Tuesday, April 6, 2010
This is a Modern American. Yep, America, collectively, is still a cultural toddler. Western Europe is drinking wine from crystal stemware and we still sip Cherry Kool-Aid out of a sippy cup.
It's because we are the offspring of selfish pricks. Despite what we'd like to think our ancestors weren't all escaping persecution, they weren't all heroic dissenters, they weren't all fleeing corrupt regimes and boldly making a new life for themselves in untouched wilderness. Most of them probably looked around their totally adequate hometown and said, 'This isn't good enough for me! Special me. Unique snowflake me!' We are the black sheep of the human family. Not the good kind of black sheep either but more of the completely selfish -- only see him on holidays -- over forty but can still party like a rock star -- alcoholic -- uncle black sheep.
We throw back our piss yellow, headache inducing beer, and eat our cattle ground up and by the pound. And we do this all with the utmost pride. We don't know any better. We still haven't learned what quality is. Our mother and father lands can have dinner at home, share a bottle of wine, and read Proust in winged backed chairs, while we get stoned, drink a handle of Jack, and watch Final Destination 2 in Seth's basement.
Yup, we are rebellious youth. Yeah this was all okay when we had all that wilderness to work with. We can thank the natives for keeping it so well preserved for us. Those wise Indians kept their population in check, and they didn't have the need to level or piss on every last inch of land they saw. So we had a lot to work with when we snatched it from them. We had hope and the possibility that we could all get a hearty slice of life pie. If anyone thought society was corrupt they and some friends could just move west and build a better one.
We had all that unsettled land crawling with animals and all kinds of useful money making stuff just waiting to get yanked out of the ground! Get the deed to the right stretch of land and you could become the most powerful man in the world. And if you played your cards right you could secure a life of leisure for your branch of the family tree. Your DNA could live-on forever sitting poolside!
But sadly manifest destiny became manifest reality. We settled this place shore to shore. The West died. Hope died. And then to make matters worse everyone had to go and make more of themselves. So now there's too many of us with asshole DNA crawling all over this country and they're all playing 'King Of The Mountain', and it's so crowded on the mountain that no one can't get off! We're all forced to play.
We will all have to play this game because the majority of us won't settle for second. We'll hold on to ideals that can't possibly be realized. We tell ourselves that there's room on the winners podium for everyone but we know there isn't. We'll gamble our livelihoods in hopes that we are the one in a million exception. We're all dreamers and nobody likes having their dreams dashed by cynical underachievers, the losers!
Yeah that's right they're losers. Just because they've abandoned their dreams and settled for a mediocre existence doesn't mean the rest of us should. We aren't failures like the rest of the nations on this planet. Fuck it! We don't care if we turn all the arable land left into desert. Fuck it! We'll continue to eat cheap fat and sugar packaged a thousand different ways and sit in our 'living' and 'family' rooms, watching our home theatre systems. And as we sink deeper and deeper into our overstuffed couch cushions we'll sink this country deeper and deeper into the ocean with our total combined biomass.
It's true. The teutonic plates supporting us will give way. The earth's crust will crack. A fissure will start in Atlanta. Why Atlanta? I don't know I just think of it as America's fattest metropolis. But anyway the earth's crust will crack there and the entire South East will fall into the Earth's mantle and Ted Turner will be devoured by lava. And then it will spread outwards. No American city will be safe. Princeton, New Jersey… Cambridge, Massachusetts… New Haven, Connecticut… Palo Alto, California... all those places populated by skinny intellectuals who buy their food at farmer's markets, go to rock climbing gyms, who knew what hommus was ten years ago, and send their kids to Montessori schools will get swallowed up too. Nobody will escape.
North America will commit suicide. It won't be able to go on living with the shame of having been raped by generation after generation after generation of selfish myopic American slobs. It will have abandoned hope. It will grow depressed watching the power hungry fight each other for the glory of selling the American people more comfortable and entertaining ways to slowly kill themselves.
Eh… I'm so negative. This is all very negative. But look at our ambitious, go-getter citizens these days compared to the past. Andrew Carnegie at least made himself obscenely wealthy in a semi dignified way. Well maybe… I wasn't really there… Well he was an orphan, so I'll cut him some slack.
Well in any case our orphans don't become industrial magnates anymore. Hell, no one does! Instead everyone is crying for the attention of the media long enough so some of that preexisting paper wealth gets shuffled their way. We all want to be rewarded just for having an interesting personality or at least thinking we do.
Oooh… I feel as if I have just insulted myself. What am I doing? I think I'm so interesting. I think I'm so talented. I think I'm better than everyone else I meet. But what do I really have? Nothing… just a sense of intellectual superiority.
Well, shit, my parents are working class. I grew up in and for some strange reason moved back to a city in decline. Fall River, Massachusetts is a city with virtually no hope. Twice the state average of unemployed, murder rate climbing, and infrastructure crumbling. This is my home. My family doesn't own anything. I have no real money. I have no real power. I can't coerce anyone to do anything for me. All I can do is plead with the powerful that I'm smart enough and useful enough to them to let me join their golden tit.
I'm no different than the people I'm knocking! I want to be discovered, commissioned, paid… yeah paid! Paid for doing what comes naturally, for doing this… for simultaneously probing my brain and convincing the world that life in America is getting worse and it will continue to get worse if we don't start making changes. It's noisy and boring and overcrowded and simultaneously lonely. And it's this way because we expect too much, because we deceive each other to get what we want, and we're so individualistic and myopic that we can't see that treating life like a race is pointless. We're just racing to the grave.
How'd I slip into self pity? What was I talking about? Andrew Carnegie? Yeah, that's it! Well there will be no more new Carnegies, Vanderbilts, or Rockefellers and pretty soon we'll exhaust our supply of Gatess, Jobss, and Ellisonss. Pretty soon the only way you'll be wealthy enough to retire from the cancer of American society permanently while still having a sexy wife and becoming patriarch of a quality family unit is to be a media celebrity and hype yourself while other people watch.
You want to make a couple dozen million in the future to secure a townhouse in the Village and the cottage upstate? ( These are, of course, the required buildings to optimally house and nourish your future family's bodies and minds. ) Well if you want those things you'll have to be a Jay-Z or a P. Diddy. You can't go the quiet dignified industrial route anymore. You'll have to be an entertainer and shameless self-promoter. You'll have to play the media and sell people merchandise with your picture on it. Just get in the public eye long enough to sell them some garbage fad and then get the hell out of there. Then with the money you make buy up some real estate, up the rent, and then you're sitting pretty. You can ride out your life in luxurious-leisurely-luxury, because you'll have captured the nation's eyeballs long enough to get the right pieces of paper.
And finally… rant rant rant rant! Wow! I'm done. And all that inspired by a silly cartoon of a thuggish baby with tattoos. Caffeine is a powerful drug!
Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday, beloved reader, you sweet exception you!