Friday, May 2, 2008

An Exemplary Life?

The 'Power Elite' as Huxley called them, like their subjects to conform to a certain personality type. It makes taking over the world a very much easier task. Untold years of indoctrination via every conceivable medium (with the sole exception of the Internet) help facilitate great results in this long-term social engineering project to usher in a united world government with uniformly brown semi-moron citizens to do all the work. In the following not-so-fictional account of the life of the 'average joe' Phaedrus imagines how any one of us could unwittingly enable this nightmare vision to become a reality, due to a combination of apathy, misplaced trust in our leaders, and an unwillingness to rock the boat...

Conventional, respectable mid-western couple, Joe and Patsy married in 1971 following a four year courtship. The couple ventured out on the road of conventional married life in the typical American way. They were keen to get ahead; not obscenely ambitious you understand, but just naturally seeking to thrive and prosper in that optimistic, forward-looking innocent way of those distant days. Just about everything they owned was bought no money down with payments over 3 years. Falling for every garbage advert on TV., they accumulated a stack of useless crap, but it felt pretty good at the time and everyone else they knew was doing the same thing so there was a pressure to conform. Additionally, Joe had a well-paid, steady job at the car plant and Patsy taught math and English at the local elementary school. Things were as rosy as they can be for any young couple starting out.

In fact, life was pretty sweet for several years. They planned not to have any kids right away, but rather prudently to wait until such time as they were financially secure enough - like any responsible parents in those days. Nevertheless, after some 11 years of general contentment, Patsy began to feel that having kids couldn't be put off any longer and the time was now right to start that well-planned family.

Like the responsible couple that they were, Joe and Patsy had therefore deferred having children until they were good and ready for such a heavy responsibility. Conception was a good while coming though for Patsy, for reasons the doctors couldn't quite figure out. Tests didn't show up any abnormalities in either of them. Eventually, however, after much delay, further tests, and fertility treatment, they became proud parents of a wonderful daughter, Lucy. Raising a child is never easy, but Joe and Patsy gave it their best shot. Unfortunately, owing to the pressures of work, quality parenting time was in short supply and though they loved their daughter dearly, the time they spent with her was a great deal less than they would have liked. Lucy was less extrovert than most girls her age and craved her parents' attention, which owing to their lack of time she never got enough of. She spent unhealthily long hours growing up watching TV. Mom and dad weren't happy about that, but they were well into the rat-race by this time and simply consoled themselves with the thought that at least with the television for company, Lucy had something absorbing to keep her occupied.

Sometime in the late 1980s, there was a massive political debate about protectionism versus globalization. Some cool-looking guy in a pinstripe suit was arguing vigorously for free trade and said it would bring greater prosperity and better paid, more secure jobs to America. His opponent, rather older and not quite as snappily-dressed, asserted that it would do nothing of the sort and would in fact, only benefit the interests of big business and the super-rich. He went on to say that the American worker deserved protection from some of the working practices in the far east and elsewhere in order to defend his standard of living at home. The pinstripe retorted that God help us all when the American worker needs protection from foreigners. The American worker, he continued, was the best in the world. What could he possibly have to fear from his foreign counterpart? The tone of this rebuke had something mocking about it which rattled Joe. It somehow sounded as if the older man believed the American worker couldn't take on foreign competition and hope to win; almost like it was some kind of physical challenge that he and his colleagues weren't up to. "Bring it on!!" he snapped angrily, "Shove your protectionism! The American worker don't need it. We'll whip their asses!"

It was only many years later after most of the big plants had closed down that Joe realized the pinstripe's argument had been somewhat misleading. Rather than squaring up for a fist-fight with some coolie in a rice paddy, he'd actually been pitted against said coolie's own pay rates and working conditions. The coolie in the far east was quite prepared to work surrounded in squalor, ingesting cadmium and other toxic heavy metals, for little more than 40 cents a day, whereas Joe's union's workplace agreements set quite a high standard in all respects for its workers; hence the company couldn't survive in the international marketplace. It shrank over the years to a fraction of its former size and was eventually shut-down altogether. It was only then that the reality of those attractive-sounding buzzwords, "free trade! modernization! and globalization!" finally sank in. But by then the damage had been done. Poor old Joe!

Meanwhile there was the constant burble of the radio and TV as a sort of soundtrack/backdrop to the years. It's odd how the US always seems to be fighting a war abroad someplace or another. Sometimes it seems as if these conflicts never end. Our troops pull out of country x, declaring victory - when no sooner has the dust settled than they're invading country y! It reminded Joe dimly of some sci-fi movie he'd once seen set in 1984. The world is dangerous place, Joe concludes. Thank God America has a history of strong leaders that don't take any crap from foreign aggressors or we'd all have been in big trouble long ago!

More years pass and his darling daughter, Lucy has some great news to impart: she's getting married! She's found this really great guy called Michael and they were head-over-heals in love! One evening shortly afterwards, Lucy brings Michael home to meet her mom and pop. Joe is mortified! Lucy has been dating a Negro, and it further transpires, is already pregnant by him! He's too shocked to connect the fact that his laziness in letting the TV raise his daughter could come back and bite him in the ass like this in later life. However, by this time he's so wary of being branded a 'racist' that he bites his lip and says nothing. Somehow he manages to force a smile and acts like he's delighted, even though he instinctively knows his genome - everything that's made him and his kin what they are up until this point, is about to go down the toilet for keeps.

As soon as his daughter has the baby, her black partner, Michael, starts acting kind of strange. He disappears for weeks on end; never at any time contributing towards the child's upkeep or getting in touch with its mother, but only rarely via the phone to accuse her of seeing other men behind his back. Meanwhile the child is also behaving strangely. Lucy had noticed for some time that it was almost impossible to engage in steady eye-contact with the infant, and it also had an unhealthy obsession with playing with its own excrement; daubing it on walls and flicking it over the furniture. After a handful of visits to various health care professionals and at the age of two-and-a-half, the child was diagnosed with autism. The senior consultant in paediatrics confided guardedly in Joe, "I'm not supposed to say this and please don't repeat it, but we often find this disorder arising more frequently in children of mixed-race parents."

Joe gloomily drives Lucy back from the surgery. He resigns himself to the deficits of modern family life. After all, practically every family he knows seems to be in one mess or another these days. What can you do? The pamphlets the consultant had handed them as they left had some useful tips on how to deal with children with autism, but they also stated such kids cost about $650 a month more than the average healthy child to raise. And the prospects of getting so much as a nickel out of the father weren't great. Moreover, Lucy's chances of a second shot at happiness with a new guy - at least one with prospects - were now that much more remote, given that she had a mixed-race child with 'special needs' in tow. It was going to be tough going for them all.

Every once in a while Joe gets to hear some half-assed conspiracy theory from some guy in a bar. On this occasion, some wacko with unkempt hair and thick spectacles is explaining how in reality it was the US government that destroyed the World Trade Center in 2001; how Uncle Sam is the American people's greatest enemy by far, and all this talk of "terrorism" is just a smokescreen to account for endless wars abroad and increasing police powers against US citizens at home. This guy's views get a mixed reception among the patrons. Two other customers appeared to be hanging on his every word, one other was seemingly indifferent, but Joe and his usual drinking buddy, Ed had no time for such crap. If there were any mileage in such an outrageous story, then it would have been all over the mainstream media long ago. No journalist worth a dime would ever let a sensational scoop of the century like that pass him by, so self-evidently the claim has to be complete rubbish. Joe rolls his eyes to Ed, knocks back his beer and shuffles outside shaking his head in disbelief at the gullibility of some folks.

The late summer afternoon air is oppressive. Joe hears a drowsy, soporific drone from above: there are planes criss-crossing the sky leaving wispy, white trails in their wakes. The patterns are quite pretty and diffuse and disperse almost artistically. Before making the final left turn towards his home, Joe buys an evening paper from a street vendor. Buried somewhere on page 72, opposite the sports section, he finds a curious article about strange chemicals turning up in the food chain and falling fertility rates among white males over the last 30 years. "Is there a connection?" the paper asks, but draws no firm conclusions. He turns instead to the major league baseball results and subsequently cans the paper in disgust when he discovers how badly his favorite team faired last time out. He's tired and grumpy as usual, he eats his evening meal alone in front of the TV then goes straight to his computer to check for mail with barely a grunt to the nowadays largely ignored Patsy.

One day a short time later, he arrives home, bitching as usual about the cost of everything going up and how tough it is to get by these days, when right out of the blue, his world is blown apart by some earth-shattering news his wife has to tell him. Lucy's estranged partner, Michael, has been shot dead by the police. His jealousy had gotten to him once too often one sultry afternoon. Crazed by a combination of drink and drugs he'd stabbed her 27 times in a fit of violent rage in the belief that she'd been having sex with other men. None of this was true, but he'd turned to the crack-pipe of late and had become increasingly paranoid and delusional. This final episode culminating in the death of Joe's daughter had simply been "a disaster waiting to happen" - as the local law enforcement officers had put it. When Michael suddenly pulled a gun on these cops, as they approached to question him over a report of some screams heard coming from nearby, they had no option but to return fire and had killed him outright.

More years pass. For something approaching 35 years now, Joe had been contributing to a pension scheme, but the first such scheme went belly-up in some huge financial scandal that was never resolved, so now he's only got 12 years' worth of contributions under his belt with a new investment outfit. Unbeknown to Joe, however, he won't be calling on it, for he has no retirement to enjoy. Very many years of exposure to various environmental toxins and the stress of his insecure lifestyle have finally taken their toll on poor Joe. Compounded by the pressure of having not had a secure job for 17 years, eating too much junk food on the move and the stress of always being just one deal away from the trailer park eventually killed him. He developed severe chest pains and his doctor told him he needed a triple bypass urgently. Unfortunately, the cost of the surgery would have ruined the family and left them outdoors, so instead he simply adopted a low-fat diet and exercised more. Yeah, that oughta do it: who needs surgery? The people that founded America never had recourse to it!

Joe's wife Patsy was devastated by the loss of her hard-working husband just 9 months later, but at least she had the consolation that his long-standing financial prudence would provide her with some much needed security in the old age she now faced alone with her autistic grandchild. But some small print in the pension agreement threw the whole thing into doubt. She could take SOME benefits under Joe's contract, but it would be little more than a token sum of less than 10% of his rightful entitlement, had he lived. Furthermore, the capital sum would never pass to her, owing to some other complexly-worded provision annexed to the end of the agreement in a separate schedule. The salesman who sold them the plan made it all seem so simple at the time! Pity they'd been foolish enough to have trusted him and not kept an independent record of what he'd told them.

With the conviction that right was right, and truth always prevails in the end, she engaged a New York law firm, Shyster, Shafter & Shylock, to fight her quarter for her. They sounded very hopeful of a successful outcome and issued proceedings immediately against Joe's former insurance company. Patsy confidently left them to pursue the matter; she had a lot of other pressing stuff to get on with herself.

5 months rolled by and she was shocked to learn, from an interim account sent her, that the lawyers' fees had already gobbled up half of her expected winnings IF she were to win the case. The situation had already become untenable. She had no option but to instruct them to drop the proceedings. It was simply beyond her means to fight on and get a pay-out. She had no choice but to cut her loses and run. She settled-up with the lawyers to the tune of $45,000 which she had to borrow from her sister and put the whole rotten episode down to experience.

So what did our ideal citizen, Joe, have show for his life? A HUGE stack of paid and unpaid bills, bank and credit card statements, and a disabled, mixed-race grandchild. Great legacy, huh, Joe? But the fact is he didn't die entirely in vain. Even though he himself and his family had nothing to show for his entirely unremarkable existence, he nonetheless DID significantly contribute to others' needs somewhere along the line. For example, his tax-dollars helped fund several wars. They also paid the salaries of the politicians that oh-so-carefully looked after him and his family's interests whilst he was alive. Much of the money also went to the US's special ally, Israel - a strategic friend of the West that had to be kept afloat at all costs lest we all be murdered in our beds by terrorists.

So Joe's life had a purpose after all. He worked hard, never thought too deeply about anything, always trusted the government and respected the President. Sure he bitched about all the taxes he paid and how his and everyone else's standard of living had gone down the can over the decades, but he never kicked up a fuss over it. He just resigned himself to the idea that he was powerless and that no matter how crazy and suicidal some government policies - of both parties - might have appeared, at least they were only doing their best for America and only meant well at heart. When things HAD gone wrong, as they so frequently did - it was nothing sinister, no secret agenda, but rather just plain old incompetence - which politicians of all colors seemed cursed by. Joe's was in short, a life of blissful ignorance and intellectual poverty. His genome consequently got what it had coming all along: oblivion.


Anonymous said...

Nice. It smacks of reality.

Also, this is the best: Shyster, Shafter & Shylock

When jew jokes make it to the mainstream again, we are almost there.

Anonymous said...

Great article! I know countless people like this. They need a damn good slap round the head.

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