A previous version of “The Pawned Ring” was published on this site in June of 2014. Here is a revised final version of this modern fairy tale. Free PDF download here.Pawned_Ring_by_Philip_Wyeth
I wrote the first draft of this short story in 2005 but for years I felt the underlying premise was too absurd for readers to go along with. Now, thanks to the Social Justice Warrior plague it turns out that my twisted mind is actually a crystal ball!
But politics is merely the starting off point here. “The White Man Asleep in the Black Man’s Yard” is one of my most zany, dark, heartfelt, and even hopeful stories. Also included is an afterward which offers insights into the story’s history and stylistic influences.
Read it below or download the PDF free here.White_Man_Asleep_by_Philip_Wyeth
Right now a lot of people are scratching their heads over the fact that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the presidential front runners, and asking themselves how we got here. I suggest it has something to do with how our society has spent the last 15 years:
We have filmed ten million hours of ourselves having sex. We have had ten million mortgages foreclosured on at home and created ten million refugees in the Middle East. So is it any wonder that a ruthless power seeker and an egomaniacal big-business blowhard would end up in the championship game to determine who represents us?
It simply wasn’t enough to get laid, or even to record ourselves having sex as a kinky spark for future romance at home–no, we needed to post it online for strangers around the world to see. Nor was it enough for responsible people to own their homes–this somehow became virtually a right for all Americans and a ravenous investment industry then sprang up to metastasize this bad idea.
And the greatest and most destructive delusion of all was that under the guise of loving freedom and eradicating terrorism, since 9/11 our military has destabilized a handful of Middle Eastern countries. That shock wave is now spilling over into Europe with a dramatic second act to follow.
The nasty place we are in 2016 is neither accident nor bad luck. It is a mile marker and referendum of how we as a country have made use of all the wonderful first-world advantages at our fingertips. Duck-lipped cell phone self-portraits by day, X-Tube titillation by night. Liar-loan-enabled property scooping one year, shameless GoFundMe begging campaigns the next. At sporting events highlighting the “service” of returned military veterans in attendance, the audience stands and claps but in true disconnected obliviousness never ruminates on the consequences of our wars.
Right now Whole Foods still stocks all our favorite flavors of kombucha and low gas prices have made driving affordable again, but I can’t help suspecting that eventually something in the real world has to give. Because in our hearts we have been rotten, blind, selfish, immature, and unworthy for quite some time, and as we saw during housing market collapse, eventually all bills come due.
Now that primary season has officially begun and a million breaths are being expended on the latest developments, I thought I’d distill it down for you as briefly and as cynically as possible.
Back in a 2007 interview General Wesley Clark related how shortly after the US’s 2001 invasion of Afghanistan he was told that the military had further plans to “take out seven countries in five years.”
Of those countries—Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran—three have since either been invaded or fallen into civil war and disarray. And while the timetable may have been off, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because of that old adage “the best laid plans of mice and men,” the most important takeaway here is that the process has spanned across two presidential administrations which on paper are as different as one could find.
That neocon George W. Bush seamlessly handed off the baton to hope-filled upstart Barack Obama should dispel any prospective 2016 voter’s illusions that “his guy” has the power or ability to change the script being implemented by career world-shapers operating behind the scenes. The dominoes have continued to fall under Barry’s watch.
The anti-war sentiment stemming from Iraq War fatigue that helped fuel a Democrat win in 2008 has not stopped us from destabilizing both Libya and Syria, leading to hideous humanitarian disasters all justified by the need to get rid of “a bad guy.” In one respect we have so much blood on our hands that it would only be right if we are one day somehow held accountable, but the broader truth may be that through the centuries empires are simply used as enforcers by the stateless puppet masters behind the scenes—before of course also being discarded after having lost their vitality and power. Yesterday it was the European colonial powers, today it’s the United States, and tomorrow it will be someone else.
So in this futile light it seems as if the only purpose in voting at all is on social grounds, because during the last 7 years of the Obama administration we have surely seen some sweeping cultural shifts (which on the surface might indicate an increase of freedoms and human rights, but the keen observer senses early-stage moral decay and disintegration of our national identity, all under the watchful eye of the surveillance state which misses nothing and records everything).
For nearly 15 years we have let our might be used to steamroll innocent countries whose only sins were that of geography and being imperfect, and our collective reaction has been either to double down on blind jingoism or to revert to a tribalistic hedonism intent on sticking as much ink, drugs, and other body parts into every crevice of one’s own body. How can we possibly “make America great again” when half of the population thinks the last 30 years of industrial dismantling can magically be undone by building a few new domestic factories? Can we really expect much from the army of baristas with stretched earlobes and chestplate tattoos headed back to school at age 33?
It’s a surreal time where one’s thoughts echo with the words “this will not end well” but in any grocery store you can find organic food and craft beer. For a pittance you can buy devices which give you access to the entirety of human knowledge and artistic output, but they can also be used to track and incriminate you. We’re standing on the razor’s edge of a shift in history where in one breath we’re being exponentially wrenched forward but then still find ourselves checked by baked-in biological limitations and prey to that nagging sensation that despite our savvy ways we too are merely players—or was that pawns?—on life’s stage.
For those of us who have taken the Red Pill and awoken to the man behind history’s curtain, it is still no less shocking to see who are the American sheeple’s leading candidates for president. Whereas we skeptically minded veered off onto a more conspiratorial fork in the road several years back in an attempt to synthesize all of the seemingly random events that toss our world like a small raft in the ocean, the rest of the population has hummed right along according to the mainstream narrative and arrived at doddering socialist Bernie Sanders and raving corporatist Donald Trump as their putative men of the hour.
And while I’m certainly pleased that the Clinton vs Bush duel I had dreaded appears canceled, I can’t see in this other showdown any reason to be more optimistic about America’s mental health. The best way I can even account for what we’re seeing—Trump’s dancing girls in patriotic leotards, 30-somethings who never cared about politics before Obama now eager to make us “feel the Bern”—is that these two phenomena stem from the same source: that this election year is the senile dying gasp of the post-WWII American empire.
On the right we have the “silent majority” who traditionally pride themselves on piety, hard work, and duty both to community and, when called upon, to country. After seeing the culture crumble under Obama’s watch, and all the while being called hateful bigots for standing up for what was considered normal just 10 years ago, they have found in Donald Trump’s impassioned calls to “make America great again” a man to rally around that will give them the peace of mind to do what they do best: keeping their heads down and getting work done.
But the problem is that life does not give out trophies just for doing your duty. When you put on blinders in the hope that by sacrificing yourself the universe will honor you, it is this naivete that allows corrupt unseen hands to manipulate and abuse you. Living for “Honey Do” lists just makes you a mule serving unscrupulous people.
So for all these salt-of-the-earth folk who still believe the official 9/11 narrative—that it was a surprise attack by Arabs and not a world consciousness-shifting tactical operation carried out and enabled by several governments—it’s only natural that after 14+ years of region-destabilizing war they don’t pause to reconsider if invading another country is what we should be doing. They’re just as eager as ever to send the next wave of their offspring toward the prosthetic ward if you just give them a “strong leader” to justify their “noble” obeisance.
Meanwhile on the other side of the cultural rift that has been steadily expanding since the 2003 Iraq War protests, the Left’s prevailing motivating undercurrent of belief can be expressed by that Social Justice Warrior credo that “if there’s something we don’t like, we can and will fix it…now!”
In some wicked witch’s brew blending foggy memories of 60s campus radicalism with viciously totalitarian policy demands straight out of the grimmest dystopian fiction, today’s young liberal army which grew up in the soft-hand service economy of post-industrial America is a juggernaut of pushiness unbounded by the practical limitations that forced past movements to move at a reasonable pace.
Armed with hi-tech devices which can disseminate their message worldwide instantly and for free (whereas just 30 years ago it would require expensive paper and distribution logistics to make even a dent); buried under so much debt that the repayment process is more of a nagging afterthought than a time-sensitive imperative; and having excused themselves from any meaningful responsibilities by working for non-profits rather than starting their own businesses, these SJWs are as confident as they are nonchalant in seeking to quickly impose radical changes upon the rest of society.
Justified by some bizarre mash-up of “we hold these truths to be self-evident” and “by any means necessary,” today’s Far Left bypass all checks and balances in their race against the clock to make things right—especially now that Obama has less than a year in office, they are frantic to enact and make permanent these goals should (perish the thought) a Republican succeed him.
Among the tools at their disposal, our SJW saviors employ hot-button court cases, far-reaching executive actions, and social media guilt-and-shame campaigns to circumvent the slow, morphing pace of everyday change which tends to stick more lastingly than when something is rammed down the population’s throat. (The fact that America is still grappling with abortion 40 years after Roe v. Wade should have given everyone pause before again looking to the Supreme Court to resolve the gay marriage issue. No doubt many in Trump’s camp cite the latter as part of why they support him.)
In conversation and blog posts, SJW’s use innocuous words like “sensible” to talk us into a feel-good short term (themselves oblivious to the hellish long-term consequences), and employ throw-away lines like “I’m a wife and a mom,” as if those adjectives render someone’s beliefs or desires any more value than saying you’re a cab driver, gamer, or sorority sister. This insidious manipulation of words is so dangerous because at any moment these SJWs can innocently throw their hands up and deny any responsibility for the chaos they have unleashed.
So where do we stand? Barring any shenanigans by the Republican and Democrat parties during the primaries—and if you remember the submarining of Howard Dean’s campaign in 2004 you wouldn’t put it past them—I don’t see how we avoid this Trump/Sanders train wreck, which would be amusing if the fate of our country wasn’t tied up into it. You’d hate to think that assassination or a Ross Perot-style threat could force either man out of the race but after seeing how little rules have mattered to the power brokers over the past 15 years, we really shouldn’t be surprised by anything.
Of course, there are other big factors at play that might make 2016 the most interesting years of our lives. We don’t even know what the true state of the economy is but hardly anyone would use the word “optimistic” to describe it. Russia and China continue to make long-term power moves which foretell of a day with more worldwide parity, if not a weaker, second-tier status for the US.
Such inexorable macro trends which only point downward might in fact be why we’re faced with such a circus as Trump vs Sanders. The country has gone senile and lost its way. This election farce will be a tragic final act of the American Empire where the willfully naive do battle against the ankle-biting tyrants.
Postscript: The main wild card which interests me is the demographic shift as the white population ages and shrinks. I’ve seen firsthand the enthusiasm of the first- and second-generation Latinos here in the LA area. They also have a healthy sense of family and community which differs greatly from the dysfunction in blacks and also whites. No doubt as the Latino population grows there will be a battle among the political parties for their allegiance, and I don’t think it’s a shoe-in for the Democrats as it first might appear. Perhaps one of the two powerhouse parties will have to disintegrate and form anew to account for the millions of other new immigrants we’ve brought in from India, Russia, Africa, and Asia. Time will tell…
While it is a sad fact that most areas of life are not meritocracies, I find it particularly unnerving that in the heavy metal world—a genre that prides itself on defying conformity—fans are still susceptible to simply accepting what’s presented to them and not digging deeper.
This comes to mind as I ruminate about how low the bar seems to be set for extreme metal today. On the one hand, Meshuggah’s opus “Destroy Erase Improve” is already 20 years old, but today the whole Djent phenomenon continues unabated despite the fact its trademark low-end, percussive riffing style is a fairly simplistic device that would be more appropriate as part of a band’s arsenal and not its core songwriting element.
And then there’s the new crop of “post”-black metal bands like Deafheaven, loathsome Millennial hipsters whose main selling point is hype because they lack the serious musicianship and drive which birthed the sub-genre they now poorly emulate. That this band’s wishy-washy take on a once extremely potent movement could garner nationwide tours boggles my mind—the bland atmospheres they create simply exist with no sense of development before awkwardly transitioning into tedious shoegaze sections where the guitarist’s lack of chops is woefully apparent; and the vocalist’s monotone screams express none of the personality, urgency, or purpose found in songs like Impaled Nazarene’s classic “I Al Purg Vonpo” or “Schatten Aus Der Alexander Welt” by Bethlehem.
It is from this frustrated place that I think back on a time when exploring the dark corners of extreme metal almost always led you to a new band that was putting its own personal stamp on the form. I don’t know if the change stems from the fact that before everything went online and digital, when the old industry hierarchies and cost of actual tape made fostering real talent a logistical imperative, but back then if something crossed your path it had probably entered the zeitgeist for a reason.
Further, before you could run to an internet safe space every time you had a depressed feeling, and before you could post every new riff on YouTube 5 minutes after you wrote it, bands and scenes had the time and space to develop a meaningful identity, and only then were they ready to present themselves to the world.
The Swedish and Florida death metal scenes immediately come to mind, but just across the water from Stockholm something very important was also brewing in Denmark. Supported by the mighty Progress Red Labels young bands like Konkhra, Dominus, and Mercenary were carving out a sound exemplified by massive drum production, overwhelming death growls, and sophisticated guitar work that balanced unorthodox riffing with flowing song structures.
Mightiest of all was Illdisposed, whose incomparable 1993 debut “Four Depressive Seasons” is a truly dark and oppressive experience. The 9 songs sit atop a crisp drum production rich with reverb, and Michael Enevoldsen’s performance sounds almost like a live mixing-board recording as the double-bass and toms roar out to pummel the listener. This clarity is crucial in ensuring that the real carnage does not get lost in the shuffle as Bo Summer’s gruff, double-tracked “subwoofer” vocals sweep over the listener like a howling windstorm.
Cementing this grim death metal display as a classic is the churning guitar work of Lasse D.R. Bak, who possesses a seemingly endless supply of catchy mid-paced riffs which move steadily forward via clever breaks and momentous transitions, all topped off by his tasteful implementation of melodic solos played with confident feeling.
This deft balancing act between elements both brutal and refined is why “Four Depressive Seasons” embodies that crucial distinction between playing “death metal with melody” and the more cliche “melodic death metal.” For all the hundreds of bands who took the easy way out by copying the simplest aspects of the bouncy-riff style trademarked by At the Gates and In Flames, Illdisposed stands as a monument incriminating their dereliction of duty both as musicians and students of the genre.
Not wasting any time, a year later the band unleashed the simply ruthless “Return from Tomorrow” EP. With guitars that hinted at a Bolt Thrower influence and Summer’s inclusion of a disturbing new wail that merges John Tardy with Martin van Drunen, these grimy 7 songs were not to be ignored as they showed Illdisposed increasing in lethality as it stripped down in structure. In the title track a furious escape from the brooding middle section gives a tasteful nod to Entombed’s “Sinners Bleed,” while “Withering Teardrops” shows the band’s prowess in unconventionally using female vocals to evoke a feeling of deeper depression rather than any hope for romance.
This sharpening of the elements was perfected on their last truly significant release, 1995’s “Submit.” Featuring new drummer Rolf Rognvard Hansen and a drier, more intimate sound, this album simply buries you under the massive weight of the deeply down-tuned guitars and Summer’s enveloping trademark woof. Newfound elements of groove and even tasteful hints of NY-style hardcore death metal find balance with Illdisposed’s uncompromising commitment to heaviness as relentless mid-paced passages grind forward, with the occasional well-placed lead thrown in to counter the oppressive feelings that build up in the listener.
Highlights here include the back-to-back punch of “Memories Expanded” and “Slow Death Factory,” the former being an utterly crushing mosh pit anthem that crescendos with a plaintive guitar solo, the latter a rollicking affair that even dishes out some manic acoustic guitar, sounding like a gypsy strumming furiously before his unwashed relatives. Haunting album closer “Die Kingdom” is some sort of wicked amalgamation of the Benedictine Monks and Napalm Death’s “Plague Rages”—a fittingly disturbing end to Illdisposed’s unforgettable early years!
Follow-up albums “There’s Something Rotten in the State of Denmark” and “Kokaiinum” each had their charming moments but it wasn’t until 2004’s “1-800-Vindication” that the band found top form again as they delivered a modern-sounding but still potent performance, highlighted by the passionate “In Search of Souls.” In my opinion, subsequent releases have been a bit formulaic but this takes nothing away from the debt death metal fans owe Illdisposed for their pioneering early work.
I sell vintage clothes and in the LA area a number of the wholesalers are Mexican, oftentimes having come here illegally decades ago. Just this afternoon as I was finishing up a long day in a hot warehouse picking merch, another wholesaler came by to pick up some clothing of his own. (It’s common for wholesalers to buy from each other when trying to fill large orders.) I’ve known this guy for years even though I don’t buy from him too much anymore.
So one time back in 2007 when I was at his warehouse I had a laugh with his teenage sons who were killing time looking up funny stuff online. They were all born here and are totally Americanized, by the way. When I was their age in the early 90s death metal and black metal were making their way around the world’s underground metal scene, and back then before the internet had merged us all into a sort of savvy, shadowless mindset, that stuff was pretty powerful and profound. But now some if it seems pretty ridiculous, like this video of Norwegian band Immortal’s song “Call of the Wintermoon,” which I showed to these young guys.
<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/-VBdAY8eA9w” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
One of them said it best with his exasperated reaction: “Who does that?!” You ain’t sending that kid anywhere.
So back to today, their dad the wholesaler asked me, “So Phil, how is your friend?”
“Who’s my friend?” I replied.
“Your friend Donald Trump! What do you think about what he’s saying?”
I had to laugh because at this warehouse run by a Mexican along with his 4 Mexican-born employees, I was now the default representative of gringos. I basically told him what I came up with in the last 2 posts on this site (here and here), that it’s too damn late for TPTB to undo their Faustian bargain and it’s probably all part of a plan to make up for stunted population growth. An even more jaw-dropping insight that’s probably not for polite company that I had the other day is that as the next generation spends most of its life working indoors “they’ll soon lighten up,” meaning it’s all really going to work itself out just as the emotionless, number-crunching policy wonks planned.
I finished by telling the guy not to let the news get him all riled up because they’re just trying to get ratings while they kill the next 6 months before election season actually begins. In the end it’s all just conversation anyway–in the utterly not sexy trenches of making a living outside of the corporate world where no one has 401Ks or sweet benefit packages, it’s all about finding and moving merchandise, and in that light I am no different than them.
For years I never understood why I preferred to spend my time grinding through the dusty piles in rag houses while surrounded by people who barely speak English when I could have easily chosen a career path replete with fully air-conditioned offices, the newest computers, and coworkers with far more than an elementary school education. But now that I’ve got 14 years of experience in the adult world–running businesses that I started with all the peaks and valleys, while also pursuing every creative avenue that got me fired up–I’m beginning to get a grasp on what mysterious core idea has been driving me so hard. It’s got something to do with fulfilling that age-old tale of young men going out to prove themselves, and maybe in this modern world with no frontiers and so many stifling networks to join, I found a way to hack through a wilderness by doing my own thing running a small business in the post-industrial wastelands of Los Angeles.
(When I think of all the health and safety code violations, cash dealings, and undocumented workers that constitute not just this microcosm but much of the whole undercurrent of labor that paves, installs, and maintains this state I can’t help but scoff at all the liberal armchair crusaders who, drugged up on NPR and the Daily Show and Huffington Post, think they know what the fuck is going on as they decry Volkswagen for fudging emission test results. They should come up to the jury-rigged wooden loft where I just spent an hour in sauna-like conditions poring through piles old Levi’s jean jackets and shirts because that’s where they were stored and only the man who puts in the sweat effort get the goods.)
Now to the point of this post! On the ride home a close friend who’s on the same page as me called and we got to talking about politics, sheeple, and what’s going on. Somehow in the course of our chat we got onto Donald Trump and I stumbled upon this thought: what if the whole purpose of this Trump phenomenon is to alienate an entire generation of young Latino voters and make them lifelong Democrats just like blacks have been for the past several decades? I believe that Trump has not been a Republican his whole life, and anyone who has his name on buildings in NYC and Vegas is not a “renegade” but a team player, so this would be a brilliant ruse to play that could potentially ensure Democrat domination for many years.
But then when I got home it occurred to me that it could actually be the complete opposite: that Donald Trump will be repudiated and essentially be burned in effigy by the Republicans as a demonstration that they are not racist, they’re not living in the past, and that they’re ready to face the future representing Americans of all colors, cultures, backgrounds, derpity do dah.
Regardless, I stress topeople in my life to ignore the news as much as possible and allocate all that precious mental bandwidth to what they can do with their own lives. The preposterous fake shooting of the local TV crew in Virginia a couple weeks back should be proof positive to anyone with open eyes that we live in an age of manufactured realities where our consent is steered by mischievous forces. Alison Parker’s father has been an actor for many years and said on TV that he would be “the John Walsh of gun control.” That line is ingenious, not something to be thought up on the fly by a grieving man whose daughter was allegedly brutally murdered on live television.
I call bullshit on it all. Mark it, dude.
I have paid virtually no attention to Donald Trump’s recent unexpected rise to political prominence stemming from his “courageous” stance against illegal immigration. Part of me thinks this has shades of previous dog-and-pony shows where Republicans promised to “listen to the backbone of this country and take a stand.” Even if it’s different this time and Trump is riding a groundswell of real anger arising from murders committed by illegal aliens who have criminal histories, all I can think to say is, “It’s too damn late!”
For over a decade the country chose to enjoy the benefits of cheap labor as well as the materialistic hunger of America’s imported Third World shoppers. We made our bed and it consists of a large demographic shift already in progress. You can’t stop it now so get off the soapbox and stop proposing absurd solutions like “The Great Wall of America.” Hell, if the economy ever collapses we may want to walk south.
As a personal aside, the maintenance man in my building is a late 20s guy whose parents are from Mexico, and he himself was either born here or born there and brought here at a young age. Truth is he’s about as all-American as you can get and we have great conversations. Once he laughed to me that he would freak out if he had to live in Mexico now. A few months ago he was T-boned in traffic by a girl who ran a red light because she was texting–ya can’t have a more American experience than that!
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I’ve been an idealist all of my life but each year experience and observation make me more of a pragmatist. Now I often mutter “that’s a bunch of bullshit” and have no patience for the platitudes and fluffy talk that define public life. The rigors of being a straight, white male small business owner in a time when society froths over everything that isn’t me–women, gays, minorities–keeps me pretty grounded and maybe that’s why I can give a no-nonsense take on things.
Because here’s a little insight: being “privileged” means never being able to have an excuse. If I fail I don’t have a network of advocates waiting in the wings to hug me and tell me I’m great just because I’m part of this or that group. No, I just have to stay focused and work, figure things out on my own, aggregate all the knowledge acquired over a lifetime, and keep going.
When a girl has a tech support problem she asks one of her many male adorers for help–he figures out the problem in hope that she will shine a ray of praise upon him, but ultimately what has happened is that he is now knowledgeable about something new and she has atrophied by riding the magic carpet of her charm. Compound that over a decade or two and it’s no wonder why men seem smarter than women and outperform them. We have to try harder in life.
Don’t even get me started on the outrageous meme that says “anything a man can do a woman can do better.” Oh really? I just spent the past 45 days setting up a new office and let me tell you, half the stuff I had to do a woman could either not do at all or would at least take twice as long. Like the desk I bought off Craigslist yesterday–I single-handedly was able to get all the pieces into the office and then built it by myself. A woman would either need at least one more person to help lift the pieces, but more likely would just hire a man to do the job. We are the wind beneath your flightless wings, baby!
I don’t even care whether someone can lift large, heavy objects or not. I stand in protest to the delusional state of mind that feminism has ingrained in women today to think that they can do things they are neither equipped or experienced to deal with. This explains the shocked expression on their faces in the viral videos where a woman provokes a much bigger man until he finally can’t take the verbal and physical abuse anymore and dumps her onto the ground.
For an adult male to behave like these women is unheard of–we all learned at some point in our teens that there are real consequences when you mouth off. In 8th grade I opened my big mouth on the school bus not realizing the guy I was insulting was slumped down in the back seat. We later had two fights over it and at the second each of us somehow had a “posse” backing us up, and after we had separated one of his boys–a guy 2 or 3 years older than me–shouted something about me calling him a racial slur, came over and gave me a punch-kick combo to the face which put me on the ground. I hadn’t said a damn word to him but he still kicked my ass. Ah, life lessons. Consequences. Learning the meaning of the word “no” as you are put in your place.
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Well, it’s been another meandering essay! But I guess the conclusion would be to say that this is what you get from an honest, uncelebrated man toiling away in the shadows while everyone else seems to be getting pandered to or doing the pandering. A whole lot of flash and kabuki theater without much real actual work getting done. On paper Donald Trump may be a SWM like me but in truth daily life tells me I’ve got more in common with my wholesaler who walked over from Mexico back in the early 90s and now works 6 days a week, just like me.
Final note: My views have certainly changed in the 20 months since I began this blog. In some ways I’m sharper and harsher but in others I feel softer, more empathetic. I have endured and risen above the disappointments that seem to constitute the process of “second birth” that a man goes through as he leaves young adulthood behind and moves into his mid-30s, sights now set on 40 and beyond. Richard Rohr’s book “Adam’s Return” is a powerful parable on this necessary downfall; it helped me through a very dark winter in Portland a couple years back and I recommend it to anyone who has run the tank to empty and feels lost.
As I keep myself on task completing all the small steps that it takes to set up my business after moving back to Los Angeles, every time I’m out amongst the people I can’t help but be struck by how stupid and slovenly this country has become. Not only that, it seems as if America caters to the lowest classes, particularly those who recklessly crank out kids.
To paraphrase Victor Hugo’s axiom “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” the modern equivalent might be, “If you want to know who a nation prefers, see who the government subsidizes.”
Let’s look at the US government’s unwritten immigration policy over the last 15 years. Despite the countless Americans who lost jobs after big business moved our factory network wholesale to China, millions of foreigners have been allowed to legally immigrate from 3rd World countries in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Despite the alleged threat from Al Qaeda in the wake of 9/11 making closing our southern border a sensible move in the name of national security, this was never done and an unknown number of people have illegally migrated here via that route, primarily from Mexico and Central/South America.
Any visit to New York City gives one the odd sensation of being in some Star Wars bazaar: around every corner people born in China, the Caribbean, Russia, and beyond crowd the streets. Meanwhile headlines from around the country relate the chilling trend of cities and states far away from our southern border where Latinos constitute the majority of schoolchildren or the foreign-born population threatens to upset the political balance.
For years I have been banging my head against the wall trying to make sense of our country’s “do as I say, not as I do” approach to immigration. I saw right-wing pundits and politicians speak passionately as they took a stand to “defend the country,” but the complete lack of impactful policy changes leads me to believe they were simply actors put in place to placate “old America” and, most importantly, buy time as the massive foreign influx was allowed to continue. Democrats’ more welcoming sensibilities were also abused during this time.
So what could it all mean? What is this unspoken policy? I believe that after several decades of low birth rates due to Baby Boomer affluence, birth control, and legalized abortion our population was deemed by the bean counters to be on such an unsustainable crash course that the dispassionate elites who really run things determined that America needed to employ a redux of the waves of immigration that characterized the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Just as our shores accepted and assimilated unwashed hordes from Ireland, Eastern Europe, and Italy before the borders were closed in 1924, so too now the USA is taking a gamble with its cultural identity in the name of financial solvency.
How else to explain not the mere granting of permission to enter but the bending over backwards to accommodate all the New Americans? A hundred years ago if you came here from Poland you tapped into whatever network of your countrymen existed in your new city in order to get by, but now there are WIC cards, free medical clinics, Obamacare, an entire network in place to take care of you and especially your little offspring.
Yes, these first-generation children are most important of all because they are the future taxpayers, the ones who will ensure that ossified government programs like Social Security will stay funded. The added bonus is that whereas Americans whose families have been here for at least a few generations know and remember how this country is supposed to function, people who have escaped extreme poverty are more appreciative of First World comforts and less likely to challenge the government which has offered them so many carrots.
So I hate to say it but those of us who think that if we just buckle down and run our businesses tight and lean, that in a few years we will be able to create a nest egg to live comfortably–I just don’t know what kind of a country is going to be there once we cash out. Simply put, the self-sufficient Americans are being phased out. Our intelligence and insight make us too volatile for the country’s future managed, service economy.
Think about the complete transformation our society has undergone during the past 25 years. Mom and Pop are dead except for those who now scrape by printing eBay shipping labels in their home offices. Whereas Bill Clinton’s marital affairs were once a moral scandal, now everybody has their own sex tape. Tattoos used to be the hallmarks of hard-living bikers, underground musicians, and brave soldiers–now the average person who doesn’t have any ink is the odd man out. And finally, over the past 7 years America’s hearts and minds were persuaded enough to make gay marriage the “policy” of the land, yet we were not even allowed a moment to take it all in before the next big social agenda push began–and now a man who dresses like a woman (and also drives like one) is on TV winning courage awards.
It all seems to be moving too far too fast. Many of us who were considered normal 20 years ago now feel like anachronisms, and worse yet when we open our mouths risk being called bigots, homophobes, sexists, and full of hate. There’s no Elysium or Galt’s Gulch for us to run to either. The only poetic saving grace to it all might be the fact that there is no stopping the momentum, so those activists who today put down their placards after marijuana or gay marriage became legal in their states may find themselves on the receiving end of history’s juggernaut ten or fifteen years down the road. Today’s judge may be tomorrow’s accused.
So this seems to be the big gamble our controllers are taking as they employ population replacement and societal transformation on a grand scale: will they be able to fill their destabilization campaign’s void with the Socialist-Idiocracy-Nanny State of their dreams before a conservative, religious, and very human backlash lays waste to the good, the bad, and the ugly of the past 45 years?
By 2050 we could all be living in drugged-out androgynous harmony where our needs are taken care of by AI robots. Or we might all end up as farmers living off the land and completing the evening chores by candlelight. All I know is that there are certain characteristics baked into man’s behavior, and civilizations rise and fall in relation to how the human animal is treated by his society and government. I fear that under the guise of offering unlimited freedom we are being herded into a terrible new pen.
As you probably know, allegations of sexual misconduct emerged regarding Republican former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert in recent months. It was a moment of clarity for me, thinking back on my naïve younger days when I was a loyal Republican and exasperated when politicians in positions of great power like Hastert inevitably proved weak and capitulating. This scandal cemented in my mind the following truth:
Dennis Hastert was not nominated for Speaker because he was a great patriot or eloquent statesman, but rather because there were stockpiles of blackmail against him that served to neutralize his effectiveness in office. He is not alone, this obviously is a timeless political strategy employed by those who circulate and broker in the corridors of power.
What particularly irks me is how for so many years fellow Republicans paid lip service to Americans who called for closing our southern border in the name of national security and/or protecting our sovereignty from the Anchor Baby phenomenon. But in the end no meaningful action was taken, no strong policy measures were set in motion let alone followed through upon.
I recently made the move back to Southern California which has a huge and growing Latino population. This area is reaping the consequences of DC’s endless talk while the realities of life in the American Southwest continued to play out. And guess what? I’d rather make a go of it down here amongst the “new Americans” rather than hold any allegiance to all these old white politicians with their repressed sexual desires and secret homosexual liaisons which are held over their heads like the Sword of Damocles.
And truth be told, first-generation Mexican-Americans might be the only people really happy to be here right now. They don’t have any of the politically correct baggage white people have saddled themselves with, this psychotic cocktail of neuroses and self-hate that will help phase us out over the decades to come.
So fuck them and fuck the creepy politicians. I’m a mid-30s, straight white male living in a society that only cares about women, gays, and now especially all things trans. I’m going to keep my head down and work hard alongside these Latinos who, interestingly enough, seem to be living their own version of 1950s America. When I see the bright faces of the young employees at El Pollo Loco and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains, I am heartened by their optimism compared to the self-destructive whites I lived amongst in Portland for the last three years.
Hell, maybe I’ll even marry myself a cute Latina and make some babies. That whole “hybrid vigor” thing certainly made for an interesting combo in my sister and me, this mix of my mother’s Anglo-Episcopalian stock with my father’s swarthy Eastern European Jewish genes. It just might be time for me to relearn my high school Spanish…