Yesterday, I had the chance to go sit in an outdoor theater and watch a performance of Moliere’s Tartuffe. Originally called “Tartuffe, the Hypocrite” it was rewritten multiple times by the author to try to get around censorship by the Church and was subsequently renamed – Tartuffe, the Imposter. It was wonderful. I haven’t had that much fun at a play in years. And given everything going on in the world is was a perfect satire to watch.
If you weren’t paying attention, you would think Tartuffe was about the hypocrisy of organized religion. It isn’t really, that is just the vehicle, Moliere pokes a finger at every aspect of society that allows hypocrisy to become its ruler. It makes me wonder where the satirists of our times have gone. I would think that between the tea partiers and the 99%, anonymous, democrats, republicans, liberals and fundamental Christians they would have more than enough material to embarrass us as a whole and perhaps prompt us into a little more realistic assessment of our actions and motivations.
Moliere’s grandmother in the play would have stolen the scene even more as she castigates the family with a vicious string of slogans, platitudes and quick solutions that make no rational sense.
I am still reading Aftershock, almost done in fact. And I recommend the book to anyone who cares about the functional quality of their life and economy. I think it’s a good read for anyone who wants to know how the recession happened, where it is going and for the most part, how to survive it. Granted, it is written only for the upper portion of the 50% of Americans with any kind of stocks or savings, a great deal of it can be applied to any economic status. It has been refreshing to see someone (a group of people really) writing without a political/social agenda and with a tremendous emphasis on reality. These economists happen to love what they do. What they have to say is not pretty or pleasant, but it has the ring of truth because they take the time to show you how they arrived at their conclusions.
That said, unless a miracle happens in the last 4 chapters, Weidemer has missed the greatest bubble of them all. The bubble that has made all the other bubbles possible. Obvious, but then again, as he points out, it is hard to see bubbles before they pop. But I will talk about that later. I have to bring the level of my explanation up to meet the level of theirs so the two ideas can fit together and be used. I also have to wait until I get through the next few weeks. I hope that I can do this without exploding.
Seeing Moliere brings Shaw to mind. Specifically “The Unsocial Socialist” and “Major Barbara.” Both I return to read quite often because they are good ways to ground oneself in reality.
That and “the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table.”
One of the plusses (to pardon the pun) of being on google+ is at first it was a predominately tech crowd which was like getting a crash course in how companies on the Internet operate and why our productivity and innovation in technology has been so effing slow. In that regards I fully agree with Weidemer in his assessment of American production, we stopped producing or being innovative about 30-40 years ago. That is not to say that we haven’t done anything, but when you place it against historical leaps and growth the impact of technological advances has been practically nil. We have a bunch of gadgets and widgets that essentially allow us to do nothing but consume and to not even do that well. What I have learned about business on the Internet has given words to my suspicions. Anything that Facebook is slammed for doing is what everyone else already does. Facebook has rarely been an innovator, merely an ingenious mass marketer.
With all that I have learned to taken into my circles people who identify themselves as having very different opinions. Conservatives, Liberals, Tea Partiers, Anarchists and so on. It is like seeing identity psychology in action. While each label has a very fundamental ideology that is bandied about, few of its members agree with the ideology in whole. Yet, in this era of consumer ease, the political process has become the equivalent of a fast food restaurant and the actual views and opinions of voters have no way to be represented. Each label deals in broad simplifications that are designed to disallow effective discourse or action.
Like the immigration thread from earlier this week. There is no “immigration” issue or policy. Right now, there is a very strong issue about preventing Latin Americans (read Mexicans) from entering the country illegally or gaining citizenship. I say this not to fly the “oooohhh its racism flag” but to point out that the entire history of our immigration policy has been designed around responding to ethic and race controls. Just read the titles of the historic immigration acts, it says it all. What has never been undone is that from the get go our immigration policy was geared to preserving a white population. That is not an interpretation; it is stated in the Naturalization Act of 1790.
We have lost our ability to openly discuss our concerns under the banner of being politically correct and promoting equality. If we were talking about creating a Mexican Exclusion Act (ala the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act), the conversations we would be having would be much different. We like to perceive ourselves as being the land of equality and freedom but our core concerns do anything to support that. How many people, do you think, would be willing to support a Mexican Exclusion Act versus an Immigration Policy? Not many, because it removes the illusion necessary to believe in justice, fairness, equality and democracy. Remember what Baumeister said, self-deception has a limit but it always has a basis in fact. The self-deception is the formation of something dubbed an “Immigration Policy.” The fact is that it should be called the Mexican Exclusion Act.
It is like watching what has happened to affirmative action in universities. Where it has remained, it has been delicately gotten around to meet loose racial/ethnic quotas (i.e., black but not American blacks) and where it has been done away with (California) they are just now starting to see the damage it is doing to the Universities and communities as a whole (and building) because it takes 10 years to move through the cycle to remove people from the system who otherwise would not have had a chance to participate.
While I am not a fan of focusing advocacy on individual identities to the point of excluding their relationship to a global identity, I do strongly support that things, acts and advocacies do need to be called what they really are and not dressed up in fancy and non-specific words.
If I am homeless, please do not call me a constituent – doing that makes the fact that I am homeless less important than finding short term comfort solutions to guarantee my vote.
If I am ill, I am a patient, please do not call me a client. Calling me a client implies this is a business transaction and that my life is not as important as your dollar line.
If I am poor, do not call me “the salt of the earth.” That plays into the idea that you will always need me to be poor in order for your life to have flavor.
Red eye flight tonight. Ticket purchased and confirmed but there are no seats available on the plane. This should be interesting. I still have to post the dates for Mexico but in a nutshell…I will be appearing on the Mexican National Radio on October 13th for an interview and to read filemon in Spanish, then I will be at a local high school on the 14th for an appearance, and then at Casa del Lago on the 15th for the performance at 7pm. The performance is free and open to the public and I will get details out soon, but if you can scoot on down to Mexico City for a bit and like poetry, I think you will like Poesia en Vox Alta 11. They have selected poets from many countries to come do their thing and it will be a blast.
Ok. Coffee. Packing. Hours of stress about getting a seat on a plane and then back to the mad kitten.
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