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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Money Shot

[Part 2 of The Declaration Of Codependence]

What we have here is a failure to communicate (and by "we" I mean the people who live in the real world). Are you sick yet of being jerked around by wealthy neo-cons who use poor kids to enact their vicarious fantasies of muddle-headed idealism? How about their shameless enablers in the media? Why have you heard more about some hot-dog-eating chump than about a power broker high in your government selling out a federal agent as political payback? Why have you heard more about shark attacks and child abductions and runaway fucking brides than about the dozens of issues going on right now than really, truly, directly affect your lives, your childrens' lives, your parents' lives, your neighbors' lives?

Why do you know more about Tom Cruise's seventh-grade schoolboy crush antics than you do about the trade deficit, or the ramifications of China re-pegging its currency and cashing in its T-bills?

The thing about a democracy is that it's work; since every citizen theoretically has an equal say in how the business gets run, he or she is responsible for informing himself. This, thanks to the vertical integration of an already craven media, requires effort. This becomes harder and harder to do for Joe Six-pack and his progeny, since the schools teach him less useful skills, the media won't tell him shit, and the commute just gets longer and longer as everyone has the same bright idea and moves out to the exurbs and suburbs.

Worse yet, his political "leaders" have taken poor Joe for a ride. They have hammered into his head with startling consistency that all that is required of him to show how much he loves his country and supports his troops is to go to Walmart and slap a $1.99 Chinese-made ribbon on the back of his Grocery Schooner. Meanwhile they conspire with credit-card companies and percentage-point diddlers to make it harder and harder for Joe to ever get out from under their financial thumb. Meanwhile the interpreters of the law of Joe's land inexplicably make it even easier for a corporation to convince Joe's county supervisors that Joe's house would be more useful as a strip mall.

Meanwhile Joe has somehow convinced himself that only knuckle-draggers like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage are telling him the "truth", even though they are co-opted in a hugely profitable way that supposed red-diaper baby Dan Rather could only dream about. Think about it, Joe -- why does Rush Limbaugh have a contract that pays him a quarter of a billion dollars, if he's such a persecuted minority? How are Rush's well-known drug problems getting swept under the rug, while Robert Downey Jr. gets sent to prison every time he hiccups?

Joe doesn't want to think about those things, because it hurts to think at this point. It hurts to think that fools who fret about gay marriage allowed such a non-issue to be used as political currency to keep the current squad of liars, grifters, and morons at their stations. To paraphrase Will Rogers, Joe doesn't even know what he doesn't know. And they love it that way. They would much rather Joe just hoist a flag and rah-rah than actually read and inform himself, because then he might think for himself.

The media -- gutless, craven whores that they are -- simply refuse to do their job anymore and let us all in on the game. The corporations that own them have far more to profit by playing nice with those in charge, than by actually investigating their mal-fee-ance. The FCC is a cash cow to the communications lobby, as are intellectual property and commercial copyrights.

Well, time's up for Joe, because his intransigent ignorance and reflexive stubbornness have put him -- and all of us -- into a major corner. We can all either step up and start doing the job that the Founding Fathers envisioned for us -- that of being engaged, informed citizens of a dynamic culture of individualists -- or we can keep fucking around, watching Tom Cruise jump on Oprah's couch like an asshole while our rights and liberties get eroded beneath us.

There's no better day than today to get serious, to get back on the road to reality, and get rid of these hucksters once and for all, before it really is too late. Do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for the Founding Fathers. The amazing thing about this nation is that it is the only one founded on a document, a codified set of ideas and principles. Rather than the current masturbatory pretense of divining what the Founding Fathers "meant", which is just code for cynically using them to get your way, why not read what they read, learn whence their guiding principles came? The Federalist Papers (for that matter, the Anti-Federalist Papers), David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, de Tocqueville....there is so much more to the intellectual history of this nation than the current bunch of clowns fighting over Cecil B. DeMille's movie promos and the two words the Knights of Columbus forced Eisenhower to deface our pledge of allegiance with.

But we do have a decision to make -- whether we really want to be a true democracy (or democratic republic, to be technical about it), or a co-opted corporatocracy, where we are content to allow the rich to run our lives so long as they "trickle down" some toys to us.

So we either decide to get up on our hind legs and be men, or we are content to let them piss on us. There is no halfway here -- you can't be "a little free" any more than you can be "a little pregnant" or "a little crazy".

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