Nobody really ‘did’ anything.

[in response to John Shirley’s post on Facebook about a Newsweek article asserting that “The first good, peer-reviewed research is emerging, and the picture is much gloomier than the trumpet blasts of Web utopians have allowed. The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention-deficit disorders, even outright psychotic.”]

It’s making everybody into “makers.” When I was in a band the last two years of high school (’88-’90), we had a four-track when most people had no idea what that was (now, of course, they sell them compatible with CD-R’s, rather than the Maxell tapes we used back then). Nobody had much sense of the compositional skills that go into writing — unless you learned it in school, and you damn sure couldn’t edit any VHS footage (if you bothered to shoot it) even though it had sound and was in color, and photos had to be developed at the drugstore or you had to be taking a class to develop (exclusively) B&W — if it occurred to you *to do so* to begin with.

“Movies were made by someone far away,” Richard Linklater said in the book for the movie “Slacker” (before he describes his “Eureka moment, seeing “Raging Bull,” when he realized the form was a medium), and that’s putting it mildly. Long-form letter writing had all but vanished as a practice (except for certain of us in the first year-or-two of college), and everybody lost track of everybody else, save those you built lives with, immediately upon graduation and found it harder to meet people in the outside world … this is not a culture that encourages further growth. If anything, it impedes it, and often on the basis of nothing more than resentment of the youth and just plain, easily-avoidable uncharitableness.

Who are these people, making these studies? Do they not *know* about how Big Pharma and phalanxes of MD’s (trained in biological cause-and-effect, not psychological) blighted the lives of God-knows-how-many Gen-X’ers by failing to find a chemical cause AND NOT REFRAINING FROM PRESCRIBING MEDICATIONS *ANYWAY*? (“Why are you having trouble meeting people? How’s your libido?” Fuck you!)

Barring Factsheet Five, nobody “did”; kept up with others; or else they were professionals. Is this crunch, this landslide, this multitude of overlapping-and-simultaneous growing pains’ symptoms really such a surprise?

THEY’RE EXPERIENCING THIS ALL AT ONCE! The Millennials are experiencing this all at once.

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“Have you ever been sent to the Principal’s office?”

“Well you know we could run a drug test on all of you …” and we all instantly look at our shoes. Fortunately, we were with the headmaster’s son (even more fortunately, it was a prep school that didn’t want to make a lot of trouble for itself, reputation-wise, with families and we were those who showed “promise” — of the four of us who were sophomores, the three of us who weren’t kicked out later matriculated to Columbia, Pomona, and The University of Chicago, thanks Academy for sending us there!). “Dudes, we’re bummin we’re so blue,” Heath Cohen was saying, the senior who drove us (NOTE: Leaving school — for a period and a period only — was a SENIORS ONLY privilege, you couldn’t “sign out” if you were a junior, you wouldn’t dream of it) kept saying, as stoned as we were (one bowl turned into three turned into four … ) and using all the vernacular he was fond of and known for, some of which has endured in the culture at large, some hasn’t. “We’re nibbed in the bud!” Hands gesticulating. “Let’s face it!”
“Heath.” The Dean of Students had a relationship with him — Heath confided his home-life troubles to him, of all people, he was known to be a hard-ass, but it happened to be true — so he’d respond to him a certain way. (I could put a exclamation point there, but that wouldn’t convey it. Maybe better to put the single word, the name, in italics.)
This went on for a while.
ULTIMATELY, since we had to go to a “counselor” (our parents paid, for six weeks or so; we muttered noncomittally, then went back to our lives) and endure “Academic Probation” (a teacher had to sign after every class — EVERY DAY FOR THE *REST OF THE YEAR*). they got their “ringleader” and left the rest of us alone, see above. (“We’re just looking for the ringleaders,” the former-military seeming guy told me once in a special session after school, and all I could think is *That’s fucked-up*, we’re goddamn teenagers and all. Later, the “push the System” and “ringleaders” verbiage and accompanying worldview would come up rendered in “Gravity’s Rainbow” … I recognized it … the disciplinarian mind … the Nixon and Gordon Liddy era … ) But, he meant two people, one of which had gone with us and one of which hadn’t. The one who had ended up getting kicked out. The tension broke, and the ’80s started to wane and become something that turned into the early ’90s: “be excellent to each other” it said in Reed’s art room, painted there by somebody, Jeff Berman most like, a guy a year older than me who did o.k.; like Brock Vond’s snitch network program in “Vineland,” it was losing the interest of people in higher-up places, it was getting hard to fund and justify. Or so we thought, for a time.

Mind-Dump on Trump

(from an article about Domino’s electing to repair American roads in a cyberpunk forum I pasted it to’s responses:)

People don’t “universally oppose” paying taxes, but most citizens — outside of Portland, Oregon — have zero-to-less sense of what their taxes would be *for* and take no satisfaction in them. (Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie, in an article about his moving here from Seattle, brings up that it’s satisfying to know “your taxes are doing good things,” or however-he-put-it — what a concept!)

IOW: The idea that this is so alien, so novel, and so all-but-forgotten a concept is what enables *anybody* to say people “universally oppose” taxes. Nobody would, if everybody knew what they were for — though, for *that* matter, they do go to a lot of things we’d take for granted and be indignant if we lost.

Domino’s resources aren’t infinite, and they’re not some benevolent master, and they’re not beholden to the public. It’s a preposterous joke that, not unlike the Romans, we can’t maintain our own roads (look how we’re doing with schools, with this Betsy DeVos woman at the helm). What’s next — the debasement of coins? The hiring of mercenaries for our army (scratch that — Blackwater or whatever-Erik-Prince’s-organization-is-called-now certainly qualifies; part of the problem is when people get touchy and scurrilous about calling a spade a spade). That leaves the Circus Maximus and more brutal, senses-dulling entertainments (Uh … ) and the push-and-pull of ruling families trying to get their factions in. Right.

Have a nice day, folks!

———————————–

(to the contention that privatization is “stealing from the rich,” anyway, so win-win:)

Privatizing isn’t “stealing”; it’s still within their profit margins, and they still have a motive-and-reward for doing so — up to a certain point. Government’s supposed to be for stuff nobody wants to do, but has to get done anyway.

———————————–

It’s more like the circumstances that give rise to it. When government’s hobbled or limping along in its function, and it’s been made that way by certain administrations, one is, shall we say, hardly surprised. It’s not unlike certain school districts who have to go to absurd lengths to provide for their students — teachers paying for their own chalk, for example. To European countries, we look stupid, and not only do our children grow up uneducated, they grow up hostile, and easily-swayable. Similarly with shitty roads that everyone feels is “our lot” to fix, if this becomes commonplace: why? And what if Domino’s has a crisis with pizza boxes, or the price of mozzarella cheese goes up one quarter, threatening profits? #notkidding

———————————–

There isn’t a continuous “we” or “us” there. Domino’s could get bored, dissatisfied, uninterested in maintaining roads. and what then? Roads are a problem but not immediately life-ending. This is why it’s productive to talk about as a precedent. It doesn’t bode well, particularly since the roads constructed earlier in the 20th century didn’t *exist* before, and every *year*, decisions have to be made about what bridges (yes, bridges!) or roads (you know: they’re *on the ground*) need maintenance and whether it can be afforded they get it (yes: *bridges*!).

It’s a great world. Structurally-sound as a wedding cake built yesterday, I tell you whut! (sarc.)

———————————–

(to the contention I made that it’s “Trump’s America” — as though it’s a contention — someone’s response “yah right”:)

Go suck him off, then. Man’s in charge, he bears the brunt of the responsibility, who doesn’t? That’s the *real* difference between him and Hillary Clinton: IT’S ALL HIS FAULT, NOW, BECAUSE HE’S *IN CHARGE*!


 

 

 

 


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