Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Capitalism's Obstacle In Human Nature

Democracy often leads to mediocrity, but mediocrity is a venial sin when compared to capitalism as a system. Mediocrity is an obstacle to be overcome by the capitalist in his unending pursuit for the basest of the base; mediocrity is at least a standard, and the very essence of the notion of a standard is something so repellent to capitalism that most of its sole drive (i.e. profits) goes to the eradication of all standards in personal, aesthetic, moral and political life.

The highest form of humanity in capitalism is an industrial-waste-eating bacteria that shits cash. Unfortunately for capitalism, evolution works slowly, so the human form is an unwilling work-in-progress that must be submitted to curb its essential inquisitive and quarrelsome nature.

Though clockwork social structures have fashioned a corporate-consumerist culture that mimics the biological workings of our theoretical shit-eating/cash-shitting bacteria, where we dole out money for things like our favorite warm and "edible" plastics (do you read your food ingredients?), there is still that innate humanness that has been written on us by nature and cannot be quickly or easily erased; humans have thumbs, and when they are not abusing them to stick them in various orifices, they are, by the very sign of their bodies, ceaselessly engaged in the world as makers. There are always new ways to tinker with the world and fashion new systems as capitalism was once itself fashioned. Strange how capitalism opposes so strongly the very nature that once devised it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The American Way

*Jump to the middle of the video to get the good stuff*

A Belated Farewell To Sarah Palin

I was a bit surprised at the lack of media coverage of Sarah Palin's final interview before she headed back to Alaska. She is owed her last word. I for one thought it was a riveting call to the nation to remain active and seek cohesion in our country.

Oh Palin, your words are to my ears what flowers are to my nose.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Considering The Role Of Power In Democracy

The theory of democracy and its material manifestation in the form of a republic are perhaps the most scientific out of all the governmental ideas and realities. It is no mere occurrence that the inspiration for the republic, Enlightenment thought, was also a wellspring in the development of science; but, perhaps, because it is so scientific, and through its complex, diffuse and responsive structure, it is the most efficient in retaining its power. What leads to the disbanding of a government and its control(?) -- revolt. Democracy, in its contemporary form, is the scientific analysis and solution to the problem of revolt; rather than squashing the power that threatens the government through traditional and, what one might deem to be, religious means -- the wantonness: physical force, punishment, guilt -- satisfy the desire of the revolt, thusly nullifying it, with a mass orchestration of a symbolic revolution. There is a change of heads brought by the will of a nation, but still, a democratic government holds more tightly to its rule than any other government through its economization of power.

If Bush were a true fascist or a leader of any other less scientific system, he would have his body dragged through the streets by Americans, but since he is a republican (note the small r), he retires from his post with no criminal charges or any punishmen for his criminal infractions against the Consitution and his war crimes. He returns to his socially and economically powerful position in our society none the worse, ignoring, of course, any invested money he may have lost in the stock market. The energies of revolution have been spent upon the work and the election for Barack Obama. A newly revitalized, yet very old, party seizes further power in congress, but these Democrats are more moderate than before, and Obama has been consistently forced to remove himself from his leftist ideology, being pressured and "conservatized" through debate by the more moderate Hillary Clinton in the primaries and by John McCain in the presidential election. How much change has the democratic system really allowed?

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's Just The City Of The Dead

Instead of my writing becoming popular posthumously, I've become popular with... those who are reading posthumously. I just totally shifted that paradigm.

So keep reading my stuff if you want to go the way of the poor skeleton above.

Propsition 8 My Gay Marriage!

“The sacred institution of marriage!” scream the religious right at the television screen in-between the deafening sound of their fattening guts and asses, and the clinking of utensils on plates. I’ve come up with a new psychological theory. The anger and rage over the idea of same-sex couples getting married is actually a dormant fear that gay marriage means an increase in the breadth of meaningful marriages between like-minded, in-shape, intelligent, egalitarian people. But why would they fear something seemingly so positive?

Well first, take a look at my rigorous, scientific proof to show that the religious right are significantly fatter which correlates with ugliness and stupidity. My tools consisted of misspelled keywords searched and spell-checked by Google’s image search.

A map of the fattest states:

(*snicker* Did anybody else just see Mississippi eat an entire bag of Tostino’s Pizza Rolls?)

Now observe the correlation in this map of the presidential election:

This is my first proof, so keep this in the back of your mind as I continue.

The religious right fears gay marriage because it is a direct attack on their institution of marriage. In the anger that the gay and sympathetic liberal communities have felt toward, what they deem to be, crass remarks and symbolically violent political acts by the religious right, they have failed to step back and look at exactly what the religious right is saying. A gay marriage unhinges the sacred institution of marriage because a strict interpretation of the Bible commands such a covenant must exist between a man and a woman. But, let us stop for a second and think -- are we talking about the same thing here? Yes, the reference back to the Bible and marriage’s long-standing, archetypical tradition are cultural items that we share, but the idea of marriage is constantly evolving as culture evolves. As two distinct cultures have emerged in the United States, so has a distinct notion of marriage. The idea of marriage for the religious right is threatened by a radically different idea of marriage found in liberal-minded communities. What the religious right is saying is true!

Marriage for the religious right is a deeply spiritual experience between a 16 year old girl and an 18 year old man -- both with various undiagnosed learning disabilities and a relationship with their church comparable to their relationship with drinking in the woods. Sooner or later, an abstinence-only sexual program leads to the religious and deeply meaningful desperate act of marriage to either cover up an illegitimate pregnancy or to finally get your rocks off -- like a divine intervention from God and nothing like an accident! There are no accidents in Christianity ever! Marriage then leads to a crapload of children solely out of an inability to find anything better to do in the swamp they call home. The happy couple fail to pursue anything outside of child-rearing, because they got married and had kids before they could develop any significant personal achievements and an interesting personality. The marriage and the children then proceed as a fruitful excuse to get increasingly fat and repugnant, because “hey, I‘m married and fucking retarded, so, I might as well spend my final decades seeing how much processed meat I can eat.”

God’s glinting eyes shine down like the big, old, more muscular, kind-of-hot Santa Claus with significantly fewer clothes. And the Lord says unto them that this is good, this is his sacred institution of accidental impregnation or copulation leading to a generally meaningless pairing of two developmentally-retarded “individuals” that share nothing in common other than the few cultural issues they pick up on by watching the same prime-time television shows together -- oh, and I guess they can bond on the chromosomal damage they share -- never any accidents ever!!! This is God’s gift, his blessing, his assurance to humanity that love is an unending bound between a creator and his creation and when one marries, they engage in this eternal love together.

The gays with their marriages are truly frightening; how could they not be frightening, for their marriages resound the possibility of authentic love between two people beyond the mystical bullshit of trailer park messiahs. Gay marriage, being a phenomenon that can only be viable in a liberal area, will share in the Blue State culture that is also more scientific, pragmatic and generally careful, jumping past the “warm-fuzzies” of religious interpretation, when approaching such a serious relationship as marriage. Turns out putting off marriage to spend time developing your personality, skills and experiences might lead to a better understanding of yourself, allowing for you to make decisions about relationships that will have long-lasting and meaningful consequences. Turns out having a positive relationship with your sexuality, and pursuing the necessary number of partners needed to unravel the complexity of your needs outside of marriage will lead to finding a consistent partner that can meet your analyzed, clearly marked out needs. Statistically, Red States have more divorce than Blue states, and this remains so for various reasons.

As prop 8 came to pass, mainly due to the rednecks that live in California outside of the cosmopolitan areas, the religious right said “No.” to the Blue State’s conception of marriage. They lifted their Bibles and their Tostino’s Pizza Rolls -- their children circling them, covered in sugared cereal -- and they basked in the glory of the divine nature of their communion. For committed love can only exist, and should only ever be recognized by the state, between two aloof lovers with different genitals and unthinking whimsy for the material cosmos. And the sun goes down on the trailer park, the sun moves around the Earth, and the nocturnal dinosaurs come out in shadowy play, and life is as God intended -- good.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Disfranchised and Dissidents of Democracy

At another point I may go on to develop a more thorough look at democracy as a viable political system, but as for now, I am spurred by recent events to comment briefly on the given topic.

While patting ourselves on the back over the success of our democratic system, a republic, to elect us a radically new president by unprecedented voter turnout, there lingers a harrowing contradiction. Proposition 8 was democratically and fairly passed, eliminating the validity of same-sex marriage under California state law along with the rights and tax-benefits of marriage. Democracy was used as a tool of oppression on the very day we celebrated its success, allowing for the removal of citizens’ rights. Inequality is voted right into the entire system with the jovial cries of -- no, not Mormons, but a majority of Californians!

And the culture war? (to regress back to some of my previous posts) It is not dead in the newly united “Obama generation.” It remains quite alive and in a “blue state” no less.

The reality of our situation presents itself starkly in the contrast of Obama’s politics of hope brought to life by the same system that robs all hope of equality for a particular minority. Can democracy escape its ironic nature? The ideal of democracy is the empowerment of the people over any form of institutional rule, but who are these people? The people is an abstraction that loosely ties individuals together and gives them a bond, and hopefully, a shared goal in their bond. Many national identities have been fashioned within or slightly before modernity out of farcical notions of history and culture in an attempt to legitimize a government’s expanding boundaries of power. As I’ve stated, the current identity and self-identity of the American people is a narrative constantly being woven -- it’s not some unshakable essential identity synonymous with the Pilgrims (they are the antithesis of modern Americans) as they stepped on to land. The people does not exist as an organic and real thing; the people are brutishly divided into numerous groups that identify within categories of race, religion, sexuality, political group, class, geography, etc. -- some allowing for more significant social cohesion than others. There is never a truly united people beyond the abstract pandering of the state; rather, a heterogeneous collection of groups with differing relations to power is the real makeup of the participants in a democracy.

Ultimately, democracy means little more than the preservation of the majority’s beliefs and needs at the expense of the minority. Democracy can be only contingently(!) aligned with truth, equality, justice and rationality by the actions of unrelenting educators and politicians working within the democratic system to keep it from consuming the very ideals it supposedly propagates through its essence.

A quick and a dumbed-down example to fully grasp what kind of danger lurks in a democracy is a hypothetical situation that reveals democracy nihilistic indifference to truth.

“Imagine a nation made up of the mathematically incompetent at 51 percent, and the mathematically competent at 49 percent. You’ll have to suspend the material issues of evolution and survival here in our hypothetical human species. The state asks to place on some national ballot whether 1 + 1 = 2 or 1 + 1 = 11 should be taught in every school. By some godsend all the mathematically incompetent manage to vote for the mathematically impossible without accidentally killing themselves in the process. The majority of our hypothetical human species has developed a social or perhaps a religious custom that states 1 + 1 = 11 with total indifference to rational argument, pragmatic usefulness and the general framework that can allow a basic arithmetic to work. By the democratic ideal, 1 + 1 = 11 is the new solution to the equation and the people rejoice! There is also absolutely nothing wrong, or flawed, or incomplete in this democratic process. It should actually be cited as a great achievement and success of democracy!”

So we must ask, what should we be celebrating -- the democratic system’s success or our luck that it failed to stand in the way of a more competent government? And we, the few, unsettled individuals, are left with the most startling question as we enter the edge of our known political system and come in contact with the horizon of the negative space of the unknown beyond the foundation of democracy. Is there something better, and can we be sure it is not an illusion hiding some new form of fascism?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Barack On My Brain

In my previous post about American democracy, I outlined a pathology that has infected our system of government. The role of government, especially the executive positions in government, is transforming through a mythopoesis in a dialogue between the state and the people. What is the nature of this dialectical mythopoesis? Mythopoesis is the process by which new myths or narratives are created. Bare with me for this: For a myth or narrative to be successful, and all narratives must be successful for us to canonize and remember them, it must fit into the framework, or the world, in which it is written; Zeus, as a random example, must maintain the necessary qualities of Zeus for a story to expand and extend its particular world. If Zeus loses such qualities, the myth cannot be brought into the greater story and is most likely forgotten. A dialectic is the interaction (in a very broad sense) between two entities wholly separate; an example of this could be two people talking.

President Bush upon his creation of the Axis of Evil, for a most apparent example, inflamed and changed the nature of political talk in the US; it was no longer an issue of nation-states in secular pursuit of their “enlightened” interests in the Western, liberalized notion of government, but rather, it became a battle of religious forces -- good versus evil. Many of Bush’s speeches, particularly about the United States’ role in the world community, have been heavily and unapologetically colored by religious tones:

“This time of adversity offers a unique moment of opportunity -- a moment we must seize to change our culture. Through the gathering momentum of millions of acts of service and decency and kindness, I know we can overcome evil with greater good. And we have a great opportunity during this time of war to lead the world toward the values that will bring lasting peace.” (State of the Union Address 2002)

When President Bush gives a speech, he engages in a very significant form of dialogue, or, at its basest, interaction, with the American people. What he delivers is a narrative that, if it is successful, will be brought into the established mythology of the American people.

Bush’s White House harped upon a dormant religious mythology that hides within the shadowy blue fabric of America; this myth-making par excellence captured what is part of the core of American society and has always jeopardized the ideals of secular democracy. The United States was founded by the progeny of Puritans, and many if not most of its greatest historical endeavors, good and bad, have been conceived in concealed providential narratives. I’ll skip on the history book analysis since this is a blog, and we need to keep it reasonably short. But take note that President Bush adheres to a good principle of mythopoesis by bringing his myth-making into place within the preexistent mythology.

With this new dialogue between the state and the people, Americans underwent a transformation in their narrative or mythology, particularly their relationship to their government. Where a history is molded and reshaped, so is the identity which is founded upon it. This new world, this new identity, in which we inhabit has been written by Bush’s state and the American people through a dialogue. In it, Bush is no longer just president, but rather, he is the shepherd and we are his sheep. Much of our side has been a sickeningly silent response -- we are the sheep! Our assistance in the story has been akin to the status of ghost writer, sitting idly by and writing most of the narrative by providing the white space but taking no credit for it. Our inaction is our contribution to the new American identity, and Bush, through his development of what role the state is suppose to take, has helped to further push for an apathetic waiting. President Bush has molded an identity of complacent waiting for him to resolve us of our problems.

My theory can be proven ferociously sound too by considering the unprecedented actions of the White House in the guise of their new paternal identity. For example, the suspension of Habeas Corpus and the establishment of Guantanamo Bay, the suspension of Constitutional rights through the Patriot Act, the vetoing of a ban on Waterboarding, a neoconservative foreign policy with unilateral, preemptive war, etc. The executive branch fully extended its power in a way never seen before, and many Americans see nothing wrong with this. Bush's legacy is really the reinvention of the identity and role of the executive branch of government, and his Constitutional debasements are an apparent example. Many Americans are quite apathetic to this new, unbalanced executive branch that grew during Bush’s eight years in office. How was this so if it was not allowed by a retelling of a narrative to change the identities of the people and the state? The American people have never reacted to this new formation, and significant disapproval only came with the economic recession, the deficit spending and tactical ambiguity in Iraq, and finally, the near-complete collapse of the economy; there was very little outrage and protest to the above mentioned trespasses relative the seriousness of the crimes. Bush weaved his people a myth, allowing for a new American people to accept something more like a religious leader than a secular president in their executive branch of government.

Consider how radically different the narrative was during America’s 1960s and 70s and the identities that emerged out of that. The sheer rebellion was the sign of an unwillingness to allow an American identity to convert into a religious, unquestioning following. The current story is different.

It may shock you, but this narrative has not been written anew with Obama; rather, Obama has won his presidency riding upon the new identities established by Bush. We throw out the old priest for a new one. Upon Barack Obama’s election, there is celebration as if we have finished our jobs, and now, it is Obama’s turn to take up the role that Bush had establish. Our role in the dialogue between us and the state is over; we return to our sheep status, and wait -- wait, wait, devotedly in secular, democratic prayer that Obama will resolve our problems. I’ve already seen suggestions from the news that Obama can single-handedly save the auto-industry by a state-mandated, instantaneous conversion to a fuel-efficient and alternative energy car -- hilarious. Most people, ignorant of the slow, laborious process needed to transform the economy, the environment and our governmental institutions, think Barack Obama will be doing something more similar to anointing them and setting them free of all their political trappings and failures rather than sound, long-term planning.

For some reason all of this reminds me of the Market Place scene in Jesus Christ Superstar -- odd I know. I don’t want to get too serious when I’m writing a blog, and I have yet to use the Internet medium to its fullest. It is perhaps time for a pause. So maybe I’ll embed a video of the scene from the movie Jesus Christ Superstar. The three minute mark and the end make me wonder…

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A False Obama

I was walking in the street when a rowdy black woman ahead of me turned around and asked me “So, how about Barack Obama?” in an excited tone. I responded “how about Barack Obama.” Which, doesn‘t make much sense as an answer, but if you say it in a long drawn-out way it seems like a legitimate response when you’re just repeating what the person said to you . I noticed what seemed like melancholy in my voice in responding to her, and I wondered if she thought I was a McCain supporter.

Why was I melancholic in my response or something akin to it? I watched the excitement on the news over the historic occasion that signals a time of momentous importance in many different histories. It’s a victory for black America; it is a victory for our American democracy and society as a whole; and it is a victory for me, as I voted for Barack Obama in an adherence to my liberal beliefs and my honest like of a good man and a talented politician. What bothers me about the situation enough to keep me from feeling the euphoria I see in others, particularly the younger Obama supporters?

Perhaps it is the cult of personality that has grown around Obama. There is a strange, undemocratic, apolitical fervor that swelled up around Obama and his campaign. Obama’s sweeping win, his changing of red states to blue state and his ability to get out the vote at an unprecedented level, are all shocking. Many argue that this has been spurred by a reaction to the horrid state of the economy and eight long years of an unresponsive, republican president. While I do believe that Obama’s win has been significantly influenced by Bush’s wide-spread unpopularity, there is a catalyst that is irrational and apolitical; look at Obama’s win compared to Kerry’s loss. Kerry faced an equally unpopular President Bush during a time when Iraq was far more tumultuous than it is now, and the economy was in the full-swing of a recession. Obama faced a moderate republican that rode on the political rhetoric of change and emphasized his bipartisan initiatives. How could have McCain lost in such a decisive way?

Part of the reason is the number of apolitical voters Obama’s uncontrolled cult of personality brought in. In such strife, voters have taken to Obama as a messianic or heroic figure that will redeem the United States in some radical transformation. I refuse to believe that the votes that kept Bush in office for eight long years are now sincere liberal votes. America did not become a politically liberal nation in four years through a steady questioning of domestic and foreign policies; the exit polls show that the number one concern is the economy, not Iraq, not terrorism, and not the social values that had clinched the win for Bush for two elections. The emphasis and concern voters have placed on the economy is rightly due, but the way the people have conceived of it might be truly disastrous.

The economy is a focal point of absolute terror for Americans, and in the throes of such a nightmare, people have been consistently undemocratic, reactionary and un-American in their turn to a political “strongman.” We saw this behavior with the terrorist attacks of 9/11, where Americans focused on their fear of another terrorist attack, allowing for an unparalleled loss of their freedoms in the name of security. For much of the election in 2004, while being bogged down in Iraq, John Kerry was painted as a weak-willed liberal with a phony war record; his liberal policies, ones dead similar to Obama’s, would jeopardize American security at home and abroad -- Kerry significantly lost the popular vote. Americans are still short-term, one-issue voters, and they vote not out of political righteousness and adherence to a rational political doctrine. Their new terror is economic meltdown, and their new hero is Obama, where Osama Bin Laden and Bush are the devil and savor in some now longforgotten fairytale. Americans are willing to make any sacrifice necessary to a strong leader in the childish hope that this leader will resolve all their issues. And I fail to see the goodness in all of this, because it is not a good exercise of our system, rather, it is religiosity breeding a way for fascism.

Luckily, I am reassured for at least these four years. The American public may be a deeply foolish, apolitical, terror-ridden voter, but for once, in a rough eight years, this has worked to the favor of the better party and the better candidate. Obama began his presidency with a speech upon his election that emphasized a democratic resolution to our problems, he put it on us, the people, to commit to creating an America we would like to see. He tempered and brought into the American consciousness once again the lost notion of long-term planning and strategic thinking, rather than, reactionary panic to the economic crisis. The thing about it is, there is the Barack Obama that I admire and appreciate because he is, in truth, all of the things this country needs, but the rabble that is in sheer ecstasy over Barack Obama is a loathsome, undemocratic and fascist element that is entirely to blame for the past eight years of the total desecration of this country; they, the American people, have shamelessly falsified and portrayed Obama as a hero for their idiotic, religious masses. I fear for Obama, and I fear for the end of four years when the American people see their false image of Obama shatter and don’t understand why all of the promises they inscribed on Obama were not immediately given to them upon his election. And where Obama gives his people the chance to be something great and different -- upon his descent from the mountain after four years, he will find a panic-stricken, orgiastic cult worshipping in stupidity and betrayal towards another golden calf.