Monday, May 2, 2011

Conspiracies and Meat Loaf

So Bin Laden is dead.

As a skeptic with cynical leanings, I always look at events like these--ones which use strategic military force and intelligence to accomplish a purpose we've been claiming to have for years now--and think, "Why now?" 

In politics, it's sad to say, violence has huge spin-potential.  I think that Americans needed something to rally around and this event, coming on what is almost the tenth anniversary of 9/11, will offer that, in large measure.

Which doesn't make it a bad thing, necessarily, just a simultaneously strategic one.

A collective reminder of what happened to us, to remind us that we are still "us," no matter how divisive "the rhetoric" has been.

That said, I loathe the wholesale infiltration of conspiracy theorists into mainstream media and culture.

I really wish they would just shut up and go away.

Go back to YouTube and Facebook and do your thing, yes, freedom of speech, First Amendment, the whole shebang.  "The Truth is Out There."

Great.  Good.  Go.  Bye.

Yes, I know, this means I'm one of the sheep.  That's right.  And as such, I'm going to bank on the fact that, when Armageddon comes, my kitty and I will be among the first casualties and thus, we won't feel a thing.

In the meantime, I have my garden and my rain barrels and my knitting.  And my books.  And my blog.

I'm sorry to say, but I just don't want to see one more video of one more person of questionable credentials (and highly questionable sobriety) zooming their digital camera in on one more blurry document with blacked-out passages and the words "TOP SECRET" and "CONFIDENTIAL" on it.

And then asking me to send money so that they can continue their "work."

My feeling is, if "they" come for me in the night, well, there probably wasn't much I was going to be able to do to stop that to begin with.

And anyway, my kitty and I are sound sleepers.

I think it's ironic that, one of the historically documented instances when the American Government did in fact come for Americans in the night was as a result of Franklin Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 in 1942.

But none of the conspiracy theorists ever mention that at all.  It's always about Roswell or the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Kennedy Assassination.

And by the way, is there even anyone out there who didn't think that the Kennedy Assassination was a conspiracy?  I mean, it was pretty clear at the time, and if you didn't think so at first, you did when you saw this:


Anyway, my point is, ENOUGH.  Conspiracy theory was cute and cool and funny when it was The Lone Gunmen on "The X-Files," but in real-life, it's just incredibly annoying when it's being dished out 24/7.

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Conspiracy theory is basically paranoia, creatively (and in some cases very creatively) applied to politics.  And paranoia is just narcissism, regularly inflicted on the rest of us, whether we asked to be "enlightened" or not.

It rarely accomplishes anything.  The alleged "wake-up call" we're being offered ultimately does more to distract us from the issues than it does to clarify them.

My feeling is, if we're trying to move the ball down the field, the efforts of conspiracy theorists are analogous to someone suddenly running onto the field to tell us that the laces on the ball are sometimes made of polyvinyl chloride, also known as "The Poison Plastic," and that there are major corporations who are hugely invested in producing PVC and that they have lobbyists at all levels of the political infrastructure.

Really?!  You don't say.  Well, how about we at least try to get to the twenty-yard line first, and then we'll all think about the laces and their implications for the big picture, okay?

Likewise, my immediate reaction to being told that the American economy is now and always has been the victim of Wall Street Bankers and Brokers and Blood-Sucking Corporations is, "Well, no shit."

I mean, have you ever taken a stroll down Bellevue Avenue in Newport?  Those historic homes weren't built by funds and volunteers from Habitat for Humanity. 

And actually, that's why unions were started in the first place.  To oppose the powerful corporations and their impact on American labor practices.  To counteract the influence of corporate lobbyists in Washington.

Whether you like unions or not, I think it's naive to suppose that, if they're eliminated, companies will stop shipping jobs overseas and bring them all back to the good old U.S. of A. where they'll spontaneously pay everyone a fair wage to work under excellent conditions with top-notch health care and retirement benefits, just like they always wanted to.

That just isn't the story that history tells.  Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906) may be a overlong, maudlin, and overtly socialist novel, but Sinclair was a reporter at the turn of the century. 

And it's probably no coincidence that his other works are entitled The Moneychangers, Oil!, King Coal, and The Profits of Religion.

And if people are so worried about the power of corporations on the American economy, why in the name of all that is holy are they announcing "Trump for President in 2012!"

I mean, WHAT?!  That doesn't make a bit of sense.

It is true that, unlike most corporations, The Donald is not a producer of any product or service.  But that kind of makes it that much worse, in my opinion.

He markets an image, and that image happens to be himself.  He gets rich by pretending that he's gotten rich in business and then makes money telling other people how to pretend to get rich in business.  So my initial guess is, he probably isn't as "rich" as he claims to be.

All that aside, he doesn't seem very eco-friendly.  Or diplomatic.  Or all that concerned about creating jobs.  Ask Atlantic City what he's done for them, ever.  Not much.  Fiscal responsibility?  More like conspicuous consumption.

What does he know about the Constitution?  About government?  Public policy?  Education?  Health care? Tax reform?  (Is his company paying its taxes?  Has anyone checked?  I'm not being snarky: I really don't know--maybe they have.)

But in the end, I don't stress too much about him, actually, because I kind of think that, this is just the way of The Donald.  Whether or not he actually intends to run is irrelevant to him.  He just wants the media attention.  He's doing now what he did during the 80's: anyone who grew up within a 50 mile radius of NYC couldn't escape hearing about him.

Constantly. 

It's always the same spin, the same kind of comments, the same basic story.  Before, it was Ivana, Marla Maples, Rosie O'Donnell... now it's Obama's Birth Certificate.  Somebody please find a story about Trump's current mistress.

You know she's out there.

Meanwhile, can I just say that I loved Obama's little speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner.  Oh, SNAP.

But really, what I've been thinking is, Meat Loaf should run.  I mean, really.  If we're taking it to the level where we have to hear from Trump and Sarah Palin on a regular basis, I'd like to put Meat Loaf into the mix.

I watched "Celebrity Apprentice" once, and I think he acquitted himself admirably.  He did more than The Donald did during the entire hour.

It's true, he goes ballistic sometimes, but then he reflects on it later and admits he made a mistake.  I like that.

And I think it would be worth it to see someone get that way every once in a while, especially when talking to the press.

Meat Loaf was in "Rocky Horror."  He can play baseball.  He's from Texas.  These are all things Americans typically like to see in a presidential candidate. 

I think there are maybe two people out there who came of age in the late '70s or early '80's who don't own a copy of "Bat Out of Hell."  According to the IMDB database, it is the third-highest selling album of all time, with 30,000,000. copies sold worldwide.  "Bat Out of Hell II" sold 20,000,000 copies in the 1990s and is "considered one of the biggest musical comebacks in music history."

In "Fight Club," he played a character who had his testicles removed and then developed (and I quote), "bitch tits."

Really, what more do we want?  I say, let 2012 be The Year of Meat Loaf.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."