Capitalism, Consumerism, Corporate State, Effects of Sexualization in Advertisements, Empire, Gross Inequality, Institutionalized Poverty, Joni Mitchell, Kurt Vonnegut, Materialism, Military Industrial Complex, Social Unrest, The Elite 1%, unwashed public
As corporations sit on trillions of dollars and the wealth gap continues to widen, the vast majority continue to sink deeper into poverty. America can sanctimoniously claim the number one spot yet again, this time with having the highest percentage of children living in poverty amongst all industrialized nations.
This is a guest post by commenter ‘the Heretick’…
You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
‘neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.
You’re a Grand Old Flag
by George M. Cohan
Life in these United States is rough, especially for the working poor. This is a subject that just doesn’t get enough attention. Yes, lot’s of ink is spilled over the truly poor, those who qualify for SNAP (food stamps), rental assistance, utility assistance, and the various other govt. programs, but not for those who slave away year after year, just making enough to keep their heads above water, but never enough to get ahead.
Just consider, as I’m sure you have, the physical and psychological stressors borne by the great unwashed (speaking metaphorically), and the range of mixed messages we must process just to keep our heads on straight.
Let’s start with something basic, sex, always a good start, something we can all relate to because as they say, if someone wasn’t monkeying around, none of us would be here. Being a straight male, I can only write from my own perspective, but the reader is free (of course) to relate my thoughts to whatever fits their own circumstances the best. Look at what is paraded in front of the average red-blooded American man: cleavage, T and A, Giselle, Heidi, The World’s Next Top Model, and let’s not forget Ms. Upton; what a masterstroke of marketing genius! Take plain old Kate. Why she’s just an ordinary girl, the girl next door. Meanwhile back on Planet Earth, how is the average male to look at the old warhorse over on the Barcalounger who has thickened up through the process of having his kids?
As Joni Mitchell so eloquently states:
“Doctors’ pills give you brand new ills
And the bills bury you like an avalanche
And lawyers haven’t been this popular
Since Robespierre slaughtered half of France!
And Indian chiefs with their old beliefs know
The balance is undone crazy ions
You can feel it out in traffic
Everyone hates everyone!
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
And sex kills
Yup, stuck between a rock and, well, never mind.
Speaking of traffic, we’ve seen them on teevee. It’s the slim young hipsters in their smart cars with their cell phones, bright young faces going places, the packaged and commodified non-conformists creating their calling plan so nobody is late for the show, where no doubt they will strum their guitars and beat their drums (Made in China), and lament the death of the Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey reference not intended.
C’mon, admit it, it’s creepy. You see them on the street, texting, talking, in their spandex on the treadmill (why don’t they hook those things up to a generator? people would pay).
The perfect people, the enlightened. I’m sure they don’t drink coffee or smoke cigarettes. These people are scary, all in their own orbit, and if they know that they are being controlled, they seem to like it.
And the cars! Why they talk to you! And Sly? He drives a Ferrari, of course. My truck doesn’t talk to me, just bings when I leave the turn signal on or don’t fasten the seat belt, because God knows I would be such a loss or, even worse, a burden, but we’ll get back to that. In any case, it probably would be best to get a great big neon sign to strap to the tailgate that flashed “LOSER” once every 3 seconds. I think the denizens of the ghetto have got it right. Know what they say? “S’up, Dog?” –a statement of fact. You’re a dog, I’m a dog, everywhere a dog, dog. You could even become a bounty hunter, get a TV show, put the other dogs in the kennel.
Yes, all these poor people, such a burden on society, eating our food, sucking up our resources, just too many of them; and if they are lucky enough to have a job? Why they should just be grateful. That’s right, Bob, grateful. It’s not like the Boss Man is making any money off them. Just a big bunch of ungrateful losers, a great big fat burden for the rest of us, we who are smarter, harder workers and who play by the rules, unlike them.
My very favorite is the Sunday shows where carefully coiffed and groomed experts give serious statements about current events through their lying horse teeth, perfect pearly white teeth and big mouths being so much more telegenic, don’t you know. Then after you are informed that your common sense opinions on matters of life and death are so very mistaken, you are treated to 5 minutes of adverts for your retirement plan, and how you had better get on the stick boy. Time flies and you better get on the horn and call up T. Rowe Price and make some sound investments with all that extra cash you have lying around. What? What’s that you say? You don’t have a retirement plan? Loser.
You’ll probably become a burden to your children because that is what’s important, the children, isn’t it? Why, you probably shouldn’t have had any, overpopulating the planet as your kind do. Don’t you care about Mother Earth? Probably not, don’t even care about your very own Mother, such a Loser.
But here’s the beauty of it. The battering, the depression, lack of response, that good old deer in the headlights look, it’s for free. Many people don’t realize, but Howie says it best:
“… It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. …
Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.”
Howard W. Campbell Jr.
Why are Americans never going to revolt? Why will they never effect any meaningful political change? Because they are too busy beating themselves up, beating themselves black and blue; if they aren’t beating themselves up, they’re beating someone else up, on the street, in a foreign country, and of course, there’s no place like home.
The web makes it easy to look up the statistics, crime, poverty, drug usage. There are more people in the US on legal drugs than illegal I would hazard to conjecture, but one thing is for sure, We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1!
Yes, the Good Old USA, the country that gave you road rage, drive by shootings, drone wars, and KFC, it’s Finger Lickin’ Good!
I think we should change the colors on the US flag, and it’s not just because we borrowed the colours from the bloody English (oh, excuse me, the “UK”) or the French , who we all know are Communists. It’s because our flag no longer represents the true state of America, if indeed it ever represented anything at all. Maybe we should just be honest about it and adopt the Silver and Black, Thunder and Lightning, Shock and Awe. Hell, let’s just go all the way, admit we are the Black Hole of the Universe, Raider Nation, Buccaneers, Pirates.
No? Too many contractual commitments? Copyright problems?
Ok, then how about Black and Blue? Such is the state of most of America, figuratively speaking, or is that literally? So confusing. If the injuries are not readily apparent, we can fix that. Just go down to City Hall and try to claim it as yours. Black and Blue doesn’t just tell the whole story though does it? We need something to add a shade of definition; how about something the color of blood? And the contrast of white thrown in for the countless bones crushed beneath the tank tread of Empire.
So what if some of that Red splashes on the camera lens? If it bleeds it leads.
That’s the ticket! By golly, I think we’ve got it, Red, White, Black, and Blue. It’s a Grand Old Flag:
Heretick, very thoughtful post. I think the original stars and stripes should have been a flag spelling “ORGY” or perhaps “MPP” for maximum power principle. That’s what it represents, a temporary organization, laws, rights and privileges codified to insure maximum pleasure through conversion of resources. To go at everything, including each other with lust and greed. When the resources are gone, there will be a new flag with “CONTROL” or “SOL” spelled on it, and when that flag bites the dust there will only be a gang of tattooed apes that will use their victims blood to paint symbols wherever their hirsute alpha male leads them. Some are already flying the SOL flag.
Anyhow, who can argue with the appetites and desires imparted to us by the great god Thermodynamysis? To return them, unfulfilled, seems like the greatest insult to our creator.
I can image them saying,”Oh, the thermodynamics of it all!!” When the Hindenburg fell burning from the sky. LOL.
But really, that is where humanity injects itself into life, otherwise we’re all just unthinking, preprogrammed meat robots.
Yes, preprogrammed over four billion years and then let off the leash on the proverbial one minute until midnight. Look what we’ve accomplished. Ha, ha, ha. All hail Entropicus. All hail Carcinomos.
the Heretick said:
thanks, a bit of gallows humor can’t hurt. the view from the cheap seats.
How do you like the flag? Made from KFC drumsticks.
the Heretick said:
flag is fine. but guess what? i like KFC, it’s expensive, still deep fat fried, but i get the boneless, less of the coating cuts down on the grease. the cole slaw and mashed potatoes are edible.
the true test of fast food is the next day when it’s cold and all the grease is coagulated, that’s when you find out what you are putting in your body.
hey, we do what we can, but yours truly is just like billions of other people, struggling to make it thru the day, the stress, the ugliness of the people around us, misplaced aggression. what i wrote is the truth, we Americans (can’t speak for other countries), we are such an unhappy country, we beat ourselves up. it’s ugly.
Kevin Moore said:
More than pure coincidence, I’m sure.
HA ha. The origin of the American Corporatocracy flag.
Kevin Moore said:
I may have this wrong but I believe the final straw that broke the camel’s back was that the British East India Company were given exclusive rights by the Crown to cart certain goods in and out of colonial ports, including tea, and having a monopoly the BEIC took advantage of their monopoly and profiteered.
I can’t decide whether the adoption of a striped flag was an act of defiance by the independence movement or indicative of a false-flag operation.
I used to question whether people around here knew what they were doing or what the symbolism was when they plastered the CBD with American flags for Americarna. But now I realise they don’t understand such words as symbolism. And most know no history. Monkey see; monkey do.
‘the Heretick’: Thanks for taking us down a slightly different path, even if ‘all roads lead to Rome’.
British comedian Robert Newman did a wonderful skit on the American flag. According to the anecdote, was staying in the US when some international conflict arose. Several nations sided against the US, leading to and American saying that the US was sure uniting the world -against it; US versus the rest of the world. “Yes,” said Robert Newman, “And we’ve even got our own flag.” “Really?” “Yes, the same as yours but in fire.”
The NZ flag is ‘rubbish’: the same as the Australian flag but with red stars instead of white ones, and the important one missing.
(There is some weird shit our there, as stumbling across that link demonstrates.)
Arandhati Roy’s commentary on flags is worth viewing if you haven’t already.
Kevin Moore said:
I don’t really like flags/symbols, but I like your flag, xraymike.
Back in the 1960s they had The Great Canadian Flag Debate and ended up with the Maple Leaf. Those who felt some nostalgia and loyalty to Britain hated any option that did not have the union jack on it. The progressives wanted a uniquely Canadian symbol.
Now if we could just get the Queen off our money.
THE QUEEN HATERS – I HATE THE BLOODY QUEEN
THE QUEEN HATERS: Lead Vocals-Martin Short, Drums-John Candy, Lead Guitar-Eugene Levy, Rhythm Guitar-Andrea Martin, Bass Guitar-Joe Flaherty.
Click on image above to go to images of decay.
“Autopsy of America ‘the journal entries of Seph Lawless’ (Artivist Publishing-2014) captures the plight of Americans and the devastating effects that globalization has had on American cities. The book chronicles Lawless’ journey across the United States with an emphasis on the most abandoned and economic deprived areas of America. ‘Seph Lawless exposes the America ravaged by economic decline, rampant unemployment, foreclosures and the like. Grim, yet beautifully photographed, accompanied by Lawless’ eloquent musings, the deserted dwellings hold remnants of scattered lives–an empty high chair, a dirty mattress, broken dishes, dusty toys and mangled dolls. Where are the families–the children, mothers, fathers, friends? The landscape is that of a battered, wounded America for all to see. Autopsy of America is a love story for the America we once knew and a forewarning of the America we dare not envision.”-June Steward (Signs of Design-San Francisco)
Great post Heretick! I’ve always thought flags and the nationalism they engender were just another gimmick to keep us fighting amongst ourselves while the elite reap the benefits all around. Too bad their plan won’t work (how are they going to shut it off now?) and that their “rewards” are as fictional as their money.
I really enjoyed the link to the dissolving of our once-functional, if not “lovely” buildings and roads, xraymike – coming to a neighborhood near us all soon. This is what I see driving around now, total decay and rot from neglect and abuse in most systems, but especially with respect to “shelter” and “business.” The scary part is that most of the really important stuff – like piping for water, sewage and gas (and sometimes electricity too) is underground where we CAN’T see it.
Kevin – funny stuff, thanks!
“It’s called being Totally Screwed Over by the Financial & Political Elites.” ~ wotfigo
The New Tribalism
SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014
…Over the last several decades, though, technology has whittled away the underpinnings of the nation state. National economies have become so intertwined that economic security depends less on national armies than on financial transactions around the world. Global corporations play nations off against each other to get the best deals on taxes and regulations.
News and images move so easily across borders that attitudes and aspirations are no longer especially national. Cyber-weapons, no longer the exclusive province of national governments, can originate in a hacker’s garage.
Nations are becoming less relevant in a world where everyone and everything is interconnected. The connections that matter most are again becoming more personal. Religious beliefs and affiliations, the nuances of one’s own language and culture, the daily realities of class, and the extensions of one’s family and its values – all are providing people with ever greater senses of identity.
The nation state, meanwhile, is coming apart. A single Europe – which seemed within reach a few years ago – is now succumbing to the centrifugal forces of its different languages and cultures. The Soviet Union is gone, replaced by nations split along tribal lines. Vladimir Putin can’t easily annex the whole of Ukraine, only the Russian-speaking part. The Balkans have been Balkanized.
Separatist movements have broken out all over — Czechs separating from Slovaks; Kurds wanting to separate from Iraq, Syria, and Turkey; even the Scots seeking separation from England.
The turmoil now consuming much of the Middle East stems less from democratic movements trying to topple dictatorships than from ancient tribal conflicts between the two major denominations of Islam – Sunni and Shia.
And what about America? …
Shit does not just happen: An introduction to Historical Materialism
Click on the picture above to go to the photostream.
…In 2010, while traveling in and around Roosky, a small village on the River Shannon, Ms. Anex, 27, noticed a number of empty houses. All of them were new; all of them “waiting for somebody to come.”
Communities in Ireland where more than half of homes are vacant or incomplete are known as “Ghost Estates,” which is also the title of Ms. Anex’s haunting photo essay. The emptiness symbolizes the country’s degrading economic situation. But it goes beyond visual representation. The estates have had a very physical effect on the face of the open landscape.
“The crisis is something we should think about,” Ms. Anex said. She hopes to turn attention to a very simple question: How do things like this happen?
“One can hear the murmuring of the wind in the grass of the neglected lawns and from time to time a dog barking in the distance,” she writes in the introduction to her project. “Abandoned building sites stand in the surroundings, mounds of earth and all kinds of waste are strewn everywhere.”…
Yes! They continue to build new homes here too, while the ones they built last year remain unoccupied and the ones they built even further back are beginning to show signs of wear and tear but aren’t lived in so nobody is doing any maintenance!. How short-sighted these “planners” are.
The idea of a “LOSER” sign on a tailgate is great.
I want to make sure we don’t leave anyone out,like those that don’t own a vehicle & the rest of homo sapiens.
Everyone could have a “LOSER” tattoo on their forehead.
I’ll be getting mine tomorrow. lol
the virgin terry said:
heretick, thanks for this lol observation: ‘how is the average male to look at the old warhorse over on the Barcalounger who has thickened up through the process of having his kids?’ after that one, i knew u were alright (i should say was under the firm delusion that u’re ok) thanks for provocatively sharing a few bits of stream of thought. besides being entertained, it’s always edifying to come across a point of view that is highly relatable, in great contrast to our usual life experience (i probably should speak just for myself, but i suspect u 2 r flummoxed by common bigotry and dogmatic delusions/ignorance of most sheeple u ‘know’ (more like are acquainted with)). i like also how u returned at the end to a reference at the beginning to that patriotic claptrap song that idolizes amerikkka and it’s ‘great old flag’, with your own artistic rendition of that flag. i must agree, i think your version is much truer, more representative of amerikkka. your essay made me think of my very patriotic religious and politically ‘conservative’ aunt, who recently opined to me that ‘amerikkka’ is the best/greatest (paraphrasing) nation, despite it’s faults (which i love to occasionally point out to her in a vain attempt to keep her tethered somewhat to surreality). thought of sending this link to her, as roughly representative of my own much more negative/dystopic view of ‘amerikkka’ (i spell it this way not so much to highlight racism as overall dogmatic ignorance bigotry and rightwing lunacy i perceive as an amerikkkan in amerikkka)… but, of course, she wouldn’t grok much or perhaps any of what u say, and would almost certainly end up dismissing u (and by proxy, me) as a bitter angry ‘loser’ expressing sour grapes because that’s what ‘losers’ do. so i won’t bother. nor will i try to remind her that the status quo culture/society she staunchly supports is making ‘losers’ of our whole species, as well as countless other ‘innocent’ species who shall be or already have been driven to extinction by it’s ecocidal madness. with great remorse and resignation (and relief), i won’t. because it’s like pissing into a wind, or banging a head into a wall. because sheeple like her have very limited and flawed reasoning abilities, which i think is why we’re up the proverbial creek of shit with nary a fucking paddle.
‘How do you like the flag? Made from KFC drumsticks.’ -xraymike
so that was your creation, xray? should have known. made from bones that were ‘finger lickin’ good’! been a long time since i had their exceptionally greasy and tasty fried chicken. diarrhea right after. yep. nothing more amerikkkan than kfc!