Itís What I Live For
2002-02-13 17:49:06

Consumers in Action
You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
-- Dean Martin


The Rev lays it down, once again. Kinda like Joyce Carol Oates, except he's bald and wears leather.

There's nothing like a morning's slap of broken glass across my freshly-shaven face. Pleasure may remind you that you're human, but pain reminds you that you're still alive and trapped on this insanely underdeveloped plane of existence. You can run, but the machine will follow you wherever you scurry. And like the mad mechanisms depicted in post-apocalyptic movies, it doesn't matter if you gun down one because another will follow.

When I was a kid, I used to listen to Bono cry out about how he couldnít believe the news today, or close his eyes and make it go away. And weíll be singing that song for the rest of our lives, friends.

Itís easy to be a cynic in an age of blind fear. Maybe thatís because the elements of society that make you so cynical keep re-affirming your blackened perspective. Like the Enron hearings, for example. Have you seen anything more pathetic since the Iran-Contra hearings? Thereís some great similarities, like a Chief Executive who canít remember diddley, another executive who died under mysterious circumstances, and a whole lot of Congress members who turned coat to save face when the walls came crashing down. Donít fool yourself: the Enron hearings wonít produce nearly what the Iran-Contra matter did. There will be no convictions and no real pursuit of the bad guys who made out like banditos. On the other hand, we will get the same blighted picture of the gross abuse of power.

Picture the classic symbol of idiocy: the three monkeys who illustrate the concept of ďhear no evil, see no evil, speak no evilĒ. Now transpose the faces of Enronís top management onto those monkeys and you have realtime. Jeff Skilling didnít hear anything, Ken Lay didnít see anything, and Andrew Fastow didnít say anything. Collectively, these three epitomize what we already suspected: that corporate officers are deaf, dumb, and blind, yet they always seem to make that all-important leap from the plummeting plane and thud to the ground under the terrible weight of some questionably-gained golden parachute. Check your calendars: wasnít it about this time last year that we saw the same story at PG&E?

The best example for the former officers of Enron to follow is that of Clifford Baxter, who blew his brains out in a car two weeks ago. This is the American version of Hara-Kirió-the ultimate price for failure in classical Japanese culture. However, Americans really know nothing of responsibility for their actions, as we insure all of our risks away and teach our corporate soldiers that they are never to take responsibility for anything that does not make money. But donít worry yourselves too much, kiddies: old Uncle Satan is working with Agent Karma to design a special place for all these fools in their next life. Or three.

And speaking of the Great Satan, whatís with the Shrub trying to usurp my responsibilities? ďAxis of EvilĒ. Feh. Watered-down regurgitate from a bygone era. But it could prove pretty effective in doing what a few millennia of geographic co-existence has not: uniting the Sunnis and the Shiites against the us. ďAnd the lion shall lay down with the leopard on the broken carcass of the eagle.Ē Iím sure thatís in the Koran somewhere.

Meanwhile, we have the CIA doing exactly what theyíve been doing for decades now: trying to scare us into thinking that the senior spooks have some relevance which justifies their existence. This despite the fact that the Agency has provided as much real intelligence on the whole terrorist affair as the guy who sells pencils out of a cup outside of the Civic Center BART station. The latest flashes of brilliance involve the rather obvious ideas that large event gatherings could be targets for future terrorist attacks. Well, no shit. Iím sure glad we have these brave American heroes out there 24 hours a day. Maybe now Iíll stop drinking so much Robitussin in the evenings.

However, it would take at least a quart of the stuff to get me through the latest Schwarzenegger opus. Itís really pathetic to see Ahh-nuld trapped in a perpetual state of denial that his life is trudging on towards the obscurity that has already swallowed Sylvester Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme. The trailers for ďCollateral DamageĒ are enough to convince you that the filmís aptly named, and that the body bags near the concession stand are for those of you who will be done in by the filmís pedestrian gourmet of explosions, machine-gun fire, and that twitchy look of vengeance in Arnieís left eye. Recycling and recapturing former glories obviously isnít limited to our ďPresidentĒ. But this is where Schwarzenegger is perfect for the times: like the discombobulated Enron cavalcade, Arnieís a man who doesnít know what to do when heís not working, nor is he comfortable enough in the world at large to go out and experience more of it while he still has enough health to do so. And the theme of ďone man, above the lawĒ backs the Bushmeisterís plans to unleash our Special Forces in ďAxisĒ countries quite well.

Oh, monkey see, monkey do, monkey doo-doo. Itís this kind of shit that fills my cheeks with the deep, bleeding scars that a cool alcohol splash makes so much more insanely agonizing. I know itís all so real because no delusion could hurt this much. But I love the pain, for it keeps me singing like a robin with itís tail shot off.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.


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