Sunday, September 03, 2006

One from the vault

London buses are a meditative repast of the modern world, a publicly private place to sort out the macro and microcosmic details of banal living with the decadence of a terraced café. These rolling balconies are a place to think, to listen and hopefully elude the demons plaguing the subconscious if not providing an arena to confront them outright. And with a head full of shochu, a twisted weekend behind leading to an outright depraved week ahead, and Virgil as my guide, I plunged into the nine-ringed circus to rattle the skeletons and hopefully find the source of the nightmares that have kept me on short-shift sleep for a month.

The American Dream:

The American Dream doesn’t translate to Britain, and why would it? So deeply engrained into the collective US psychosis is the territorial notion that not too long ago, we were carving our homes out of the great expansive wilderness under the hardscrabble mantra of Manifest Destiny. Though that concept, ultimately a ploy by the empowered to get some one else to do the dirty work of clearing the occupied territories, cutting down the big trees and setting plow to bullet proof sod and denuded clay before reclaiming property through corporation—the true raison d’etre for allowing the poor, tired and meekly huddled masses access to the great expanse of resources that were yet to be counted—has ultimately been challenged; its enduring mark has levied itself as the true progeny of the Land of Nod. Why else do we so tirelessly cling to the notion of a house and yard, family and car? Is the picket fence nothing more than an outdated symbol for keeping the savages out of the corn? And, perhaps more to the point, why am I writing about the British translation of the American Dream when I have my own albatross worthy Damoclean sword looming over my forehead swinging wildly across the vast span of the abyss?

It’s because in the midst of meditation I have concluded there really is no one at the helm except a odd array of crazy rabid and somewhat frightened monkeys. For the paranoid geeks of a warped millennia, rest assured; no one person, place or thing is out to get them except the manic thoughts of many deranged minds. We are all out to get each other and ourselves, and calamity only comes when we fail to recognize our own greedy self-interest. Why else do we hire a bunch of jackbooted-blue-shirts to protect what we fought so hard to take from what others righteously stole? And though the head of our current administration is a brainless nimrod surrounded by a bunch of criminals, hate-mongers and at least one closet pedophile, not only is there nothing we can do about it, and because we really are not willing to give what it takes to do something about it—we are stuck with it, and frankly, more and more I believe we are stuck because it is what we deserve. If the American dream is founded on the worst kind of deceit and rampantly maniacal manipulation and pilferage, what better way to celebrate it than by electing and refusing to depose the outward political expression of ourselves?

Carter while still governor of Georgia said in a speech one time that (excuse me, some brainless wonder is running a 18 inch worm-drive stone grinder outside my office window), citing Tolstoy in War and Peace, that history is not made by the powerful Tsars and Emporers, or in modern times corporate or political giants but by passionate everyday people on the ground acting out their everyday lives with their own everyday dramas, and if that can happen in Imperial France or Russia then think about what can happen when a government is instituted of the people for the people and by the people?

So what happens when ‘the people’ are a bunch of hapless brain dead morons more concerned with staking out their piece of turf than taking responsibility for their government? Look out the window right now and see—crumbling streets, houses with bars on the windows, probably a homeless man begging for change on the corner—these are the institutions of the new millennia and the results of a mis-guided attempt at self-rule. Raise your hand if you’re happy right now at this moment in time. I’m not naïve enough to believe in utopia, and I’m certainly as complicit as you writing from my comfortable chair in the reified air high above the streets of London in what is quite literally an ivory, though somewhat stained, white stone tower, but I also know that happiness at least once in a while, not the fake phantasmal veil of pleasure that comes with buying extra shit at Ikea or that comes with slurping down a case of beer during the Super Bowl in the pop music sense, true genuinely serendipitous joy, is worth dying for.

And these are the pseudo-philosophical conclusions I stumbled across while fist deep in ancient Japanese mystery liquor called Shochu at a bar on the thresholds to SOHO at 1 am Monday morning and cemented on the upper level of a bus driven by a fascist facsimile Michael Schumacher through the cramped quarters of South London 6 and half hours later. Not even the bloody snot smeared on the window fazed me in my conclusions that the problem with the American Dream is the entire concept, and in the end, we all get precisely what we deserve. The cosmos, supreme dealer of karma, knows the score, and if we continue to believe our contented and complacent lies, then I envision the shit-rain seeping through the storm windows.

A former acquaintance of mine, a Marine OCS student, during a heated argument fueled viscously by a handle of Kentucky’s finest and a cap of black acid that I forgot to tell him about, once told me to ‘love it or leave it.’ And brooding from my perch, exiled in Elba, high above the hub of the world, I extend that to ‘or change it.’ Though perhaps I shouldn’t take his name in too much vain either since last time I heard his flying machine is a charred greasy stain on the floor of the Iraqi desert.

With that, I need to draw the shutters, because it’s raining inside again—this climate is forsaken by God (or the gods)—and buckle down on the floor to get that other thing written. I just heard a ratcheting clunk, and the whooshing sound from above telling me the end is nye.


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