Like ideologue and Bolshevik. And I’m in Love again.
Whereas They (and their white, Christian, selfish, diabetic, old and dying constituency) couldn’t so much as carry his jock strap.
Maybe the world isn’t quite as hopeless as I thought.
A great analogy for our (America/Earth) current predicament was presented on Bill Moyer’s Journal on PBS last Friday by Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson. Their analogy was to use the movie (and real life event) Apollo 13. (The “Houston, we have a problem!” movie.)
Metaphorically, the argument is that, today, our “ship” (country/earth) is adrift in space, venting gas, in obviously desperate straits with no way to accomplish its original (overly optimistic?) “mission.”
So we have a choice: either we a.) get the ship safely home (by switching modes/models in favor of survivability/sustainability) OR b.) fail ugly/screaming (Mad Max and Soylent Green were cited as likely/possible futures under our current failed energy policy – A K A Peak Oil).
Bittle and Johnson describe the issue in essentially Manichean terms – i.e. there is no possible “completion” of the “mission” because its “success” (as originally and unrealistically defined by our falsely optimistic White, Christian cultural/economic traditions) is today eliminated from consideration.
Like all participants in an addiction recovery program, we must admit we are at/near bottom; that our (reasonably primitive, fossil fuel powered, technology/economy and its individualistic and self-aggrandizing goals) has failed and is leading to outright catastrophe.
Now, like those NASA engineers, we must cooperate to get our “capsule” home (to survival and sustainability), we must empty the “box” (containing only the materials onboard our capsule – no God; no false optimism) and repurpose ourselves toward an evolved definition of “success.” We must admit that either the whole capsule gets “home” with all of us safely onboard – or we all fail (decline and perish) equally.
Apollo 13 is a fabulous analogy. And while Bittle and Johnson use it only as a metaphor for Peak Oil, as an engineer, I see it as analogous to nearly every “modern” human/living resource problem: economy, energy, food, water...
Bittle and Johnson cite Cuba as an example of our inevitable peak oil future. In the late 1980s when the Soviet “empire” essentially collapsed, Cuba was crippled economically when the USSR stopped subsidizing its consumption (as one day China et al will stop subsidizing America’s debt-based consumption). But Cuba survived, politically and economically, despite little/no outside help (e.g. no Haitian-style “aid”) from the corporatist West. Cuba has been embargoed for decades by wealthy nations, the IMF, World Bank, etc. But it survives. And so can America -- as soon as its abandons its failed consumer (debt) dependent, corporate led and Washington enabled capitalism for the poor (e.g. high unemployment and zero return on cash savings) and socialism for the rich (e.g. insufficient upper income/inheritance taxation and “too big to fail” bailouts).
Has the American Republican corporate Whore of Babylon spread her legs for the last time?
Aren't you glad you voted Republican (Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito) you obese, uneducated, diabetic, Wal-Mart, breeding fools?
Now the only hope for working Americans is that the parasites (corporations) finally kill the host (rule of law). That, as principles like justice and democracy lay dying in our streets, profit too becomes a casualty of the corporate led Armageddon wrought by Republican court appointees.
But will corporate sponsored history remember this day?
"And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
Haiti is a failure because America’s (trust fund capitalist democratic) model is a failure – for every nation but ours – or those, like ours, possessing vast natural resources (wealth) and relatively small human populations.
In short, I really wish that someone would write “An Economist’s History of the United States.” Then, like Zinn’s masterpiece, which exposes US labor hypocrisy, American economic hypocrisy could be exposed for what it is – not a divine, deserved, economic reward for God’s Chosen People, but simply good, old fashioned luck. In short, listening to self-descriptions of American economic superiority is equivalent to a trust-fund baby (Donald Trump or George W. Bush for example) describing its economic acumen on a TV show right before it says “you’re fired…” In other words, if Haiti could simply awaken to find milk and honey (resources) dripping down its leg -- as our White, religious extremist forefathers obviously did on this continent -- then it too could become an “American economic miracle!”
Thus, Haiti, like much of Latin America (until recently) remains a “welfare queen” state – arguably because (former?) resource rich nations like the US obviously like/need it that way strategically. Because God Forbid Haiti awakens one day and realizes, as did Castro’s Cuba or Somoza’s Nicaragua, that it’s one thing being poor and eating dirt sandwiches, but quite another being poor, eating dirt sandwiches and remaining forever a de facto “welfare colony of the Americas”, complete with corrupt government and self-limiting culture, sustained only by the (borrowed from Deng Xiaoping’s China) economic largesse of an arrogant, obese, Trust-Fund-Baby-in-decline “empire.”
America (since it loves war anyway) should be run more like the military (As a vet I know whereof I speak.):
In short, I hate to tell you this, but we’re (obviously) in a fuck-load of trouble. And the only thing that might get us out is fusion (creating atoms and molecules – i.e. more energy out than in – the classical “perpetual motion” machine pipe dream). And frankly I don’t think I’m going to live to see that. Do you?
If not, then shouldn’t we seriously be rethinking Wall Street-Washington-corporate capitalism? Hunkering down. Rethinking what it means to be human. Raising efficiency by an order of magnitude. Socializing “too big to fail” profits (not just losses)…
Trickle Down or Deficit Up are merely competing, but equally doomed schools, failing through inability to adapt.
One needn't express metaphysics to match The Great Authors to see that a (human-centered, biological) world blindly obfuscating itself from genetic absolutes — from real consequences for the stupidest and the wickedest — is destined to fail repeatedly and perhaps one day abjectly.
Is the film culturally relevant and therefore worthy of rigorous analysis? Unequivocally the answer is yes, merely based on two facts: a.) rarified (cult) following built steadily from an unassuming release in 1998 and b.) brilliantly subversive, iconic characters.
The Dude is no “slacker prince.” He is much, much more. He is a triumphant survivor in the face of capitalism and its relentless, media-driven dogma proselytizing corporate servitude through work, debt and consumption. In the words of the gospel of Jesus Christ, The Dude is in the world but not of it. In the words of The Stranger (narrator) character in the film, “The Dude abides” – no matter what, who or how – he survives, like me, like you, like us – intermittently victim, survivor, Philosopher King , bowler, pothead, American. But unlike most of us, The Dude rarely sacrifices humility or humanity despite living in a dehumanizing world where pet dogs exhibit greater honesty and awareness than most people.
Maude’s artist archetype is insufficiently realized in the film (to serve brevity and continuity in the story) but remains obvious and therefore recognizable. Thus, as “artist” archetypes I shift focus to the Coen brothers themselves. The Coens’ art is a legitimate means to challenge the hypocrisy of the status quo. But is it effective? Does it change anything? So far, no good! Perhaps that’s why Joel and Ethan poke so much dark-hearted fun at themselves, their religion and their countrymen. Theirs is comparatively high art – serving as both entertainment and therapy.
Walter’s angry, but religiously compliant. Like America, he’s basically lucky – but it’s mostly only made him fat and lazy. He knows there’s more to life, but doesn’t know how to get it. His talent has been wasted generating a series of base hits rather than risk swinging for home runs. As such, he’s steeped in a kind of hopelessness and self-resentment. So, like Glenn Beck (or me), he judges mercilessly and self-righteously. He’s very good at it too. The pragmatist prefers brutal honesty, but will occasionally lie if it serves the “right” (his) cause. If pressed (as by Bunny’s Nihilists) he can attack or defend -- mostly harmlessly – unless you’re silly enough to fall for rhetoric over substance. Unfortunately, we Americans mostly are.
In 80 years, the capitalist fraud archetype has never been as obviously manifest in American life as now, in the wake of Lehman Brothers’ spectacular September 2008 collapse and subsequent Wall Street bailout by Congress and the Federal Reserve.
As I write this, the bone marrow of every working American (and at least the next two generations) both masks and protects the apocalyptic incompetence and profligacy of Wall Street and Washington – a simultaneously epic and tragic poem consisting of some 30 TRILLION verses.
Inheritance, whereby the moneyed aristocracy transfers its title (wealth) to subsequent, mostly jejune, generations is nothing short of a crime against humanity. Like Wall Street and Washington, the Coens’ Mr. Jeffrey Lebowski neither earns nor deserves his wealth or princely mansion. Like too many American “leaders” he gets it the old fashioned way: through inheritance or simply cheating – embezzling from his wife’s charitable foundation in the same way Wall Street embezzled billions in 2009 bonuses from average working Americans.
America is past due for a modern day Magna Carta between working people, the idle, trust-fund rich and greedy-by-nature corporations. Rarely has this need been more obviously or desperately portrayed than the simpering, pathetic, lame, yet self-aggrandizing Coen Brothers’ character, Jeffrey “The Big Lebowski.” A man that, all things being equal, couldn’t so much as carry The Dude’s jock strap.