History, Politics, Social Commentary, Socialist

Alternative History

Let us imagine a future dictated by reactionary forces writing the history books. The past would be different with vital parts missing that was once usually taught in schools. These specific parts that are elided focus on marginalized people and labor organizing for their fair share. Those accounts are replaced with heroes who are avatars of rugged individualism who flourish in Ayn Rand novels. George Orwell’s quote will ring true: who controls the past will control the future, who controls the present controls the past.

True causes of events will be obscured and distorted beyond recognition. Shay’s rebellion was about nutcases instead of people who were angry about taxes that benefit the rich. The civil war was about state’s rights and other myriad causes that have nothing to do with slavery. Unions are evil anarchist and terrorist instead of an organization that brings democracy in the work place. Book burnings of socialist authors such as Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis, Norman Thomas, and Herbert George Wells will be conducted. America The Beautiful and This Land Is My Land will be declared obscene because those songs were written by subversives. The Pledge of Allegiance will be replaced with bible hymns.

In this grim future the film Birth of a Nation will be seen as a prophetic documentary. Gilded Age captains of industry are the best Americans that were ever produced. Bible questions will start to appear on standardized test thus blurring the line between church and state. Sea levels will rise and flood the Gulf Coast and people will think it is an act of god. The collective intelligent quotient of the American people will dip below 65.

This future can be avoided if the truth is told constantly and reinforced thought teaching the younger generations. It is important to wage a culture war about what stories about the past that are told. Stories about the past can serve as an inspirational guide towards the road to the future. Different parts of the country have different histories as exemplified by what southerners call the war of northern aggression. One positive thing about this phenomena is that this war is not bloody yet.

Standard
Social Commentary

Satire

Social critics, commentators, and teachers often say there is truth in satire. By definition satire is based in truth and humor is used to make a comment about a particular subject. Comedy often seems to be more important than the truth when it comes to satire. While it takes a tremendous amount of skill to be a great satirist, it is not always the most effective form of communication.

The important thing about satire is that it is rooted in intellectualism. Confusion is created when interpreting satire because certain segments of American culture embraces anti-intellectualism. In order for satire to work, the receiver would have to be familiar with the source material and references. The likelihood of the comment being understood the first time around depends on the popularity of the subject matter. If the receiver does not understand the subject matter, the point will be easily missed, and as the Joker says; if you have to explain a joke, then it is not funny.

Although satire can open a few eyes, it does not inspire lasting changes in points of view. In order to change a person’s viewpoint, an anvil has to be dropped, and that is hard to do under guffaws. Comedy is meant to distract people from their problems and not necessarily to make them think about critical issues. Embracing comedy as a distraction would require avoiding satire that is polemical. In the end, satire is relegated to a joke with much of the nuance stripped away for mass consumption.

Satire may not be a great agent of social change but it does serve a purpose. Creativity is required for satire to work which is a great way of expanding intelligence. Getting at a truism in a subversive way is probably the only time an audience is exposed to that particular viewpoint. It is such a shame that in American culture addressing polemics needs the mask of comedy. In this country, the only way to speak the truth is as a joke.

Standard
Social Commentary

Nobel Laureate

The electoral president Donald J. Trump has just been awarded the highest, unexpected honor no one could have imagined; the Nobel prize for literature. He is being rewarded for his writings on the social media platform known as Twitter. Within the span of 140 characters he has managed to misinform the uneducated masses of America. Speaking his mind and letting everyone know how he is going to ruin the country before and after inauguration. As the electoral president, he has chosen an innovative way to bypass the lamestream media and go straight to the dittoheads.

The electoral president is now in the company of the greats of literature like George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Mann, Sinclair Lewis, and John Steinbeck. His concise, delicate tweets make the world take notice and ask how he can come up with this stuff. Only a mad genius can come up with the thoughts he sends out and announces to the world that he is an egomaniac who demands to be the center of attention. His dedication to getting his message out is evident by the fact that he is informing the public at 3 A.M. and likely has an insomnia issue. Such talent cannot be outmatched due to the sheer grandiosity of his vision to make America hate again.

The electoral president reminds us of our constitutional rights we take for granted by promising to violate them. He reminds us that the best way to drain a swamp is to fill it with ravenous crocodiles who eat out of the public trough. He demonstrates his skills by showing what a master hostage negotiator does by giving into the demands of economic terrorist. He uses Twitter to show how he is an expert player of the dozens, thus showing how a boss handles those beneath him. He combines the most admirable traits the worst presidents: the cronyism of George W. Bush, the blind eye to corruption of Warren G. Harding, the internecine nature of Benjamin Harrison, and the disregard of the law demonstrated by Richard Nixon.

With this selection of the Nobel prize to Donald J. Trump, we hope to become relevant again. We did not get the boost in attention we needed from giving the peace prize to a warmongers like Henry Kissinger and other leaders who have waged wars. In the spirit of the founder of the prize, Alfred Nobel, we decided to honor someone who likes to blow stuff up. No one represents the ethos of post-truth reality: where facts and opinion are indistinguishable from each other than, Donald J. Trump. The dignity of this award-and America- has just sunk to a new low.

Standard
Social Commentary

Blowback

It seemed like a good idea at the time can be a funny justification for just about any regrettable decision. One subject that wonderfully falls into this category are the carefree decisions of youth. Youth is traditionally thought of as a time when one can recover from mistakes without suffering irreparable harm is a rational interpretation of what it is like to be young. However, some decisions can blowback in inimical ways.

This concept nicely fits into situations that involves a flash of anger: succumbing to the id portion of the brain when the rational decision making switch in the brain is turned off. Given a worse case scenario the consequences can be long and everlasting in a bad way. Someone can get hurt or lose their life because someone had a momentary lapse of judgment is possible. This broad example illustrates how a life an change at the drop of a hat.

The business community usually employs a parochial type of thinking which is susceptible to blowback. Their decisions are myopic to the point of destruction that emanates from the company and could have deleterious effects on others who have nothing to do with the business. This is enabled by the thinking that money should be made as quickly as possible and make as much money as possible and all will be well. They are blissfully unaware that there are non-financial cost to their decisions. That damage to the company in terms of their reputation which can hurt the bottom line.

Overthrowing a foreign leader and imposing a dictator is a classic example of blowback. This is one of those mistakes that people never seem to learn from as demonstrated by the fact that it has continued unabated for decades. The country that made the decision to overthrow another country is surprised as to why the citizens of the overthrown country is resentful. This classic example shows what is wrong with thinking about instant gratification. A little consideration toward the future can prevent a lifetimes worth of pain.

Standard
Social Commentary

Selfishness

There is no such ting as society; only individuals. This sentiment was uttered by Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of England, about mutual cooperation and looking out for one another. Every person should look after their own welfare and ignore the plight of others. This line of reasoning promotes an unfeeling notion that there is no need to care for anyone else unless it suits ones personal interest.

Selfishness as a virtue has been promoted throughout the industrialized world by people who elected them to office. This view promotes the idea that society has made a wrong turn by showing compassion and the only correction is austerity. Might makes right is the unofficial mantra of people who have selfish beliefs. Worshipping at the cult of self is seen as the only deity worth acknowledging. The voices and opinions of others is immaterial in the grand scheme of things.

One of the sayings on dollar bills in America is E. Pluribus Unum which is Latin for “out of many, one”. One would think this serves as a reminder of unity, but that is often ignored or most people are unaware of what that saying means. The meaning of words and what they stand for wither away over time, or have the context changed completely.

Selfishness is a belief system that sees sympathy as effeminate and repulsive. This usually applies to others, especially people who belong to marginalized groups. Strangers are seen as abstractions who do not have the same value as others one can relate to on a personal level. They believe people’s problems are of their own making and do not deserve help. If this way of thinking continues, we will have a nation where people suffer in silence.

Standard
Social Commentary

End of Days

Life has devolved into a sterile existence that has lost all meaning. The quotidian routine is leading to a spiritual death that leaves us in limbo. No signs of life is apparent due to a lack of meaningful stimulation. People have become inured to this state of affairs. We have starting to accept this as kismet;the end of their days is rapidly approaching.

Escaping into banal entertainment has become the norm as a way to escape the drudgery of life. The intelligent quotient is getting lower every passing day. This phenomena is so widespread that no one recognizes when they, or others have fallen into the abyss of fantasy. Always seeking distractions as a form of pleasure has lead to ignoring what happens in reality.

Paradoxically advancing and retrogressing at the same time: the problems have disappeared by pretending they went away, yet getting worse because they will come back when one steps foot into reality. We can surrender to technology and let it do the thinking for us. Before we know it, we will become so disconnected from reality that technology will replace our human identities, thus leaving us moribund.

The sterilization of life has lead to a false sense of freedom and security. The sedentary mindset creates a sense of helplessness that is hard to overcome. No true thoughts of originality emanate from a mind which has become vapid from disengagement. The mind will become an empty husk that had all of its potential sapped out. Without the will or effort to strive for a better future, a wasted life is the result being unable to face problems head on.

Standard
Social Commentary

Pandora’s Box

Pandora’s Box has been opened by mysterious forces that attacked the mind. All of the problems in life came bursting out without warning. A world of destruction and anomie was spilling out at an alarming rate. Life was so much more simpler and satisfying before the box was opened. Now it is too late to undo the opening of the box or stem the damage.

What emerged from the box was quite frightening and unexpected. It was a mirror into a past that was long forgotten, leading one to thing it is a harbinger of things to come. The sepulchral memories vividly come to life and every regret and transgression every committed and received is resurrected and haunts the living. The disturbing thing is that the problems were buried for an understandable reason.

Burying the problems seemed like a good idea at the time, but that may not have been the best decision. The problems were too painful to face so they were mostly ignored; mostly because it was easier to hope that they go away. The problems did go away for a time, but they kept coming back again and again. Every time they come back, they are stronger than the last time.

The problems were intractable before and they still remain so. Unable to receive assistance due to the nature of the problems being too individualistic in nature. They behave in a similar manner to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Realizing the situation is dire and grim and there is no other way to handle it. Every resource available must be used to put the problems back in the box forever. Only time will tell if one is successful in defeating the problems by making a box that is strong enough to keep the problems in check.

Standard