Put Me On The List (2014Sep15)


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Monday, September 15, 2014                12:24 AM

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How do I reach the mind of a reader and convey our times with any grace? As with all things now, the list of imagery or phrases would make Whitmann blanch—back in his day, he was delighted that there were so many wonders and charms to be catalogued in his poems. In our time, a writer despairs of there being far too many details in even the merest moment of our lives. That may be the cause of the popularity of lists.

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Actual paper-printed books of lists were authored, and made bestseller lists, even before the advent of social media memes. Our collective consciousness has determined that a list gives more information in less time, by virtue of confining itself to a category and a list of members of that category—it’s virtually mathematical. It also feeds our pre-occupation with competition. In time we can have standardized lists so well-known that the title of the list (say List A) will take the place of paragraphs of re-chosen, re-worded examples of the list.

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For instance, instead of my wasting time writing down a lengthy indictment of the GOP, I can simply reference List F (the List of Things Progressives Dislike about the Republican Party) and carry on with my point unhindered. Instead of re-writing the National Anthem and the Constitution in my summary, I can simply print ‘List I’ (the List of Things that Over-Intellectual Bloggers Love about The USA). These two lists alone would reduce my blog posts to a single page, instead of the usual three or four.

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Think of it: List R (the List of Remaining Examples of Blatant Racism that Still Persist), List E (the List of Reasons Why Education is Vital to National Security and Economic Growth), List P (the List of Crimes Against Humanity (and Especially Minorities) in the Present Prison System)—how much time they would save! There are so many details that there are bound to be Lists so numerous people will question whether Lists really save time. I’m reminded of the early days of office computers. Back then, the first step in computerization was to data-enter the last six-months-to-two-years of paper records (and this while also using the system to enter new paperwork and bookkeeping).

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Naturally, people were doing at least twice their usual work while learning to work with this new thing: a mini-computer work-station. Inevitably, the workers would begin to comment on how much time and effort the new computer was ‘saving’ them—and question whether computerizing had any advantage at all over the old ways. Hey, if start-ups were easy, everyone would be an entrepreneur—and there were many an old, revered (but now defunct) business that failed to realize that computerization was, in effect, a ‘second start-up’ of every company in those days.

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So lists will probably remain a pleasant bit of diversion posted to Facebook by George Takei (dear old Uncle George) for some time to come. But they are inevitable—whenever something becomes too awkward and bulky to memorize and repeat again and again, we rename the whole kit-and-caboodle ‘the Revolutionary War’ or ‘the British Invasion’ or ‘LGBT’ (a mini-list as anagram). In the future, with population growth as it is, there will be very few things on this earth that will stand alone, without a category to be listed in.

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Pick a subject, any subject, and Google it—you’ll see what I mean. Nothing comes back all on its lonesome—it’s either ‘not found’ or it has one hundred listings, or ten million. The Internet is the soil of global culture—the layered detritus of millions of data-points, comments, articles, and opinions. As they age, they creep lower and lower on search results, supplanted by fresher entries of the same. The New is precious to the World Wide Web—and it can get pretty precious about what’s new—if you’ll pardon the wordplay. For example, I saw a recent video getting lots of re-posts (meaning it was popular) and it was just the song “Let It Go” but re-worked with the lyrics, “Fuck it all. Fuck it All…” …you get the idea.

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That’s the sort of thing that eats up the seconds and minutes of my life, amounting to several hours a day. I’m chafing at the bit as this drug-like escapism takes over so much of my time. I’m hoping that after my treatment is over, I’ll get healthy enough to do something outside the house. I have no idea what that may be, but I know I’ll like it better than my computer keyboard.

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In the meantime, I’ll continue on my main project—finding a form of words that will clearly set out my thoughts on how ending employment-as-we-know-it is a necessary step towards a just future. The axiom that a man must earn his way in the world makes little sense in a world with too much technology and not enough resources. Today, the number of jobs available and their salaries are casual decisions made by the business leaders and bankers. We all pretend that the system is merit-based and recognizes hard work and loyalty—but we know that’s not really true.

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All the legitimate work in the world today could be done by a fraction of the 8 billion people in the world—how can we continue to fantasize about ‘earning a living’ when we’re already completely dependent on these economic ‘rulers’? They decide how many people get jobs, they decide how much—scratch that—how little those workers will be paid. It’s all a pretense, desperately trying to maintain the status quo that keeps those ‘rulers’ in charge.

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For our society to be humane it must eventually bend towards socialisms of one sort and another—competing over jobs has become a cruel joke. And those that lose the competition don’t deserve any less than the fortunate employed—nor do the employed deserve the draconian forms employment has taken in this long slough of high un-employment.

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Everyone has to get an allowance—the same subsistence wage that people now work three jobs to acquire—and those with ambition can go out and look for work, while the rest of us just live. Corporate Slavery is my mental label of employment-as-we-know-it—no escape from poverty, no chance of advancement, not enough funds for education (O, that’s another thing that has to be subsidized), and the poor living conditions and crime that such a horrendous system perpetuates.

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The filthy rich like to bitch about illegal aliens, but it’s mostly to divert our attention away from how we citizens are being shafted by Capitalism. They tell us to be afraid of Terrorism, when they are stripping America of all its Freedoms and Opportunities. They tell us to ignore Climate Change, but only because Petroleum is such a big part of their status quo—and Progress is the thing they most fear. Change threatens them, but it beckons to us. Listen, you can hear it calling.

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