American Greed – Random Neural Firing

I watch very little TV. Two shows actually. One has two different names and is about 3 British fellows who drive and crash cars who also fall down fairly often. The other is American Greed. I binge watch and rewatch the latter from time to time on Hulu and it is my favorite treadmill distraction. It fascinates me even though it is very repetitive. It is a series of documentaries detailing failures of human character. Different people, businesses, and stories but there is a common thread. A common story arc most often.
1. A con artist creates an artificial air of success. Borrowed and stolen money, trappings and leveraged vehicles and dwellings. A larger than life persona and one heck of a fairy tale back story.

2. They and some witting accomplices con a number of high profile persons in to unwittingly endorsing the deceit.

3. These unwitting accomplices greedy for more convince other well heeled and well known parties to join in.

4. Others of means and those without see dollar signs and access and leave common sense at the door. Come on in! You don’t want to be left out in the cold with the witless, impoverished masses do you? Join our artificial excess jamboree.

5. Then through either a sentinel event like a stock market crash, that bounced check and/or one person who sees past the trappings immediately and calls things as they are the fall begins.

6. But first those whose very being as a credible and reasoned member of society and whose very temporal and financial well being is now enmeshed in the lie cry foul. “It is a trap!”, they cry. “You are simply envious of his or her’s success. Leave him alone”, they will often bellow defending the very pied Piper that has led them to ruin.

7. The fall from Grace.

8. There are others hurt whose only crime was an inability to escape the financial ruin others charged with their well being put them in. Charities scammed. College funds ransacked. Healthcare expenses unpaid. Retirement permanently deferred as nest eggs fall to the ground and shatter.

9. Self examination by those who are left holding the bag wondering how they had been so blind.

But the reality is that they are often not done in by another. Their real villain was internal and in the very title of the show. Greed. Greed for not only money alone, but the power and sense of importance they believed they deserved. If not for this con man it may have been the next.

Why do I mention this? As I navigated the artificial hills this evening I realized that we as a nation are somewhere between steps 4 and 5 I estimate. 7 and 8 are inevitable, but I have doubts that the willful ignorant will ever reach 9. Instead they will simply look for the next person to blame and great scheme to latch on to.

-ELW

RNF – Bringing reality back.

I hear a lot of talk about “bringing jobs back” that used to be. Problem is that often times these are industries and professions that are or are on their way to being obsolete. To entice companies to do so corporate welfare is provided which may make for a good sound bite or photo op, but at most proves pointless by only delaying the inevitable.

Both sides of my family hail from small, rural towns. On both sides many saw the handwriting on the wall generations ago and left to pursue opportunities elsewhere often including the military and college and sometimes both.

Some moved to urban centers, others suburban, and some overseas.

Left family.

Left land.

Left familiarity.

Had to be done.

Home is where you make it.

They did not sit around lamenting the situation.

They were willing to change.

To move.

To retrain.

To get an education.

They did something about it.

They knew there was no cavalry coming to save the day.

They surveyed the situation and left. And the generations that followed benefited from their willingness to adapt.

There seems to be many who talk of wanting others not to benefit unless those others are willing to change, but are unwilling to change themselves.

-ELW

Hey! Get off my lawn!

Here is the underlying issue that I have not heard mentioned yet regarding the latest perceived societal slight or ginned up controversy causing many to clutch their hypothetical pearls in shock and horror. The blatant patriarchal nonsense often on display towards people of color (well not the color orange evidently) in this nation is what has chafed me from my earliest years. “Stop marching. Stop raising your fist. Stop standing with your hands down. Stop sitting. Stop complaining. Just stop.”How I position myself during any situation. Song. Service. Bus. Train. Dance party. And what I decide to do with myself, whether it be… Stand. Sit. Kneel. Hand stand. Cartwheel. Heck, criss cross apple sauce. Whether you like it or not as a grown man, regardless of your upset of which I do not have a single flip to give,.. None of anybody’s business, but my own. Someone trying to tell me otherwise delves in to Cedric the Entertainer’s “I Wish” spectrum of irksome behavior.
 
On what authority does one dare tell another grown person what to do with themselves? Mad? For what? An appalling show of insecurity and immaturity. I do this so he must do this or I am going to be mad, say mean things, call him names, shout, post imbecilic memes and destroy things. Burn a jersey? Really? What are you 9 years old? Heck, I just insulted 9 year olds with that comparison… Sorry 9 year olds. Hope we’re cool.
 
Do I care what Mr. Colin Kaepernick does? Not at all. Do I think he is right or wrong for his choice of protest? Who cares! Not a bit of my business, but I support his right to do as he sees fit. Because 1st amendment. Because common decency. Because prefrontal cortex and executive function granted therein. Do I agree with the basis, the core issue of his protest? All the way yes. This is ultimately a self proving exercise. The very act of protesting racism based injustice has wrought further displays of said same racism. That certain word is flying about more than the last Klan/Trump rally… or Tarantino movie… Anyhoo. I digress.
 
He is a grown man in what is allegedly a free country. It even says so in the song he is sitting down on. To repeat… The first verse of the very song he sits down on (Not going near verse 3 today. Whole other rant.) says he is free to do whatever in the heck he wants to do in this land. Take that patriarchal nonsense somewhere else. Hey look. I think I just saw some kids on your once ‘discovered’ lawn that you can go yell at.

RNF – The mind boggles at times…

Once I worked in Manhattan for MetLife in a nice 7th Floor Office in 1 Penn Plaza overlooking W. 34th near 7th. When close to the window you could see Macy’s across the way. I am so specific because one day by this wall of windows I had an exchange with a co-worker that is forever tattooed on my brain. Marcel, who had immigrated to the US with his family as a youth from France and still had traces of his homeland peppered throughout his speech patterns, was talking and he said something so odd that I was sure I had misheard him. I politely stopped him and asked, “Did you just say you were against immigration?” In a matter of fact fashion he responded yes. Marcel, I asked thinking I must have gotten something wrong along the way, “Where were you born?”. Again in a matter of fact fashion he responded, “France.”. I continued, “So basically now that you are in you would like to limit who may follow?”. I do not remember his response.

Why do I say this now? Glad you asked. Because flawed logic now seems to rule the land far and wide.From Trump to Brexit illogical xenophobia and jingoism are either on the rise or loudly gurgling in the throes of death. Hard to tell the difference because both can be very loud and terrifying to see and hear.

My father and I have always held lengthy discussions on all manner of topics from cars to politics as long as I can remember. I was very blunt as a teenager and I expressed a concern to my father that those who were more likely to produce persons ill equipped to navigate life due to deficits in intellectual assets… I was quite wordy as a youth. Put more succinctly I was concerned, panicked even at the realization that people ill equipped to rear childr… This is succinct? Ok, I get wordy when trying not to offend. Let’s go a different way (Warning: Cussin’ ahead)…

There you have it. My teenage societal angst laid out in the opening sequence of Idiocracy. Freaked me out a bit when I first saw this movie if I am honest. Played as an over the top comedy the film is starting to hit a little close to home. Is a former pro-wrestler for President really that far off from a former reality show celebrity?

We are defined by who we celebrate and from music to sports to movies to politics society not only tolerates idiocy it now elevates and rewards idiocy on a regular basis. Case in point a few years back a father concocted a ridiculous balloon boy narrative that proved to be a pathetic grab for publicity and attention. The punishment for this obnoxious attention mongering? They were on Good Morning America… Even if Trump loses it is far from over. Like Rocky putting up a good fight in the first film it secured one awful, cheesy sequel after another the idiot base has been energized now that one of their own came so close to the prize.

Solutions? I have none other than the blatantly obvious. As I have stated many times before…

If many choose not to engage and stay away from the voting booths as has been their tactic en masse thus far buckle up, it is going to be a bumpy ride.

-ELW

RNF – Distracted…

The entire entertainment industry is based on profiting by getting you distracted by consuming rather than creating yourself.

The entire sports industry is based on profiting by getting you distracted by watching others play rather than getting out there and being active.

The entire news industry is based on profiting by keeping you distracted by hopelessness, anger and fear rather than informed.

The entire government industry is based on profiting by getting you distracted by blaming someone else for what is wrong rather than own up to each and everyone’s responsibility to actually solving what is wrong.

We need to stop being so easily distracted.

-ELW