Pigskins for Jesus

Turkey on the Rocks

So here’s another Thanksgiving holiday.

You care because today is the biggest shopping day of the year, and it will be followed by 3 days of turkey and football — a game that lets you vicariously pay tribute to one of the biggest founding principles of this great nation: war.

I care because Thanksgiving is the original, all-American holiday — a secular tribute to the first bible-thumping settlers, and anchored in the American traditions of sloth, gluttony and greed.

So here’s to the guns, pigskins, and Jesus. May the next year hold nothing less than Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Image via Madtini.com, which has some Thanksgiving cocktail recipes here.

Gate Rape Thugs

The purpose of this post is to show off how I coined a clever phrase (see title) that rhymes perfectly with an already popular phrase that also carries negative connotations.

TSA Logo

Source: boingboing.net

You care because feds stored thousands of bodyscan images and the bodyscanners were pushed through by corrupt lobbyists who don’t care that they don’t really work because they can’t see inside body cavities and are dangerous because they deliver 20 times the dose of radiation that the TSA claims, at least you can still defend your your freedom of speech by wearing a satirical TSA t-shirt the next time you pass through airport security.

I care because even though the TSA has closed the loophole that would allows you to enter the US without being x-rayed or groped by issuing a new policy where refusing a pat down will cost you an $11,000 fine, they might haven’t gone completley mad just yet because at least transgender people can ask to be groped by an agent of the gender of their choice (via terrisenft) and they offer great customer service to those unlawfully detained for taking picture that they’re allowed to take.

Post inspired by Peter Shankman’s tweet.

Red Dawn Rising

Red dawn came out in 1984. Besides the first ten minutes, the film was nothing more than a chicken hawk wet dream for the cold war. It is somewhat appropriate that the film was released in 1984 since it represents a major element of neoconservative thinking. At the point that it was released the Soviet Union was a walking corpse of its former self. A paper tiger now used as a means of scaring Americans into supporting defense spending and the Reagan doctrine. It feeds into the myth that a particular nation is inherently good and that it is surrounded by hostile nations/ideologies that must be destroyed because they are evil. After all, war is peace. Last night though, I came across a videogame that is going to be released called Homefront.

Wolverines for Life, Liberty, and the American Way!

I am not saying video games are evil but I want to look at the ideology behind one in particular. Like any other medium, video games can represent ideas and for this matter they are an important art form. If it’s the military fetishism/jingoism of Call of Duty or the right wing paranoia of Homefront, these ideas should be examined.

Essentially the plot of Homefront is that North Korea takes over the entire Korean peninsula then expands its control over the rest of Asia and then somehow successfully occupies the United States. Sounds familiar right? Well it’s cool to see people ripping off Phillip K Dick, but here is what really bothered me about the whole thing. In the trailer there is footage of what I guess is someone at a tea party rally saying how they hate commies. It fits into the paranoid thinking that is popular amongst many in the Tea Party movement that hostile forces in America and abroad are trying to destroy them.

There is this idea amongst the right wing in America that they are under siege. They are being attacked from liberals, Marxists, Muslim-fascist terrorists and the shadowy elite. After 9/11 it was terrorists, during the cold war it was Marxists and socialists and before that it was uppity unions. America loves the underdog and does not want to be perceived as being the country that starts the fight. They like finishing the fight though. However that image is hard to maintain when you are the de facto global military power. So they create myths about themselves.

In order for them to continue to see themselves as being inherently good they have to be able to believe in myths. The myth is that America is the only nation that is good in this world and that all its major institutions must be defended. Leo Strauss (the ideological basis of neo-conservatism) believed that a noble lie was required in order to bring purpose to a shaky society. A permanent state of emergency further embeds this myth within the conscience of America. It is much easier to think that America is threatened by Muslim instead of a few thousand followers of Sayyid Qutb. It is easier to think that powerful and evil communists are standing at the ready to undermine America than actually understand the nuances of economics and geopolitics. The key point here is that there needs to be a simple and monolithic enemy.

So the latest means of propagating the myth of American righteousness is the videogame. Maybe they are just cashing in the right wing feelings located in America at the moment. The martyr mindset of middle America is easily manipulated and can generate a great deal of money.

Self Phone Culture

I hate cell phones. They’re a symptom of everything that’s wrong in America, like the rib cracking cough that’s makes pneumonia so much more insufferable than the flu. Fuck you, I don’t need you. There’s someone else, somewhere else, and they’re more important than you. I don’t need you. I am connected. I can talk to someone else. I’ve just been settling for you company, and I don’t need you anymore. And now I’m gonna run for mayor.

No wonder we’re all so desperate. No wonder we’re all so lonely. We live in our own head, at the whim of our whim. We’re indecisive, disoriented and confused. We don’t know where we are or who we want to be. We just know that we’re bored and are clinging to the hope that there’s just gotta be something better and more convincing beyond the immediate moment.

Eye contact can be terrifying. The eyes are the window to the soul, and it isn’t easy looking into the depths of someone else’s desperation and realizing that we’re not alone, realizing that we’re just as unoriginal and inconsequential and unappreciated as we find everyone else around us. So we put on the blinders, look at the ground six feet ahead of us, tune out, and tune into the magical little sound box that’s frying our occipital lobes one kilohertz at a time.

And what would we do if the network came crashing down tomorrow. Forget the disruption in communication. We’re a generation weaned on connections. We’re nothing on our own, and left to ourselves, we have nothing left to do but wallow in the foamy, white noise that’s our own shallow stream of consciousness.

I remember going to a conference in Vegas in 2005. It was The Magic Show and I was working for American Apparel. It was 2005, our phones were still in the stone age, and The Magic Show is one of the biggest conferences in the world. The system couldn’t hack it, and it crashed like a neanderthalic superstructure. We were lost. A bunch of us had push-to-talk phones and could still communicate enough to get our jobs done, but our safety net was gone. All our conversation could be heard by everyone around us.

There was no privacy, no one to confide in, no escape. We were stuck with whoever we happened to be standing near and were completely alone. And there’s nothing quite as pathetic in the same way as a hipster who has to face their own irony. Fuck it, I couldn’t take it. I ripped the battery from my phone and drove out to the desert with a model who robbed me of everything but my soul. She was a good girl.

Digging Up Your Own Grave

It’s bad news all over, for the left and the right. Democracy and the markets are taking a thrashing, and the bodies are piling up. It’s starting to stink, and we can use some graves, but there aren’t many real journalist left to do the digging. They’ve all either been laid-off or bought-out, and a hungry man doesn’t wield a shovel.

A few of them, though, were either lucky, smart, or stupid enough to read through the lines of their own bullshit early on, and got out while the getting was still good. They were able to make it out West before the law did, and those of them that were lucky were able to claim a chunk of the Ponderosa for themselves (those that weren’t either scalped or shot in the back by a flippant drunk horse rustler).

One of the lucky ones was Tom Forenski. He’s managed to find a way to keep his belly full and his shovel out of hawk for long enough stretches to dig’em six feet deep before the rainy season turns’em into sinkholes. His latest ode-to-a-spade has enough room it for just about anyone he’s ever worked for, with, or on.  Sifting through the annual Edelman Trust Barmometer, Tom has found that:

- Trust in information from friends and peers, “people like me,” dropped by 20 points, from 47 to 27 percent.

- Trust in information from digital media–blogs, social networks, and free content sources like Wikipedia or Google news, remains low: only between 11 percent and 22 percent of respondents express trust in information about companies from these sources.
Trust in credibility of TV news declined by 20 points, from 44 to 24 percent.

- Trust in news coverage on the radio dropped by 17 points, from 48 to 31 percent.

- Trust in newspapers fell by 14 points, from 46 to 32 percent.

- Only 38 percent trust media (as an institution) to do what is right, down from 46 percent in 2008.

- Media companies (as an industry) have declined in credibility by 16 points (from 48 to 32 percent).

- In the U.S., media companies are tied with the insurance industry for last place. Banks are second from the bottom.

- Top trusted industry is technology and it has widened its lead over other industries.

- Tied for the second most trusted industry is Biotech and Automotive at 63 percent, followed by Energy, Retail and Food at 61 percent.

I can get Automotive tying for second place. I mean, geezus, the American people own the auto-industry now. If they can’t trust themselves, how are they supposed to look themselves in the mirror every morning and keep bullshitting themselves into thinking that what they’ve been doing for last two decades has actually meant anything and that they should keep doing it?

Besides, we’re a nation of smug, arrogant apes. About the the only thing we trust is our gut instinct and it tells us we’re hungry. So how are we supposed to afford an $8 non-fat caramel double machiatto to wash down our Grand Slam breakfast if we don’t trust ourselves enough to show up and work and bring home the bacon?

But Biotech? Ye gawds, it’s a college student’s worst nightmare. I mean, they’ve done things to farmers, genes, and the American justice system that would make an Father O’Hanrahan blush. But I digress…

It seems like America is losing faith in anything with a type-face. We’re losing faith in the people we don’t really know and the blogs that they write. We’re losing faith in Google and it’s ability to gage the relevance of something based on how many virgins linked to it. And we’re also losing faith in the media companies that can no longer afford to pay their creditors, never mind the interns that are supposed to be fact-checking the weather reports.

Tom thinks it’s bad news for PR agencies, “social media experts,” citizen journalists, and media start-ups. But what about the poor and wretched souls in middle-America who don’t know whether to be more terrified Osama, Obama, or the impending Zombie apocalypse when their kids ring-in 2013 with a double of their cerebrospinal fluid on the rocks?

These are the people whose weekend trips to Walmart and Costco keep the coffers of the agencies and media companies replete with fresh lies, and how are they supposed to keep spending if they’re too terrified or confused to make it to work in the morning?

Two decades of whore-mongering is catching up with us folks. It’s daybreak, the party is over, and before the shooter-girls can count-out, go home, and sleep it off, the rest of us have to face the reckoning and pray to the vengeful, pagan gods we’ve worshiped all night that there’s enough left-over for the cab ride home.

Truth, Art, and Advertising

Credit: teridillon

Credit: teridillon

Just because something is creative, that doesn’t make it art. To be art, something needs to capture a bit of truth.

That’s why I could never make it as a writer, or any other kind of artist: I’ve never been able to stomach the truth.

But it’s also why I make a half-decent ad-hack: I’m so good with denial, at pretending that everything’s just fine. I’m good enough at it, in fact, that I can reassure others that things are just fine.

I’m limited, though, at reassuring them. I’m not quite there when it comes to convincing them. Maybe that’s something that’ll come with more time and experience. Maybe my conscience will always get in the way. Or maybe it’ll fade with time.

We’ll see…

Puff the Magic Dragon

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.

I just found out that Mary Travers of Peter, Paul, and Mary died today. And I’m not taking it very well.

I’m not a Peter, Paul, and Mary fan, and before tonight, I wouldn’t have recognized her name. I still wouldn’t recognize the full names of Peter and Paul, and don’t even know if they’re alive or dead.

But when I was I young child, my father used to play his guitar and sing me to sleep, and when he sang Puff The Magic Dragon, I would cry and become inconsolable, but wouldn’t want him to stop. Now that I’m a father, I pray to whatever Gods who can still find it somewhere in their omniscience to forgive our wretched species for what they are that my own son never neglects painted wings and giant rings for other toys.

Thank you, Mary, for contributing to a very important part of my childhood, and may those same Gods shuttle you to someplace better than this one.

The Spectator Generation.

Do you ever think that you’re living through history? That you’re watching it go down in realtime?

The last of the Kennedy’s is dead. The last of a democratic trinity. We’ve closed a chapter in the American Dream that was never realized… that was never really finished…

What can our generation really boast? A black president? A new world order?

Everything is regressing into a commodity, and soon, even the memories will just that: a mere idea that can be used to brand, barter, and trade a package of lies, smoke, and mirrors.

It used to mean something to rebel, to revolt, to stand out in the crowd. But now it’s all just a way to brand our own vain sense of individuality.

We live for nothing more than our own personal distinction… our own personal brand… our own individuality… just like all our friends…

It’s no longer our beliefs that distinguish us from our contemporaries. It’s the ideas that we consume with out disposable income; the ideas we come to “embody” through our purchases.

It’s no longer what we believe; it’s what we invest in… and like all investment capital, it can be shifted or diverted to some other asset or portfolio with or without a loss or gain…