Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Train rolls on...

Wheezing along like an asthmatic marathon runner in Denver, the economy chugs away. Billions upon billions lost, fiat money that never had backing, never had more value than the inflation that keeps it afloat. Sphincter muscles pucker along every latitude and longitude of the globe. Some poor bastard on a Micronesian island paradise is probably shitting himself over the falling value of his coconuts and the rising cost of maintaining his topless beauties in fish meat right about now. All except for the 946 billionaires who walk the earth. I still wonder about the possible existence of a so-called “Top Out of Sight” overclass and how many of them could make Bill Gates look more like a socio-economic version of me.

At this point it appears that even the egghead economists aren’t too sure of what’s going to happen next. It’s a bit like a thousand people discussing Global Warming or God, or a thousand baseball fans discussing steroids and record books. No one, and I mean no one, seems to have a clue as to what is about to happen and when it will happen.

I’m a worrier by nature. I “borrow trouble” as the old southern saying goes. This is one thing I don’t worry about for 1 second. Simple reason; I can’t effect change in the market and what little money I do have would be wiped out for a glimpse of a slice of stale white bread if inflation grew to a point it once was in Germany post World War I. I’m stuck with what the bastards do and change never comes when things are running smoothly like a big V-8 driving a Powerglide transmission down an empty stretch of winding road. Change comes when the engine seizes or the toque converter self-destructs and you are stuck on the side of the road.

I worry about what happens next but ya’ know what, folks? If the other shoes does drop and we all lose our jobs and a single egg costs $1000.00 USD, fuck all will be done to remedy the problem immediately. What did Reagan say in the early 80’s? He had the balls to say, “People who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice.” Fuck all will be done to make sure you don’t freeze at night. Nothing has every really been done to solve the poverty problem in this nation for ages.

Think the Washington fat cats will go into an emergency session because a bunch of C++ coders got evicted from their apartments and have to sleep in their Accords? Fuck all will be done no matter what will happen. There aren’t many homeless folks who stand in line at their polling location on Election Day and we are in an election year. The politicians have their asses covered already; they don’t give a fuck about me and mine or you and yours.

What happens, happens. Now, what is very important is how you and I react if all hell breaks loose. I’m not talking about rampaging and rioting in the street. Shit, I’m in my 40’s, have a back that goes out when the weather gets too cold and damp and I’ve got dogs to feed every day. I’m in no mood or shape or mental state to go on a crazed Viking rampage through the burbs, scarfing up loaves of bread, gallons of milk and bags of Nutro dog food. Hell no.

I do, however, have neighbors. You do too. I’m sure most of us work in similar fields, are in similar situations and have similar backgrounds. All of us will be in this together so we need to stick with one another. Why not commandeer the green spaces of your apartment complex and start a community garden. What is management going to do? Call the cops on Mr. Green Jeans and his helpers? I think the local Barney Fife’s and Sheriff Andy’s are going to have bigger fish to fry than a bunch of vegetable garden growing apartment dwellers.

Why not say enough is enough and back yourself completely out of the credit and banking system we all see and get ripped off by? Why not say to hell with Exxon and Sheik’s making a killing of my labors and take the bus and or subway a few times a week? Why not tell lying fourth estate imposters to take a hike and not watch their TV “news” programs, turn off the talk radio and ferret out those alternative media sources and weigh what you read, judge the source and make your own judgment from facts?

For things to get “better” in this country, we, the people, need to take a look at what goes on in our individual lives and then fix the problems. When powers greater than us affect change in our own realms, we can find the focus and direction to take in beating them back out of our lives. Politicians won’t save us, Ministers won’t save us, and the riches of the world won’t save us. As individuals, we can save ourselves and help our neighbors. I’d give my neighbor a $100 before I dared dreaming of giving a fucking millionaire politician a penny of my money, an ounce of my labor or a second of my time.

If you want to know the best way of protecting yourself in the coming economic collapse, look to yourself and your neighbor. Don’t look for a Knight in shining armor who has a flag bearing an elephant or a donkey.

Monday, January 21, 2008

There Will Be Boos

I was able to catch the new PT Anderson film, There Will Be Blood, this past Friday night with a small and mixed audience. A few couples, two groups of twenty-somethings and the rest of the audience were comprised of folks like me, middle aged and seeing the film alone. As the end credits came up one of the twenty-somethings stood and to no one in particular and everyone in particular, stated, “That fucking sucked” before leaving with his buddy. I guess he was expecting Boogie Nights on an oil rig.
The middle aged folks stayed to watch the credits, the younger generation left like their feet were on fire; dropping snarky comments complete with giggles. I think the non-graying folks missed the two main themes of the film, at least what I saw as the main themes. You can never judge or trust a person by their words but you can always count on their true nature coming out through their actions. The other theme being we learn by observing and teaching will always be our truest legacy, not what we said or did in our lives. Listen to the experienced, watch how they act, let your actions speak for themselves and pass down your wisdom. In showing us these ideas, Anderson has succeded; and has created a new template to view American life. It felt a bit like Peckinpah, looked a bit like Ford and still has the Altman sensibility. This is his answer to the Kubrickean question.

Daniel Plainview is Ouroboros, this film is Ouroboros, we in turn are Ouroboros. Listen, learn and teach comes full cycle between teacher and student, child and parent. This story and the characters are cyclical in our reality and our history and in the world of film. There is the reality of the corporate state in the early 20th century and the loop we have made in return. The Plainview character should remind us all of someone we have worked with or for, and in him we should see our own nature. Oil has always driven us to bloodshed. The symbolism is almost too much and can at times overwhelm the story.

I should have seen this one coming when I read the reviews that mention Citizen Kane and noticed that the first 16 minutes resemble 2001: A Space Odyssey, while the ending reminds me of Lolita, a film which Kubrick began and ended with the same scene. Ouroboros. No wonder the twenty-somethings smirked as they left and the middle aged sat and watched the credits. They had no frame of reference and whatever they expected when they walked into the theater, it appears they didn't get what they came for.

There is the mixing of religion and the “Church of the Third Revelation” which is taken almost entirely from Spiritism and the Third Revelation movement, a sly reference to evangelist Billy Sunday, we even got a curve ball out it, maybe even a spit ball if you count Plainview's assaying technique. Cain and Abel, a variant of the name of God as spoken in Hebrew and Aramaic, the duality of man. Anderson reached very high with this film. He’s becoming a great storyteller and he’s entering a new phase of originality. Is he shooting arrows too far over our heads?

Perhaps this film will be a touchstone of our time, a representation of where America was in the early 21st century. Individualists with singular focus staking their own places out of society, while the business savvy corner the markets we all depend on. Raving lunacy for the spirit of God coming from false prophets of our time and their followers pointing pious fingers at the “weakness” of others while unable to hide their own hypocrisy and lusts.

As the old saying goes, those who fail to heed history are doomed to repeat it. Students of the Bible can tell us about “Generational Curses”. As for me…I’ll keep watching ATT gobble up all that they once divested, while staring at the Lucent logo and wondering if the National Recovery Administration logo looks dated.