I was on a Skype group, and some guy interjected with some racial stuff. I was put off. It wasn’t exactly the place for it, and it didn’t seem appropriate. Truthfully I realized that I think discussing racial stuff is low-class. To talk about it is to show you are not the right kind of person, and in fact a loser. Nobody wants to be a loser.
I consider myself a very independent, non-conformist person, a radical idol-breaker even. I was highly conditioned with all kinds of liberal stuff as a kid. Should I not be free of that? And yet even I am uncomfortable with racial talk out of a well-defined context. What genius, to make people afraid to speak and think just as a matter of status.
I have been watching “Mad Men” on DVD. It’s a soap opera, and some parts are a bit dull, but I guess what’s interesting is the continuing theme of how phony everybody is. Everybody is pretending to be something other than what they are. They don’t even try particularly hard to connect it to the image-selling of advertising.
Maureen Dowd gets into a new book about Obama talking about his reinvention as a black American politician. Obama was one thing, but he wanted to be something else- something cooler, that would make him more power and money. Who the hell doesn’t? What decent, red-blooded American doesn’t want to be like the people on TV, with their clothes, cars and other stuff? It’s noted Obama liked to read Hemingway. Hemingway was the ultimate phony image-maker, a favorite of wimpy literary types looking for macho authenticity.
Communism is leftism as a religion; European social democracy is leftism as a political philosophy. American social democracy is leftism as a consumer product. The idea sold by marketing is that the product brings with it not only a new identity, but a new reality.
It worked incredibly well for Obama; it got him elected President of the US, an accomplishment that while it never occurs without great luck, requires great political vision as well. The only problem was that he was left like the Robert Redford character at the end of “The Candidate”, asking “What do we do now?” It worked incredibly poorly for the voters of the US; they were supposed to have acquired a new identity as cool progressives with a hip black friend and a new political and economic reality of a calm genius who would fix everything.
It is said that the happiest day you have with a boat is the day you buy it and the day you sell it. People buy the dream and image of boat ownership, and find the expense and hassle of maintaining and operating a boat to be something else.
Reality can’t be bought, acquired or adopted, it just is. Image is not a substitute for it.