The Age Of Empire

photoThere are lots of reasons to feel good.  We are watching a very interesting show – the title of which we cannot know yet.  The actors are plenty.  And, in the spirit of the New Theater, we the audience are the actors too.  We are made part of the show.  This is theater of the absurd and the theater of cruelty at the same time.  The fourth wall has been broken or is that the third?  Or do we one day wish for any walls in which to put a roof thatched out of old tyres and plastic bags we bring home from shopping, swear we will use for dog poop or in the toilet waste basket, but otherwise gather up and discard.

Command Lenin asked many years ago, What is to Be Done?  And, his answer, was rather… yeah…. well, we see how that turned out.

However, the question is there for our own century.  The new American century. The end of nationalism, with the sunset of nations, however, not for the lower orders of life, the common person.  We will be more restricted while the dream of another Lennon, Mr. John in Imagine, sees a world without religion, borders, and all the people living on the top – including the real people of corporations – there are no Borders and everything is fungible and the world is shared between them.  The rich trade people like cards, as its been for a long…. long time.  That is, before 1776.  And whenever the French did bloodbath 2.0.  Then 1864.  Oh, and us again 1918 – 1919 coming to assist Europe.  And then we did it again.  And after the war, we made our mistakes, but we looked to solve them too.  We launched the Great Society to reform the lasting vestiges of slavery and to make our country stand above the SOVIET Union.  We launched a space ship to the moon.

Today, we launched the last of our space program.  All those drawings of space ships and space stations and flying cars when I was young (and I am not a Baby Boomer)…. those things are in the dustbin of history (I never really believed in those drawings in Omni Magazine).  Some may believe that the age of American space program is no longer needed, that Corporate America will move in to build upon the advances of NASA, however, no science provides ready-made income…. and just as the highway system the very veins through with pump the entire car industry were built by our national interest, as were much of the infrastructure and advancements in our national interest, and back in the olden days, the interest of humanity, much of our world is thanks in part to government programs, private investment, and government programs. The balance of powers, n’shit.  However, we are out of balance, out of orbit, if you will.   Our Great Society is being sold away by the very party that established it, and the party that abolished slavery is working hard to reestablish it so that we all may be indentured in some manner.   We look to equity and see communism, we look to labor rights and see lazy bourgeois wreckers and hooligans as Bolsheviks once saw evil Kulaks hiding in the woods.  Our nation has become splintered in its diversity, and yet more monochrome as each town, each lived experience becomes more uniform so that our last shared identity are the products we bought as children, now howling in tears entombed in some landfill… ahem… transfer station…. at least the girl toys.  Boys always keep their toys.

Today, we have cut back on the future.  The film 2001 has seen every company represented, including the Soviets, go up in smoke.  Perhaps in a few years we too will join that list of defunct products.  It is strange to think that with little fanfare, we need to now hitch hike on the Russians if we are to reach for the stars, like a bunch of crusties trying to get a ride to Bonnaroo.  Do you think our astronauts will also have those annoying pedigree dogs they need to feed?   Private companies are already taking reservations for the rich to ride up to see the view once reserved for heroes, and the rest of our technology is reserved to make new apps.

Today I found a company that was designing new apps.  It is hiring.  In Tomsk.  A city that when I was dragged through in the baggage car of the Trans Siberian, was a broken city of factories and where old women rushed the train to sell food and whatever items they could.  Today, it seems to be selling us high grade apps.  The country of peasants and revolutions.  That is our space program.  The nation of peasants and revolutions and Japanese target practice, that is our Bond holders.

We never recognize the landmarks of our age as they pass by, but in memory we construct the trail of experiences and spaces that we come to feel define us, as well as that person or persons we were.  As we listen to some old song and remember our youth, we also will one day perhaps look back on these past events… no more than an old tanker taking one last spin, and see that Mustang 1967 and see that our time had passed us by.  I hope that it is not true, but as a student of history, and a practitioner of education, the past and a glimpse into our nation’s future tell me otherwise.

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