Wednesday, June 01, 2016 2:20 PM
Fresh Rant (2016Jun01)
I receive spam from charities and from political parties—asking for my financial help—I don’t even let them make me feel guilty anymore, I just resent being reminded how I could use a little financial help of my own. Since when did politics require millions of people to donate their hard-earned money to run TV ads? And don’t talk to me about crowd-funding—you know what we used to call crowd-funding? An extended family—that’s crowd-funding for people you know and love.
I’m not interested in helping other people—I’m interested in helping the people around me, the people close to me. Contrary to Tea-Party opinion, I prefer to pay taxes and let the government sort out people’s problems—it has its faults but it’s bound to do a better job than I can do on my own.
I understand that most charitable services are run by religious organizations—because the church used to be the gathering point for a community, where its larger issues were discussed and dealt with. The decline of religion as a binding force of the community has hurt efforts to deal with the homeless and underserved—being without a religion doesn’t keep me from mourning the coherency of that community-model—but it’s evaporated now and greater government involvement, supported by taxes, makes much more sense in today’s agnostic climate.
I also don’t like TV ads for fancy cars—of the millions of people watching TV, the vast majority of us can’t afford to go out and buy a Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac—not even a Lincoln. It pisses me off—especially knowing that, even if I could somehow buy one of those fancy cars, it would quickly be joy-ridden, tire-slashed, paint-keyed, and generally dinged until it looked just as crappy as the rest of the cars on my block. Plus, I could never afford the insurance rate, or the maintenance—which are as pricey as the car.
But I’d rather watch ads for fancy cars than listen to side-effects warnings for a drug for a disease I don’t have. My doctor will tell me when I need a drug, and which one, thank you—take your drug ads and shove’em. Still, when you consider buying a car, even a little, ‘cheap’ one, puts the normal person in hock for several years—what purpose is served by making that same hard-working, and now indebted, person feel bad about a major purchase? Ads for fifty and sixty thousand dollar cars washing over the TV screen every night—why not have ads for becoming a business owner, or president? Those are just as far out of my reach—and would annoy me only slightly less.
Income inequality has gotten completely out of hand—it makes me glad I’m old—if I were a younger man, I’d join the throng of protestors outraged that the same system that keeps them in groceries is the system that keeps them in their place—nowhere but working for the Man and getting paid less than a living wage for it. I’d run around organizing protests, campaigning for Bernie—and I’d be too young to realize how futile all of that is—the ones with the gold make the rules.
Then the futility of the whole thing would dawn on me and, being a young man, my mind would turn to ways of making mischief for the people I saw as oppressors. That would be so sixties-retro, like the second coming of the SLA or something. And like them I’d eventually end up in jail or on the run—though it isn’t nearly as easy, now, to disappear from the grid like those sixties fugitives who popped back up in the eighties and nineties, too old to live like that anymore.
But the truth is the ones with the gold only make the rules when the electorate is too numb to their own self-interest to let them—and we have done a lot of that over the last three decades. Political movements like Bernie’s would have to start on the backlog of injustice all those lobbyists have been shoving through both the Congress and all fifty state legislatures for decades. It would take us a while to get back to the income equality—in taxes—we enjoyed in the mid-twentieth century, before we could even start in on making things better—we have to roll back some of the ‘worse’ first.
The main trouble is that you can’t give to one person without somehow taking from another—and rich bastards sound just like normal people when they whine about having to make a sacrifice—usually, even whinier. They try to frighten us by pointing out that, when we get rich, we’ll have the same ‘oppression’ hanging over our heads—yeah, that’s my big concern.
And the media adds to the problem by representing ‘two sides’ of the issue—but it’s not really two sides, when one side is a handful of rich fucks and the other side is hundreds of millions of people. That is particularly true when the rich fucks own the media, as they do today.
But that is a condition as much as an issue—certainly nothing that can be solved with a clever blog-post. About the only thing optimistic about the media situation is that it leaves so much unexplored material that a ‘counter-media’ can start to get sponsorship (as opposed to ownership) for journalism that covers the many things being avoided and overlooked by the establishment media. We hear so much about meta-data and ‘drilling down’—but we still see news that is endlessly busying itself with minutiae and wow-factor and click-bait.
If Edward R. Murrow had our modern resources for research and analysis, he’d be giving us very different stuff. He liked to follow things to their future consequences—his attacks on McCarthy were driven by a deep concern for this country’s future and the future of its people’s rights and freedoms. If he were confronted with the kind of accelerated change we’re experiencing right now, I’m sure he would be reporting on certain days’ events only as they relate to what will happen in five, ten or twenty years’ time.
Modern people are flooded with information—and everyone with experience in that will tell you—when data comes at you like a fire-hose, you don’t get lost in the minutiae—you look for patterns and trends. You can’t understand our culture through a single person or a single period of time. When reporters ask a bystander how they feel about what just happened across the street—it gives me a pain. Reporters with access to global resources and instant data should be virtuosos of pattern-analysis, artisans of the long-term take-away on any given issue—and lots of reporting on how issues interlock with each other—just as the peoples of the world are now beginning to interlock their fates across the globe.
Maybe it was my age, at the time, but when I was younger a talking head was always bright, sharp, educated, and informed—the TV was the smartest ‘person’ in the room. Now we get Harvey Levin and TMZ. Jeez, what a tool. I mean journalist.
There’s one good thing about the media becoming a mindless monster—they’re finally starting to chow down on the Donald. Yes, Donald—the media is your friend—until it isn’t. Even innocent people are helpless in the face of their onslaught—did you really think a scumbag like yourself could just play it like a harp, and emerge unscathed? Keep dreaming, Mr. wanna-be-president.
Trump’s attempt to ‘fool all the people all the time’ is a perfect example of how democracy requires an informed electorate. The left wing of the presidential campaign is focused on income-inequality—and for good reason—but we should take this election season as a warning. We need to improve our educational system, and do it right quick. No one as ignorant as Donald Trump should have ever gotten this far—and he never would have, if he wasn’t reaching a deep reservoir of shamefully ignorant Americans.
Plus, our country’s failure to finance higher education for everyone is part and parcel of the march towards permanent income inequality—we’ll never level the playing field without offering equal access to information and knowledge.
Wednesday, June 01, 2016 6:08 PM
I’m proud to be me.
I’m proud of my family.
I’m proud of my principles.
I’m proud of my understanding.
I’m proud of my neighborhood.
I’m proud of my country.
I’m not sure if I’m right to be proud
But that doesn’t stop me.
Give me my dignity or you’re looking for a fight.
Doesn’t matter if I’m dignified.
What—do I gotta put on a show for you?
Just take it for granted that I’m as good as you are.
Even if I’m wearing sweatpants—they don’t signify.
I am as good as you are.
Pretending I’m not just puts you down—not me.
I used to enjoy wearing a good suit
But I never made the mistake of thinking
It made me better than someone else.
I used to be a manager—telling people what to do—
But I never made the mistake of thinking
I was better than them.
I made mistakes alright, just not that one.
That’s a doozy.
Jeez—dat ain’t even a poem—I don’t know what you call that crap.
Sometimes I just write to hear myself type, I think.
Thursday, June 02, 2016 10:38 AM
I wasn’t going to post any of the above—it all seemed kinda whiney and introspective—but some of the points I tried to make were being echoed by President Obama during his PBS Town Hall with Gwen Ifill last night—so I am emboldened to the point of posting.