Friday, April 08, 2005

Scenes From The Culture Of Life

I don't know about you, but when I saw the requisite overhead shot of the mourning throng at the Vatican, all I could think was, "So, if you're the guy smack dab in the middle there, and you suddenly have to take a huge dump, what the fuck do you do -- shit your pants, or start praying that you don't shit your pants?"

And what if you've spent 24 hours or so waiting in line, and you're just a hundred yards out now? You've long exhausted your supply of beef jerky and Gatorade (or were stupid enough to share) and you haven't slept -- and you really, really, really gotta drop the kids off at the pool. You gotta raise some wild chocolate trout in Lake Porcelain, your back teeth are floating, you're exhausted and delirious from spending the last day trudging at 1 mph like some retarded pack mule, elbow-to-kneecap with another million of you. Think the Million Drone March is just gonna let you back in line; you think they don't have their own brownies baking?

I'm just saying. There was a time in my life where I was damn near ready to just drive without a license if need be, because I have better things to do than wait in line for 45 fucking minutes at the DMV. There is nobody on the planet that I'd do this shit for in mourning, not even Lemmy, and he's like Elvis and shit to me.

Like most people not in thrall to a corrupt cabal of pedophile eunuchs, scant attention has been paid to the week-long mourning, though some of it is pretty unavoidable, if one wishes to interact with the world and read and view things. Indeed, sometimes that can be its own path to enlightenment; you just might learn something or gain a new insight where you didn't think you could.

Alas, that seems not to be the case here. It is not the fault of the pope; indeed, most people's lives could be described in five minutes, whereas just enumerating the pope's list of accomplishments and travels would take considerably longer. Then you have the political and social ramifications of his writings and encyclicals, not that anyone's going there. No, it isn't that so much as the "event whiff" the whole thing radiates, not unlike the deaths of Ronald Reagan or Princess Di. People want to be "there", and pretend that the "there" had important meaning to it, when it's really just about them and the use of celebrity culture as a tableau on which to project their psychological bullshit.

They may as well have been at Woodstock -- either one, it doesn't matter. At least at the Vatican, they probably won't have to deal with the trauma of watching a coed get wilded over by the PortaPotty during Limp Bizkit's set. Dude, that would so harsh your mellow.

The Di death really inaugurated this level of funereal foolishness, this abject fantasy of the crowd pretending that they "knew" the well-known, or had some kinship with them. Some "connection". I submit that this is a prime manifestation of their feelings of disconnectedness, of the atomization of communal society and mores. People "cocoon"; they are "homebodies". When they travel, they bring all their gadgets and toys with them; when they camp, they require a bus or large RV, because nothing says "camping" like a living room and fucking satellite dish, microwave and all that shit. Did I miss something, or do they just not manufacture tents and sleeping bags anymore?

Reagan's funeral last year, and the visiting of the coffin and such, were a rude reminder of the brainless buffoonery surrounding Diana. I recall at several points, during the interminable procession of "visitors" to view Reagan, seeing people who were dressed like they had just come from a cockfight. Fat women bursting out of short shorts and T-shirts. Men wearing jeans and wife-beater shirts and fucking baseball caps. People who thought that they were making a pilgrimage, yet it didn't even occur to them to dress for the occasion. Consciously or subconsciously, this is a remarkable level of cognitive dissonance, expressed as a profound lack of respect for someone they've deluded themselves into thinking they're paying respect to. This ain't Graceland, motherfucker. They don't serve hot dogs here, and there's no velvet bullfighter paintings.

But for these idiots, it's clearly not about paying respect , anymore than hovering outside Terri Schiavo's hospice was about paying respect. For these funeralistas, it's about marking signposts in their lives with media-driven events, as opposed to being about, you know, the deceased. Funerals are strange events to begin with, but public funerals are a turgid mix of circus and travesty, fed and watered for an extended period by the jerkoff media.

Think about it. Would the media have failed in their putative goal of reporting actual news by, say, giving the pope the day when he died, and another when he is actually buried? Isn't that enough? Of course it is, as it would have been for Reagan as well. Because the problem is, once again, especially in an era of 24-hour news channels, that there's only so much to talk about, when talking about a person's life -- any life. These week-long binge-and-purge death-fests serve no practical purpose whatsoever, and really just feed into the mass psychosis of people telling themselves over and over again that they could be "friends" with the people they see and read about. The story and analysis started eating its own tail by Monday morning, really.

It is a sign of being way overfed and intellectually lazy when members of the throng start talking to the cameras as if waiting in line was some kind of fucking accomplishment. At least in Russia, there's usually toilet paper at the end of that line, and it doesn't have to be guarded by 6000 paramilitary troops, carabinieri, and guided missiles.

The pope, whatever his faults, was a smart man, and he probably would have appreciated the irony of all that. All the infernal implements of war, looking over the final ceremony for a dead man of peace. One can actually visualize the pope smiling impishly at that, eyes twinkling. He did have that presence, you have to give him that.

The media would be doing a favor all the way around -- to the line-waiters, to the rest of the world, and even to themselves (because they are far too rotten, fat, and lazy anymore) if they just stopped this wall-to-wall coverage nonsense altogether. It's a delusion -- the people in line are affected by John Paul's death because they think they are. And despite their publicly-professed faith, they don't appear to be terribly self-reflective about things.

Life is for the living; instead of making the scene and acting like you're "paying respects", why not really honor that person and do something in their name that truly makes a difference? Seriously. I can't possibly imagine that the pope or Reagan wouldn't rather have a million people out there mobilizing and finding real ways to help other people, than standing in fucking line all week just so they could say they were there. Don't buy another fucking votive candle; go rescue a dog from the pound, or plant a tree. Do something more intellectually, spiritually, and physically rigorous than waiting in fucking line -- or even worse, watching the line on TV -- and deluding yourself that you're actually doing something even remotely useful.

Because of the unexpected political backfire from their little Schiavo sideshow (say that three times fast), Republicans are now making a callow attempt to publicly milk the lemon, as we say in the 'hood. The phrase "culture of life", what with its unnecessary implications and flabby logical contortions, has jumped the shark in record time.

Naturally, the one remaining worthwhile news program, The Daily Show, has distilled this bankrupt catchphrase to a nice quick montage, saying all while everyone else sits on their thumbs. From Pete Domenici's grandstanding, to Faux News' Neil Cavuto's disingenuous cowardice, to Scott McClellan's usual scamboogery in service to his dark overlords, there's no shortage of sanctimonious horseshit being peddled here. Most instructive was McClellan's invocation of the phrase some ten times at a press conference, indicating that the scriptwriting elves are hard at work for the administration once again.

When countered with a perfectly legitimate (and obvious) question of how Bush's seeming indifference to executing retards, people with narcoleptic alkies for lawyers, and pretty much everyone besides Henry Lee Lucas, contrasted with this overt plaintive babble, McClellan had the goddamned nerve to get righteously indignant about it all. Suddenly, now was not the time for that. Well, of course not. Nor was it time to ask where little Sun Hudson fit into this supposed "culture of life" when the hospital pulled the plug on him. Didn't see Tom DeLay hopping that bandwagon, even though it was in Texas.

Because it's bullshit. The "culture of life" values the vapid narcissism of American Idol, the nihilistic cruelty of contrived reality shows like Fear Factor and Survivor, and the gratuitous goo and gore of forensic porn shows like CSI. The "culture of life" wants to win the lottery -- or failing that, a slot machine -- because Americans have seen too many people die broke and lonely because their pensions got looted or their jobs got outsourced or they worked till they dropped, and all their government wants to do about any of it is kill off Social Security.

The "culture of life" surrounds itself with feel-good totems and doo-dads, so they won't have to travel or learn anything except how to do their jobs. The "culture of life" pretends that bigger is better, even as they loudly proclaim their loyalty to a man whose message was to live modestly and humbly upon the earth, and to take the stewardship of the creations of God seriously and honestly. The "culture of life" showed that cunt in the Prius by buying a Hummer and slapping an "Earth First" sticker on it. The "culture of life" tells itself that we went to war to liberate the Iraqi people, because that's the only explanation it can live with at this point. The "culture of life" is more likely to believe that Saddam was behind 9/11, than to know just how badly Pakistan has been fucking us over for years.

The "culture of life" allowed itself to think it had a stake and a right in interfering in the Terri Schiavo case, while it said shit about their elected representatives selling them out to the usurious credit-card industry. The "culture of life" wants to lecture everybody on the sanctity of every zygote, but wants nothing whatsoever to do with people once they're out of the womb. Unless they're homosexual, in which case the "culture of life" either wants to cure them or kill them.

The "culture of life" smothers itself in imagined nostalgia because it has nothing creative of its own to say. Indeed, the "culture of life" shies away from anything too creative or innovative, because apparently everything good has already been thought of. The "culture of life" would rather watch Gilligan's Island than Larry Sanders, and would rather listen to the latest flavor of the month than Johnny Cash, even though Cash was more innovative and creative back then than Alan Jackson will ever be. The "culture of life" thinks it has nothing to learn from anybody else, even its fellow citizens. The "culture of life" thinks it has it all figured out, even as it gorges on fast food and alcohol, and binges on NASCAR and Krispy Kremes.

The "culture of life" thrives on jonesmanship and covetousness, even as they insist that everyone should be lowjacked at birth with a digital copy of the Ten Commandments. The "culture of life" waits outside Walmart at four in the fucking morning the day after Thanksgiving, because their life would just come to an end if they had to wait till December 1st to pay $5 more for that DVD player. But the "culture of life" can only be bothered to vote when someone promises to give the fags what-for.

The "culture of life" is just passing time, instead of living and engaging and learning. The "culture of life" is not passionate about anything worth being passionate about, like sex and music and maybe a good peach pie or a nice barbecued ahi steak. They would rather be passionate about affirming their rightness, about living in a cognitive Möbius strip of meta-confirmation of assumptions. Their air is self-righteous vindictiveness; their water is the phony vindication they get from professional shit-shovelers at the usual "think tanks" and talk-radio outlets. No wonder they never feel nourished and sated. Fast food just makes you bloated and ill, after the initial endorphins fade away.

It doesn't matter if any of the factoids they regurgitate are true or not; that never mattered in the first place. Despite popular pretenses about the stark contrasts between "good" (them) and "evil" (everyone else), questions of right and wrong and fact and truth have become incredibly subjective -- and hence, useless except in service to political gamesmanship. Telling the truth about the "liberal" media is tripleplusungood to the culture warriors of "life".

The "culture of life" has got its priorities all fucked up. The "culture of life" is slowly, surely strangling the fountain of innovation and excellence this nation once was, because they prefer "fat and happy" to "awake".

The "culture of life" is in for a rude awakening.


fourmorewars said...

And at all opportunities please point out that the people peddling this 'culture of life' are the same ones thumbing through the Left Behind books till they're dog-eared.

Y'know, the ones promising an apocalyptic bloodbath on Earth real soon.

Culture-of-lifers: sobbing to 'keep Terri alive' while they implore their God to bring on the death of the world.

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Error 404 said...

OK, I'm a bit late...

The thing is, the Culture of Life(TM) is all about life because God told them to be.

As opposed to us heathen hedonists who are about life because life is where the fun is

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