I know of no other place where you have to stand to get your prescription, you’re REQUIRED to stand. But then this is a huge county hospital catering to the poor. It handles many poor people…and it does it poorly. The unwritten rule is, “You’re asking for health care at a discount!? Well, WE’LL MAKE YOU PAY…ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, DAMN YOU!”
You don’t think this attitude trickles down to the masses from policy on high? Well, you tell me what the policy makers of the 1% are thinking when they say they are going to “starve the beast” of government … continually cut back funds for government services…as a back door way of making government smaller. This is the exact wording they have used, since Reagan, for their policies of tax cuts for the rich that require massive spending cuts on services for poor and middle income folks.
But think now: Just who do they imagine is really that “beast”? And why use the word, “starve”? Yes, the “beast” of the masses, the riff-raff, is being “starved”—being made to suffer for lack of sufficient money for systems and workers so folks can be served faster. With money stretched thin for humane processing systems and employees to implement them, people are refuse…”beasts”…having to stand and suffer.
I wonder how this is not simply a more undetectable way of eliminating in America the handicapped, disabled, and/or mentally challenged than the way the Nazis did it to the same sort of “riff raff” when they got to power during the time of the Third Reich.
Universal Health Care in America? Don’t Make Me Laugh… You Get an “Assumed Doctor” and Like it or You Choose to Die.
Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Four: But Do You Get a Doctor?
And Do You Get a Doctor?
Do you get a doctor, though? Not in this decade you don’t. When I was a child we went to the doctor’s office and paid $7 for a doctor’s visit. Even on my Dad’s $50 a week, that was affordable; and that was the least he made. When you now have doctor’s visits that cost a hundred to three hundred dollars if you pay out of pocket (or more), do you realize how much you’d have to make for it to be as affordable as it was for my Dad? Figure $700 to 2 to 3 thousand a week. Some people make that nowadays, but not the poor. Remember, my father was dirt poor, getting by on $50 a week with six kids.
House Calls in the Past; “Pretend” Doctors Today
But we got to see a real doctor. We even got a doctor who made house calls. Today? Well you get a pretend doctor who confers, along with a gaggle of other pretend doctors, with an actual physician, then gets back to you as you wait…and wait some more.
And You Wait
Recently, it took four hours for the visit and another four hours to get the prescriptions at the same hospital in another place…and the prescriptions didn’t all come through until after two weeks and a number of phone calls, as at one point they had to order a common prescription and then lost the order (had no record that it had ever been made; though on several phone calls they referred to it) and had to make it again. And this experience has been common. I’ve experienced it a number of times. I’m trying to acquire health care elsewhere, believe me.
You Get an “Assumed” Doctor
Did I get a doctor? No. Oh, they call themselves doctors. The last one was more honest and announced when he came in that he was so and so who was a “student doctor.” I didn’t hear him correctly. My mind scanned thousands of files in an instant and what it came up with I just had to ask. I said, “Did you say you are an ‘assumed doctor’”?
And You Like It
And being “processed” like a piece of meat this way, you get a different “assumed doctor” every time. There is no continuity. You don’t bother to keep track of their names, for it doesn’t matter. You start all over on every visit. The only thing they know of you is what has been electronically recorded from previous visits; nothing human or relational is carried forward. They will tell you it is because all the “assumed doctors” are equally competent and qualified, so it doesn’t matter. Of course that is a rationalization for a system so “starved” of funding the personal touch has long ago been squeezed out in favor of assembly-line efficiency.
Or You Choose to Die
So what is the upshot of all this. It is that many folks have to weigh getting health care in America—which is claimed to be “available”—against the complications and time of getting it. I don’t have a job, so I was able to persevere. What of folks who have to work full time or more? I was well enough to stand around and coherent enough to make notes and make phone calls. What of folks who are sicker than that?
The Unspoken Costs of Health Care
The upshot is that many folks are weighing THESE costs of health care when choosing whether or not to seek help. And their decision is leaving many of these folks dead. I know of a number of people who have made such a decision; many of you also do.
Some Are Choosing a “Soylent Green” Escape
I know of one instance where it was even done consciously, for the person did not want to spend what might be her last time on Earth struggling with an insensitive and mean-spirited medical system, so she just opted to let her cancer take her in the serenity of her home and surrounded by loved ones. (Why am I thinking of that movie Soylent Green again? Well, maybe you remember that scene as well.)
Others Are Risking It
I know I myself weigh these costs in time and suffering and inconvenience whenever I feel I might need to be looked at for something. And very often…most of the time actually…I put off being looked at. I postpone doing tests that are made more time consuming and painful for poor folks (don’t get me started on that); and I often give up in pursuing the treatments and medications that I am prescribed…figuring that putting up with the suffering of the ailment is better than the suffering incurred in its cure. And I am not alone. Will it cost me my life? Perhaps.
Universal health care in America? Don’t make me laugh..
America—Best Health Care in the World
Now, compare all this with the way it was fifty years ago. A friend of mine on Facebook shared how her brother was treated when he had a life threatening injury. This was that long ago and she relates they were poor. She says, they flew in a specialist from Australia to perform the delicate operation. I repeat, they were poor. But then this was all before Reagan…and Nixon. I’m getting to that.
With the Excuse of “The Game,” Small-Hearted Folks Can Now Flaunt Their Mean-Spiritedness – The Compassion Gap
“Stop War? Now, Don’t Go Gettin’ All Kumbaya on Me!” … Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Five: The Compassion Gap
The Word’s More Important Than The Life
So the word has become more important than the person, and better that people sleep in the gutters or lie out in the park than to lend them a hand. And god forbid when you have children, that one of them get sick, someone have an accident, or someone get killed….
Rules (Made Up to Benefit the Wealthy) Are Now More Important Than Life
Goddamn it. Y’know, here you’ve got Rick Santelli saying, well they must have put in a kitchen or else they wouldn’t have gotten foreclosed on. Where does he get that? That’s not a fact. That’s a made up thing, just to get people angry.
And that’s the game. A game that’s not founded on any facts, only played to be won, and it’s won by making the best argument to arouse the most passions, the most negative passions in people, and to find scapegoats.
Stop War? Don’t Be Silly.
And this is the kind of thing that was brought up year after year over the decades to the point where it became that the things that I heard being valued growing up were laughable: compassion, if you were caring about people, or not wanting people to die.
Say, there was a war or something and there was agony over the loss of life. And all these people would gather together out of their concern. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. People anguished and horrified by other people’s deaths and sufferings…reaching out to help them, help each other, comfort each other, pray together…hope…weep.
Oh My Lord, Kumbaya.
Yea, a great big kumbaya moment! Wow. And I’m sure that’s what you heard, too. So I get it. Ok, so you shouldn’t have any feelings toward your fellow suffering brother or sister. Is it, what, silly? Uncool? Weak? Wussy? Sappy? What?
What is it you’re hiding about yourself?
… What would Jesus have said to that…
It seems more than the standard of living was lowered since those days. And I’m sure they are in many ways connected…. I’ll get into that later.
Health Not-Care: Democratizing the Hate, Humbug for the Poor, and The Middle Class Is the Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About
Foolin’ the People About America…The Middle Class Is the Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Six: Health Not-Care
Getting back to the change in the physical standard of living that Reagan wrought, though, let’s take for example the increase in health care costs. This is one of the necessities of life, and it’s been climbing out of reach, putting a burden on people, ok? …
Humbug for the Poor
As I explained in Part Two of “Obvious Truths,” Nixon addressed that problem in the Seventies. He was supposedly helping out the people, the poor…. Uh. But, no, he would never say that. He would never say he wanted to help the poor! Previous to him, in Johnson’s time…The Great Society and all that, yes. That was surely a time when you would hear talk like that. There was actually a War on Poverty then.
But by the time of Nixon….
So, I guess that’s when it started happening.
You couldn’t say you were actually going to help out the poor anymore. Because the truism, which I’m sure you all agree with, whether you admit it to yourself or not, is that the poor people deserve to be punished because obviously they’re lazy. Think about that; isn’t that the same stuff that, back in the day, they were saying about African Americans? …
Democratizing the Hate
So isn’t it kind of like that racism has become classism? It’s kind of like a hatred that’s not been eliminated because they’re still saying that about people of color, but it’s been expanded. It includes more people–whites and blacks…and all other kinds of colors. All the poor, they’re all now lazy, deserving what they get.
The Middle Class–The Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About
So instead what you hear today is like the “middle class”! Well, supposedly the middle class are ok people. They’re not deadbeats; they didn’t put in that kitchen they can’t afford…. Actually they’re the ones who are owning homes so some of them actually are the ones getting those new kitchens.
Nixon Cared About Health…Healthy Profits.
So Nixon’s answer to health care, to help the middle class, he started the move toward HMOs. And remember how it came about. There were actual White House tapes, an actual taped phone conversation of it. You hear Nixon talking to Ehrlichmann. And they are discussing the matter, health care. Nixon is told that Kaiser, and this is the guy who started Kaiser Permanente, one of the top HMOs. He is told that Edgar Kaiser is proposing a “for profit” system of health care.
Now here we have people who can’t afford health care and now you want to have a system that’s going to add to the costs of it. How’s that you say?
Some People Just Wanting to Get Sick Again and Again!
Also, Kaiser pointed out it would discourage “overuse” of medical treatment. Wow! So, here we go again.
So now we see that people who need medical treatment are just like those deadbeats, they’re like poor people, they’re overusing medical care. My god! They’re getting sick too much. And if you had a for-profit system, well, they could deny people coverage. And they could deny people medical treatment, no doubt, because they would naturally want to increase their profits.
GOP-Think. GOP, Think! GOP…Think?
Well not long afterwards, Nixon gives a speech to present his sweeping new health care proposal. What does he say?
Remember, there is this obvious disdain for certain groups of people who might be getting too much health care. On the other hand, Nixon is wanting to see that certain other groups of people will make out big time from profits that will be involved.
But his speech doesn’t go like that. Nixon is recorded giving a speech, proposing a big solution, purportedly to answer the problem of the rising health care costs that are beginning to be felt at that time. He will emphasize that his proposal would be a great benefit to the middle class. [Footnote 1]
Make It to the Middle Base and You Score.
Keep in mind as I was saying in Part Two, there was a time in which influential groups would consider they “had a home run” when they could make a case that their proposal was going to benefit the American people. But by this point, because of the culture war and mean-spiritedness being stirred up in the country by Republicans, it had become necessary to single out the middle class as the only ones receiving the benefit, because, y’know, poor people…they’re not Americans.
Foolin’ the People About America…”Thanks for the Health Care Savings, Dick!” Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Seven: Hit Men for the HMOs
Foolin’ the People About America: Nixon’s Big Idea—HMOs
Thanks for the Health Care Savings, Dick.
So Nixon says he is going to lower health care costs. Well, you can see how right he was about that. Just look at Michael Moore’s movie on American’s health care system if you can handle knowing how bad it got. The documentary, “Sicko,” lays out in brutal detail how devastating it was to inject the profit motive into health care.
“I Was a Hit-Man for the HMO.”
There is one especially disturbing example of this. A former employee of a huge HMO testified before Congress. Crying and tearful she related how she was rewarded for denying an operation that would have saved a man’s life. It would have cost the HMO a half million dollars. Instead, he died; they increased their profits.
In another situation an HMO employee received bonuses upwards of $20,000 for cancelling coverage on people who were costing the insurer a lot of money. She cancelled hundreds of policies, including for those who were scheduled for life-saving procedures. In one “particularly good” year for this person, she saved her employer $6 million. I don’t know offhand how many folks died in exchange for her dutiful and lucrative actions and am not sure I want to. This is hard to look at, isn’t it?
The upshot is these HMO-persons were rewarded for taking people’s lives; and they are in no way untypical. Linda Peeno, the physician who testified before Congress, admitted as much; she admitted her action amounted to a murder, for which she should have been charged but wasn’t. She pointed out how perverse it was that instead the system rained rewards up her. Now you show me the moral dividing line between theses actions of professionals of the HMO and “professional” assassins…mafia hit men. For I don’t see it.
Pay Us Now. We’ll Think About Covering You Later.
Now you might argue that saving money on costly care means there would be more help for others.
But, no. That’s not the rationale. That’s another part of it. They can deny health care on any basis. They can deny it on any basis but they went out and they found more ways to make even greater profits. If you were going to cost them a lot of money, if what you needed to live was medical treatment that they might consider too expensive, well what they would sometimes do is hire people to look into you. These people would be paid to research your background, to see if they could find something that could be used as an excuse to deny your costly procedures to you.
Michael Moore records in his documentary at least one such researcher who explains, with remorse, what he had been paid to do and how he would go about it. He, and people like him, would pore over your records to look for something, even slight, that they could hang a denial of coverage on. They would in particular look into your childhood for any care that they could say indicated the presence of a medical condition for you at that time.
When they found something, they would be able to say that you had a pre-existing condition and so they were not liable for your care now. They would claim that you lied on your application in not listing such an ongoing ailment so that they could drop you from coverage and let you die.
So people were being left to die, killed in this manner. Does this not amount to more “hits” put out on people by the HMO?
Buuuut It’s Contract Law!!
Did You, At Any Point in the Past, Pre-exist This Application?
Buuut it’s contract law! …dollar laid, dollar played, y’know. And it’s contract law that is stretched to benefit the people with the most money and who have the better lawyers and who can, y’know, twist things better in their favor. Here you have a situation, where, let’s say, somebody is dying and they’re dying of emphysema. I don’t know enough about medicine to know if that would be the kind of thing that could entail very costly care, but let’s just say it did. So this person very ill with emphysema might be informed that it had been discovered, let’s say, that they had a bronchial condition as a child…maybe to them, they were prone to get colds. But they would make the determination that your frequent colds shows a preexisting condition for you. Now you tell me how a person who is dying is going to be able to fight that.
Over Your Dead Body Getting Paid
We’ve all heard Obama’s story about his mother and what she had to go through prior to her death. She spent the last months of her life arguing with the medical insurers over the bills. She was being told they didn’t have to cover her. Are those the kind of final days you would want for a loved one of yours? How does that prospect fit your own view of your last days?
Getting back to Nixon, at the time of his health care proposal he said huge managed care systems, which he touted as being one-stop medical systems, were going to lower health care costs. This was so, he claimed, because cost sharing and lower overhead would rein in the price of providing medical care. He said these lower expenses would benefit the whole system.
Apparently he forgot to mention the for-profit part, which ended up funneling all those benefits, those lower expenses, into the pockets of the owners and shareholders. That is what happens when you put profit-hungry businessmen in charge of care. Gradually, America’s medical needs were primarily the purview of business, big business.
Remember, again, that the health care law that went into effect under Obama was to make sure everyone would receive coverage, not health care. It remains to be seen how effective this health care reform will be in reducing these sorts of abuses by insurers. No doubt it is better than what existed before. But it leaves intact the profit motive in American health care. So any regulation and prohibitions of abuses are likely to amount to tying down a ravenous beast with bungee cords. It is hard to believe this monster created by Nixon will not break free whenever it can and wreak much havoc before being stopped again…but again with piles of dead Americans in its wake.
You Mean You Care…And You’re Not Paid To?? (Oh, Kumbaya.)
Previous to all this with big business put in charge of the life or death decisions of Americans, much of what was involved in caring for the sick had been attended to by religious and charitable organizations. These concerned social institutions might be dedicated to idealistic or religious principles, for example, which included compassion and caring for the sick as one of their values or one of their religious ideals. So, much of health care had been in the hands of charitable entities and people dedicated to the idea of service, caring for the sick, getting them well, caring for your fellow person, your fellow man or woman, and so on; naturally the type of care you received was infused with such ideals.
But with Nixon all that changed. And Nixon loved it.
Corporations Crowding Out the Mom and Pops … HMOs Driving Out the Private Physician, It’s the Same Old Monopoly Game
Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Eight: The Monopoly Game Again…It’s About Creeping Corporate Insertion Into Every Aspect of Your Life.
The Monopoly Game Again: HMOs Drove Out Private Physicians
So then also, these businessmen with their HMOs are having near monopolies; they’re the only HMO providing health care in many areas. The only alternative is privately paid physicians. And these medical providers have costs that have have gone up because of their reduced client base, their patients having been siphoned off by the HMO.
“Buy One Appendectomy, Get a Second One for a Dollar!”
So private care physicians have the same overhead, and now they’ve got less clientele. In addition to that, now with their making less money and having higher costs, they also have extra costs, of competition, advertising for the first time.
“I Need to Take Two Aspirin…I’ll Call YOU in the morning.”
But that’s only one of the many costs that occur in a situation where you have a small market, with the same number of providers. You have a scrambling with other private small medical practitioners over a smaller pile, which increases not only the competitive costs involved in having to put oneself out there to win clients from competitors and thus further increases the cost of private care, it also increased pressures and tensions on private physicians who now are required to have two jobs. They have to be medical provider and business person. They have to work longer hours because of this too.
Of course you can imagine what a boon this was for medical care in our country. Now you not only have to pay more for private care but also compared to not so long ago it is being increasingly performed by angry, stressed, tense, overworked, underslept professionals. Well what happens when you’ve got those kind of people providing you medical care on the private side?
So, on the one side–the mega-care side, you have them denying you medical care even if you’ve paid. You’ve got them denying you coverage if you have anything wrong, or if you’ve ever had anything in your life and you admit it. You either don’t get covered at all, or you may have paid premiums for years but when you get sick you don’t get treated so you die.
“Take Two Aspirin and Call Me After Tax Time.”
On the other hand, you can pay the higher costs for private care out of your pocket. And these people are overworked, spending much of their time trying to drum up business and trying to take care of all the increasing paperwork of a competitive business enterprise and that of an ever increasing number of payers. So they’re making more mistakes.
And more mistakes equal what? More mistakes in medicine means more people dying, by mistake, or having the wrong procedure done, or having the wrong limb removed. The extra stress will push some physicians to “operate under the influence” of alcohol or the readily available prescription mood drugs glutting the market.
So with all the extra pressure on medical practitioners, we begin to hear more and more about malpractice. So, another cost is introduced. And medical malpractice insurance for physicians has ever increasing premiums. This adds even more to the price of private care.
The Kind of Care That Increases Suffering
So you can see that the suffering of the masses, in both health care systems, is going up. As for the doctors themselves, well now they’re either out of business because they made a mistake or they’re keeping up with the competition and trying to make a living. But now they have these huge malpractice insurance payments. This is a cost HMOs can easily absorb, but for private physicians, it adds even more to their costs of business, their need to increase their fees, their loss of patients, their financial stress.
So what happens? They’re forced out of their professions. Or, they’re minds are filled up with financial considerations and they are burdened with concerns…and now they’re gonna treat you!
Foolin’ the People About America: Republicans Are for Small Business?
Making It So You Need a Car to Do Anything
Well, I’ve been around long enough, I saw this before. It’s a pattern of the big guys gobbling up the little ones. It’s the story of creeping corporate insertion into every aspect of your life that you keep seeing over and over again in America. And it’s changed America.
Back in the Time of Neighborhoods
There was a time when there were no supermarkets in America. I remember that time. You used to be able to walk up to the corner, walk down the street, and you’d see bakeries, drug stores. There were penny candy stores, there were meat markets…. There was a wonderful ambiance of community about it…it was a garden of delights…people smiling and everything.
Drive to the Store, Get a Loaf of Bread.
And now they have these huge mega supermarkets. And I saw the way it slowly changed; it didn’t happen overnight.
Republicans—On the Side of the Mom-and-Pop Walmart
And Republicans say they are for the small businesses, the backbone of the middle class. Well, this is an example of just what a lie that is because, no, supermarkets are not small businesses. It’s all those meat markets, bakery stores and all that–those are the small businesses, they are the mom and pop, those are the average Americans trying to be self employed. Self-employment is not huge corporations.
Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness
1. For a humorous, hard hitting aside on this callous attitude of Republicans, on behalf of the rich, and as contrasted with Democratic efforts, check out this audio monologue of mine, “You’re Turning Down my Money for ME!…To Stare Down…Who?!!”: Likely Constituent’s Response to Republican Governors Who Turned Down Unemployment Money from Stimulus to “Score Points” Against Obama“ below.
This four and a half minute clip is taken from the longer, 35-minute audio, “Naked Republicans Blue Meanies Fleeing or Looking Foolish.”
“You’re Turning Down my Money for ME!…To Stare Down…?!!…” –Comedy Monologue, audio clip by SillyMickel Adzema
Here is the audio clip of my comedic monologue. Click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below. The script for this piece is included below the player, fyi.
About the audio above
[From July 2009] What a riot these Republicans are. There was Louisiana, Alaska, Arizona, South Carolina, and Texas governors refusing stimulus money to “show up Obama.” Then they turn around and ask for it secretly, or as in the case recently with Texas, which turned down almost 550 million in unemployment extension money at the time, only in this last week (7/14-7/18) to ask for a loan from the federal government for about 440 million, get this, to pay for extensions on unemployment. HA!
Well, in this clip, I play a constituent of the Louisiana governor who went nationally to say he was going to turn down the unemployment money from the stimulus. Now, if you’re a Louisianan, and you’re on unemployment…hmmm…just imagine how freaking happy you’d be to hear that! Well, that is what I express in this clip.
Keep in mind this happened just after this governor had given the (horrible) Republican “response” to Barack Obama’s unofficial “State of the Union” address in January. And this governor, Governor Bobby Jindal, at the time was being touted big time as a presidential front-runner for the Presidency in 2012.
You’re gonna love this response to the self-serving “more principles-than-brains” political one-upsmanships at the expense of their constituents by these Republican x@#&%$%#@@# governors.
And the text of the “You’re Turning Down my Money for ME…” audio:
Ok, so now 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.
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 form many many years; in fact I may never own a home again.
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, well, 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. 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 or 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. 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.
The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema
Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.
Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness
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Cool Hand Gipper (The Great Hustle) and What the 1% Would Still Have of Us: The Great American About Face – Context of The American Awakening
Culture War, Class War, Chapter Thirteen:
The Great American About Face
Why Insist on the Same Mistakes That Led to the Great Depression?
You don’t know what I’m getting at. But this is the indicator of the gradual change in our country that would be missed by those younger than myself. I only see this glaring discrepancy because of having lived many years in an America whose values were different, and who thought differently, more compassionately than today. I know of an America where even that last big word that I used, compassionately, wasn’t the dirty word that it is today…or the certain game loser, deal breaker if uttered.
What’s Love Got to Do with It?
No. See, what’s happened today is that it’s not even society at large that is supposed to benefit. Compassion is not a goal, or even a value, when negotiating. The scornful repetition of those words, “bleeding heart liberal,” has had its intended effect. No, no, it’s not the function of government to care about anybody anymore.
It may be hard for you to realize what a huge change this is from, like, Roosevelt days. The Great Depression went on for a long time, crushing hopes and aspirations, shortening lives, increasing suffering. People lived beneath this yoke for a time that must often have felt interminable. They came out of this darkness only slowly, and with great effort.
There Was a Time When Kindness Was a Noble Thing.
So, yes, in those days, the easing of suffering was a value, compassion was a noble thing, not indicative of weakness like today. This is the way it was then and for most of the decades afterward, not much changing. Even Eisenhower, a Republican… he wasn’t, y’know, at war with the common good in the Fifties; he didn’t think government was not supposed to be compassionate, that it wasn’t their job or anything, that they couldn’t give anybody a helping hand or anything like that. But starting with Reagan and slowly since then it has become that.
People Suffering, People Dying…And This Guy Thinks It’s a Card Game!
Perhaps you’ve heard it too. At the time of it, you would see it discussed all over. There was Rick Santelli on CNBC. This was at the time when it first got out that Obama might just–with millions of foreclosures, people living in tent-cities and everything–might just present as part of his overall policy to deal with the problem something to help…ok, there’s one of those words (help), a certain game-loser; so you know what’s coming next…something that might “help” people who are heading into foreclosure, people losing their homes. The idea was to renegotiate deals with the bank, to recalculate the terms of their mortgage to make it workable to both sides again.
Don’t forget the banks had before that been given huge amounts of money by the American people. So in this plan, instead of proceeding with a foreclosure the banks were asked to be willing to accept slightly less money on the loan than the original terms called for.
It was thought, what would that hurt? After all the banks aren’t going to lose. At the expense of the American people they’ve made out like bandits…in fact, they’ve been bandits…they used extortion to get that money out. With this policy they would get some money out of the loan instead of none in the case of the foreclosure; they would even still make a profit. The only thing they wouldn’t be able to do is to add that note to the pile of losses they would be claiming as part of the government bailout. An aside, that last part — making less money than if they could claim it a loss—is the key to understanding the uproar about Obama’s plan to help financially strapped home owners.
So we saw Rick Santelli, a highly visible financial commentator for CNBC, someone I saw everyday for years. He stood in front of the camera on the floor of the stock exchange; CNBC broadcast it to the world. He was against Obama’s plan to “help” mortgage-holders…they should probably have used a different word than help. As he put it “In America, a card laid is a card played.” He said, “This does away with contract law!”
Yes, We’ve Made This Mistake Before.
Well, yea, yea, they used to say those things back in Hoover’s day too, alright? And then when everybody was hurting, and there was thirty to forty percent unemployment and nobody was making any money including the rich fat cats and they were losing their shirts in investments and no longer making money in the stock market, then…then…all of a sudden, ok, then it was ok to help out people who were starving.
But Why Do We Insist on Making It Again?
Well, why did it have to get to that? And why has it gotten to that again, even to where it’s back to where it was…again…at the beginning of the Great Depression: No compassion allowed.
What is that? It’s like “Oh, these people are all deadbeats here.” Oh, yea, all those millions of people? Doesn’t have anything to do with all that money that went to the rich people? Nothing to do with the fact that over the course of all these years we’ve seen the tax rates for the very wealthy go from eighty-some percent in the Fifties to where it is down below thirty-five percent now?
To offset those huge cuts in revenue, did we get any more prosperous in that time? Did those increasing cuts in taxes for the wealthy increasingly stimulate the economy? I repeat, did we get any more prosperous in that time? Did the tax cuts work the way the fat cats said they would?
Kumbaya—You Value People Over Rules? You’re No Doubt a “Hippie”
Well, I was there. No, they didn’t…and we didn’t…didn’t get more prosperous. We’re a lot worse off. Y’know, when I was growing up in the Fifties and Sixties my father was poor. But only he had to work! He might bring home fifty dollars a week, with six kids. But my mother didn’t have to work. Believe me, fifty dollars in that day, it wasn’t like it was worth a thousand dollars or something; there wasn’t that much difference.
Kumbaya. My Lord!
So there used to be this idea of benefiting society-at-large. There was this thing put out–even though it was a sham on the part of Republicans–that if you could somehow convince the Democrats that what you wanted was going to benefit the “society at large” they might come over to your side. Republicans still found it useful to promote the idea that they were representing the people.
What “Extra” Kitchen?
But no, no, no. If you say now that something is going to benefit somebody…. Like Rick Santelli said, “Well, a card laid…contract law’s all important…blah, blah, blah…. Does any of you people out there…” He was talking to the stock exchange people; he said, “Does any of you want to pay your hard-earned money so that the guy next door can have that extra kitchen that he put in?”
Now, where the hell did that come from? I hardly think that many of the people losing their homes were out there spending all their money on “extra” kitchens. So what’s the implication? The implication is that we’ve got a bunch of losers, spendthrifts, who are throwing their money away and they don’t deserve a break.
More Likely It Was Your “Extra” Kitchen, Rick. And, Thank You Very Much but We’ve Already Paid, and Dearly, for It.
Anyway, it was played over and over again. There were even people, even some pundits and governmental folks in public who were saying, “Yes, he was expressing what lot of people are thinking.” What the hell is that? That nobody can catch a break unless you’re rich? See, that’s what happens when something is repeated over and over and over again… Self-benefiting mean-spiritedness like this can be spoken of as being, somehow, reasonable.
A Broken Person Is Preferable to a Broken Rule in This Game.
And what is it that was repeated over and over and over again? Well, let me just put it this way…because I was there. You know the real issue here…when you say that it’ll benefit “society at large” or you say it’s going to help or benefit real people, or you indicate in some way that it’s gonna ease the suffering of a lot of people… The real thing insinuated has to do with that thoroughly maligned idea—”bleeding heart liberal”—and things like that.
Worse than that, these days, is that when that human touch somehow gets in, it’s no more considered a game! “It’s supposed to be a game,” that’s what they’re thinking, now. And it’s like, “Aw come on you’re trying to benefit people instead of playing a game.” That’s where that contract law comes in, it’s like, “No, that’s breaking the rules.” Well we’re supposed to be running a government for the people not for the rules, aren’t we?
You Value People Over Rules? You’re No Doubt a “Hippie.”
So you don’t even hear goodness coming in anymore. Or if you do hear the word compassionate it’s at most the naive utterance of someone that’s wet behind the years…some newbie or hippie…some “soft-headed” person who might have used it in a question in a town meeting, or the like.
And that’s another thing. A hippie? What the hell’s a hippie? Well this hippie can tell you. That is a definition I’ve watched change over the years. The definition in these strange days and among these current cold-hearted people is way different than originally.
In looking at this change in the meaning of hippie we bring into view another aspect of the overall argument I am making. I can tell you now that at the end you will see it all comes together neatly.
It all makes sense because of some basic human feelings, which are even present in large groups. Unfortunately those widely shared feelings are completely at odds with another set of commonly held basic human feelings that can be present and shared in another large group. That might sound complicated.
Compassion = “Hippie.”
Mean-Spirited = The “Real” Reality of The Game
And on the other side of this, the side that is presented to all, promulgated to everyone, and the only one considered “real,” we’ve got these mean-spirited feelings. They are at war with the idea that we have government that’s there to at all benefit, be on the side of, or even be for its citizens.
Like earlier I brought up the example of the Food and Drug Administration as something that benefits everyone, actual people, though it puts constraints on businesses. Government seen this way exists to protect American people in situations where they would otherwise be powerless. And that is based on this old-fashioned notion that it is a good thing to save people from dying or from suffering in situations where a single individual is helpless against a cultural or societal wrong.
Government could be seen this way because one preeminent value was that life was precious and good, that people dying was not good, that it was important to prevent that to the extent one could…more important than money or profits or the comfort and pleasure of people with riches. Those turn-of-the-century “hippies” valued life over arbitrary rules, people over profits, the common good over the capitalist game.
But I guess nowadays they’d say, “No, no, no…those people paid for that food!” And, you know, let the buyer beware. A dollar laid is a dollar played, after all.
Cool Hand Gipper (The Great Hustle) and What the 1% Would Still Have of Us: Context of The American Awakening
American Awakening and Cool Hand Gipper—“Obvious Truths,” an Overview
“Obvious Truths” Parts One and Two Reprise
This is the third and final part in this series delineating the history of the American Republican’ incredibly disciplined, relentlessly persistent, and amazingly cohesive … seemingly coordinated … nearly fifty-year campaign to gain advantage and wealth for their benefactor corporations and the “Filthy Rich” through totally concocted untruths.
All in the Family
We are seeing here revealed 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.
I am showing how only because of increasingly cocky and greedy acts and extreme over-reaching “in broad daylight,” before the entire world, did this malevolent surround become visible. These brutish and thievish over-reaches displayed an incredible disregard for, disrespect of, indeed, an actual literal inability of the “Filthy Rich”—the 1%—and their Republican puppets to SEE American People, who were the recipients of these attacks. Together these reveals, displayed unintentionally however blatantly and unknowingly by the Republicans and the “Filthy Rich”… and before the entire world…disclosed to the masses of Americans some “cracks,” “stains,” or textures in the “dome” of unreality they’d existed in, which had made them blind to Reality itself, and had kept them in a near zombie-like dream reality.
“They’re so cute when they jump for their treat.”
As this Awakening continued, some began remembering events, the memories of which had been “bleached” out of awareness until just then, and then with remembering they realized how they’d been trained like animals their entire lives for the uses, whatever they’d be, of the “Filthy Rich,” and been trained then to forget that.
“From here, they look just like ants.”
It is clear that the “filthy rich” had an absolute certainty of their success because of their unmitigated power. What is also evident is the absolute inability of the “Filthy Rich”…which was the shocking thing they’d carelessly let out and therefore displayed to the World…absolute inability of the Republicans and the “Filthy Rich” to actually notice, let alone view or act towards, Americans as any thing even living or having sentient ability, let alone as humans, people, or individuals.
All We Have to Do Is Dream.
And as for the term “fellow Americans” often employed by Rich-publican politicos, if that thought even crossed your mind for a second as being anything but a device, you are not fully appreciating just how literally I mean for my words to be taken. You may very well, in fact, be deeply dreaming and have missed the crack in the dream state that had shone the light in the eyes of a sufficiently large segment of the world population as to cause them to come out of trance and begin to untie their formerly invisible bonds, so that they could try looking around, which led to the realization of the reality that had been blocked from view, and the beginnings of investigations into the real truths of their existence, and to this series of expositions, which delineates the actual, formerly invisible profile of the actual actors in American’s lives, and the processes of control, and the things in their lives that were determined for them by the “Filthies,” though ordinary folks thought they had been making decisions for themselves.
What The 1% Want to Do With Us
And the last aspects of this series delineates the real factors in your life and the outlines of the real intentions for our lives these puppet masters have had, and have even now in mind.
Processing the Populace
In Part One, I talked about the fifty-year Republican campaign to convince the media and the American people of certain truisms that had nothing to do with the truth, in fact were almost one-hundred percent of the time, the opposite of the truth. It is a pretty amazing story of a campaign involving such things as getting people poorer and poorer, requiring them to work longer hours and so on so that they would have less time to think about things. It included other elements such as the way in which people’s minds were either stressed or made busy, and also the way they wore down the American people’s resolve to fight back against injustice.
Part Two elaborated on these parts of the campaign, which together resulted in an erosion of reason among Americans. I discussed how this erosion of reason resulted in an erosion of action as well and why this would be desirable by the societal puppet-masters. Next, I discussed the means of the manipulation—the media, the puppet strings employed by the masters.
The Great Hustle (Cool Hand Gipper)
After that I talked about the way our lives were focused away from human concerns and reduced to the level of a game, contrived by the elite and which was geared toward their ends, suited to their abilities, and in which they dominated. This game was most of the time camouflaged in positive, civic sounding phrases and terminology that made it seem that it was an endeavor for the betterment of all, but I explained how it actually was played and what the motives and ends really were.
$$$ 666 The Great Religion
Last, I bring out how even this ruse of societal welfare was ever more let go of, as the puppet-kings gained in strength and in success in converting mass minds to a belief in the dogma of the game that they controlled.
Dogma Keeping Out Pesky Saviors
They channeled people’s inclinations away from their own priorities and from human concerns to be in alignment with the overseer’s non-humanistic, alien ones. Human concerns such as life, easing of suffering and the like were seen as silly and laughable.
And Then The Awakening
As they gathered power, they became more blatant and reckless in their machinations. The game was successfully installed as the focus and preeminent value of life itself; but in this headiness of accomplishment they became complacent about their subterfuge. Reckless in their maneuvers and ever more careless in concealing it, they risked being exposed.
Aspects of their self-benefiting game play and the cockiness with which they pursued them are further disclosed here in Part Three. We see how this creates a condition of such extreme suffering in the populace that stimulates them into awakening from the dream. The matrix is glimpsed. How the masses awaken and behold in horror the shackles and blinders upon them is described beginning here and in subsequent parts of Culture War, Class War.
“Brother, I Do Not Know Thee.”
Part Three continues from the end of Part Two where I was describing how the brouhaha around Rich Santelli’s callous comment revealed a wholesale and disturbing change in American’s sensitivities toward each other and in particular a callousness about each other’s suffering. Part Three continues from here:
Foolin’ the People About History…Reagan’s Great Ruse and The Face of the Enemy, Ours
Foolin’ the People About History
- Reagan “saved” America.
- Reagan saved Americans from an oppressive tax burden.
- Reagan brought down the Iron Curtain, the Soviets, Berlin Wall.
- In America we were far better off than the Soviets were because… We are the richest country in the world. In America we only get better.
- don’t have to work as hard.
- can take better care of our children.
So these days you have the attitude, “A dollar laid is a dollar played”; people’s suffering is irrelevant to the game.
Reagan’s Great Ruse
We have seen a lot of change over the last five decades. And many new thoughts have become truisms that are actually not true. In the real world they’re nonsensical.
The Eighties Changed Everything…The Great Swindle.
Unfortunately they abound because of the cultural change initiated by Ronald Reagan that lowered the standard of living for everyone except for the rich who were the beneficiaries of that switch. It was the greatest shift of money upward, to the higher classes, in history, at that time. Bush in the last decade outdid him though.
The Republicans pulled off this transfer of wealth under the banner of capitalism. The huge tax cuts for the seriously rich, which was how this relocation of money was accomplished, began with Reagan. When it was proposed during the 1980 presidential race Bush the Elder called it “voodoo economics.” This was before he was invited on the ticket with Reagan.
Voodoo economics gradually brought the highest marginal rate of taxes down below thirty percent from the seventy percent it had been when Reagan took office. This should be compared with the ninety-some percent it was under Democratic and Republican presidents—Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy—in the 1940s through 1963. Reaganomics took corporate tax rates down to forty percent from the fifty percent that it had been previous to that beginning in the Forties.
Keep in mind that these were times—Forties through Sixties—when America’s economy boomed, turning the US into the wealthiest country in the world. Remember also that the last time, previous to Reagan, that marginal tax rates were below forty percent was in the Twenties, prior to the Great Depression. Not coincidentally at that same time, preceding the Depression, corporate tax rates were also at their lowest and were down in the teens. History records how well those low corporate and private marginal rates worked out. This did not stop the Reaganites from opting to repeat the previous debacle.
The Face of the Enemy, Ours
Overall, this bonanza for the rich–along with union-busting and other anti-worker practices by Reagan–had the effect of gradually lowering the standard of living for the vast majority of Americans. The result could not have been more ironic. These pro-capitalist, fervid anti-communist Republicans like Reagan and his supporters began the process that would make us mirror images of Soviet Russia in several hugely important ways.
At One Time, “Women Don’t Have to Work”; At Another, “Women Are Free to Work.”
Reaganomics brought in the two-salary family. This had been one of those major propaganda points for the anti-communists in the Fifties: We were horrified finding out that behind the Iron Curtain both parents had to have jobs to support their family. It was thrown out as one of the ways we were superior in our capitalist way of life—American wives and mothers did not have to work and were able to spend their time instead raising the children.
The anti-communist Reaganites also brought in institutional child care, for now this was needed because both parents were working. Someone had to take care of the children, and they would begin that at earlier and earlier ages.
At One Time, “Strangers Take Care of Their Kids”; At Another, “Child Care Teaches Social Skills and Enhances Multicultural Awareness.”
Again, extramural child care was one of those elements of Soviet life that in the Fifties was pointed out to us disdainfully and which we were grateful not to be subject to. It would be thought inhuman, if not barbaric, for children to be cared for by strangers, while the mother was working. There was something dangerous, if not lascivious, insinuated to us by propagandists, about pre-school children not being with their mothers, not receiving her protection and love during that vulnerable and needy time, but being instead “in the hands of strangers”…(god forbid!)
But after Reagan this dreaded feature of Soviet culture became the norm in American culture as well.
So Reagan’s economic policies pushed Americans into a lower standard of living—fooling them in all kinds of ways that this was not the case—which was evident in major changes in American culture which mirrored that of the Soviets such as the virtual requirement of two-salary families and along with that the necessity of child care outside the family at earlier and earlier years. But these Soviet-like changes did not also bring with them Communist benefits of job security, free child and medical care, guaranteed lifelong support, and so on.
The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,”Part Two – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema
Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Two,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.
The Rise and Fall of Obvious Truths, Part 2. by SillyMickel Adzema
The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema
Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.
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Giving the Finger to Armageddon – Some People Are Just Tougher Than Death … Or So They Think: A Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse
Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse Between a Boomer and a Gen Xer:
An Anatomy, in Story Form, of the Machismo Attitude Toward Our End
Facing Apocalypse, People Are Becoming Zombies
People are becoming zombies in the face of their death, their own upcoming suffering, not to mention the death of all life on this planet. Do an internet search on apocalypse and note how little, if anything, is posted about the urgency or emergency of our current situation.
It comes across as a big party on a South Pacific Island in a hotel that everyone there knows will not survive the incoming tsunami or killer hurricane. But in the meantime they’re drinking themselves silly, drugging…gonna party their way to the end. That is not a rational response to the end of all life.
Other responses on the apocalypse have machismo aspects to them. In fact, most sites about apocalypse have a macho message in common.
Macho, Macho Man
Well, folks, we’re all gonna die. But big deal. I’m so fucking macho, I laugh at death! Here, let me prove it to you. Come here, death, right up to my face!
See, everybody. How I look directly into this face, this face of death! Now watch. Watch as I spit, spit directly into this face. Ptoo! (spits) See that? So who cares!? Not convinced? Then watch and I’ll show you. See the face of death that I’m holding and facing? Watch as I laugh in its face, laugh directly in its face. HA! Hahahahahaha! See? Told you.
Doing it, Tron style
So, dear listeners, are you able to make out the distress beneath such pronouncements? Granted, this bravado is worthless as to either reversing apocalypse or even showing some sort of inspired vision in which it can be made acceptable or noble if not avoidable. For those who do not see it yet, in this chapter and its accompanying video I try a little fantasy dialogue to bring out what I think is going on, much of the time, and keeping us from acting rationally about this imminent emergency of all dire emergencies possible.
Witness me as I trip over in cyber-land to something I call Amalgamated Macho-Apocalypto-dot-com. I’m about to go over to the webmaster of that site, in imagination and, well, just run a question or two past him. Tune in and catch what ensues. It should be revealing. So you click on the gadget above, while I fly myself over. See you there!
Ok, I’m here. “Hey, yo dude! Deathface spitter and laugher!”
“You… You know me…?”
“Hell yea. You’re in Google, you know. I understand you’re surprised because, believe me, tagged with apocalypse, like you, well, let’s just say I don’t have to lock the doors either. But there’s probably more interest in you than what I do.”
“Really, more interest in me? I like that! What do you do then?”
“On my site I tell the truth: you know, tell them that it’s very very bad and looks impossible unless people wake up on a massive scale and decide unequivocally to live. Stuff like that.”
“Ok, but just no spittin. I’ve seen your routine.”
“No, no. Nothing of the sort. No, really, I thought that kind of stuff died in the Sixties with all the ‘kumbaya’ and ‘we shall overcome’ baloney.”
Why’s Everybody Hatin’ on Kumbaya?
“Well, not that it’ll make a difference on you, but yeah, I’m that old and have had many high moments of unity in among the angels of humans coming forth to reunite—what you refer to as kumbaya. And by the way, I like the song, I like the Lord, what’s everybody pissed at? As for the other, we overcame. I’ve really dug being me because I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the things that made the world better; and I can’t imagine a better high or feeling of fulfillment.
“But I’m not here to dispute with you. I’m an old fart who got to live in rich times and participate in them. You’re a young, well, younger-than-me person, who was apparently born at around the time all the things my kind were working for were deemed a threat to the status quo. And so the powers-that-be created the misinformation, scapegoating, and slander of my generation. Then they delivered to generations following mine the machismo cynicism with its connotation that it was better to have that than feeling life. They seeded you with the idea that those who experienced life…as opposed to those who accepted their prepackaged attitudes of cynicism and mean-spiritedness…well, we were wusses, saps, effeminate, feminate, and all that.
“So, sorry, that my generation’s threat to the moneyed powers was so scary to them that they reacted with the all out effort to create a generation that would be the opposite of us, and so you were brainwashed and misinformed and lied to. So, so very sorry. I wish I could say, “my bad,” but well it was “our good” that resulted in “their bad,” and I don’t want to be like them and continue to uphold their matrix of misinformation. So, anyway, sorry.”
“Well, I shoulda Tivo’d that for later. That was waaaay too much and too many twist and turns for me to follow. But you called yourself an old fart. That part I got. So since you’ve placed yourself below me, I guess I’m at ease with your being here, whatever it is.”
Who Ya Talkin to, Dude?
“Well, your Dudeness, your Fearlessness Most Strong and Mighty, I have a few humble questions to ask of you,” I say.
“Ok, old fart, go ahead.”
“I see clearly that you’re showing the world you don’t fear death. But how is that going to help the world any. I mean if everyone felt like you…let’s say that was your aim…well then we’d all go down, patting each other on the back on how it doesn’t matter, but never to be heard of again!”
“Your point?” he says, irritated.
“This is me! I’m expressing me! What else is there to do?”
“Ok, thank you. That explains a lot. But something comes to me. May I?”
“Sure,” says he.
“You say that, ‘this is me.’ Number one. Right?”
“Right.” Annoyed again.
“Ok. Now, you know there are not a lot of people watching. But your intention is not to influence any people. Number two, right?”
“Yep, that’s right.”
“But you wouldn’t be putting up a website if you didn’t want somebody to know who you are. I mean, you could say it in the mirror, or in your bedroom. You wouldn’t be making it available unless there’s somebody, persons, that you hope would hear you. Would that not be number three, right?”
“Well, you old farts really are big on this self-analytical crap, aren’t you? Well, I ain’t no pussy, but I am man enough to say that I couldn’t escape that logic that…yea, I am, inside, wanting to share, and share myself to some, to some…well, I guess, I just wouldn’t mind if, uh,really by accident of course, some people, who never got to know me this way, might see me and understand…well, uh…”
Let’s Play a Mind Game.
“Oh, understand. Nothing wrong with that. But, uh, how ’bout you indulge an old fart and just try out something that I think will be a real gas for you, er, perhaps I should say, phat, er, uh…. Look, you can trust me to take the time to play a little, let’s say, mind-game. It’s lots of fun.”
“Haha. Suure, ok. You crack me up, ya old fart. Gonna be a real gas. Ya can bet your damn asscrack that you’d lost me for sure until you’d made real quick to explain that one, hehe.”
So, I say, “Yep, that’s a little mind-game prank that was played on me. Well, anyway, uh…. Well, uh, I just want you to allow yourself to open your mind to the greater intentions—intentions you have for doing this, the greater visions. Now, don’t think just yet, you’ll only try to make things up. This is easier than that.”
“Ok, now. You say that…being honest and only rational after all…that of course you wouldn’t be doing this expression of yourself on the internet if you didn’t have some desire to share or show this part of you with somebody or somebodies in the world…right? So far?”
“Yea, get on with it, I’ve already said that.”
“Ok, fine. Now, here’s the fun part. I want you to have that desire…to have it clearer…the clearer you can make it, y’know, the more likely it will happen. So let me help you a little here. Now just clooose your eyes. No, no, don’t look that way at me, nothing fishy going on…. You just ain’t going to be able to see your desires with all the distractions that the sights around us present. Give it a chance. Believe me, I’m not trying to lay any trip on you….”
“Ok, that’s better.”
Who’s Your Real Audience?
“Now. On the internet, we never see our audience. But we all imagine and wonder who they might be and what kind of people they are. Don’t you, too?”
“Well, we’re gonna try do something like that. Instead of an internet with no audience, well, imagine you’re in an auditorium. It can still be an internet to you…and you’re making the same points…and you’re really getting into it, like: I SPIT (ptoo!) in the face of death…and I LAUGH uproariously in the face of death.”
“How’s it goin?”
“Yea, I’m doing it, really into it…like it!”
“Ok. How does it make you feel?”
“Strong, fucking strong, damn fucking strong.”
“Greeeat. You’re feeling strong, real fucking strong. Feel as fucking strong as you can!”
“Great, yea, all right, I’m so fucking strong, ain’t no mother-fucking dudes as strong as me…I spit, I laugh….”
“Very, very wonderful. Enjoy, enjoy that! … Now… add one more thing…. One more thing, make it even better…. Remember, you’re in an auditorium, and here you can see your audience. Stay with that ‘spittin at death’ strength. You’re strong! … Now, containing all that strength…all that bigger than death power…cast your eyes down below you to the people in the audience…you’re at your peak!…the people that you really wanted to show. You’re strong, you’re powerful, more powerful than death, right?”
“Fucking right, I am.”
“Ok, now. Show them, and tell me who they are…one by one…look around…slowly…who do you really…really want to show who you really are…who couldn’t see this before in you…but now, they wouldn’t be able to miss it? Take your time….”
“No need to take time! Ha! I’m fucking really strong now. And there’s my bitch ex-girlfriend. Ha! Now, she doesn’t seem so high and mighty. She looks scared now. Ha! She left me. Took off with some some guy who did some kind of daredevil or motorcycle stunts. Sorta like saying to me, that, I wouldn’t be there for you…. Well, she didn’t get it then, but she’s gettin’ it now…how much braver it is to stare down death than to face some motorcycle risks. Ha! Yea, I’m gettin’ it. This is fun. You’re an old fart, but you got some tricks…good tricks….”
“Ok, now,” I say. “Look around, who else?”
“Well, there’s several other girlfriends. Wow! How great to see the look on their faces now.” (chuckling) “And there’s my two older brothers. I really wanted to be like them, and…hang out with them. But they made it like I wasn’t big or tough enough. Boy, am I showing them now. How fucking glorious. Even they are scared; they are tooo chickenshit to do what I’m doing. Ha! I’m showing them…he he he…..”
Those Damn ‘Ghostly’ Others
“Keep looking,” I say.
“Ok, well, there’s…there…. No. No…what the fuck, what the fuck’s he here for?”
“Who’s that?” I say.
“Why my dad…and my mother too. My dad always made me feel like I was weak just ’cause I was a kid. Why wouldn’t I be weaker than a grown man!? That bastard never gave me credit for having the strength I’ve got. Yet how strong is he? Just because he can put down my mom and…who would never fight back….”
I say, “Look into his face. Did you show him? Does he finally see?”
“Look more closely. Zoom in.”
“OK…. Oh my god, that mother-fucking bastard, that prick!”
“What’s going on?”
“Well, he’s even angrier now. He’s thinkin’: ‘What kinda pussy son he’s got who’s play-actin’ all over the internet about how tough he is…but that’s not bein’ tough,’.he’s thinkin’…. Why that fuck! He never did understand anything I did, he put down everything I did. I tried, but no matter. I could never be man enough…in his eyes….”
I say, “That’s rough, dude, rough. That’d be hard for anyone to live through….”
“Yea.” Beginning to choke up. “Yea…” he says…he’s sobbing now.
“That mother…. All those years I had to live with that fuck! hope and try and not getting anything back….my God!…except… scorn! Gaaa! Scorn! Scorn and Hate! It’s you who’s face I spit in, you‘re the fuckin’ death, I hate you!…. I’m bigger than you. I survive you. I laugh! Ooooh…” Openly crying.
And, he broke off crying.
You’re never gonna win, pal, give it up already.
Well. I did what I could for him…and stayed with him and hung out with him for a while…. Really not a bad guy at all. He seemed to really get it, too, that he didn’t need to do things to prove to his dad anymore, because he could clearly see there was no extreme he could ever go to or ever go through that would make a dent in his father’s attitude of despising him.
I explained that while it is hard to accept that his father really did despise him, that he will find it easier than most, because he at least knew it…and didn’t try to pretend it wasn’t true. But that he just hadn’t gotten it out of his craw that even in some imaginary way he could get something that he just wasn’t meant to get in this life. And I explained that, that is the way with all of us. There’s always something that’s not part of the perfect family portrait, or there’s some elephant in the room.
I explained that, while he didn’t have to prove anything anymore to his father that, while he was doing it, it led him to learn a lot about the internet and such, and he could apply that to something new.
So when I was leaving, he said something. It gave me a happy thought. He said:
“You know. Now I don’t need to show anybody anything. What a waste of time that was.”
What to Do, When You Don’t Have to Do
And he continued, “It occurs to me, then…’What the hell to do’? Then it occurs to me, ‘Well, if you got nothing to prove, and you really don’t want the world to end, actually.’ In fact, it is pretty scary.”
“And I’m thinkin’ of all the innocents…like my mom…being put down by big scary men whose only strength lies in putting down little kids, and their wives…so they can feel strong. Hmm….”
“So I think, ‘No, there’s no changing my dad.’”
“But the next thing I have is…while my mother isn’t here anymore, ‘There’s lots of helpless innocents out there, like her, who aren’t being helped…about what’s coming down.’ They’re even being prevented from knowing, by other chickenshit men like my dad, who are only out for themselves and it doesn’t matter who they hurt…s’long as they get their profits.”
How DARE They?
“So, I’m thinkin’ this, and I’m real surprised because I feel myself breathing deeper. And I feel some anger coming, like, ‘How DARE they?!’ “
“And then some strong feelings of manliness…my heart crying out…like to my mother. Even choking up a little, thinkin’ like, ‘I’ll take care of you, young mother, little sister, little brother, little baby child. I’m bigger, I’m stronger. I’ll protect you from harm’…like no one protected me. And now I know how horrible that was. And, how I could do nothing to…and how I would do anything to stop that from happening to others. I really would. And I got all psyched! Y’know?”
Guaranteed to Bring Out the Best in You
“I’m sorry for putting you down about wanting to help the world. Cause I see that’s the best place to put your strength and to be a real man…. Y’know? To have a just cause…put all your strength into it…whether you win or not. Just to be on the right side! And in the meantime to stand between any hardship and those innocents…and to comfort their sorry hearts. It seems like there’s no other worthy thing to do.”
Well, I expressed how that was really wonderful. And I said, to confirm for him, I said how this is the biggest struggle this planet has ever faced.
And, he’s right. It is the worthiest effort that one can imagine. And guaranteed to bring out the best in us…and to make us better…as well as the worst in us…which we can at least know and struggle with to keep those things from undermining the good in us.
Freed From a Prison
Well, after that we talked about how we individually and together could do things in the future, and…. It gladdened my heart to see him freed from the prison of striving forever for a love that would never be and…to be learning, already, that true love is in giving.
That true love is in giving.
Finding love, in giving love
No doubt, if he continues like this, he’ll soon learn that in giving love, he finds more love than his heart can contain, coming his way, without his expecting, asking, or even seeing it coming. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes over to my site to contribute, share, and even join in solidarity.
Could Be Real Men, Instead of Performers for Phantom Puppeteers
Well, that’s one take on why people are not reacting to the seriousness of the end of all life on this planet. I think it’s a rather pervasive one. And I’m sure there are others. And I just wish it would be that easy to turn these people around to see how they could be real men, how they could be real heroes, how they could be really strong. Instead of performing for some “ghostly” others…who aren’t there, and…who aren’t going to be impressed anyway.
Take my word for it or not. That’s the way I see it.
Other Takes on This
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Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Concocted Worlds: Fifties, Gen X, and Millennials and Drug Effects – Speed, Ecstacy
Culture War, Class War Chapter Four: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Concocted Worlds
Drugs and Generations
Drug Effects—Cocaine, Speed
Drugs in the amphetamine class are stimulants. This includes cocaine, methamphetamine, “meth,” “crystal,” crack cocaine, “crack,” speed, amphetamine, uppers, “whites,” and so on. They repress Pain extraordinarily well.
Building castles in the sky
They are euphoriants and cause one to have the feeling that one’s mental capacities are expanded. One feels that one can envision projects and outcomes precisely. So one expends oneself in organizing and preparing for great achievements, which rarely are embarked on.
Free from fear, reckless, overconfident, risk-taking
Since these drugs repress Pain, creating an amped state of mind more than normally able to fend off unwanted emotional material, they repress the normally present residue of fear, with its attendant caution in the face of activities outside of one’s comfort zone requiring forethought and anticipation. One does not feel constrained by normal fears or apprehensions, so one throws oneself into new activities with reckless abandon. One feels overly confident in one’s abilities and engages in all kinds of risk-taking—financially, sexually, interpersonally, legally. These activities have one embarking on dubious schemes which rarely pan out.
A land of light and darkness
Despite these negatives the corollary of this mental activity is that one’s ability to think and see more clearly on some issues is enhanced, just because one’s fears can pollute one’s perception and apprehension of things.
It is enlightening to remember that Sigmund Freud, among other notables in history, experimented with cocaine. At one point, Freud was heartily endorsing its use to his colleagues; he was waxing expansively about its benefits for mental life and clarity of consciousness. Of course, he changed his position on this later. No doubt his use led him to see its face of darkness as well.
Glimpses of clarity
Nonetheless, concerning the positive aspects of cocaine, it can be mentally enhancing partly because of its repression of fear. For fears, as mentioned, are both of the helpful-cautionary as well as the oppressive types. Being released from the oppressiveness of fears, being freed of the constraints of “fearful thinking,” can result in seeing one’s reality more clearly. Feeling fearless can lead one to acknowledging truths and realities normally defended against—thus being therapeutic even, getting a glimpse of reality outside of one’s fears.
Being freed from normal caution, however, can lead one into reckless activities with consequences far beyond one’s ability to handle in either a normal, or drugged, state. It is no coincidence that these drugs have seen heavy usage by wartime participants—notable are their use by fighter pilots and by Vietnam warriors.
A land of empathy and insensitivity
Lastly, since these stimulants repress feelings, they can lead to insensitivity toward others. But since they can repress fear which blocks truer perception of and appreciation of others they can lead, paradoxically, to feelings of love toward others and a feeling of finally really seeing others and appreciating them for who they are, not simply in the way one has cast them (“pigeon-holed” them) to fit into one’s scripts, agendas, ego projects, or desires.
The Eighties saw an epidemic of use of cocaine. This was commonly attributed to Yuppies, which is the popular term for the Young Upwardly-mobile Professional character of this era and is contrasted with the idealistic, activist, and anti–Vietnam-War Yippies (Youth International Party, whose founder and most famous member was Abbie Hoffman).
Yuppies came in at the same time as Ronald Reagan into the White House and, indeed, exemplified much of what Reagan stood for. They were seen as greedy, over-achieving, materialistic, narcissistic, and societally and environmentally insensitive careerists.
“Love is all you need” turned into “Money is good!”
They were portrayed in film; one in particular that sought to delineate the attitudes of this character type was “Wall Street,” in which Charlie Sheen plays the role of the Yuppie, mentored by the Fifties Generation character, Gekko, played by Michael Douglas. Together they give a portrayal of complete self-centeredness and insensitivity to the ways their Machiavellian strategies harm others or the environment. They are driven solely by a value that “Money Is Good!”—a slogan completely the opposite of the previous generation — the Sixties Generation — whose attitudes were expressed in lyrics like “I don’t care too much for money; money can’t buy me love” and “Love is all you need”; who bought and lived by books with titles such as How to Live on Nothing, The Greening of America, and Back to Eden; and whose most famous slogan was “Tune in, Turn on, Drop out” (or it was sometimes said, “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out”—I’m not sure anyone in the generation knew which was the “proper” way to say it).
In any case, another term used for the Yuppie Generation was The “Me” Generation. Thus it was that from the late Sixties, early Seventies (the height of Vietnam-Era Youth’s influence on society and culture) to the late Seventies and most of the Eighties—within a period of a mere decade—the prevailing, media-amplified cultural values of our society swung, pendulum-like, a hundred-and-eighty degrees from where they had been.
History of the Movement: The Continued Slandering of a Generation, So an Activist One Would Never Again Arise
Matrix manifest and The Big Lie
This change had a great deal to do with the efforts of the World-War-Two Generation—in total horror at the way their sons and daughters seemed to be reversing the values they had lived, and fought, for—to “take back” society. The WWII Generation did this by putting pressure, as well-to-do alumni, on universities and colleges across America to turn their curricula away from liberal arts and toward job-oriented curricula, and by using their positions of power in the media to influence the flow and content of the information to be fed to the mainstream public. For example, in the early Seventies, the WWII Generation’s money and power directed the press to declare that a “conservative backlash” was occurring in America, when in fact the opposite was occurring.
But eventually their “Big Lie” tactics won out so that people began to believe and then to create what they had been repeatedly told…the opposite view having, as part of the strategy, been censored in the media. [Footnote 1]
Thus, the Yuppies were the creation of the WWII Generation in their attempt to reverse the course of society that their own daughters and sons, as “Sixties Youth,” had put it on.
Scapegoating an Entire Generation
Coinciding with and supporting the strategy just described, and because the World-War-Two Generation during the Eighties were still in their Triumphant Phase—a psychohistorical term meaning they were at the stage of their life in late adulthood in which they had pretty much gained control of the reins of society—they furthered their cause by managing to plant a fantasy in the collective consciousness of American culture concerning the origins of Yuppies which persists to this day.
In obvious denial (again, their predominant defensive posture) of the fact that they had helped to “create” the Yuppies and so of the similarities between their own values and those of the Yuppies, as exemplified by the similarities between the (World-War-Two-era) Reagan-Bush political agenda and that of the Yuppies—who indeed helped elect Reagan and Bush—yet aware of the criticism that their very own values, taken to the Yuppie extremes, was generating in the independent press as well as the negative publicity there about the cocaine use of the Yuppies, the World-War-Two Generation saw an opportunity not only to defeat but also to “get back” at their opponents, the Sixties Generation, by ridiculing them.
In the predominant World-War-Two Generation fashion of scapegoating (the accompaniment of denial), which they had been directing from the outset at the Sixties Generation (who had of course incurred the wrath of the WWII Generation by opposing and confronting them on the Vietnam War in sometimes harsh and hostile ways), the Yuppies, with their cocaine use, were portrayed in the WWII-Generation-paid-for media as former Sixties hippies who had simply grown older but—consistent with their alleged “narcissism”—were still selfish, only now, materially so, thus the appellation, The “Me” Generation.
So the Vietnam-era or Sixties Generation began being denigrated in the press with the accusation, “The ‘Me’ Generation,” and Sixties values were also denigrated—the scapegoating of the Sixties Generation continuing—despite the fact that it was a different age group in society, the younger Yuppies, who were actually the ones triggering the attack.
The hypocrisy of the charge becomes even more blatant when considering that the values of the Sixties Generation included such selfless acts as risking, sometimes incurring, violence and personal harm, jail time, and a lower standard of living for the sake of their idealistic beliefs in peace, environmental restoration and preservation, and selfless communitarian living, among others—none of which have any overlap with Yuppie careerism, consumerism, materialism, and individualistic greedy selfishness.
Despite the success in our society’s collective consciousness of the fantasy of Yuppies being former hippies—once it had been planted in the popular culture by the WWII Generation sitting comfortably in front of American society’s steering wheel—the truth is that these Yuppies were predominantly the generation that shadowed the Sixties generation, arising as youth in the aftermath of the Sixties cultural revolution.
Yuppies, Created by a Desperate WWII Generation, Had Fifties Generation Parents Marinated in War Fears
History of the Movement: The Truth and Lies About Yuppies and Their Fifties Generation Parents
Yuppies—Products of the WWII Generation’s Todo List
Their values become understandable, then, in that they were in secondary schools and universities during the Seventies when the “Conservative backlash” Big Lie was being promulgated. For as I’ve mentioned at that time universities were cutting back funding from courses in liberal arts, philosophy, psychology, literature, politics and government, and the like and were turning themselves into career-factories dedicated to producing compliant business persons, engineers, physicians, and scientists who were not being educated to think for themselves but how to achieve and make money in a culture the World-War-Two Generation was comfortable with.
Yuppies—Children of Fifties Generation Parents
The values of the Yuppies are understandable, furthermore, in that they were the sons and daughters of a generation between the World-War-Two and Baby-Boomer Generations, who are rarely talked about. It is often said that the World War Two Generation was followed by Boomers and that Generation X were the children of Boomers. Nothing could be further from the truth. The generation that followed the WWII Generation and the actual parents of Gen Xers were born 1925 t0 1945 and came to adulthood during the somnolent Fifties. So we might call this overlooked generation the Fifties Generation, or the Eisenhower-McCarthy Generation, or the Elvis Generation, or the Happy Days Generation…a more cumbersome but more accurate term for them would be the War-Born Generation. They have been called the Silent Generation, and this does say something about them.
They’ve been invisible but running things from behind the screen, since they took over conservatism and greed from the WWII Generation and upped the ante. They have been accurately represented by the Gekko character in the movie Wall Street, played by the Fifties Generation Michael Douglas (born 1944) whose protege, correctly enough, was played the by the yuppie-Generation Xer, Charlie Sheen (born 1965). [Footnote 2]
Not So “Happy Days”: The War-Born Generation—Fifties, Eisenhower Generation
The media tends to focus on the big trends and to ignore or miss the lesser ones. The way our recent history was portrayed, you would think that just because there was a huge number of babies born in the decade and a half after World-War-Two’s end—the much discussed Baby-Boomer Generation—that there were no babies born during the War…almost as if every man in America was overseas fighting or that, when home on leave or whatever, they simply would not or could not conceive!
Marinated in the Womb of War Fears
However, of course these ridiculous notions are not true, so there is a pre-Baby-boomer Generation who happened to be born during or shortly before WWII, i.e., between about 1925 and 1945. And the Yuppies were predominantly the sons and daughters of this—let us call it—Fifties Generation. Marinated in the womb with Great Depression and war fears and born around the time of the war, the Yuppies’ parents then had their formative adolescence and young adulthood during the Fifties.
Abandoned, overlooked, fearful, resentful, rooted in conservatism
So their beliefs are rooted in the cultural soil of Fifties conservatism, the Cold War, Elvis Presley, McCarthyism, Eisenhower, traditional religion, belief in the economic primacy of capitalism and the evil of communism, and the early “schmaltzy” rock and roll (e.g., “Teen Angel,” “Leader of the Pack,” etc.).
Their roots reaching deep into war fears–hot and cold, many would feel jealous and angry about the freedoms and openness of the generation immediately after them. They would, as well, heartily resent all the attention being showered on the much larger cohort of Baby-Boomers.
Yuppies, Fifties Nostalgia, Materialism
And it is the worldview of this Fifties Generation that was passed on to their children, the Yuppies. It is no coincidence that when these Gen X Yuppies were teens and young adults (mid-Seventies through the Eighties) we saw also a lengthy period of Fifties nostalgia alongside the caricaturizing and ridiculing of Sixties lifestyles, values, and beliefs. It is easy to see that the materialism the Fifties Generation members were nurtured in after World War II, as a reaction to the fear and uncertainties their parents had because of the Depression, the war, and The Bomb would be replicated in their children.
Only the fear and uncertainty their children would try to amass wealth against was the tumult, anomie, violence, and confusion of the decade of the Sixties, the era the Yuppies would experience swirling around their roots and upsetting the stability of their nurturant years.
Manic Irrationality, Voodoo Economics, Booming Debt and Mean-Spiritedness: The Eighties Began with Reagan Rising and Lennon Dying
Manic Irrationality, Voodoo Economics
The Eighties Began, Ominously, with Reagan’s Election and John Lennon’s Assassination
The Eighties began, significantly enough, with the death of John Lennon and the election of Ronald Reagan. Concurrent with the epidemic of cocaine use was a manic economy, massive military expenditures, and a tripling-plus of the National Debt. It is relevant to note that the huge increase in the National Debt was caused by a tax cut for the rich, which of course benefited those of the World-War-Two Generation who either inherited or earned, with a lifetime behind them, their wealth, as well as those upwardly mobile, materialistic Yuppies. The rationale for the tax cut—which was characterized by some commentators as “Robin Hood in reverse,” because it also coincided with cutbacks in social programs—was a “voodoo economics” (George H.W. Bush’s term) with a “trickle-down” theory of investment and economic growth.
That Voodoo That They Do So Well
This economics is based on a belief that a “dollar,” metaphorically speaking, given to a rich person will be more wisely invested, creating more jobs and wealth for everyone, than will that same “dollar” given to a middle-class or poor person.
This view, however, ignored human psychology, the standard economics of marginal returns, and the common observation that, simply put, for a person with a little or a moderate amount of money, that metaphorical dollar will have more value (because it will represent a much larger increase, percentage-wise, in their financial situation) than it will for a rich person, for whom its value is only marginally related to a rather large “purse,” so to speak.
Trickle-Down Ignores Human Psychology
Therefore, common sense tells us that “dollar” will be more conscientiously and thoughtfully spent or invested, creating more jobs and wealth for all, by the moderate-income person, who of course will attempt to maximize its benefit to him- or herself so that he or she can also rise to the ranks of the wealthy. To the moderate income person that “dollar” represents an opportunity for a rise in economic status; hence it will be invested, sweated over, and monitored intensely. In general, he or she will attempt to squeeze every possible ounce of benefit out of it, very often starting businesses of their own and thereby creating new jobs, opportunity, and wealth in the process. Whereas for the already wealthy person, that “dollar” is only a dollar alongside many others, and is only marginally relevant, reaping only marginal, or minor, returns.
And Of Course It Didn’t Work, Still Didn’t Work, Still Didn’t Work…
Voodoo economics did not work, of course, as indicated by the tripling of the National Debt. Another important indication of the falsity of its premises was the huge expenditures of money, during the Eighties, on luxury items, like yachts, works of art, expensive cars, and so on. Art items and artifacts were being bid through the roof and the prices they were going for were making headlines in newspapers and stimulating commentaries on the tube. Along with this was the overinvestment in spurious business transactions, including “junk bonds,” soon-to-be-left-unrented commercial buildings, and unwanted real estate. Much has been said about how these manic and ill-considered business transactions led to the lengthy recession of the late Eighties and early Nineties. Along with this is the connection with the S&L scandal which was behind the plethora of boondoggles and ill-advised investment.
The Manic Mentality and Mindless Waste
But there are two aspects of it that are especially relevant here for a discussion of drugs and generational cultures. They are the manic quality of the times—the go, go, go, buy, buy, buy mentality of the investing—and the obvious proof it gave to marginal returns theory, i.e., the money, given to the rich, was valued little and was mindlessly blown on trivialities—it was said that the Eighties was a huge party for the rich.
So rather than creating wealth for the wealthy, which would “trickle down” to the less well off, Reaganomics, as it was also called, turned into an unparalleled failure. It was called the largest shift of wealth in America’s history, taking it from the poor and middle class and benefiting the richest, top two percent of Americans.
More than that, it led to a debt that will be adversely affecting the well-being, lifestyles, and financial pictures of several generations to come.
The Hypocrisy and Materialism
Going into such detail about the intricacies and results of the economic policy promulgated by the WWII Generation, in alliance with the Yuppies and their parents, the Fifties Generation, is important because of the hypocrisy it demonstrates in the charge leveled at the Baby-Boomer Generation of being a “Me” generation and of being narcissistic. Again, we see the WWII Generation’s same tendency to denial, projection, and scapegoating.
To continue, however, other elements in the Eighties cultural arena, existing alongside the epidemic of cocaine use, was the aforementioned careerism and materialism among the Yuppies (comprised primarily of the youth in their twenties and early thirties who followed behind the Vietnam-era Generation), whose mantram was to get rich, get powerful, erect and maintain “family islands” which they saw as competitive with the rest of society (quite unlike the communitarianism of the Sixties Generation), and to retire early…social and environmental problems be damned.
The Necessary Mean-Spiritedness – Hating on the Kumbaya
Other standouts of the cultural scenery of the time included a rise of mean-spiritedness, e.g., cutbacks in social programs and charities, which, as it was said, had one effect of emptying the mental hospitals into the streets. It became fashionable to sneer at and blame (often scapegoating) the more unfortunate ones of society—the poor, helpless, mentally ill, children, the powerless–making some time for that alongside of outright snickering and smugness directed at the “hippie-dippie” values and “kumbaya” visions of the generation older than them.
Was Disconnected from The Sixties
The next generation to wander into the cultural limelight has been termed Generation X. Whereas Yuppies came of age during the Eighties, Generation X came into adulthood in the Eighties and Nineties. As I’ve been saying, Yuppies were the earliest contingent of Gen X.
Predominantly these are not the sons and daughters of the Sixties Generation as the values of the Vietnam-era Generation included marrying late and having children late so that their children are mostly younger than and not among Generation X.
This value concerning marrying or having children later in life tied in with the Sixties folks’ belief in personal freedom, but is more closely related to the hypocrisy they perceived in the marriages of their parents, those of the WWII Generation. They not only perceived their parents’ marriages as being false and loveless, they perceived themselves as being the victims of poor parenting, wherein they felt they were not understood and were not accepted for who they were or supported in what they uniquely wanted to do with their lives.
Furthermore, they saw the social and global context as a negative and highly dangerous one. For one thing, having been children during the “drop and roll” and bomb-shelter, nuclear-shadow era of the Fifties, and having seen the assassination of idealistic values in the deaths of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King during their teens and young adulthood, they had great doubts about the future of the world. Though of course the Sixties Generation is noted for its idealism and for its attempts to fight these perceived dangers and injustices, underneath there has always been for them an uncertainty that success is possible, so that bringing a child into this particular dangerous and unjust social context was seen as possibly not a good thing for the child.
Parented by a Fallow Generation
So it is that Generation Xers are predominantly the sons and daughters of the Fifties Generation as well as those less idealistic of the Vietnam-era Generation that had, more often than not, opted for the traditional route of career, home, and family and thus had started having children many years earlier than their more socially conscious counterparts.
This Fallow Generation , let us call it, would conceive the children who would be called Generation X—who are noted for their apathy and lack of distinctiveness.
But keep in mind that the Fallow Generation is not a true generation in the sense that it is composed of two age groups—the Fifties Generation and those of the Baby-Boomers who opted for a family instead of the social activism, college education, and establishing a career before raising a family decisions of their more heralded peers. .
Hence Generation X’s lack of a unifying cause, value, or characteristic may have to do with their being children of parents from two different age groups and generations.
Drugs and Generations: Generation X Returned to Booze
At any rate, and understandably because they are mostly not children of the idealistic segment of Sixties youth, the drug use of Xers strayed back to the use of alcohol and cigarettes—the drugs used by their Fallow Generation parents, including the smaller number of them who were Boomers and who did not make either the cultural or drug changes of their peers. Alongside this “traditional” drug use, Generation Xers are noted for their pessimism, defeatism, and fascination with death—as, for example, in their selection of black clothes, their tendency to ripped jeans, tattoos, and the insertion of all sorts of pins and studs, as adornments, into virtually all parts of their bodies, and, in the extreme ones among them, a fascination with vampirism.
Drug Use — Ecstasy…
and The Movement — Activism… Again
This drug is very similar chemically to the amphetamines. Ecstasy has an hallucinogenic aspect, which distinguishes it, however. But it more reliably elicits the opening to love for others and the favorable perceptions of others and sense of unity with them as described above as occurring for amphetamines also along with the driveness of speed that is more characteristic of it.
Ecstasy came into use in the late Seventies and in the Eighties; and it has had continued appreciation of its effects through to the present. In fact, it is considered the drug of choice at raves—one of the more recent generational phenomena. The growth in popularity of raves maps near exactly on the increasing appreciation for Ecstasy. It would be hard to view that as coincidental.
So the free love and communalism of the Sixties was superseded by a disco phase in the late Seventies. The disco phase emerged and grew immediately upon the waning of use in the psychedelics, the increasing use of marijuana as a “cocktail,” mixed with alcohol, and the predominant use of cocaine by the Yuppies and Me Generation—the early contingent of Generation X.
Rave on, Millennials!
Raves became an emerging phenomenon following somewhat upon the fading of the disco phase—a decline which occurred in the late Seventies, early Eighties. So raves were a phenomenon coincident with the rising use of Ecstasy and primarily affecting the generations following the Yuppie/ Me Generation, i.e., Generation X and the Millennial Generation.
Baby-Boomer Echo Generation
For some reasons that may be obvious by now and until just recently, little had yet been said in the media about the daughters and sons of the Sixties Generation. This generation is currently in their twenties and thirties, though some are still in college and even junior and high school because of the tendency for some Baby-Boomer parents to postpone having children, often waiting till the very end of a woman’s reproductive years, just before the age of forty.
This generation has been called an “echo” of the Baby-Boomers in that just as the Baby-Boomers represented a significant population increase, conceived in the post-WWII euphoria and stability, these children of Boomers also represent an incoming population wave, due to the numbers of their parents. There was a wave of increased school attendance during the Nineties and post-millennial years. Universities more recently have been attending to their needs.
Just as in every other generation mentioned, this Echo Generation, also called Millennial Generation, shares many of the characteristics and values of their parents.
Similarly, they mirror the drug use of their parents. There was a great to-do in the press during the Nineties about the increase in drug use among the young, particularly in high school. Furthermore, in typical WWII-Generation style, the media and Republicans in Congress attempted, during the Nineties, to scapegoat Sixties-Generation President Bill Clinton on this issue of drug use.
For though during the Nineties the WWII Generation was in the process of leaving the scene, those elderly of them left were conducting a fierce rearguard battle to save what they could of the culture they knew and created. In their desperation, they risked any cost in terms of outlandish scandals, government costs, and loss of social progress and governmental effectiveness. They were helped by a Fifties Generation entering retirement with a lot of wealth who, as I’ve said, were extremely jealous of the attention paid to the larger Boomer generation who came after them.
Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is that the increase in drug use among the young—which significantly enough involves predominantly an increase in the use of marijuana and, as they say: LSD…It’s b-a-a-a-a-ck!—had to do with the fact that the parents of these young people are indeed the people of the Sixties who themselves experimented with these substances.
Lest I be misunderstood, I am in no way saying that parents, in general, actively teach their children to take drugs—whether we are talking about the alcohol and cigarette use of the WWII Generation or marijuana and LSD use of Boomers—yet children are influenced by what their parents do or have done, even if just in the fact that the parents are more tolerant of such usage, having done it themselves. I say this because it could be countered that even the Sixties Generation, as parents, were engaged in the public antidrug campaign. Yet when they did so they were doing it out of a fear for their children’s physical welfare, not from a severe moral perspective that these drugs are the royal road to hell or from such other paranoid attitude, as was most often the case in the parents of the other generations discussed so far. [Footnote 3].
Politics – Activism, Values – Idealism
To return to the point, though not enough has been said or written about this “echo” generation, these are some of what has been noted about them: Beginning in 1992, with the election of Bill Clinton, the youth vote has swung back to going for the Democrats. There has been an increase in activism and idealism among the young in the last two decades, surprisingly this increase was noticed as early as when this generation was in high school and grade school. Polls done on their attitudes as children and adults showed a strong increase in their concern about social and global issues.
In fact, the issues that appeared to concern them the most have to do with racism and the environment. It is no coincidence that in the peak of their influence as young adults, there was an astounding wave of participation in Obama’s campaign, largely by this cohort, that resulted in the first African-American to attain the presidency. [Footnote 2]
This group also has fears that the future may not be very bright or as good as it was in times before them, particularly in terms of a ruined ecology due to environmental assault and/or nuclear disaster, yet they, like their parents, also are more likely to activism and taking up causes in the face of such dire possibilities.
These values of the Echo Generation are understandable, not only in that they reflect those of their parents, but also in that in the most recent decades the Sixties Generation—and indeed it would tend to be the more idealistic of them that would opt for the low pay that teachers currently get—predominates as the teachers and administrators in the primary and secondary schools that taught the Echo Generation.
The same, however, cannot as much be said of the universities, with Millennials attending, for reasons having to do with cutbacks in educational funds, the lingering success of the WWII Generation in turning universities into career factories as opposed to truly educational institutions, and, with the cutbacks in funding, the lack of job openings for Sixties Generation applicants and the resulting continued influence, bolstered by the institution of tenureship, of pre-Sixties professors—those of the Fifties and Fallow Generations, and a few remaining, very old, WWII folks.
Still, the Sixties Generation influence on these youth in college existed because of several contrary trends. The Echo Generation’s numbers swelled university attendance, requiring additional hiring somehow, whatever the funding constraints, and those of the generations preceding the Sixties Generation passed from the universities into retirement, or the beyond.
The candidates for the openings that did come about at the university level not as much those of the Fallow Generation, the Yuppies, or Generation Xers, but were instead members of a Sixties Generation who alone, among the generations mentioned, valued education over money and careerism. They had been waiting a long time, diplomas and experience in hand, for their chance to return to the universities—this time as the instructors and administrators—and eager to change its course back to true education, as it was when they were students in the liberal-minded Sixties.
We see the effects of this in Obama’s election and the phenomenal numbers of demonstrators coming out to fight back union attacks and budget squeezes in Wisconsin and throughout the US. Though these are not attracting media attention these outpourings are continuing unabated. My analysis provides insight into why this is occurring now.
Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Different Drugs, Different Worlds
Different Drugs, Different Worlds
This has been a brief overview of salient characteristics of generational cultures of some past and current generations alongside a description of that generation’s predominant drug use. I simultaneously unveiled in some detail what we know about the effects of these particular substances on consciousness and attitudes. Finally, I discussed the behavior and beliefs that can coincide with the use of these drugs, as they affect consciousness in different ways, creating different kinds of consciousnesses, different perspectives, indeed entirely different and distinct ways of perceiving the self and the world.
This discussion of drug use and generational cultures might be complete enough at this point. Any of the many connections not specifically made should be readily apparent and the information being brought together this way is suggestive of much more. What I do not think needs to be spelled out is the obvious: For example, how alcohol and nicotine use could be correlated with a generation that could put a Hitler into power, create a holocaust, and carry out the most destructive war in this planet’s history. It should be obvious how marijuana use could be correlated with the alienation, pessimism, and defeatism of the Beats. It should be abundantly clear how the use of LSD and marijuana among Sixties youth could correlate with a disgust with normal society and culture and thus the creation, from scratch, of a counterculture, with a pacifism in regard to war, with a reemergence of a lived and individual spirituality, with an emphasis on real communication, with an attempt to create real community and relationships, and with much more that has been associated with them. And it should need no explanation how cocaine use could be correlated with a manic economy and irrational, overoptimistic schemes, and failed business ventures.
Painting the Faces of Generations
Lest there be any misunderstanding, I should point out that, except for the WWII Generation whose drugs were legal and easily available, the above is based on generalities and trends of a minority of the people in the generations mentioned. Yet it is that distinctive minority of any generation that paints the face that generation presents to the world. It is the differences in generations and the new ideas and perceptions that make up the intellectual currency of a period and which rise above the familiar scenery to be spotlighted by the media and press.
The “Beats” did not comprise the majority of their generation and not all of them took marijuana or even had the horrifying perception of our normal unreality that is possible on that drug, yet a number of them, larger than any previously in any other generation, did exactly that…and those who did were often compelled to express those perceptions and the accompanying ideas, in literature, poetry, theater, and the like, that would influence the reality constructions of the rest of their generation and would come to characterize the palpable ideas of the era.
So it is as well with the Sixties Generation, the Yuppies, and even Generation Xers and the Millennial Generation. It is the differences between generations that is worthy of discussion. And it is my point that those differences are unusually correlated with the distinctive drug use of that generation and the effects that those drugs have on one’s perceptions of reality—a point that I have not seen explored before.
Drugs and Culture War
Finally, I wish to emphasize that these drug-influenced perceptions create the worldviews of generations out of which they create their generational cultures–the stark differences of which can fuel culture wars.
Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Five: The King Won’t Die – An Aborted Changing of the Guard
Return to Culture War, Class War Chapter Three: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Opposing Worlds
1. The events and statistics about this concerted effort are detailed in my book-in-progress titled The Once and Current Generation: Regression, Mysticism, and “My Generation”…stay tuned.
2. I’m not the only one to notice this generation or to see the swings in political leanings from one generation to the next. Kevin Drum, writing in The Political Animal, on January 5th, 2008 called this generation the Eisenhower generation. He places this generation in time between the World War II generation and the “counterculture generation of the sixties.”
He describes the swings from Democrat to Republican—World War II gen, Democrat; Eisenhower gen, Republican; Sixties gen, Democrat; Generation X, Republicans; Gen Y (boomer Echo generation, Millennial Generation), Democrats. And he predicts a political coming of age for Gen Y in that year’s presidential election (2008), which is exactly what happened.
What I add to that is the obvious point that these swings coincide with the parents of each generation of these youth. Specifically, counterculture generation members voted Democratic like their World War II generation parents; Gen X youth went Republican like their Eisenhower generation parents; Gen Y or Echo youth are solidly Democratic in line with their Sixties generation parents.
He describes it as follows:
Democrats and the Youth Vote
Voters, like other consumers, develop brand loyalties early in life. The World War II generation, which came of age during the New Deal and cast its first votes for FDR and Harry Truman, sustained a Democratic majority for decades. Likewise, the Eisenhower generation that entered the workforce during the fifties remains Republican to this day; the counterculture generation of the sixties and seventies remains a Democratic stronghold; and “Gen X,” the famously angst-ridden generation that started voting in the eighties, continues to vote Republican as it enters middle age.
And today’s youth? Surprise! It turns out it’s a Democratic powerhouse. In the early nineties young voters began shifting rapidly toward the Democratic Party and haven’t looked back since, even after a Republican won the White House in 2000. Today, twenty-somethings lean Democratic by 52%-37%, an astonishing advantage of 15 percentage points. It’s a bigger gap than any other generation currently alive, and it’s already showing up in the voting booth. Last year, not only was turnout was up, but young voters cast their ballots for Democratic congressional candidates by 60% to 38%.
All of this might be no more than a temporary blip if it were caused merely by a combination of George W. Bush’s historically dismal disapproval ratings and dissatisfaction over a grinding, unpopular war in Iraq — both of which will eventually come to an end one way or another. But that’s not what the evidence suggests. After all, the Gen Y movement toward the Democratic Party began in the early 90s, long before either Bush or the Iraq war had taken center stage. What’s more, in a recent New York Times/MTV poll of 17-29 year olds, young people were actually more optimistic about the war in Iraq than the rest of the population. It’s true that they don’t like President Bush much, but the war really isn’t the driving factor.
So what is? The most likely, and ironic, answer is a different war: the culture war that was originally stoked by the Christian Right and then taken up as electoral salvation by Republicans starting in the early nineties. Bush’s chief strategist, Karl Rove, famously believed the Christian Right to be the key to victory in 2000 and 2004, and recent Republican leaders from Newt Gingrich to Tom DeLay have embraced it with open arms.
But young people aren’t buying. Quite the contrary. For the most part, they’re turned off by the sex and gender fundamentalism that animates so much of the modern Republican Party’s social agenda. Polls show that most young voters are OK with abortion remaining legal. They have openly gay friends and are far more comfortable with gay marriage than their elders. They think that legalizing marijuana for personal consumption is common sense, not a sign of moral decay and the breakdown of western civilization.
So when Pat Buchanan declares that there’s “a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America” — as he did in prime time at the 1992 Republican convention — or when Jerry Falwell goes on national television and blames “the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians” for bringing on 9/11, young voters cringe. And when the Republican Party embraces their agenda, they go off to vote for Democrats.
Over the past 20 years Democrats have found themselves consistently on the wrong side of conservative campaigns based on social wedge issues like these. But although these campaigns have produced short-term gains for the GOP, they seem to have done so only at the expense of long-term ruin. A generation that’s more secular, more sexually at ease, and more tolerant is increasingly casting its lot with the Democratic Party and is increasingly showing up at the polls to prove it. And unlike changes in the voting patterns of independents or soccer moms or other favorites of the political sociologists, this change is likely to be permanent. If Gen Y acts like previous generations, keeping its political loyalties essentially for life, it means that the past 20 years have produced a time bomb: an enormous reservoir of new Democratic voters who are just beginning to flex their electoral muscles. 2008 will be their coming out party.
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3. For a look into this reality, check out this video of prototypic millennial, Jeffrey Lewis, performing his inspired “The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane.”
Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Five: The King Won’t Die – An Aborted Changing of the Guard
Return to Culture War, Class War Chapter Three: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Opposing Worlds
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