~ Pitchforks against the mediocrity.
Oh boy! It’s again time to rail against the empire. I used to live near New Empire, Nevada. It was a suburb of Carson City; as if a city of 2,500 could have suburbs. Carson did. There was New Empire and Empire and Stewart and Mound House. Dayton was too far away (then) to be a suburb. There was only one house left in Lakeview. It was to the left of the road as one went to Reno. I used to mark that house in my mind as a point of evidence that the trip to Reno was really getting somewhere. That was when I thought a thirty mile trip was a trip to somewhere.
Did I mention that we went to Reno often? We did. We went almost every week, maybe not; but it seemed like every week, on the weekends that we went. We drove in the old (new) 1952 Ford Station wagon (woody). Libbey Owens Ford glass windows rolled down – no air conditioning then. But, that was in the summer. In the winter it was cold. And in New Empire it was always cold.
The new New Empire of America is said to be something different. The real New Empire was always poor, always a bit tacky. The houses were cheap and cheaply built. Taxes were lower as New Empire was not Carson City; but then Carson City had a library and New Empire did not. New Empire probably didn’t even have a police force, nor a fire department. New Empire was really poor. Maybe it had one park. Most of the streets were not paved however. But this post is a bit about parks and not streets.
The deal with the Parks and Recs Department was that our little local park would get two 18 foot trees if we waited until October to plant them. We wanted them to be planted in late September (before the election) so that the politicos could get some credit. Originally we wanted them to be planted in August – since we (the neighbors) were paying for the trees since the government (city) insists it is broke and maybe really is if you mean “broke” as the city government is broken beyond repair and not that they aren’t still stealing money from those few that still have some. That’s “break” – as in the city will break each and every taxpayer until they’re broken.
What makes this all possible is the media. The media distracts everyone with soundbites and glitz and sensation until everyone is so fried with words and word soup that alphabet soup looks like child’s play – which it is. I ask you. How many revolutions got started with people sitting around eating soup? That’s the point. If there is still soup there is no need for revolution. Minds filled with soup are not revolutionary minds, nor even reform minded minds. They are “soupy sales” type minds; muddled and mindless and always too awash in sensory disintegration and olfactory over-kill that there is little time for else – except the question of to add salt or not to salt; that IS the question.
So our society is placated by Comcast and Fox and MSNBC and Time-Hearst and ATT Communications. I forget the real corporate names. It is trivia that does not matter. I do not buy the stocks so who really cares. The average TV watcher in America has the attention spann of five words and three seconds – or is it three words and five seconds? Anyway, every day this attention span is getting shorter. It is the trivia, the trivialization of everything, that makes this whole thing work. How can one talk of revolution when there are cooking shows and bank bailouts and broken election promises to permeate the story of barbeque Bob who fries up local prostitutes and serves them like mercury free tuna to do-gooder cops and other even more outrageous tales from the city; or is it Tales of the Empire of which I speak?
So when good minds go bad they do not remember little things like the height or caliper of trees. The minds do not recall the difference between a Redwood and an Ash – this is an “urban forester” that I am talking about. Titles do make so much difference, experts by any other name.
The point is that every leadership position in America is occupied by the mediocre. The worst of us has risen to the top, like cream that after it sours still rises. Chris Hedges (Empire of Illusion) calls these people courtesans. I think he’s right. They play at being leaders while they rape the society which they be rights should serve. They are the leaders in government, in business, in organized religion, in non-profits too. They are legion and everywhere and they are all the same. They are judges; they are lawyers. They are the pundits and critics and entertainers – every one, every where that you know or can imagine. They are the celebrities (local as well as national) and they all have sold out for money and for power and (or) for fame.
To invoke “sell out” was the worst criticism one could make of someone else at some point in the sixties. It was worse than hell. It was worse than being a prostitute, a whore, a lady of the night or evening. It was more contemptuous than calling someone a male stud – big stick and nothing more. And now we are ruled and everyday more ruined by “sellouts” occupying places of power everywhere. This is why we watch TV and do not fight. We are willing to let the sellouts win.
So the forester (now the Superintendent) of Parks planted three trees instead of two. Two inch calipers instead of four (for two) and a one inch caliper for one (a Redbud). He thought we would not notice the difference – like giving five bucks in change when it should have been a hundred; who notices things like this any more? The New Empire is not about honesty; it is about massage and manipulation and each TV show teaches how to always get it wrong. “Wrong is Right”, is the new mantra; not Orwell so much as Lyndon (Johnson), assassination in plain sight, war with death and never victory – do you see it now?
So like do not cry for me Argentina, do not cry to me about your world of woes. They are mostly made up. They are street theater and a media event and television out of control and a local bureaucrat gone mad. These little travails mean nothing. How many people really are blown up by a car bomb? It’s the mafia that invented it and Hollywood that promoted it. The Taliban is just better at it – adaptation and innovation – Americans should be proud. If you offered an insurance policy that would pay a million dollars (and it cost only $1) if you died by car bomb the insurance company would become truly rich – those are the real odds – not to worry, so get over it – car bombs are not real news; they just make you mad and sad and fearful about what’s good in life – like travel and walking in your neighborhood (even in Pakistan).
The media are the terrorists. The anchors are the courtesans. The “reporters” are the suicide bombers who throw their lives away for 15 seconds of fame. Without them there would be so little damage. These people do not report the news, they make it – they alone “make it happen”. Turn them off and all the bad stuff begins to just go away. Try it and you’ll see.
But, back to the park. There’s no drinking fountain there, nor water for the trees. Park Management is so lame. Is it better for a small tree to die than a big one? Can you divine the depths of the collective mediocre mind ruling the world, creating Empire, planting trees?
Pray for rain; but fire is probably more likely.
[2009.11.05 / Thursday – War of Words]