Our Town Revisited

October 12, 2008

Explosions, we love ’em, can’t get enough of watching a hero get thrown across a room at the same time as and before a car explodes in front of a quaint city cafe. It’s part of a newer narrative of cinema and it’s wonderfully surreal.  Determined to convey and empathize with new hyper realities we as a people have assumed a more complex role with more didactic expectations about our perception of experiences.

Another version of our interpretive experience occurs as a remainder of the realm of entertainment. More and more life (and its respective culture) is coming to light in tandem with a high budget high impact looking glass.  What’s scary is that it’s almost to the point of harboring a cultural exchange with fiction; transmuting our beliefs with contrived illusions.  We’re literally waiting to be impressed by ourselves, teetering on spindles of humanity, expecting to be dragged into enlightenment by commercial conjecture alone.

Stagnant, self-oppressed and impotent.  Relying on versions of our lives that we keep out of reach and in someone else’s hands so that we can criticize, qualify or disregard ethics at will.  We’re dealing in specific desires solely because they can be lobbied for, believing that destiny can be prescribed by those that want to divvy them up amongst themselves.  It would seem that we’ve taught capitalism to generations of people that have nothing to sell or trade but the hope that they deserve the same opportunities that others can earn with skill, talent and innovation.  Oddly, and this is the important bit, our society has tried to negotiate with one of the oldest paradoxes and it’s been a fair attempt.  Capitalism proposes to value ability and its capacity to enrich people’s lives with shared experiences by creating an egalitarian forum for opportunity.  Unfortunately for most people hope and desire alone, without anything to fortify it, just creates more hope and a cultural debt that can’t be filled with correspondence alone.

Our experiences begin to occur within a theoretical micro-culture, with psychological elations that become anesthesia.  These pseudo-events try to both nourish us and consume us, this coupled with modern media creates a persistently overt and schizophrenic bedfellow.  It’s one that drives us toward new heights and anticipations, though not so much that we outgrow our dependence and confidence in them regardless of their motives.

We should be clear; we love movies, film – the whole medium.  It’s literally the greatest thing since Gutenberg and the printing press, we know it’s a tired analogy, but you don’t seem to quite understand the responsibility being abused.  Celluloid’s impact on reality is perhaps a bit like looking in the mirror after a bad nights sleep.  To you you look as you should, a little battered and worn; but to everyone else you seem worse, mostly because they slept fine and don’t commiserate with your expectations.  Similarly we run the risk of representing ourselves through ideas that are designed to disassociate us from ourselves but the result is the preservation of our anti-selves if you will, canonizing the rhetoric of our lives as if it were the substance of our communities.

More troubling is how skilled we’ve become at both the story telling and the subsequent placation it incubates. We conveniently overlook the fact that the way the rest of the world sees us is far more accurate than how well we understand ourselves. Sure one Glamorosa or another will rant on and on about their contentiousness over some travesty, but it’s not like they’re so torn that they’re selling their beach house over it.  Nor should they, no one of them have any hope of keeping the rest of you from making the same mistakes over and over.  Not only that but they, like so many politicians and elitists, are so eager to pitch their coin into the same defunct fountain of lip service and hypocrisy. Why shouldn’t they, their role models are either so busy cleaning up other people’s messes that they barely get a chance to scratch the surface of truly relevant issues.  Or they‘re so busy being so dastardly and vague about how determined they are to make things better for a few people at the expense of the majority that no realistic forum for progress ever gets built.

Still for a large part of the world the stories we tell about ourselves are the Americans they expect to meet and the basis they use to disqualify our intelligence while being amused by our occasional display of novel modernity.  If we’re constantly selling ourselves as some sort of belligerent spoiled trust fund brat it’s fair to expect some people to want to be a part of our gang mentality and some to be paranoid and afraid of a psychotic mob that insists it’s assimilating people willingly and at an alarming rate.  Unfortunately no one’s inclined to pay attention well enough to realize that what Americans are left with is nothing more than a string of methadone methodologies.

Enter implicit corruption.  It’s one thing to lend a hand to a victim but providing gold platted crutches to a corporate henchman that can only shrug and expect phrases like team player to excuse their behavior is simply perverted.  To not look at their references like they just had their tear tattooed lasered off is just encouraging some to continue to oppress their neighbor while simultaneously giving rise to yet another subdivision of class designed to insolate itself from consequence.  As if the rest of us are supposed to feel sorry for them because it turns out their only skill is that of a common grafter.  But it’s televised and commercialized so I guess we’re supposed to assume it’s normal.  It seems that in this country when a system fails we conveniently overlook that it was made up of a group of people that have proven to have no idea what they were doing; because they try to popularize the belief that they are some sort of institution and intrinsic to our well-being isn’t an explanation it’s a shame.  Conveniently they distract us from their operative premise, capitalism, and the fact that they no longer have anything to offer.  Don’t be so foolish as to think that if from time to time a corporate-stock-centric America ponies up a Tyco International (Dennis Kozlowski, former investment banker) or  Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (Richard Fuld ) that it’s then ok for the their other 8,500 employees to be inept.  As if in cubicle land 2 + 2 = baseball and we’re supposed to be impressed because they’ve become a culture of contrarians and voodoo’esque speculators.  Regardless of the confidence that they tried to sway in their favor are we to overlook our patronage to their salaries as well as the forfeiture of their own agreements because they acted in such poor faith?  Possession being 9/10ths of the law requires physicality and there would be no profit margin if they could be everywhere all of the time.  So they fail, and some of you manage to get away with the shirts on your backs, should the rest of us feel so sorry for them that we’re supposed to abandon our dinghy for their Titanic.  Besides, sound business practice isn’t that elusive, unless of course you’ve grown an industry that’s stacked to the rafters with redundant indifference.  But we digress.

You know back in the days of the Roman Empire, where most of our socio-political behavior stems, insane self indulgent imperialism was a lot easier to get away with and a lot slower to get around; Gutenberg, Gutenberg, Gutenberg.  All you had to do was prove standardized civility by building a few roads, publicly punish the occasional notorious criminal, placate resentment about the wrongfully impoverished and oppressed with an oracle or a knock off religion and when the gluttonous politicos and inept elitists over consumed, invent a bottled-up hero (or hero story) that would do nothing else but fight for the virtues of the previously indifferent.  While they wouldn’t really change anything they would however lend resounding credence to so many un-actuated virtues of humanity, so that all (criminals and victims alike) could claim de facto righteousness.

With this America continues to purport that they’re the linchpin in the global economy.  They’d better because that concept is in direct opposition to a healthy economy and finding new ways of selling themselves as unique and exceptional is the only way to continue their sociopathic behavior.  The fact is that capitalists only thrive by averting obsolescence and continuing to have something to offer.  Companies should be in fear of having a low market value and that dynamic of competition should be what keeps their feet on the ground and them as proponents for sounds reasoning not popular mysticism.  A drop in exchange volume exemplifies a more realistic dollar to relative dollar evaluation, not just the hubris of speculation on steroids.  When it comes to global economics countries shouldn’t follow the US’s bomb shelter mentality of abuse and possum playing.  Global economic alignments should recognize that some of their virtues, some, have a higher value abroad then they do at home.  In those instances they can consider their value juxtaposed with their needs; if not only because not everyone should be chasing the same dream and things that are deemed necessary for reasonable international coexistence shouldn’t be packaged like water in the desert – peace included.

But these days everyone’s drinking from the same well of information.  So if the means don’t justify the ends it’s only a matter of whose ready to take the blame and when the rest of us will go back to the drawing board to get it right. Plenty of people would be inclined to blame news media, but that would just mean that it should be appropriate for everyone to be bred stupid as if it were in everyone’s interest to go along with elective retardation, go to war over ego maniacal zealotry and undermine anything that comes up with a better outlook.

So we guess a lot of what Sugar Stock’s afraid of are people that are determined to be dumber in order to believe that they deserve to be happy, all in order to live with dodging the accountability of reasonable behavior.  We’re apprehensive about those that need to go to any length necessary to validate even their most juvenile notions.  It’s not the information we’re really worried about it’s the alter-einstienian, now that we think we understand energy whatever we want it to be is a good idea; we’re worried about the bombs or bust attitudes of the uninspired. Not even Sugar Stock would question Einstein’s genius, but we wonder if he appreciated how reductive people can be.  How eager people are to take something well beyond their grasp and boil it down to its most trivial denominators as if they could then inject it into the pool of common knowledge like so much pedestrian piss.  We wonder, what if he had put just a little bit of the cart before the horse, just a lantern maybe; would he have illuminated a path that could have kept things like the atom bomb amongst the unthinkable ideas and things like nuclear engines as a pursuit that would enrich lives and help people imagine a world beyond the reach of any one idea.

‘Cause in the end it was the story about a plume of dust that spanned 100 miles that changed peoples course. For better and worse.  Its victims had no say in the matter one way or the other, no where to run and no sage advice delivered in hindsight.  The way the story was told was principal to the reality of social behavior that people were prepared to own, while for Americans it was an anecdote, it’s still conveyed through surreal images of people atomically fused to buildings and children running blindly in every direction. So much so that we wonder if the alien in Aliens were to have learned about humanity through its moving pictures would it have noticed a difference between fact and fiction?  Would news and entertainment share the same context to the uninitiated?  Are the sing-song rudiments delivered by extra-terrestrials in Close Encounters the intellectual equivalent of teaching a dog not to piss inside, without messing about with how impressed with themselves they’d insist it was appropriate for them to be, even if it’s only to throw a life preserver to a shallow self-esteem?  Notice how we used the present tense there, that’s the life that stories lead.  Their alignment is only relevant to their motive, and the only thing that defines the virtues of their telling are the intellect that comprehends them and the craftsmanship that creates their origins.

Are we as a people determined to craft a fraud that will make us look good even when common sense could easily deduce that we’re clearly insane?  Are people that catastrophically full of ourselves and if so can we imagine the fate we deserve?  Or are caution and fear designated as just another boogeyman or vampire waiting to claim the outrage of the victim?  If ever there were a time for mass hara-kiri it’s now because the rest of the world should probably be prepared to shoot us on sight like some sort of flesh eating zombie all hopped up on self indulgent ideologies.  Idealism – expecting the best even when all evidence is to the contrary, a perception that disregards the relevance of reality.

We, Sugar Stock, should be clear; we love movies, film – the whole medium, it’s what an audience does with the rest of their life that we seem to have a problem with.  Film began in black and white, life has always been in color, and a skillful mastery of the truth should take precedence over pretension.

Anecdote: Costs are determined by markets, markets are maintined against two major principles, the ability to define and distinguish needs and the capacity to supply them within the reach of consumption. Think of it as knowing how tall some people are and deciding whether you should grow bushes or trees. If an industry (or market) goes so belly up that they suddenly need charity to save them then they were probably in the wrong business or doing it the wrong way. Housing is a great example. Imagine some young rich stud from a family with its roots in construction sees that rental prices per apartment per year are about one fifth the cost of building the whole builing. He takes out a loan and gets to it. This one lazy punk has just defined the market. First by exploiting a need, then by going into debt over it. Lastly his business plan relies on people being able to afford what he’s selling, so mortgage companies come in and take up the slack while charging consumers for the privledge. But if mortgage companies had no interest in making it so easy for housing developers to set their sticker price so high ( the reason why young and lazy got into it in the first place) then they wouldn’t be enabling a sticker price that is now designed to be just beyond most peoples reach. Because remember that they’re making their money off of the money you don’t have, and the shelter you need. But if creditors had limited their willingness to underwrite the developers, developers would then be forced to either stay out of that business altogether, or drop their retail prices to something people could actually afford.

So when people start talking about how social stability is rooted in individuals having good credit what their really implying is that our system is set up to make it easy for people that have very little to offer to make lots of money at everyones expense.

Creditors don’t really care because they figure either they get paid by a group of suckers that one person managed to wrangle together in order to pay off their debt (tenants), or Mr. Young and Trivial will fail, taking longer to pay off their own debt. As economic confidence is concerned the trick is to overlook the fact that industries are completely comfortable with lying to the public because they’re trying to save the relationship. All the while the public keeps covering corporate asses with endless bullshit as if you’re keen ’cause you know they’re scheming, but not so smart that your not also a victim. You have now become your own worst enemy. Bankers know how sorted their dealings are so all they can do is try and stitch together a golden parachute with bits and pieces of government shame and consumer fear. While they want the public sentiment to be very charitible towards their survival, clearly charity is not the business they’re in. Frankly we much prefer a housing failure that screams ” house, oh that house” as opposed to a savings and loan that cries “money, what money?”, but that’s what IPO’s are for. Fledgling business kissing a little speculator ass in an effort to secure a seat in the corporate culture. I guess the criminals are getting too sneaky for their own good. Next hospitals will be asking you to slit your wrists because their kids need braces.

So if you’re short don’t act and talk tall because you’re just encouraging some prospector to take you at your word and find a way to charge you for your bullshit.