Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hit the button, hit the button...

I wish I could remember exactly when I saw it, and more of what he said, but I think it was my boy Bill Maher and I *think* it was fairly soon after Sept. 11th. He compared the general U.S. public to rats. Lab rats, who had been trained/brainwashed to hit a button in order to keep their supply of food or whatever coming. He said we act like that, doing as we're told, unthinking. Oh, OK, the Supreme Court made Bush my "president"...oh there are weapons of mass destruction...oh I should vote for this...? Oh, OK. Hit the button, hit the button. Don't even think. Do anything they'll tell us to do. They feed us. They keep us alive--in our miserable little cage. Only, of course, how he put it was better. It was incisive commentary and it was brilliant. I so need to find that again.

I personally have often shared my own theory that Prozac, Zoloft, and their SSRI anti-depressant ilk are largely responsible for Bush et. al. It's kind of a similar idea to his. I see us as terribly Brave New World-esque these days. Rather than soma and feelies, we have mass distributed drugs that are yielding billions for Eli Lilly and other pharmaceutical companies while no one really even claims to know how they work nor can anyone identify the nature of the "disease" they are meant to "treat." (A "cure" is not even discussed, for obvious reasons.) And we have remote control. So if the big bad realities of the world are too much to handle, we just hit the button and look for something better -- Paris Hilton in jail, perhaps, whose treatment is so much easier for us to process than the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo.

So, in keeping with our grand tradition of doing anything to avoid feeling an actual emotion in response to the Bush Administration's evil warmongering ways -- an emotion such as, oh, I don't know, how about outrage? -- we numb ourselves with soma Zoloft and escape to the feelies five thousand channels who claim to portray our "reality."

And then when along comes Michael Moore, or Hillary Clinton, you say, "Ohhh---(s)he's so controversial. People don't like him/her." You say this long before you think through anything they've said. You say people "would never elect" Hillary. Because....why? Because she's won over practically the entire New York populace with her outstanding performance in the Senate? because we're going to "elect" Bush instead? Why exactly? You judge Michael Moore's movie before you've seen it. He's "wrong and inflammatory and one-sided" you say. And you know these things because...? What was it again? Oh right, I know. That's what you heard. Or read somewhere.

Well for the love of god read something else! Try this:
Sicko: Commenting on Commentaries.

While we sit on the couch, let's see what happens if in response to that emotion creeping up from deep in the pit of the stomach, that anger or despair or disgust, see what happens if you actually feel it, instead of hitting the button/popping the pill (or, yes, drinking the beer...) to make it go away before it actually makes you pay attention.

Also, I think I really should give Brave New World a place in my top ten books list. That was a damn good book. I want to read it again. I read it when I was 15. Oh, but then I forgot -- we didn't have Harry Potter. We didn't have anything good to read as children and adolescents. Apparently, to hear some folks tell it, before Ms JK Rowling Thang there was nothing so imaginative and well-written under the sun. Ugh. Who came up with that line? Whoever it was, a lot of you bought it. And repeated it. Often. Hit the button. Hit the button.

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