Thursday, September 2, 2010

Plants, Animals and Class Fortification

It's been a minute since I've blogged, I suppose.
My life has been hectic. I've been busy. I've been living in a house I intend to buy, I've got two dogs, I've got my full-time job back, I'm working on some creative projects and, for the most part, I've been away from TV and Radio for a whole year. Since I've moved back out of my parents' house, I haven't had cable. The distraction of my television, thusly, for the past year has been limited to my desire to continue to feed my DVD player. Yes, my television still receives signal. That signal, however, is dead air; analog waves that have ceased to carry invading forces into my television's receiver and crash on the shores of my cathode ray tube with the white noise of static. It sounds like a beach.
My failure to obey the latest, increasingly enforceable consumer trends is, divisively enough, what brings me back to the old noise ratchet. Not that I haven't thought of blogging. No, sir, I have been aware of the inactivity and, on occasion, have bitten the flesh at the corner of my thumb, trying to think of a subject to bitch and fit about. Regardless of my thumb-biting contemplation, I have not been able to think of a goddamn thing to bring to my one-man quilting bee and harp on. This is, possibly, because I have been busy. Or, possibly, this has been because of my own self-professed punk-rock-ness; my own unwillingness to participate in large-scale arbitration like digital converter boxes, smoking bans and the like.
I feel happy because of this, though. In spite of my recent inblogabilities, I'm happy with my decisions. Not because of some non-conformist sense of superiority. No. I live in a populated world and, generally, I like considering myself as a member of that population no matter how disappointed or lonely it may make me feel, occasionally. And, although my failure to "conform to arbitrated consumer upgrades" does satisfy my punk desire to cut my nose off (in spite of my face), plant my middle finger through one of the severed thing's nostrils and wave that finger and that thing at authority, that satisfaction is not the source of my happiness.
My happiness springs from a well of classlessness. An economist may be able to take the statistics of my life and fit the peg he's made of me into a nice, little class-shaped hole, but I cannot - looking at my own lifestyle - assign myself a class. I am not in poverty. I am not rich. In spite of those, however, I am not middle class, either. Not for all the broadness of its spectrum can I understand myself as being middle class. And that works for me.
Class is the only thing in our society that is being successfully and perpetually fortified. Class has built walls, floors, ceilings and roofs. The fortification of class has been contracted out, literally and figuratively, to every single sector of the literal and figurative contracting world you can imagine. It has developers, excavators, engineers, architects, framers, mechanical workers, electricians, masons, sealers, millworkers, plumbers, finishers, investors, insurance, safety experts, foreman, pavers and the like. Frankly, the whole operation; the blueprints, the meeting minutes, the busy workers and the growing edifice they work in scare the living shit out of me. Because there is no "new world order"; only world order and it is shaping-up to be the universe's first, successful, large-scale perpetual motion machine.

The idea and fact of the "new liberal right" is, has and, I suppose, will be something that fascinates and frightens me as much as a black hole would to a physicist with ALS. I say "new liberal right" because I don't know what else to call it, although I suppose it isn't all that new.
In 1958, Mao Zedong declared war on 4 organisms he had deemed pests; flies, mosquitoes, rats and sparrows. He encouraged people to create a ruckus wherever sparrows congregated, to frighten sparrows from landing, in order to prevent them from eating farmers' grain. It worked. Having no place to rest, the sparrows flew themselves to death. Just as the Australians discovered, when they inadvertently poisoned birds while trying to kill rabbits, the Chinese discovered that the sparrows probably ate a great deal more insects than grain. As Mao realized the problem, insects ravaged fields and townsfolk gagged on the stink of carrion from piles of dead birds in their town, bringing maggots, flies and sickness. 30 million people died from the famine. 30 million people were too poor for grain, in a Marxist system that they, themselves, empowered because they believed they'd be treated equally. They thought communism would solve their poverty, so they mobilized. All communism ever did for the Chinese people, however, was keep them mobilized. It could be said that all of this was done for a sense of unity. I, on the other hand, would argue until my dying breath that this had nothing (not even initially) to do with anything but control and if there's one thing control depends on; it's class. This is why communism works so well for those in control; because communism fortifies class and unilateralizes it.
What the fuck does that have to do with a goddamn converter box or anything else, for that matter?
Communist China, especially the Mao regime, is completely analogous to the consumer movements being spearheaded by those in power (the politically elite/government and the economically elite/companies and super-rich citizens working for the same end as the government). The converter boxes you bought weren't broadening your access to broadcast information, so you could live a more well-rounded, well-informed couch-potato life. Yes, there's more digital channels than there were analog. But how many of them do you get? I've often heard the complaint from people who used to receive signal without rabbit ears that, with the new digital signal, they can't get anything in without rabbit ears or other antennae. They were to stimulate the economy. Not your economy. You spent money. Not to get your job back. You, likely, don't work for one of the companies who made the converter boxes. No. This was to increase the State's sales tax revenue and the companies that help fund our military (what our government spends, annually, on defense is about exactly equal to what the government gleans from corporations in taxes). The government was so eager to make this happen, that they offered coupons galore, to promote the sales of these little boxes and the antennae that you'd need. Not to mention the fact that cable revenues have spiked since the news of the digital switch first started to spread, in 2008. Comcast, if you don't remember, has been such a rising corporate star that they bought NBC/Universal. That's a lot of tax power that the government needs and, when you're in a recession, what's the best way to get timid consumers to buy? Tell them they have to.
Government enforced consumer arbitration, like this, is only the beginning. The tip of the proverbial iceberg. The foreskin of the diseased, albeit enhanced, porn star's banana-shaped erection, throbbing and ready to blow all over your face, clavicle or tailbone (You choose. This is a democracy, after all).
Hope isn't just audacious. It's pushy.
Sorry, that might have been too politically specific. I've forgotten it isn't the rebelious vogue to hate on a president, anymore, now that a Republican isn't in office. I forgot this wasn't about what one actually believes and it's always just come down to what side one is on. Damn. So much for free thinking in this world of the "new, liberal right".
On that subject, I suppose I got a little side-tracked by Maoism. Not that I actually got side-tracked. But, for those who haven't gotten the point I was making, I say "new, liberal right" because I have a hard time calling liberalism "left" when its behaviors and principals are so fascistic. Fascism, by the way, is a class thing, too. It's just more obvious than "Communism".
The new-ish green movement and the burgeoning popularity of the animal rights movement are being watched closely by those in power and they are already beginning to be used by those powers to maintain, insure and ensure their positions of power.
If there's one thing that's green, in this world, it's the reassessment, reexamination, addressing and eventual curbing of consumption. The green movement, however, has nothing to do with anti-consumerism. The green movement is, in fact, a consumer movement. It is a movement designed to make you buy new products and throw away old ones...or, better yet, pay to have the old ones recycled.
The lifestyle changes encouraged by Green movement, as we know it, have practically nothing to do with the dispensation of anything. The only green movements that have anything to do with decreasing consumption are small, barely auxiliary to the mainstream and no larger or more successful than they were in the 1960's, 70's, 80's or 90's. The capital "g" Green movement is about the continued acquisition of product; and not cheap, established products. This is about newer, more expensive products. This is about simultaneously generating more tax revenue, more corporate revenue and a wider gap between the rich and the poor.
The animal rights movement has begun to work, in conjunction with the Green movement, much in the same way. We are being introduced to more earth-friendly products (which are rarely as friendly as they claim to be) as we are being introduced to more animal-friendly products. After all, animals kind-of are that non-plant, non-water, non-insect, non-microbe, face-having, intelligent, relatable part of nature that makes it easier to care or, at least, feel bad about yourself. And if an animal friendly lifestyle and an environmentally friendly lifestyle have anything in common, it's expense. These lifestyles cost quite a bit more than the lifestyle you were likely born into, if you're going to stick with it rather than treating eco/animal-friendliness like a Christmas charity. Not a big deal for those who can easily afford it. For those that can't wipe their ass with a five dollar bill when they run out of their top-of-the-line, soft, quilted bath tissue, however, these mild differences in price add-up. Especially if you have a family.
56% of Americans are in debt. 52% are recieving support, assistance, relief and otherwise supplimental income from the government. If you only allow for as much overlap as you have to, eliminating that extra six and two percent, all of America is dependent and, thus, under more influence and control of a corporation/bank and/or the government than they would be otherwise. These statistics are, like most statistics, largely based on information collected from 2009 or before.
Do you expect the imposed popularity of new consumer trends to change this? Do you expect a higher cost of living to help bring people away from debt and government assistance?
Call me paranoid, but this just looks like another issue of keeping the poor poor and the rich rich. It's a cliche for a reason and it's a dance that has been worn into the floors of the worlds ballroom since man invented money.
Frankly, I'm pissed about it. The apparent futility of being pissed won't change that. The apparent immobility of the force of nature that is class will not change how I feel about it.
If I am yelling at a mountain or a wall, then so be it. When my voice echoes back off of the stone, I hear what I've said and I fail to feel stupid. So what if it's a mountain. So what if it's a wall.
Fuck it. I'm yelling.
And not to change or save the world. I'm yelling because I'm pissed off and I don't give a damn if anybody agrees with me or not. I don't care if they think I'm crazy. I don't care if the cops knock on the door and tell me to turn it down. I'm pissed. And, yeah, it's a fit. But it's my fit and nobody owns it but me.

Mao's sparrows are collecting in your lawn, on your roof and in the streets outside your house. You might not smell them but, well, that's because you just bought them and they're still pretty new.
Mao's sparrows are collecting in your lawn, on your roof and in the streets outside your house. You might not smell them but, well, that's because you just bought them and they're still pretty new. Mao's sparrows are collecting in your lawn, on your roof and in the streets outside your house. You might not smell them but, well, that's because you just bought them and they're still pretty new. Mao's sparrows are collecting in your lawn, on your roof and in the streets outside your house. You might not smell them but, well, that's because you just bought them and they're still pretty new. Mao's sparrows are collecting in your lawn, on your roof and in the streets outside your house. You might not smell them but, well, that's because you just bought them and they're still pretty new.
Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo...fuck