Fascinating article linking French fashion, Fascism & “The All-American Look”. [This is “Fashion Week” in Paris.] The linkages between the Vichy government and French fashion, and their continuing persistence in world culture today, are food for fodder. (A great story could be written out of this!) Worth reading:
Okay. So I got sucked into “Celebrity Apprentice” last weekend. How could I not? I mean… It was like coming up on a really bad accident that had just happened on the freeway moments ago: Hard NOT to look.
Plus I only get two TV stations.
Celebrity is not a cultural stream I play in. I don’t know who half the supposed “movie stars” are nowadays. I’m not invested. I’ve met various movie stars & directors from time to time in my life, but they’ve most usually struck me as just people. Most of the celebrities on this show, however, I don’t know. I wouldn’t know ‘em from Adam.
I like that the game of the show takes place in Manhattan. And I love how this is being presented as a “business” game. (Curious tack.)
Trust me: It’s a game show.
Donald Trump is someone I’ve never seen on TV. Until now. I’ve heard of him, I’ve heard about him. I wonder how much he’s using this show to advance is U.S. Presidential aspirations. [I can see his campaign slogan: “Obama? You’re Fired!”] Certainly has the name recognition. [And we’ve proven in California, at least twice now, that name recognition & TV face time is really all you need to win office. Doesn’t necessarily require talent.] Personally, I find his projection of “authority” laughable. But? Trump plays the “S.O.B.” role really well. He’s created a persona.
The man needs to stay away from the tanning bed, however.
And I’ve been surprised at how sexist the man is. (Wow.)
I’ve also been really really surprised to see very famous people (with apparently a strong sense of public image & persona projection) behaving very badly on national television.
The things people won’t do to keep themselves on television.
Sometimes I look at our country and I wonder what the fuck is going on.
I wonder what the fuck is going on because I see so many in our country following ideas which CLEARLY are not in their best interests.
It’s like watching someone in an abusive relationship go back to their abuser again & again & again & again…
It’s as if America has PTSD.
I have PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. That is why I recognize it within the body politic: Because I’ve wrestled with it personally myself. (Maybe I’m projecting. But I don’t think so.)
In my case, I have now had more than one professional opine that if the circumstances of my growing up had been in a more current time or in another State, surely the State would have taken me away from my parents and put me in a foster home. In fact, my parents tried to arrange something like that themselves when I was 12-years-old. But I was not taken away and put into foster care. And what happened to me between 12 and 17 traumatized me. I was completely sober & acutely aware of what was happening at the time. And as a consequence, I remember. I remember acutely. And I have never been quite able to escape the consequences of the memories of what happened to me during that time. I was traumatized. And? Willingly or not, the trauma inflicted upon me during that period has affected me pretty much every waking day since. It colored my entire life thereafter.
And I know from personal experience that PTSD carries with it any number of (often hidden) triggers which — once tripped — flashback the original traumatic event(s). This can even happen unconsciously.
And without therapy, PTSD can debilitate a person.
• • •
I think that America has PTSD. It is the only viable explanation for America’s collective behaviors.
“9/11”, the terrorist attack on Manhattan & Washington DC on September 11th, 2001ce, really FUCKED with the American collective mind. It was traumatic to the American collective psyche.
That trauma fucked with our behavior. It fucked up our behavior when it happened. It fucked up our behavior following the event. And it has been fucking up our behavior ever since.
Our country has post-traumatic stress disorder.
AND WE ARE NOT GETTING ANY THERAPY FOR IT!
• • •
Just look at the things we have ALLOWED to go on in our country as a result of the collective psychic trauma caused by 9/11:
• Before 9/11, we had a federal budget SURPLUS of $236.2-BILLION: Which we let Bush spend into a DEFICIT to the tune of $4-TRILLION in the red by the end of the Bush Administration.
• We let our country TORTURE people. And we did so in direct violation of the Geneva Convention, which we helped shape & mold.
• Corruption. Just look at the corruption we turned a blind eye towards during those years. Enron. Halliburton. House Speaker Tom DeLay’s criminal fundraising. The palettes — entire palettes — millions upon millions of dollars of US Taxpayer money that just “disappeared” in Iraq & Afghanistan. The banking system. The speculative home finance market. The Valerie Plame unmasking. The lying that started the war in Iraq.
• The Administration not only lying, but fabricating “evidence” to justify invading a sovereign country.
• The United States had never ever gone into war without raising taxes to help finance the war’s costs. Until Bush, that is. Who not only started two wars without raising funds to finance those wars, but actively worked to lower taxes on the rich & corporations during the same period. [Which is WHY we are in the debt that we are in currently.]
• Just look at the disregard for Science and learning. Just look at the disregard for facts & information.
• • •
Americans don’t torture in violation of the Geneva Convention. Americans don’t start wars. Americans don’t lie. Americans pay for things when they run up a debt. Americans share the burden. Americans don’t out their CIA personnel. Americans don’t re-elect corrupt politicians. Americans don’t disregard scientific consensus. Americans don’t ignore empirical facts.
• • •
And yet we did these things following 9/11.
And we CONTINUE doing these things after 9/11.
• • •
It’s as if 9/11 produced triggers. And those triggers are still here. And they are still being set off. Constantly. Over & over again. And no one is talking therapy.
Yet we allow this insane, factless dialogue to continue. We keep listening to the same people who took us to this insane place to begin with.
We keep wanting to give the power back to the same people who abused that power to begin with.
• • •
It’s like watching a battered woman keep returning again & again to the same man who is beats her.
How do you get her to stop doing that?
What IS it about the trainwreck that makes us slow down and watch it happen? Is it the horror? Is it the anticipation? Is it the precognition of what’s coming? Is it guilty pleasure of knowing that you’re not involved?
That’s how I felt this past month watching the so-called “debt limit crisis”. I felt as if I was watching a trainwreck. And? Frankly, I feel as if the carriage crashes haven’t come to final standstill yet — it’s all still moving. Watching Washington DC this past month has been like watching DePalma violence slow-motion.
I try to turn away. And yet? And yet I can’t. You know it’s going to be horrific for everyone involved. And yet you can’t turn avert your eyes.
I feel the same way about the TV show, “Wipeout”. It’s a stupid grotesque of an obstacle course show. It looks like people could get seriously hurt. Or drown! (The things people will do for money. I wonder what kind of legal waivers contestants have to sign for that show. “Not responsible for spinal injuries.”) And yet? Yet, I can’t turn away. There’s something fun — fascinating — in watching a grown adult fall into a pool of ooze & slime.
I don’t know why slow-motion, drawn-out catastrophies fascinate. Certainly if they happen quickly: They’re shocking, traumatic even.
Yet seeing something slip off its tracks does fascinate. It’s a release from the bounds of normal discourse. It is letting something go. It is watching something move into alien territory.
And yet I can’t turn away…
Political junkies know that it is still far too early in the race to handicap the U.S. Presidential election. November 2012 is still too far away. Grumbling on the Democratic side has been calling for a party challenge to Obama — if only to force the President into more solid positions. But, for right now at least, it is the GOP primary which has been the more interesting internal struggle.
The Republican Party stands a very real chance of running as an anti-Science party this year. And that is part of what makes the race interesting, for a number of reasons.
I don’t get Republicans. At their debate a couple of weeks ago, the audience CHEERED at the suggestion that people without health insurance should die rather than receive treatment. Clearly those cheering had gold in the place where their heart should be. And then, more recently, the debate audience BOOED a soldier who admitted he was gay after the “DADT” repeal. Clearly those booing were not booing because of that soldier’s military service. Moreover, the current leading Republican candidate is the same person who advocated that his state secede from the Union. We had a violent, blood 4-year civil war here in the United States over that very issue. And the front-runner for the Republican party wants a return to that kind of politic?
These people are INSANE. They are. They are insane.
Where are our collective values? Seriously. What are the values that we hold together as Americans?
Does anyone know anymore?
How much the political temperature of the country has changed just in the course of my short life time. I remember the 1960s & 70s. I was a kid then. But I was sentient & sober, wide-eyed & absorbent. And I remember listening to the adults argue. Or trying to change the channel “before the kids see what is going on” in the news. I remember them trying to hide the strife from me. But I was able to figure out & sense what was going. I remember the sense of change. I remember “Up With People”. I remember the feel of radical times.
And then came Ronald Reagan.
After moving back & forth between the punchbowl and the hors d’oeuvre tray probably innumerable times at a fun social function, what a joy & relief it was to bump into someone who asked me about politics. “So… What do you think?!”
I hadn’t had that kinda deep spontaneous bellylaugh in years.
But, yes… After the seismic seizures of the belly quake subsided, I was presented with the more serious query of what, indeed, did I actually THINK about what was going on.
I don’t know WHO the bonehead was who thought up the idea of moving the Iowa Caucuses to right after New Years, but he should have his head examined. What stupidity. This meant that there was hardly anything but political circus stories in the media stream between Xmas & NewYears. Yuck. NOBODY wants to listen to that kind of rot DURING THE HOLIDAYS.
AND I AM A STEADFAST POLITICAL JUNKIE!