Friday, April 25, 2008

Inside Looking Out

The sad thing about consumerism at the top, ie: American consumerism - is that it carries the weight of veracity. That is, we luxuriate under the grand illusion that afflicted the bio-racists, such as Binet, of colonialism's heyday: That rationalism, hard science, logic, and economics were proof of western (subtext/subliminally, white) culture being superior.

On the obvious level, well... there's just too many examples of how gross we are as a consumer society. I remember I saw an aerial shot of an industrial sized cattle and hog farm, which had huge swaths of brown running out of them.

Yes folks, they were rivers of crap. Shit rivers.

For those of you who aren't aware of the implications of this kind of food production, take my word for it: it's bad news on several fronts and all of them having to do with the environment, your health and animal cruelty.

Yes, we Amerikkans are the fattest, grossest, most wasteful and consuming-est... and as was true in "The Mysterious Orient" a fat kid was a sign of posterity.

Which serves as a weird prolegomena to this chain of events:

1. An article which appeared in Jezebel;

2. A solicited response of a Woman of Color by an editor at Racialicious; and,

3. My response below.

While I think the original Jezebel article speaks to all of the naive aspects of Amerikkkan culture/peeps, the thing that leaps out to me is Sarah's admitted ignorance; "I was not into interna'tl politics at ALL..." [sic] But there's a catch; she takes the usual colonialist's way out and places the onus on the Other: "I started wondering about Islam and why people hated the U.S. so much." Typical.

It reminds me of the time when a white gal asked Malcolm if there was anything she as a white person could do, and he hurt her by saying "No." While Malcolm wishes later he hadn't told her that, he then makes a very valid point: white peeps, instead of attempting to understand the Other, should FIRST understand themselves.

As the cliche' goes, there's two sides to every story, and as Rashomon points out, sometimes more. This means understanding history outside of the usual pablum we are fed via the US conglomerated news media. A good place to understanding why any Other peeps hate us is to look at ourselves, our foreign policies of invasion, installation, and yes, terror. Think about Korea, Japan, Vietnam, El Salvador, guns for hostages trading with Iran, the Janus-faced creation of Saddam and then his lynching... and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Yes, uncle scam LOVES to fuck with Others and then open his eyes wide and ask with upturned palms, "WHY do 'they' hate us?"

This is the main problem I have with Aaminah. Additionally, unless one is being entertaining or funny, I've grown a thick skin toward peeps who have to qualify their responses with a level of physicality. So she pukes because of Jezebel's transgression. Ok, you are sickened, literally, by such ignorance and flaunting of power. But unless you get white people in power to turn the mirror of reflection on themselves and away from the microscope of examining the Other, you can't possibly expect white people in power to "get it."

Empathy and self-reflection; two huge things missing in Amerikkkan consciousness. And yes, it all comes full circle folks. Remember our reality, those comfy two-car garages, our lattes and Sunday strolls on Malibu Beach or the barrio/ghetto where even mainstream news media is ignored, but yet the blaring spam of corporate consumerism is heard loud and clear? That's our psychological blanky, and we're like big babies, being fed pablum while told, "THIS is the life."

It isn't. It's OUR life. Rife with all of the Stepford Wives and their manicured lawns that reach their fingers into our brains and massage it - CONSTANTLY. And with that comfort comes the assurance that what we are doing must be right, otherwise things wouldn't be so good. What's dumbya's big tagline; "They hate our freedom."

Freedom to do what? Buy a $10 sweatshirt at Wal-Mart (China's largest consumer and therefore instigator of mass pollution. Take a look at Beijing's air sometime - it's disgusting) and feel like you got a deal while being blisffuly unaware that some Chinese person worked like a machine cranking those out in a sweat shop for a dime?

Wasn't it dumbya who said in 9/11's aftermath, "Go out shopping?"

This is why I say, Marx got it wrong. Religion isn't the opiate of the masses, it's that rectangular piece of plastic with "Mastercard" on it.

Aaminah concludes by saying that rags like Jezebel can't be expected to incorporate Other views. Well, news bulletin: YEAH. But by not calling them or even Sarah (whom she kinda lets off the hook) out to turn that reflection back on themselves, she misses the opportunity to get white peeps to do the most important thing in life: look at yourself. Clarification: pointing out their prejudice is fine, but relating it to the overall terrain of mass media and how they are no different from, say, the major broadcast networks in that regard.

The thing is not being surprised, or shocked, or even sickened. Ok, you can get sick, but to make that the lead in to your piece instead of calling out whites for their lack of self-understanding misses the boat. In so doing, you've made your revulsion the theme. It's like balling out a kid for leaving his computer on while his room's a mess. So ignorant white peeps, like little kids, don't wanna hear it, and keep on "leaving their rooms a mess."

So keep telling them their room's a mess.

That's your job, to point out their pathology, and not to stop until they get it, not to make it about you, and your revulsion, your shock. Is it tiring/wearying/a pain in the ass? Of course. But, seriously, who gives a flying fuck about your shock (or mine for that matter?) when powerful old white men are running amuck and giving Others plenty of reasons to hate us ... ? I mean, c'mon, check out Exxon-Mobil's profits over the past two years - records for any corporations in our entire history. (Save for Walmart who rose to number one this year, but Exxon-Mobil was right behind them) Think there's some connections to be made here?

It's like what Don Piri Thomas said his dad told him when he was a boy; that before attempting to smell other peep's caca (bullshit) that he should first start with himself and realize that he had plenty of his own.