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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Christopher Hitchens is a moron...

NewRead this to see why...

Monday, June 28, 2004

I've decided to stop watching TV*

It is interesting, this world we live in. How one group of people can have so much of an effect on everyone else. We are all inexorably tied together and yet a small fraction of us get the privledge of feeling separate. From early on, most of us are taught through various channels (parents, MTV, pop music, etc) and in various ways that we should strive to be one of them. We are supposed to be that CEO that makes millions upon millions per year and lobbies the legislators to deny an increase in the minimum wage. We are supposed to strive to be rich and influential, and for what? So we can buy name brand shirts with embroidered logos. So we can have a house with five two-car garages (and the cars to go with that). We feel empowered by things, set free by Ralph Lauren. Tommy Hilfiger the emancipator of the common man. Abercrombie and Fitch, inspiring a scantily clad generation.

So when does it become a cliche to quote a movie? Fight Club comes to mind. The things you own end up owning you. We are supposed to work jobs that we hate to buy shit we don't need. And so forth. Tyler Durden had a point. His point became, much like his character, a hyperbole. What we saw in the beginning was someone rebelling from the very lifestyle that we all get in our daily VJ sermons. Sermons from mount TiVo. Tyler and "Jack" (ever notice that we don't know the main character's name?) rebel by embracing the only male instinct that remained available to them, their instinct to fight. Only, it turns out that Tyler had a much broader goal, he wanted all technology abandoned. From the ivy climbing the Sears tower he wanted to see people tanning deer hides on the vast super-highways. He wanted a return to the hunter-gatherer nomadic lifestyle. Step number one was to demolish the credit records, abolish everyone's debt, let us start on equal ground. I, "Jack", and the rest of the audience gradually realized that Tyler's dream wouldn't be that great of an idea.

Tyler had a point though. We have become ruled by our things, our TVs, our religions. It's a sad day when you watch a little 9 year old girl get so excited by a BMW minivan commercial (true story). Since when are 9 year old girls giddy over minivans? When did our daily lives start revolving around the TV schedule? Oh sure, we can TiVo, but that only extends the choke collar while we go sprinting off at full speed to chase the mailman only to have the line jerked sending us to the ground ass first, gasping for air. With all the things to do in the world (independent thinking included) why would one subjugate themselves to the whim of a TV schedule. For that matter, why would one volunteer to give up all those beautiful days to sit through a sermon? What can a priest or preacher or rabbi or whatever tell you about the world? Isn't the idea of being a religious leader to voluntarily limit your participation in the human experience?

So how far do we go, and who sets our standards? How much stuff is too much? Should I be annoyed that I'm sitting in my $210,000 house with the brand new $6,000 floors on my "old" (2.5 years) ex-top of the line Dell Inspiron 8100 listening to music on my $300 Rio Karma wearing my Old Navy Khaki Shorts and Ringer Tee? How much of a contradiction is it for me to want a new car, a new laptop, a new camera, new new new. Should I want to live my life as a nomadic wanderer killing what I eat? Who draws the line? Am I a hypocrite? I don't feel like a hypocrite. Maybe I should criticize less though. Maybe I should try to live up to my own expectations...whatever those are.

Religion needs its own paragraph. It is no surprise that the powerful attempt to incorporate religion into their dealings with those for which they have influence over. All religions have their "cross to bear" story. Religion really is a way to control the masses if you think about it. Take Christianity. First you are told that you should strive to be like Jesus (what WOULD Jesus do?). Jesus led by example. He bore his cross, when struck on one cheek he turned the other cheek. We are told to simply accept the burdens of our life, when oppressed, we should not only take it, we should stand there for more. At the same time Christianity gives us the same message that if we do not do these things, we can expect eternal torment, if we comply, we are granted into the eternal, infinitely separate. Finally, after our death we can be a part of the elite. Where everyone is eternally happy beyond our wildest imagination, everyone has a mansion, and the streets are paved with gold. Or, if we are bad, we are sent forever to a situation that is infinitely worse than the one we're in now. The eternally, infinitely oppressed. Of course governments will adopt this method of control, it is so very effective after all. And, on the plus side, you can't possibly prove it wrong. Just the possibility that its true is enough of a reason to capitulate.

These are all lessons of the corporations and the marketeers. How does one person or entity get so important to decide what I should wear, what I should drive, how I should spend my Thursday at 9 (8 Central), or how I should act? More importantly, how is it that we come to the decision that we are going to let all these aspects of our lives (and much, much more) be decided by a particular person or entity? And thus my point...the TV is to blame. Not the TV per se, there are valuable things on the TV, but the culture that is pushed so fervently over the airwaves. We have subjugated ourselves to Viacom and their advertisers. We like smiley faces telling us about everyday low prices so much that we'll shop at Wal-Mart in droves despite the fact that they treat their employees so miserably. I'm excited at the prospect of putting a sensible family car through its paces at a dry, dusty lake bed although I can't think of the last time the tires of my Malibu touched anything besides paved road. Oh wait, my Dad's driveway isn't paved. I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure that if my cholesterol is high, my allergies are bad, or my penis is limp what I should be prescribed. And my whole life would be a hip street party if only I could get my hands on a Coca-Cola. Are they just getting their names out, or are they creating a demand?

I'm not waiting around to find out. I'm going to stop watching TV...

*Except for movies. I still have hope for the movies. Go see Fahrenheit 9/11.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Jesus Goes Undercover as a Cell Phone Tower

Seriously, is this something the world really needs?

Courtesy Tom Tomorrow

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Listening to Radiohead, Smelling the babyback ribs...

Okay, so this is my new blog. Well I hope that I can keep this thing operational on a somewhat daily basis. I've thought about doing this for some time now, and I should have done it way sooner apparently. I was almost consigned to naming my blog "Clown, Penis, Fart" because it seemed all the other good names were taken. I searched around for inspiration and came up with At Ease. My inspiration was from Radiohead's song "Fitter Happier" rather than the military order. That explains the sub-heading...

Fitter, happier, more productive,
not drinking too much,
regular exercise at the gym
(3 days a week),
getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries ,
eating well
(no more microwave dinners and saturated fats),
a patient better driver,
a safer car
(baby smiling in back seat),
sleeping well
(no bad dreams),
no paranoia,
careful to all animals
(never washing spiders down the plughole),
keep in contact with old friends
(enjoy a drink now and then),
will frequently check credit at
(moral) bank (hole in the wall),
favors for favors,
fond but not in love,
charity standing orders,
on Sundays ring road supermarket
(no killing moths or putting boiling water on the ants),
car wash
(also on Sundays),
no longer afraid of the dark or midday shadows
nothing so ridiculously teenage and desperate,
nothing so childish - at a better pace,
slower and more calculated,
no chance of escape,
now self-employed,
concerned (but powerless),
an empowered and informed member of society
(pragmatism not idealism),
will not cry in public,
less chance of illness,
tyres that grip in the wet
(shot of baby strapped in back seat),
a good memory,
still cries at a good film,
still kisses with saliva,
no longer empty and frantic
like a cat
tied to a stick,
that's driven into
frozen winter shit
(the ability to laugh at weakness),
healthier and more productive
a pig
in a cage
on antibiotics.

BTW, don't be surprised or offended if the contents of this blog are offensive in wording or in idea. I often think that my inner thoughts are somewhat out of synch with my outer self, this blog is partially to rectify that imbalance. If you are terribly offended with what I have to say you can take me to task in the comments. I am not one to shy away from a good argument or from issuing an appology.
WWW atease.blogspot.com

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