“Why do I do this every Sunday? Even the book reviews seem to be the same, different book, same review.”
So begins the iconic play of so-and-so so many years before. And, as with that production, a tempter tantrum of epic proportions, we can ask why everything seems the same today and yesterday, a different imploding company, failed idea, crashing paradigm and yet, the same reactions, comments, and issues. We have reached our Late Empire in this land where a sclerotic ruling class of international motivational speakers rules us through the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of our political “parties.” While some demand we recognize the differences remaining in these political parties, it appears much like telling apart assholes. I mean, they must be different but yet do we really want to inspect them so close and are they really that different in basic function and structure while some may or may not be somewhat coloured as this and puckered as that in such a way? Our stultified political process is reflected in our petrified society, trapped pissing and shitting over the same issues using the same arguments, inventing only new facts.
A newspaper today reads as ten years ago, or even decades ago. We know what we need to do, but refuse to do it. Those for and against ideas use the same arguments and ensure that each side blocks the other. Everyone seems united a singular vision to bring all innovation and movement to a halt A bike path is proposed. Those who want to have recreation promote it and push up the cost in expensive contracts for unneeded extras. Those who own property along the path fear for their privacy, are afraid poor people will use it to rape their holes. There are debates Articles in the press and posts to blogs and angry comments from Bugout1234 who calls everyone names. And so, this argument continues unchanged and the bike path, remains an idea rather than a reality.
We can perhaps no longer look back at the past for ideas as we cannot look to resolving anything about our own lives by talking about it. Talking about it leads to more talking, examining the past leads to more examining. We have the same questions and give the same answers. We cannot look ahead with hope anymore for we see rising sea waters, salinization of the coasts, collapse of international banking, and a remake of the entire franchise of Revenge of the Nerds (oh you wait, it’ll happen). We can look ahead in anger. Anger out of being cheated out of our labor, losing our investments, and inheriting an earth that still has green spaces to live or air thin enough you don’t need to chew it before swallowing it into your lungs. Perhaps this is an over the top summation of events, but then, isn’t everything today over the top? Gross entertainment, outlandish business ideas, and a growing landscape of big box stores and gated communities with parading fools donning plastic cocks and rubber tits. If that isn’t bad enough, a gigantic radioactive shitpile of debris from Japan washing up on the coast of the northwest allowing beach combers the opportunity to discover driftwood, shells, and half of downtown Foolie Coolie.
It is interesting that many of the doom forecasts continue on, the same book, the same review. Buy gold. Or silver. Or canned food. Or morphine. We are told that every moment brings us closer to a Greeky-Frannie-Macky-collapsie event, and every moment that event comes but doesn’t do widespread damage to Der System. Each crash impacts a Main Street in a town no one knows, kicks a kid into defaulting on student loans, knocks some out some old lady investor (the Morgan Stanly Muppets) out of retirement and into third shift cashier at Walmart (and I know you have seen her too). The next day we find the same powdered milk on the shelves, the same financial situation for the 1%, the same talking heads saying the same booster crap about some shit new app that allows you to turn on your air conditioning before you get home so your layers if fat are safe from sweat. Several billions are missing, and Jon Corzine is still out free. Another corporation cheats, another bank defrauds the public, another huge funder ensure s/he/it has the best government they can buy. There is no tipping point anymore, no End of Empire, no clear pathway out of this mire we are in since our state has not entered collapse, but a long period of inactivity and turpitude.
We have entered a Not So Great Depression(tm) (NSGD). There is no dustbowl, Grapes of Wrath, massive photos of sharecroppers and that woman with the kid sitting and looking into the distance. There is no Great War Part 2 to save us. We already attempted to stimulate the economy with the Terror Bubble economy, The Iraq war bubble, and sundry other military bubbles. While we are bringing the oppressive tools of our various wars home to use on our own population, our fat and placid people are not given to setting off IEDs or causing enough trouble to warrant as many tonnes of ordnance so the need for additional materials will diminish and even hawks will be unemployed (not that there won’t be a drone following you around all day or have yourself frisked at the airport, stopped at checkpoints in the city, and perhaps be given a wonderful collar about your neck that will explode if you go out into the Forbidden Zone or think bad thoughts about The Snookie).
The NSGD does not mean we are on breadlines, it doesn’t mean unions will become powerful and fight for the Working Man, it doesn’t mean the President will be in a wheelchair and talk about chickens in every pot. For those who studied the old Great Depression, this was not a flat line of production and economic activity. There were “recoveries” in the market, stock market activities that raised value for some but did not reflect the actual economic activity and therefore failed. There were moments where factories produced more and for a time people thought the economy was recovering, but these were limited in scope and duration. To look back to that historic event as a Spark Notes for today’s crisis is only useful for a select set of the Ruling Class, the media and TeeVee “journalists” with plastic hair and paper smiles who took those questions about X is to Y as Z is to ____ as a way of life. The casino indicators (DOW, NASDAQ, etc) go up and down, but the real world indicators do not fluctuate as much, or slowly creep downward in value. Breadlines and welfare are out there. However, these are not gaunt skin and bones in shabby clothes, exposed to the elements. This is the population slowly degraded coming to terms with just how sick it has become. The food pantry in the Bronx I worked across from had the usual societal losers, the junkies, the men who stand outside delis, old ladies living in rent controlled apartments, a group of older Asian ladies with smart looking carts who seemed as if they gathered materials for some store rather than starving to death in some flop house, and of course the fatties in Jazzy Power Chairs who bully pedestrians as they speed down the sidewalk oxygen tank dangling just outside the reach of their cigarette. The same crowd you see waiting for the bus to Atlantic City or any other casino center. Welfare is out there, but it is not workers injured in some factory accident who can no longer provide for his family. It is no longer the providence of Saint Single Mom, who has four kids by five men (don’t ask, there’s one of these in my family). When I am at the store these recipients are primarily immigrants (in the city) or the uneducated degenerate natives (in the country) who fill their carts with corn syrup products and heat-and-eat crap their fat offspring making little pig noises in anticipation of plunging into the Monsanto trough. Our situation is different in so many other ways. The bankers don’t wear top hats. They don’t have bags of money with “$” on them. We spend millions upon millions on pet products to ensure we don’t have fat cats. A Depression it is, but Great it Ain’t.
We can expect to see a very long period of un-recovery. There is no way to know if this period will lead to any change. The old economy is a rotting corpse that continues to linger and the air with smell sweet with that decay. This old economy includes our Tech Bubble II as well as any gas bubble, or Green Bubble or whatever additional bubble attempts to return us to endless growth. The age of endless growth, were it ever here, had ended. We, like Christian Scientists, continue to stand around the economy praying, hoping that little Billy will come back to life and we expect this economy to go back to life, to allow us to get our spermandeggs into a Good College(tm) and us to buy more crap to fill additional storage units. And this faith keeps us in this situation longer and longer, we are aging and becoming poorer as we wait for a Second Coming of Growth. Were we able to just let go, now, we would save us a lot of grief, but then, perhaps we are locked tightly into the stages of grief so popular with the popular mind. So far, after more than ten years of war and corporate theft, we are finished with denial. Yup. And you thought we were about to enter acceptance. Nope. Sorry. We’re just now done with denial and what we can look forward to is anger. Occupy Wall Street has died, that was the end of denial. Anger will come but not from those we may expect since this anger may come from a new sort of person. The angry young corporation.