Posts Tagged backlash

Money Madness and the Rise of “Obvious Truths” … Around Taxes, the Wealthy, Job Creation, Democrats, Republicans, Generations, Your Life, and You: When ALL You Hear Are Lies, You Think It HAS to Be Truth

Foolin’ the People … About Money, About “Us” (The 1%), About Taxes, About Job Creation, About Democrats, About Republicans, About Generations, About Your Life, About You: Choose the Red Pill

Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness

Tax the Wealthy, You’re Taxing Me … Foolin’ the People About Money

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Obvious “Truths”—Fiscally Responsible Republicans and Tax and Spend Democrats

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Tax the wealthy, you’re taxing me.
  • Democrats tax and spend, they bust the budget, balloon the National Debt.
  • Republicans are fiscally responsible, fiscally conservative; they balance budgets and are careful about the National Debt.
  • Rich people create the jobs.
  • The wealthy are society’s creative sector.
  • That “class warfare” stuff “just doesn’t work.”

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Obvious “Truth” – Tax the Wealthy, You’re Taxing Me

norquistBut when you hear the same things again and again, even black-and-white facts can be put up for dispute. For example, during the 2008 presidential race and prior to Obama’s first budget the Democrats’ tax proposal was explained as a tax cut for the middle class and no increase on any Americans making less than two hundred thousand a year. This was a black-and-white fact, part of the public record, not in dispute. But how did the Republicans explain it?

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That’s a Small Business?

Tax Cut & Budget Deficitimages (12)I certainly heard it, over and over again; I bet you did too. Republicans were saying the tax proposal was going to affect small businesses. So we have small businesses that are making over two hundred thousand a year in pure profit? And that’s a small business? That’s a smallbusiness? I think if you’re making, after all your deductions and everything and you’re still making two hundred grand, I think that you’re not a small business, I think you can afford extra taxes, but that’s what we are told.

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We’re All Rich. Somehow I Missed That Memo.

So apparently we got a group of people who think that people are really rich. The assumption is that most Americans are rolling in dough so that any tax increase on the wealthy is an attack on all Americans.

wealthydietSo, you can’t tax that sliver of the very, very wealthy a little bit more so that the majority of Americans might benefit. Benefiting the majority of Americans used to be how you got to “home base.” But now, it’s like, “No, you can’t tax Americans; we are Taxed Enough Already!”

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Obvious “Truth”: The Democrats’ Want to Take Your Money.

689024238The way this “obvious truth” is phrased now…no way to get around it, it’s a flat out lie…goes, “You can’t tax the very rich, cause that’s…” and they’ll just say it right out, “that’s gonna affect all Americans, that’s taxing everybody.”

Well how did it get to that conclusion when actually it’s going to lower taxes. And they were saying it over and over again, “No, we don’t even need to know what the plan is; we just know he’s a Democrat and that he’s going to raise taxes,” they would say of Obama…or for that matter of any Democrat at any time in recent history.

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Now, how did that become true? Well because…he’s a Democrat and well haven’t you ever heard the term tax and spend Democrats? And there we go again.

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Obvious “Truth” – Fiscally Responsible Republicans

Pointing Some Fingers Already

Alright, let’s go back. Pre-Roosevelt turn of the century initiatives so common and familiar now, such as the Food and Drug Administration, are the kinds of things Democrats brought in that added to government. Yet, Republicans spout misinformation; they get people angry about “evils” of such “big government.”

Misplaced Credit

The Democrats are the ones who brought in the FDA, worker’s rights, workman’s compensation. They’re the ones who put in Medicare. They’re the ones who put in Social Security.

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Misplaced Blame

And we remember the Republicans are the ones who created the Great Depression, created poverty for everybody at that time. They’re the ones who did it again with Bush, who tripled and nearly quadrupled the National Debt under the twelve years of Reagan-Bush, then more than doubled it under George W. That’s a lot of goddamn money.

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That’s a Lot of Money.

4223And then the Republicans were giving away seven hundred billion dollars to rich people who afterward were giddy in their ingratitude. This giveaway, keep in mind, came at the end of Bush’s terms. Police_Occupy_Protest_CartoonAnd you would hear CEOs bragging how they’re not going to spend any of that on people; they’re not going to use any of that money to loaning any of it out, which was supposed to be the purpose.

And even afterward, all Congressmen were agreeing that’s a huge amount of money, which at the time was the biggest amount of money being spent at one time, in such a short period of time on anything. every_gop_2012_candidate-460x307And how could we forget that they just took the money and did whatever they wanted with it? They paid off debts to other rich friends; they went overseas and invested in other countries.

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Chase Didn’t Use the Money for What It Was Intended.

317486_10150357184771862_526281861_8706445_629664980_nGoldman Sachs used sixteen billion of what it received to pay off an outstanding debt to a German bank. The head of Chase bank is known to have said he wasn’t going to use the money to increase credit. In fact, he said he was going to keep that money and he was basically going to feather his nest with it and keep Chase solvent so that when other banks went under he could buy them up with it. That’s the money of the taxpayers he’s playing “Monopoly” with, mind you.

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Obvious “Truths” – Tax and Spend Democrats

yaltasBut stacked up against the facts we have this idea of tax and spend Democrats. It’s been repeated, going back many decades. It basically goes back to Roosevelt who ended the Depression and benefited virtually all Americans. And now that’s somehow a bad thing, brought up to get you mad about the tax and spend Democrat. And they’ve got all Americans convinced that if you vote for a Democrat, they’re going to take your money, they’re going to tax it, and they’re going to spend it on somebody else. Well, that has nothing to do with the truth.

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Social Security, Medicare, and Surpluses, Oh My!

It has nothing to do with the truth. Certainly Roosevelt benefited all Americans with Social Security and so on; certainly Medicare, brought in under Lyndon Johnson benefited the vast majority of Americans. All these things the Democrats did. tumblr_lugzb6cRh11qfjo8fo1_500And Clinton raised taxes on the very rich a few percentage points and balanced the budget. Clinton created jobs and prosperity, balanced the budget, reduced the National Debt, and created a surplus that could have gone into creating a better America for all Americans. But, no, that was considered bad, because they said it hurt all Americans when the extremely wealthy had to give a little more in taxes.

The Fun Times Anticipating the Surplus

Never mind the facts, never mind that fact that we had a surplus that we were talking gleefully about how we were going to spend it. If you can remember, we were discussing investing in better roads and infrastructure that would have benefited even the businesses.

Stealing Home

220px-Ronald_Reagan_televised_address_from_the_Oval_Office,_outlining_plan_for_Tax_Reduction_Legislation_July_1981But no, it wasn’t about the truth anymore, it was about how you made it to home base, how you got money for yourself. Mitt_Romney_Corporations_Are_PeopleAnd it didn’t matter anymore if you just skipped all the bases, and you started at home and went to home…if you just took the money. grover_norquists_stunning_tax_heresy-460x307I mean, after a while the Republicans could just do that; tax breaks for the wealthy just because they were wealthy. Because, after a while, after all those years of repeating it: They could get away with, If you tax the wealthy you’re taxing all Americans. Wow.

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The Wealthy Are the Creative Sector All Right … Creative in Stealing Our Money

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Obvious “Truth”—The Wealthy Are the Job Creators

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Rich people create the jobs.
  • The wealthy are society’s creative sector.
  • Poor folks don’t create jobs, don’t invest their money.
  • That “class warfare” stuff “just doesn’t work.”

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Obvious “Truth” – Rich People Create the Jobs

Obvious “Truth”—The Wealthy Are Society’s Creative Sector.

3001217305_fc96d11d48_bYes, I have actually heard it said this way; a good chance you have too. Here’s how it works: Raising taxes on the wealthiest is gonna hurt all Americans because by taxing that sliver of the upper two percent of Americans, you are inhibiting the creative sector’s ability to create jobs. Rich folks are society’s wealth creators. The wealthy are the creative people in our country.

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They’re Creative All Right.

They’re the creative people, huh? Yea, they’re creative in stealing from us. They’re creative in fattening their wallets at our expense. They’re creative in getting people elected who are liars and things like that.

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That’s not the kind of creativity I’d like to have. As far as creating jobs. Who creates jobs?

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Excess Wealth Given to the Rich Created High Art Prices, Not High Employment.

MetroTimesTaxwealthy-people1Here’s the facts. You know all that money that was given to the rich people? All those tax incentives given to the rich people by Reagan? Well, It didn’t create jobs so much as it created a lot of excess wealth that went into, well, people were buying yachts, and they were investing in art objects that were being bid through the roof.

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mTigKNSThe wealthy were scrambling; they had so much money they were fighting over art objects. And the art objects — paintings and so on, famous paintings – were making headlines in being sold for so much. During the Eighties under Reagan it was common to hear of 39 million dollars for such and such…58 million, 82 million. Of the 25 most expensive paintings ever sold, only two did not come at a time when tax cuts of either Reagan or one of the Bushes were in effect. And because what? Because the rich had so much extra freakin money. Now you tell me how many jobs money tied up in art objects created?

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Real Truth—The Rich Will Squander or Sit on Extra Money.

lap-dancing-smallearn-money-game-testerI mean it isn’t rocket science. It’s very simple … simple psychology. This has to do with facts: You give money to rich people who don’t need it, they’re the ones who are going to squander it; they’re the ones who are going to spend it frivolously, or not going to spend it just let it sit. They’re not going to benefit society with it; they’re not going to multiply it; they’re not going to invest.

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In economics this is called diminishing marginal returns. Simply put, it means that food eaten by a hungry person will reap greater reward than the food consumed later when the person is satiated. The same amount of money funneled into projects, or people, will have a greater percentage return when sorely needed than when not; a dollar will go far toward feeding a hungry African child and will be as nothing for a rich American. You simply cannot throw money at folks or ventures and expect to get as much, let alone more, return or reward later when the person is less “hungry” or the project less “starved” for funds..

Obvious “Truth”: Non-Wealthy Folks Don’t Create Jobs, Don’t Invest Their Money

Real Truth: People With Less Money Will Sweat Over and Multiply Money, What They Can.

cash_mob_hawaii_the_sourceWhereas, you give a fraction of that money to a poor person, a tiny amount of that to a poor or moderate income person and what will they do? DSCN6340_edited-1You have any idea how somebody who is poor will make a little bit of money go a long long way?

I saw my father do it. He is the same person making the meager fifty dollars a week at one point. And he wasn’t making much more, but he eventually got a truck driving contract with the U.S. postal service. He was able to own several trucks and to hire several workers.

So, why did he do that? Because he didn’t have a lot of money. LIQUOR-03_1314983701And by taking those chances and becoming a businessperson, taking that little bit of money he had, he created jobs for a few other people. Because he was motivated, he was desperate. And for him it was all about a chance to raise himself out of being poor. He spent his life scanning for such opportunities till he finally came across one.

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Billionaires Are Not Highly Motivated to Become Millionaires.

img_20110619_14435620100226_momandpop_18So you have people who would take any money coming their way to better their situation in life, the real American way. They would really love to be millionaires; they would risk their very lives for that. They would work their asses off. But those folks aren’t the people who are already billionaires.

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But Nobody Will Point This Out!

82183663AW003_Meet_The_Pres495px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_SkidmoreSo you’ve got these inanities thrown out there. They’re being said over and over again…” Rich people create the jobs; they’re society’s creative sector.” These obvious untruths are not being 5192217_f520propagandacountered by journalists and pundits. There is really no one pointing out that anything is a lie, there’s nobody saying out loud that these self-serving pronouncements are untrue, or that what is being said is vastly different from the facts.

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Makin’ People Foolish – Foolin’ the People About “Us” (The Rich)

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Makin’ Foolish People – Foolin’ the People About “Us” (The Rich)

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Things you hear a lot are true.
  • Simple “truths” are real truths.
  • Democrats think they’re better than everybody; they’re snobs, elitists….
  • Unlike Republicans who are regular people just like me, folks I could sit and have a beer with…who’d understand me.

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Confused People Take Comfort in Stupidity

When ALL You Hear Are Lies, You Begin to Think It Has to Be the Truth.

2009059026So, what happens? What is the result of these things being heard long enough, with nobody countering them or anything. It’s natural, if you hear something said enough, you don’t question it.

BUSHQ-UAEDA-q-IRAQI myself am that way. I was told that we should go into Iraq because there was weapons of mass destruction. I didn’t hear anybody saying anything differently. So I believed it. Well, that turned out to be a lie.

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dumbestgeneration381403781_348626541815889_100000056392831_1428618_1287915522_nIt’s just natural that if you don’t hear anything to counter something, you’re going to believe that the only thing being said is the truth. And that certainly has increased over time…through the years.

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Democrats Feel Like They’re Talking to a Wall; They’re Talking to the Weary.

imagesdIt is not that these lies weren’t countered; they were…by progressives and Democrats…and the few, the brave of commentators. In later years, MSNBC emerged and could be counted on for straight talk. Comedy Central became the “real news” for the young educated for being willing to throw light, albeit hiding behind the built-in denial mechanism of a comic façade, on the inanities of the Wingnuts and Well-Funded.

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17gore3-1906a00d834515edc69e200e55074c1e48833-800wiBut that has not been the reality touching the lives of ordinary Americans. What I observed is that the great majority of pundits weren’t any help in clarifying things for people. Journalists would say, “Ok, Mr. Democrat, Alan-Grayson-Die-Quickly-Signwhat do you have to say about that?” And The Democrat would respond with a reasoned argument, laying out all these things that made perfect sense if you’re familiar with the issue.

And pundits wouldn’t delve into their argument, tease out its elements so as to enlighten.

And keep in mind that now more than ever people need that. We have people listening to this who are working two jobs, tired, overworked, worried about their health care, stressed. PepperSprayMoran1They’re not going to be able to follow an argument very well. In fact they’re going to forget what all those words meant and how they all fit together.

So after a while a lot of these folks are going to say…I’m sure you’ve heard them, they’re Republicans and the ones who vote for Republicans…they would say, “Aw geez , that’s just a bunch of words, it don’t mean anything.”

Thousands turn out at the State Capitol to rally against Obama policies, huge deficits, bigger government and higher taxes.  Corneliu Constantinescu (CQ) wears tea bags on his hat at the rally on the steps of the Capitol.</p><p> Photo by Doug Beghtel/ The Oregonian

But what the hell does that mean?

Confused People Retreat Into the Stupid.

talking_pointsWell, it means that all these words can’t be remembered, they can’t take root in their mind after the lies they’re always hearing from the other side. They are images (9)surrounded by the organized disciplined ongoing assault against them by the Republicans. They are filled up with talking points benefiting the wealthy comprised of simplistic simple-minded irrational mantra…irrational, repetitive, simple slogans.

images (7)So, the result is that Democrats don’t end up having a lot of power; they don’t get elected. I saw it happen in presidential election after presidential election. I saw Reagan saying simplistic things, getting all the people pissed off about poor people and about the Soviets.

imagesFrom the other side, I heard his appealing to the worst in people countered by reason, by sensible explanations and realistic proposals of a Dukakis, a Carter, and a Mondale. And then at the end it was…. it didn’t mean a damn thing. Because people just felt more comfortable around somebody who kept things simple, who said simple words, and seemed angry like they were.

21883Not that Reagan said anything indicating any of his policies were going to benefit average folks. No, actually he screwed them, but they still liked him! Because Reagan, like other Republicans, are able to confuse people into thinking that any screwing up, of any time, must have been done by Democrats. They will tell you your poverty now is caused by Democratic policies of the past which actually got us out of depressions, recessions, and created surpluses. Medicare-keep-your-hands-off-my-medicareThey will tell you your lousy health care now is caused by money going to the Medicare that you like. They will tell you that the financial squeeze you feel is because of the “penny” going to a poor person not the bundles of loot they are taking.

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GOP Priorities Exposed

And Burdened People Become Confused People—That’s Their Plan

20111130_foxnation_missionaccomplishedht_pepper_spray_meme_05_nt_111121_ssvSo, the electorate is swimming in these simple irrational things that have been made to sound reasonable. And they are unable to see through them because they have been kept in this situation of increasing pressure to produce, produce, produce; of less leisure time and no time to think; of worries, medical care, all kinds of things you have to put out money for. They can hardly see through the swindle since they are distracted by the threat to their lives from insurance companies–those folks who may or may not pay you if you need it though you have faithfully paid them.

We’ll Insure You, Up to the Time You Need It

It’s gotten to the point where you have insurance but you dare not ever make a claim. You live with the risk of unexpected loss to your home at any time that you can not cover, because if you make a claim you may not get it next time. You risk losing home insurance and threatening your home. What the hell kind of insurance is that? You are insured but they can deny you? They can deny your claim, or as it happens all the time, you have one or two claims, and you no longer have an insurance company.

healthcaredeniedSo if your payments are not making them a profit, if you are one of those few who are costing them more to be a member or to be covered by that insurance company, if you’re costing them more, they’re not going to take it out of the profits of all those who are costing them less, so, you’re eliminated. So why do we even have insurance companies? Most people have insurance just in the hope that they’ll be covered.

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Rational Thought Replaced With Slogans … How Can Anyone Know the Truth?

How Can Folks Unite Against Injustices Hidden From Them

NKlkMI2SRL0IQlPdkbgbNQ Who has the time to think clearly or reason confronted by all this other uncertainty, this other insanity? So we have all these pressures and then there’s these slogans put out and people are not able to follow rational arguments.

3397681586_5618507954_oHow this expresses itself came out in a discussion yesterday on Facebook. One rational type was trying to reason with a supporter of Mitt Romney, who was convinced everyone knew all the “true facts,” EVERYONE knew about all the “failed” and horrible things Obama had done…as she’d learned from Glenn Beck among others. Michele_Bachmann_Census_Worker_CemetaryMy earnest and reasonable friend finally threw in the towel saying, “It’s like talking to a random thought generator. What do you think about foreign policy? fruitloopsCheese.”

That is the result of factoids, “obvious truths,” replacing reason in burdened and confused minds. So how could these people possibly, without being able to see clearly, how could folks like this ever be united against the REAL injustices against them…which they don’t even realize are happening…their minds filled with the fake stuff?

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How Can Folks Protect Themselves From “Wizards” Hiding “Behind the Curtain”?

Police_Occupy_Protest_CartoonKu-Klux-KlanPeople do not even know who the perpetrators are, for the pundits won’t tell them. Folks cannot figure it out for themselves; and the pundits absolutely refuse to point out who’s responsible for the things that add misery to their lives.

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1220-fox-news-misinformation_full_600FREESPEEMedia types say they cannot do that because they say it has to do with, something about equal time. But that was supposed to be for elections. megyn_kelly_essentiallyAnd, as I pointed out earlier, equal time turned into something where, no matter what lie is put PepperSprayCop_Magritteout there or would be put out, no matter what truth is put out there, the media will find somebody, they could find anybody, who would be willing to say a lie and sound reasonable for the purpose of confusing things.

With all this, how can anybody know what the truth is?

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A Rising Tide Lifts All Yachts … The Rich Are Getting Richer and the Workers Are Getting Humiliated

Increasing Humiliation of Working People, the Rich Get Richer at Our Expense

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Obvious “Truth”:

  • A rising (economic) tide lifts all boats .

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Real Truth – The Rich Get Richer at Our Expense.

Life Has Gotten Harder – Real Truth

169007433_6c6845aa50crppdSo we have this increasing deterioration of our prosperity, of our standard of living, of our joy of life. Life becomes more and more of a struggle, and who benefits? Well we see who benefits. We now have a new super rich class which is above even the very rich. It’s called the filthy rich, as I’ve pointed out.

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Real Truth – Our Suffering Has Paid for Even Greater Obscenities by the Wealthy.

american_slaves36And to create this super-rich class where did that money come from? Well, it’s come at the cost of average people like us. slavesinegyptAnd I can tell you this because I lived through it all. I’m old enough to have seen the changes. I was born in 1950. I’ve been there to know, things are much harder than they used to be.

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tumblr_ll9s8ivSVj1qjab9ao1_r8_500studentsAnd our rights and our freedoms have changed. Because of their successes in the Culture War/Class War, because of Reagan and Bush, the Patriot Act, the neo-con takeover, and everything, our rights to speak out and to live without harassment have been diluted. Out of all the civilized countries in the world we have the greatest percentage of our people in jails. So what does that say?

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Humiliation…Increasing Humiliation of Working People

We have these huge corporations taking over and it’s humiliating to people. I mean in times past we had the small retailer, perhaps this person had a small coin shop, bakery, drugstore and pharmacy, shoe shop, maybe a corner grocery store. Now, there aren’t any small stores like that. And where does that person end up making a living?

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Well, he worked in retail so maybe he even ends up working for the same department store hat pushed him out of business. So what does that do to your self-esteem?

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oil-profit-sign-300x300Financial_Wealth_1There’s example after example of people like that in recent years; it’s something that went into high gear under Bush. There are ever more people who are losing their jobs, well paying jobs, because they’re being sent overseas; and they are sometimes actually forced to train the people who are taking their jobs.

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I can say I feel fortunate to have lived many years in an America quite different from what most people in America being younger than me have been growing up with.

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Hippies, Yippies, Yuppies … How the 1% Diluted the Progressive Movement by Slandering Boomers to Foster Culture War Between Them and Gen Xers and to Distract from Their Own Looting

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The Yuppies Were Hardly Boomers … But This Idea Supports a Right-Wing Agenda by Pitting Progressives Against Each Other … Try the Red Pill Instead

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Yuppies are former hippies.
  • “Flower children” abandoned their idealism and became greedy careerists focused on money.
  • Former young radicals saw the error of their ways and became more conservative politically as they got older.
  • The “Me” Generation is the Sixties Generation
  • Sixties youth turned from free love and a sexual revolution to conservative sexual values and evangelical religion.
  • “My Generation” gave up their idealism as everyone does with greater age and maturity.
  • The Woodstock generation turned from pot and visionary thinking to booze, cocaine, and disco dancing a decade later
  • The “free love” generation settled down and focused on family and jobs, centered around monogamy.
  • “My Generation” is currently filling up the suburbs and feverishly maximizing their portfolios, at any and all cost.

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Real Truth – All the Above Are Lies … Propaganda to Further the Motives of the 1%, the Filthy Rich

I can say I feel fortunate to have lived many years in an America quite different from what most people in America being younger than me have been growing up with.

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I watched in the early Eighties the lies about a “Me Generation” coming out. Republicans brought that out to beat people down with. The idea was planted that people who wanted anything for themselves were selfish, for after all only the wealthy should ever benefit.

And it’s funny too, how they were able to use their own spawn to make this case. You could look around and see a new cadre of young folks—Gen X Yuppies—who had bought into the WWII values, who had been deluded by the untruths the 1% of that WWII generation had been using against the masses. The rich elite had succeeded in convincing those younger of mind that the wealthy folks interests where actually their own.

The 1% of the WWII Generation’s response to Sixties activism on campus, as I showed earlier, led to their taking over the universities in the early Seventies and turning them away from the humanities and social sciences and into career mills; I was there and observed it first hand. The success of this is what created the Yuppies in the Eighties–young upwardly mobile professionals–who were the first batch of Generation X—who are those born 1961 to 1981, who therefore left high school beginning in 1978. [Footnote 1]

So these Gen X Yuppies were coming onto the scene in the early Eighties, when the first of them were leaving the universities. The turnaround in education, away from free thinking and towards conservative careerist values, was in full swing by the time they reached college in 1978 on. And its effect on them was patent when they began coming of age. They were what the WWII Generation wanted: money-oriented and compliant…greed had been made “good” again. Standouts of this generation today are Sarah Palin (born 1964), Eric Cantor (born 1963), Rand Paul (born 1963), and Paul Ryan (born 1970).

So then the WWII Generation, fully in charge of society, could point to these yuppie spawn as examples of the obscenity of greed, thus deflecting attention away from their own, WWII Generation, me-spiritedness. To further their ends, they also claimed the origins of this unseemly greed lie in the failed, unrealistic values of the Sixties generation and their idealism.

This was one of their most amazing feats. They were able to take their values of greed and conformity, sow them in another generation, point to those values and criticize them, blame them on the hippies, all the while hiding their own espousal of those values. They perpetrated, denied, criticized, scapegoated, distracted, and obfuscated all together! They thoroughly convinced Americans that the Me Generation and Yuppies were those who formerly were flower children.

Whereas this actual Me Generation, these Yuppies, were predominantly a bunch of reactionary young people who said to hell with this idealistic stuff, and of helping out, and kumbaya, and all that stuff. They said, we’re for money, to hell with any one else. And somehow the WWII-Generation-owned media, assisted by a Fifties Generation now in their prime, convinced folks that these careerists out only for themselves were the one-time visionaries. Of course they only pulled this off because they owned or controlled all the major organs of expression in America—the newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, education, book publishing. I’ve delineated how they did this in one of the earliest all-out assaults, after their initial setbacks in the Sixties, of the Culture War/Class War they have been waging on the 99% since that time.

The media flooded American minds with the idea that the Me Generation was My Generation (I’m “talkin’ bout my generation” here) in the Eighties. They had prepared the ground for that lie, as there had been constant slander of my generation in the press since the beginnings of our activism in the Sixties, exactly like they are now putting out against the Millennials and those in the Occupy movement today. Beginning in the Seventies, owning the publishing and media industries, they concocted the lie that there was a conservative backlash going on. (See Chapter Two: Matrix Aroused, the Sixties and The Big Lie About Yuppies Being Hippies.)

This supposed conservative backlash was merely a continuation of Nixon’s laughable claim that he was supported by a “Silent Majority,” which he had used since the beginnings of his term in 1969 and which was obviously false, as demonstrations grew in size and support swung away from him throughout this period; and eventually he was forced to resign. But Republicans always claim there are a majority of real folks out there—“real Americans” as Palin and her kind say today—who support them but are doing it secretly. (btw, lol!)

Anyway, by the Eighties the powers-that-be were able to place this idea of a selfish “Me Generation” of Sixties youth, which they had been saying for a while, as being the ones on the campus at the time or recently out, the Yuppies. It fit their narrative. But it was a lie, and virtually all my generation knew it and thought it laughable. We stopped laughing after a while as over the years, it became clearer they had done such a good job of preparing the ground and repeating the lie that it stuck in the minds of those other than my generation—the Fifties Generation ahead of us and Gen X behind us—and the right wing, who of course saw this as red meat to further their causes. The media controlled by the 1% said the Sixties generation had gone from idealism to just wanting money, thereby discrediting their opponents, us who were consistently representing the 99%. At the same time they gave credibility to their claim of the superior veracity of their own values of greed, materialism, ruthless pragmatism, ego above all, and even me-spiritedness. Also, it validated, even glorified their personal traits of conformity, hard-headedness, cynicism, compliance, and even mean-spiritedness .

The Lies About Jerry Rubin

They could only give one example, Jerry Rubin; and even about him they lied and slandered. First off, neither Jerry Rubin, or Abbie Hoffman for that matter, were Boomers or Sixties Generation members. They were Fifties Generation, born in 1938 and 1936 respectively. Boomers were born in the post-WWII baby boom from 1946 through 1960. So that is enough to discredit what they said about “my generation.” But taking it as an attack aimed at the counterculture, let’s examine it:

They said Jerry Rubin was engaged in trying to make money. And they never mentioned what he was trying to make money on… but God forbid anyone but them should try to make money anyway. You see, what the 1% do is drive people into lowered standards of living and poverty where they experience desperation for money at times. Then they can point to that grasping to survive as proof that their values of money above all else are legitimate and that it is not possible for humans to have any other values higher than that. They create the conditions that they can use to support and validate themselves…how convenient.

But telling the whole truth would never allow them to do that. They didn’t mention about Jerry Rubin that he was engaged in selling health supplements; he was trying to help people out with their health. He was involved in multilevel marketing. He was an early investor in Apple Corporation, helping to foster the cybernetic revolution that progressives depend on today and which has strengthened our movement incredibly with Facebook and Twitter aiding us in overthrowing dictators in the Mideast and joining us in support of the Occupy and Wisconsin union movements.

He traveled with Abbie Hoffman in doing “Yippie versus Yuppie” debates, that is true. Since it did not fit the narrative of their discrediting their opponents in the Sixties generation, they never understood or at least never mentioned that in using those terms for their “debates” they were continuing their tradition of fucking with their opponents’ minds by flaunting the terms that had been used against them. Critics don’t get and opponents conveniently overlook the heavily ironic and playful way my generation, and Yippies in particular, present themselves. “Yippie versus Yuppie” is supposed to make you think; it is a hook; and it is funny to those of us in the know. Believe me, I have the same problem with people sometimes misunderstanding my intent for the opposite of what I believe because of the amusingly ironic titles I sometimes give my writings.

But Rubin’s position in this “debate”—which was actually a discussion of different ways the Sixties values might succeed, not be overturned—was that the POOR COULD BE HELPED by promoting programs to create wealth in their communities. I quote:

Rubin’s argument in the debates was that activism was hard work and that the abuse of drugs, sex, and private property had made the counter-culture “a scary society in itself.” He maintained that “wealth creation is the real American revolution. What we need is an infusion of capital into the depressed areas of our country.”

Someone who knew him well, Stew Albert, said this of Jerry in eulogizing him.

Jerry was always a rebel, but then he was always a rebel within the rebellion. He was always sort of rebelling against the norms of the rebellion.

And,

Jerry changed costumes, and he changed rhetoric, but he never changed his heart.

Does that sound like someone promoting the interests of the 1%? Or like someone just out for himself, as Yuppies really are? Remember that at the time, militant, even violent revolution had been in the air for a while—with the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, and the Symbionese Liberation Army and such. So “Yippie vs. Yuppie” was a leftist debate about tactics. Today it would be considered a discussion of liberal vs. progressive views…hardly conservative, Yuppie, or Republican views. And Jerry Rubin’s putting on a suit made him about as conservative as it made Bob Dylan a conservative when he picked up an electric guitar at the Newport Festival of 1965. Dylan got booed for what was only considered unusual alongside some very high, and strict, expectations about purism in music having nothing to do with political ideology or musical quality but simply technology. Rubin’s wearing a suit was the same kind of thing at the time he did it…and it had nothing to do with ideology but simply tactics—i.e., revolutionary technology.

Also, at the same time as Rubin was doing all this and supposedly a Yuppie, he was running a legal and civil rights office in an artsy/alternative part of L.A., Echo Park, where he also lived. When he died he was on his way to dinner in the company of Fred Branfman of the Making a Difference project, whose purpose was to bring money into poor communities by helping inner-city youth learn how to start their own businesses. Does that sound like a Wall Street careerist? Does that sound like he turned over his ideals and bowed to the god of money? So, lies, lies, lies. And these lies become instituted and they’re not challenged after a while, after you hear them for decade after decade after decade….

You have to be older to know that it wasn’t always the way they tell you it is. It helps to have lived in different times and places and to have seen things with your own eyes to be able to see through these inane “obvious truths” that people take as absolute truths. It helps to have had experience with the things they are talking about to know what are actual facts and what are complete fabrications.

Setting the Record Straight on Boomers

Boomer-Generation X Culture War

A friend who supports the Occupy movement, and who happens to be a Gen Xer, recently shared this with me,

As a Gen Xer, I have to say we were outnumbered as a Generation with half the numbers of the boomers and the previous traditional generations.

…the boomers cut taxes on the wealthy and wages for the middle class to create the world’s largest debt, our dependence on dirty foreign oil grew as our manufacturing base got shipped over seas.

You Boomers call Gen X a slacker generation while doing all that?

It is the boomers who are the dead beat generation now.

If this person were correct, then why have the Boomers voted consistently Democratic? [Footnote 2]

The Gen X/Yuppie—Fifties Generation alliance was responsible for getting Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II elected. Boomers voted against Republicans, especially these; it’s all in the public record. Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II are the ones who did the tax cuts. Whereas Clinton—a Boomer and a Democrat—raised taxes on the 1% and balanced a budget for the first time.

Indeed, all Democratic candidates and Presidents going back to Roosevelt at least, with the one small exception of Kennedy favored and fought for raising taxes on the 1%, not cutting them, so as to relieve the burden on the 99%. The right likes to use Kennedy as an example of a Democrat seeing the wisdom of cutting taxes to improve the economy, but Kennedy’s proposed tax cut for the 1% was when the marginal rate was 91% range, not at 35% as today, and the country was prosperous. (See The Myth of JFK as a Supply Side Tax Cutter.) Also it was not instituted until Johnson began his term … which was incidentally when the huge deficits began. So Kennedy’s tax cut had nothing at all to do with the prosperity we enjoyed during his term, indeed its institution marked the beginning of increasing deficits.

Even today, it is Democrats—supported heavily by Boomers—who are opposed to tax cuts and favor reining in the greed of the 1%. This includes Obama, who incidentally is a Gen X-Boomer cusper, born 1961. Note that he has surrounded himself with Boomers—Biden, Clinton, et al. And they are engaged in that same Democratic struggle of decades past of trying to get the 1% to pay their fair share in taxes. Meanwhile Republicans supported by that Fifties Generation (the Koch Brothers, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, et al) – Gen X/Yuppie (Palin, Cantor, Ryan, Rand Paul) alliance oppose Boomer-Democratic tax and other progressive initiatives at every turn.

So to accuse Boomers, who voted predominantly for these Democrats and their policies, of cutting taxes is grossly misinformed or a lie. And for a Gen Xer to do this blaming is either ignorant, a denial, or delusional…but is in any case a product of that misinformation I’ve been talking about.

For to address that Gen Xer’s charges of Boomer’s causing the dependence on dirty foreign oil, the Sixties Generation started the environmental movement. I know a little about this; as I explained previously, I was one of those who helped bring nuclear plant construction to a halt in America, which we did in Springfield, Oregon, in the early Eighties. We, Boomers…I was born in 1950…supported Democrats who fought for environmental legislation, alternative energies, and reduced dependence on dirty energies against Republicans, supported by the Fifties-Gen X alliance, who watered down those policies and legislated a rape of our natural resources and our environment to benefit big business, Big Oil, Big Nuke, Big Coal, and the 1%.

As for the accusation that Boomers sent our manufacturing base overseas and caused a lowering of middle class wages, how can that possibly be true alongside the more than obvious knowledge that Democrats are the ones who consistently push for and favor raising the minimum wage and are the union supporters? Can this OWS person not be aware of the parallel Wisconsin union movement which has Democrats and union folks up against Republicans and Gen X/Fifties Gen Koch-supporters? Or is he somehow unaware of the fact that Boomers have consistently voted in greater numbers for Democrats than Republicans over all these decades? [Footnote 2]

Well, this shows the amount of success the WWII Generation and Fifties Generation enjoyed in shifting the blame for their policies and their theft of the national wealth. And, by the way, it was the WWII Generation that had the greatest retirement wealth per person and who instituted Social Security and other benefit programs for themselves … making themselves the wealthiest as well as the “Greatest Generation.” Probably with the tax cuts, the current Fifties Generation who in their retirement years are raping the wealth of the country to fatten themselves, are bettering them. Whereas the Sixties Generation, scapegoated again, is facing cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits at the exact time as they need it and are facing or entering retirement—being beaten down, harassed, and scapegoated by the Gen X-Fifties Generation alliance again.

You think this is ancient information and is irrelevant to what is happening today? Remember that the comment I quoted above from my Gen X friend and fellow Occupier was from only last week. He has his sights set on my generation as the perpetrators of the problems; these ideas have caused a split between Gen X and Boomer Progressives. I can tell you that his comment is not atypical from others I hear from Gen X in their attitudes toward Boomers.

Similarly, to some extent the Millennials believe Boomers are at fault also—this is what they have been taught. They are simply misinformed and so are not so committed to the lies as the Gen Xers. The Millennials are open to the fact they have been deceived. After all their Boomer parents are models of the fact that these “facts” are actually lies. The Millennials have been made to believe, simply, that their own parents and those of their friends are somehow just different from those “bad Boomers” out there who are really the selfish and tax-cutter ones.

Lies and toxic misinformation are not healthy, at all, for a movement that is predominantly an alliance of Millennials and Boomers, with some Gen Xers (notably, few Fifties Generation folks). After all, how do you think a progressive Boomer feels, after fighting his entire life with his generational cohort for the changes that we are still fighting for with the OWS and Wisconsin union movements, and after hearing his entire life the made up lies, the slander, the scapegoating about himself, his generation, and his beliefs? How do you think she feels seeing those same lies being pulled out again and thrown against OWS supporters, for example, continuing therefore to throw salt into old wounds? And finally how do you think she feels to hear from her friends and allies in the movement that she has been the problem all this time, not the solution? It is disheartening, to say the least.

In this antagonism against Boomers, the other side—the WWII-Fifties Gen alliance, supportive of the 1% and their Tea Party sycophants—have won again. [Footnote 3]

For these WWII-Fifties Gen lies have thrown discord into progressive ranks. And they have thrown off the aim of our movements as to who the perpetrators are, giving the 1% a convenient fog of confusion behind which they can continue unfettered their actions against us.

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Finally a most visible example of the right-wing/Republican Fifties Generation – Gen X alliance was shown in the last presidential election with a Fifties Gen, McCain, matched with a Gen X – Palin, born in 1964, coming smack in the middle of the Yuppies (1961 through 1970). This is the generational alliance and the generational values we should be targeting, not Boomers, and Progressives would do better to know that.

The “Truth Dividend” of Having Been Around

So, in understanding what might be the truth and what are obviously lies, it helps to be older, for you can know that it wasn’t always the way they tell you it is or has to be. It helps to have lived in different times and places and to have seen things with your own eyes to be able to see through these inane “obvious truths” that people take as absolute truths. It helps to have had experience with the things they are talking about to know what are actual facts and what are complete fabrications.

And with that seeing comes the knowledge that over the course of the last fifty years America descended into a deep slumber of untruth from which it could not awaken…regardless of all the righteous efforts of many true-seeing progressive activists who did their best to sound alarms.

Continue With Culture War, Class War, Chapter Sixteen: The Fall of “Obvious Truths”

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fourteen: Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago?


The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?1305835355


Footnotes

1. A lot of confusion about Boomers, Yuppies, And Generation X has been generated by the Census Bureau and main stream media. A generation, see below, is defined as a cohort of people occurring roughly every twenty years who share some common viewpoint and experiences.

This is what a generation actually is:

Defining a generation

Lynch Armenia Five generations.pngStrauss and Howe define a social generation as the aggregate of all people born over a span of roughly twenty years, or about the length of one phase of life: childhood, young adulthood, midlife, and old age. Particular generations are identified (from first birthyear to last) by looking for cohort groups of this length that share three criteria. First, members of a generation share what the authors call an age location in history: they encounter key historical events and social trends while occupying the same phase of life. Because members of a generation are shaped in lasting ways by the eras they encounter as children and young adults, they also tend to share certain common beliefs and behaviors. Aware of the experiences and traits that they share with their peers, members of a generation also tend to share a sense of common perceived membership in that generation.[16] For example, in a 2007 Harvard Institute of Politics survey, Americans born 1982 to 1989 (whom Strauss and Howe define as the first-wave cohorts of the Millennial Generation) identified themselves as belonging to a “unique and distinct” generation, with an outlook different from people in their 30s or older.[17] Surveys show that Boomers also strongly identify with their own age cohort.[18]

Strauss and Howe base their definition of a generation on the work of diverse writers and social thinkers, from ancient writers such as Polybius and Ibn Khaldun to modern social theorists like José Ortega y Gasset, Karl Mannheim, John Stuart Mill, Émile Littré, Auguste Comte, and François Mentré.[19]

From Strauss-Howe generational theory

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau definition of Boomers is different. See Baby boomer.

Why would it be different? That is the crucial question. The Census Bureau’s definitions of Boomers and Generation X is as follows:

  • The Baby Boom Generation is the generation that was born following World War II, from 1946 up to 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates.[10] The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave”[11] and as “the pig in the python.”[12] By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as it passed through it. In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence.[11] One of the features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.[13]

From Generation in Wikipedia.

So why are those born 1961 through 1964 considered part of the Boomer Generation by the Census Bureau, which has informed much of the discussion on this? Why is the Census Bureau attributing only 17 years to Generation X but 19 years to Boomers, when in fact the Boomers were born in a World War II “baby boom” that had them being born in a distinctly shorter period. Whereas Generation X was born of the Fifties Generation during a more languorous, hence longer period? Why is the Census Bureaus including as Boomers those born at those end years of 1961 through 1964 when the number of births was decreasing, not “booming”?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know this decision by the Census Bureau has served pundits and right wing commentators in giving more weight to their positions by diluting the distinctly liberal voting record of actual Boomers. As I have been stating above, there was a concerted effort to scapegoat Boomers and to confuse them with Yuppie-Gen Xers. This confused definition by the Census Bureau is part of that. It has allowed pundits to slander the Sixties Generation, as I said, by attributing qualities to them that were actually a part of the WWII Generation’s Culture War Attack of creating a generation different from and more compliant than the Sixties Generation/ Boomers.

At any rate, that is why we have the discrepancy shown in this description of the Pew Report findings on “Boomer” voting patterns. Let’s look at a few relevant findings:

Of greatest interest to BTS are the Pew Research Center survey findings about Boomers.

  • In recent years Boomers increasingly call themselves conservatives. They voted for Republican candidates in 2010, but are still on the fence for the 2012 Presidential Election.
  • Older Boomers tilt Democratic while younger Boomers tilt Republican. When asked to name the best President during their lifetime, Boomers were evenly divided between Clinton and Reagan.
  • Younger Boomers and Generation Xers have been one of the most reliable Republican voting groups.

From The Baby Boomer Voting Bloc

This supports what I’m saying about generational voting patterns. The difference lies in that this author has to differentiate between late Boomers and early Boomers. They are opposite in their voting patterns. This person wouldn’t be so confused if he placed the generational divide where it belongs, at 1961, not 1965. Boomers were born between 1946 and 1960, as shown in the chart below, which also shows Generation X beginning in 1961.

The Boom Generation defined by Howe and Strauss, as shown in the chart above, born 1946 thru 1960 are the ones who vote consistently Democratic. They are the ones who shared common events and experiences growing up and were shaped by them, notably the Vietnam War; the JFK, RFK, and MLK assasinations in 1968; the sexual revolution; the explosion of the use of LSD and pot as drugs, and the counterculture. These events were not on the cultural map that faced the ones born 1961 through 1964, for they were too young. Yet how can one define a Boomer-Sixties Generation that does not include these as formative experiences?

So this discrepancy is an example of what I’m talking about in this article. For it continues the confusion about Boomers and contributes to the scapegoating and the denigration of Boomers as being a Me Generation and Yuppies being former hippies by simply getting confusing results by including some from Gen X—some actual Yuppies. To include those born between the four years, 1961 through 1964, you end up getting the confused results this author gets. You are including the likes of Sarah Palin and Eric Cantor, fer Chrissakes! I’ve never heard anyone mistake them for my generation. It would have Barack Obama, born 1961, categorized as a Boomer, as if there is not an obvious generational difference between him and some the notable Boomers in his administration, like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. But by seeing that Obama is a Yuppie-Gen Xer, it helps explain the differences between him and the actual Boomer president, Bill Clinton.

For more on this, see Generation Jones, which is the term given for those born 1954 through 1964. They are seen to be very different from the Boomers. They did not confront the same social realities as did Boomers. They even came of age after the Vietnam War. They missed the counterculture movement. It is ludicrous for generationalists to include these with Baby Boomers as especially the second half of these have an entirely opposite world view from Boomers. Their stalwarts include Rick Santorum (born 1958), Sarah Palin (born 1964) and Eric Cantor (born 1963)…hardly Boomers. Notice that it also includes Rand Paul (born 1963), who as expected is the son of a Fifties Generation parent with whom he is allied, Ron Paul (born 1935).

See also the write up on Generation X in Wikipedia, which addresses this confusion as to where the dividing line between Boomers and Gen X is as well.

Finally, see Baby boomer, which discusses this confusion and adds two important considerations: The person who coined the term “baby boomer” described them as those born between 1943 and 1960. So why did the Census Bureau change it? The second point discussed is that many theorists have two distinct generations during this supposed period of Census Bureau Boomers—Boomers and Generation Jones, which are said to be those born 1956 through 1964. So this latter group is not included with Boomers.

Is all this not confusing enough? Does it not play into the right wing agenda to dilute their opponents power by confusing their opponents profile, so they can lob any charge against them? Or attribute any self-congratulatory trait to them, as they wish?

Most of all, this strikes me as devious in that it allows right wingers to blame Boomers for the cadre of youth, the Yuppies, who were actually their creation—that of the 1% and those reactionary culture war forces—and were in no way influenced by, so should hardly be included in, “my generation” of Boomers, the Sixties Generation.

2. BLAM!! From the site, Gallup Politics, of May 8, 2009. Even though continuing the misinformation that Boomers were born up till 1964, going with the Census Bureau definition, Gallup Poll data still solidly support the premise that Boomers are predominantly Democrats, as well as the fact that Millennials are as well.

Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers

Republicans do better among Generation X

by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ — Although Democrats currently enjoy a party identification advantage over Republicans among Americans at every age between 18 to 85, the Democrats’ greatest advantages come among those in their 20s and baby boomers in their late 40s and 50s. Republicans, on the other hand, come closest to parity with Democrats among Generation Xers in their late 30s and early 40s and among seniors in their late 60s….

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Demographers and social observers have made attempts over the years to classify Americans into generational groups based on the social, political, economic, and cultural environment of the years in which they grew up and “came of age.” The most clearly delineated such group is the baby boomers, generally agreed to be those born between 1946 and 1964 — or roughly ages 45 to 63 today. Generation X follows the baby boom and is generally considered to be those born between 1965 and 1979 — or roughly between ages 30 and 44. Those younger than Generation X have been labeled Generation Y or the “Millennials,” who are 18 to 29 today. There are various ways of grouping those who preceded the baby boom generation, including the famous sobriquet “The Greatest Generation” used by Tom Brokaw in his book of the same name, but it is convenient to label those who today are 64 and older as seniors (even though some in this group would no doubt resist that label).

From Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.

Notice here that not only are arbitrary birth figures used to stipulate Boomers and Generation Xers, but everyone older than a Boomer is classified as part of the World War Two Generation—”The Greatest Generation.” So they would have everyone born in the forty-five year period from 1901 through 1945 to be WWII Gen even though some were born during the war and had their coming of age after the war and in the decade of the Fifties—those born 1925 through 1945. Elsewhere this generation has been termed the Silent Generation or the Eisenhower-Presley-McCarthy Generation…I’m calling them the Fifties Generation for convenience sake. Still, the study does find Democratic tendencies among Boomers, however wrongly defined, and Millennials. And it finds Republican leanings among Generation Xers, however wrongly defined, and the Fifties Generation, however wrongly defined again, as shown by the graph below:

The current data suggest that political party identification in the United States today follows these generational patterns to a perhaps surprising degree.

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· Generation Y (18 to 29) clearly is skewed fairly strongly in the direction of being either independent or Democratic in political orientation. This group constitutes a significant weakness for the Republican Party.

· Generation X (30 to 44) includes some of the strongest support for Republicans. For whatever reasons, the Democratic over Republican gap among Generation Xers, particularly those ages 37 to 43 at the heart of this generation, is on a relative basis much closer to parity than for any other age group with the exception of those in their late 60s.

· Baby Boomers (45 to 63) skew Democratic in their political orientation, with the Democratic advantage reaching a peak at ages 58 and 59.

· Seniors have a more mixed pattern of party identification, with Republicans gaining on a relative basis among those in their late 60s, but with Democrats doing better as Americans age into their 70s and early 80s.

Bottom Line

Democrats have a significant advantage over Republicans today in terms of overall party identification, and the data reviewed here show that this advantage holds at every age between 18 and 85.

At the same time, there are clear ebbs and flows in the degree of this Democratic advantage across the age spectrum. Democrats have the greatest advantage vis a vis Republicans among Americans at the very youngest voting age and also among members of the fabled baby boom, particularly those in their late 50s. Republicans do relatively better among those who are in Generation X, including in particular those in their late 30s and early 40s. Republicans also show greater support among older Americans in their late 60s….

There is…the hypothesis that the differences are explained by the unique circumstances that surrounded the coming of age of the generations. Baby boomers, as is well known, grew up in the tumultuous age of civil rights, Vietnam, Woodstock, and Watergate. It is certainly possible that these events have marked this generation in a more Democratic or liberal direction for life. Many Generation Xers came of age during the Reagan-Bush years (1980 to 1992) or the “Republican Revolution” marked by the 1994 midterm elections. Today’s Generation Y has reached maturity in a time period largely marked by the administration of George W. Bush, and certainly for many the nascent Obama administration is a major formative factor in their political orientation….

From Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.

Now contrast what above is said in the Gallup Poll about Boomers with what is said here about “late Boomers,” or who Howe and Strauss and other social scientists would call Generation X, and I would call Gen X-Yuppies:

the 1980-1988 run where young Late Boomers broke heavily for Republicans in the three Presidential landslides of that decade. When that generation grew to political maturity, it resulted in by far the most Republican-identifying generation in over half a century, the 1994 Republican landslide, and the general sense of creeping conservatism the country experienced through the 1990’s and first half of our current decade

From The Importance of Generation Y.

The article above also describes the Democratic voting patterns of the Millennials, or what they call Generation Y.

On the idea that the Millennials being the sons and daughters of the Sixties Generation/Boomers, as I continually point out, I offer the following definition of Millennials from WhatIs.com

Millennials, an abbreviation for millennial generation, is a term used by demographers to describe a segment of the population born between 1980 and 2000 (approximately). Sometimes referred to in the media as “Generation Y,” millennials are the children of the post-WWII baby boomer generation.

A few things about millennials:

  • According the U.S. census bureau, around forty percent of the millennial generation is African American, Latino, Asian or of a racially-mixed background.
  • There are about 76 million millennials in the United States (based on research using the years 1978-2000).
  • Millennials are the last generation born in the 20th century.
  • Twenty percent have at least one immigrant parent.
  • A number of studies, including one by the Center for American Progress, anticipate that millennials will be the first American generation to do less well economically than their parents.
  • Millennials are also sometimes called the Net generation because (at least according to some people) they don’t remember a time when there was no Internet.
  • As a result of growing up with the Internet and associated devices, millennials are often said to be the most technologically savvy generation to date.

Finally a most visible example of the right-wing/Republican Fifties Generation – Gen X alliance was shown in the last presidential election with a Fifties Gen, McCain, matched with a Gen X – Palin, born in 1964, coming smack in the middle of the Yuppies (1961 through 1970). This is the generational alliance and the generational values we should be targeting, not Boomers, and Progressives would do better to know that.

3. There is some scapegoating done by Millennials out of this misinformation. The following was published a few days ago, on June 17, 2012. It is further validation of the antagonism against Boomers regarding the issues of the movement—OWS and Wisconsin union:

The War on Boomers

9/11 and the “war on terror” became part of common jargon. Recently, the “war on women” and the “war on religion” are hot political topics. Now, I’m thinking there is a “war on boomers”….

I was sitting at a reception party table politely nibbling on a too-sweet slice of wedding cake chased with lukewarm burnt coffee when a recent graduate seated at the table started whining about how unfairly life was treating him. First, he believed that four years of (sheltered) college life entitled him to a first-class ticket to affluence with a side-trip on a guaranteed career path. And, now there were no job tickets to be had and (worse) he was expected to pay back all the money he borrowed to get in on this total sham. Life was so unfair! His debt should be forgiven – because it was only fair to be compensated for this bait-and-switch.

He continued his tirade. Boomers should be retiring to make room for all the recent grads that deserve jobs now. It’s only right. On top of this, these boomers with all of their massive wealth were actually going to bankrupt Social Security – a heartless action since they don’t actually need it. The injustices just keep piling for the new graduates with their superior skills and up-to-date knowledge. Down the road he had nothing to look forward to — once he finally got that plum job that he had a right to based on his attendance at an institution of higher learning – except huge national debt and no Social Security or Medicare, an unwanted and unwarranted gift from self-centered boomers.

And, now I’m starting to pay attention to what seemed idle conversation. I glance at the Count who gives me a look that says, “Don’t go there –– please!” I concentrate on my cake that is now too dry to choke down without more lukewarm burnt coffee; and wonder if Clueless thinks those seated at the table are in our 30s (or perhaps our 80s!) and am amazed at how he can find it acceptable to disparage all boomers while sitting among them. Generously, I wonder if maybe he just has a sarcastic sense of humor. However, Clueless continues. I smolder some and then catch the Count’s glance again. He slyly places his thumb and first finger on either side of his mouth pulling a smile into place – and I reluctantly accept his wisdom. But, the Count did get an earful on the way home.

  • I think about Julie, a single mother, who helped two kids through college while working 40 hours per work as an administrative assistant, selling Avon after work hours, and running a food concession stand at weekend events during the summer. Julie has little in her nest-egg, but her children do have a chance at the American dream – although it will always require some effort.
  • I suspect that John, another co-worker, was on track to fund his retirement. Unfortunately, at about the same time the 2008 financial crisis cratered his retirement savings his father was diagnosed with Alzheimers. John knew he should avoid using his tax-deferred savings at the bottom of the financial market, but his father’s healthcare bills had to be paid. John’s plan to retire at 62 is a dream lost to reality.
  • I bumped into Mary Beth at the greenhouse when we were buying our bedding plants. She pointed us to the “spikes” that the Count insists on adding to the geranium-filled pots on the patio. As we caught up on gossip about former neighbors, she confided that plants have always been her hobby and that this “green” job was perfect. This temporary part-time job was crucial to replacing the family income lost when Jerry was laid off from his welding job – months ago. And, she laughed when she acknowledged that, in fact, “work” was a respite from a house now over-crowded since her daughter and family are living in the basement. I’m pretty certain that Jerry and Mary Beth — both boomers, planners, and savers – no longer have the luxury of maximizing their tax-deferred retirement savings accounts (or even the ability to set aside savings) as they approach the age they used to believe would be the end of their full-time working careers.

With investment portfolios and home values shrinking, medical expenses and LTC costs rising, financial worries for some boomers are dire.

  • A May 2010 Pew Research survey found that 60% of Americans age 50 to 61 believe they may need to delay retirement because of the recession. Plus, the highest percentage of any generation, 57% of boomers, said that their household finances have deteriorated in the past few years.
  • In 2010 the ERBI reported that only 13% of workers age 55 or older are “very confident” that have enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
  • Some have labeled the boomer generation the “sandwich generation”, a group dealing with healthcare issues of their elderly parents at the same time they are backstopping the impact of the stagnant economy on their boomerang grown children.

Aiming fingers and lobbing blame doesn’t solve anything. We are all in this together since our generations are linked in complex ways. We are all fighting the same war of financial and economic uncertainty, just not at on the same battlefield – as determined by our stage of life. A war on anyone does nothing but divide us – when the ultimate victory is prosperity for everyone.

From The War on Boomers

Continue With Culture War, Class War, Chapter Sixteen: The Fall of “Obvious Truths”

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fourteen: Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago?

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America Since Its “Pleasantville” Fifties: Cultural Rebirth Aborted, Changing of the Guard Denied, The Elders on Life Support, and the Abomination Fills the Land

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Culture War, Class War Chapter Seven: Cultural Rebirth, Aborted

It’s a (Not So) Wonderful Life…for the World War Two Generation Compared to Their Boomer Children

War Compelled the Dashing of Dreams for WWII Gen Youth – It’s a Not-So Wonderful Life

Sixties Youth Ideals of Freedom – So at Odds with Their Parents Lives of Heavy Responsibilities

The paramount theme in “Pleasantville”—which is that thinking for oneself and following one’s own unique path and being open to the change that comes with that brings “color,” truth, and aliveness to one’s life—is truly a Sixties Generation idea. Again, it is not that it has never been thought of before. All great ideas have been thought before, but that does not mean they have been implemented on a sociocultural, macrocosmic level. Many ideas have remained in the realm of the solitary pursuits of philosophers and mystics and been exemplified only in individual lives. But the Sixties was such a time of turmoil because the values of individual freedom, personal passion, feeling and experience, questioning authority, and thinking for oneself were shared by so many Baby-Boomers and were so contrary to the values of the generation in power.

It’s a (Not So) Wonderful Life

An excellent example of how opposed the Sixties values are to those of the WWII Generation is found in that beloved movie of all time, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart. In that film, the main character is prevented by circumstances from following his dreams. One event after another keeps him from leaving his home town. His story might be called “The Truman Show” in reverse for he comes to accept the loss of his dreams. He is rewarded for giving up his yearning for adventure with the warmth of a loving family and friends.

Nonetheless, he has been reduced to someone who simply follows a script or role and when it appears that he might fail in that role he considers killing himself.

Reassures a Generation

The movie is beloved and timeless, no doubt, because it reassures an entire generation and all those who have had to give up their dreams for whatever reason that their sacrifices were for a higher good and that it is a wonderful life after all.

Will never know what might have been.

It provides a rationalization against the painful feelings of knowing that one will never know “what might have been” by pointing out the truth that one’s life affects others and has meaning regardless of whether or not one has been fortunate enough to actualize one’s deepest desires, talents, aspirations, and dreams.

War Compels Dashing of Dreams

As mentioned, “It’s a Wonderful Life” calls out to and epitomizes the experiences and attitudes of the World War Two Generation in particular. They were called upon to fight a war, after all, which no doubt would derail many a young man’s (and woman’s) dreams. As in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the circumstances that arise to prevent their following through on their dreams are imposed from the outside–the state of being at war and being called upon by a draft to enlist or else be enlisted. For the women, as well as the men who stayed behind, the war’s influence on their lives and the carrying out of idealistic schemes and dreams are only a little less pronounced. For, as in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the war created a society heaving with needs and pain, which only the truly heartless (who wouldn’t have any dreams anyway) could not help but feel compelled to respond to.

Growing up too fast

In one way or another, the situation in the Forties, with the war effort and afterwards, created a generation who, except for the rare individual or one of unusual circumstances, was called upon to step up into mature responsible tasks long before the idealism of their youth would have preferred that they do so. And their generation is scarred for having missed this opportunity. They are individuals deserving of our sympathy; yet crippled they are nonetheless.

We Are the Centaurs (My Friends)… The WWII Generation’s Sacrifice Made the Idealism of Their Children Possible

The WWII Generation’s Sacrifice Made Sixties Visioning Possible

Mashing Butterflies and Drowning Kittens

This is not to say, however, that the generations before the WWII Generation were allowed their dreams and that the WWII Generation is unique in being crippled in its development. For we know that earlier child-rearing modes required the submission of children and youth to parental wishes (again, see “The History of Childhood As The History of Child Abuse” by Lloyd deMause). Therefore, dreaming or envisioning an adventurous life was not the norm. For much of the history of the world and in most cultures, indeed, even the selection of one’s spouse was decided by the parents. So much has our history–in both Eastern and Western cultures–been marked by the assassination of youthful dreaming, idealism, and choice that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet can be said to be a revolutionary work in even depicting that this assassination of dreams is a tragedy!

Roaring Into Life

Still, the WWII Generation can be said to have been especially affected by this slaying of self, for they did, after all experience the heady freedom of the “Roaring Twenties” and the dreaming that preceded the Great Depression. In the Twenties, victorious in World War I and with it now put behind, America was coming into its youthfulness and was heady with its achievements. Unbelievable accomplishments and inventions in all areas of life were speeding up sociocultural change causing some to believe that a new era was around the corner, just within reach, an era unlike anything the world had ever known. This was the atmosphere in the Twenties when the WWII Generation were in their childhood or adolescence. It couldn’t help making a very strong, because of its being early, imprint on their expectations.

Suddenly Depressed

However, these dreams would be dashed in the Great Depression, during which time they would be adolescents and young adults, and they would be harnessed into struggling like their parents had to earlier and were now again struggling.

Getting a New Deal…Light at the End of a Tunnel

Still, as time wore on the dreams of a new world would be reignited with the idealistic union movement and the Franklin Roosevelt changes in the social contract that rescripted the relation between the society and the individual, creating a symbiotic one which enhanced them both as champions of each other. Folks would magnify the power of the person when united with others. They would dream of a fairer world in which the rich did not dominate with their wealth because the poor could balance the scales with their strength in numbers, adding to their individual power by joining in unions and by combining their votes in elections. They could begin to envision the light at the end of the tunnel of the Great Depression in which they might realize the freedom and adventure they’d glimpsed around them as children in the Twenties.

War. Shot Down Again.

So it is understandable that they would not wish to enter World War II when it began. And Pearl Harbor Day, when their fate was inevitably forged, when it became clear that for the second time the light of individual freedom would be extinguished, would become an important marker in their lifetimes–a day almost as much to be memorialized as their birthdays.

We Are the Centaurs (My Friends)

Sitting on the Shoulders of One’s Ancestors

For this we can pity the World War Two Generation. As in John Updike’s The Centaur, the World War Two Generation is depicted as a generation that was required to give up its dreams and do its “duty,” above all. It was required to carry out a script given to them by their society, not allowing them to follow their natural youthful ideals. And as in Updike’s novel, they are beaten down in a life that is regimented and has no “color,” spark, life, idealism, or dreams. They have become the robot-like residents of “Pleasantville.” But Updike points out in his novel that their sacrifice, despite the personal tragedy of it on the individual scale, is both necessary and noble in that it makes possible the realization of dreams by the generation that they gave birth to.

Prince in Exile and Hundredth Monkey: Good Old Boys Are Always the Last to Learn in America’s “Pleasantville”

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The Hundredth Monkey: Good Old Boys Are Always the Last to Learn in America’s “Pleasantville”

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The Sixties Generation Arrived

It is significant that the protagonist of change in the movie “Pleasantville” would be a young male, Bud (David). This is in keeping with legends of old where a young prince comes bearing the new knowledge. But in postmodern style, wonderfully so, he is drawn only reluctantly into this role and we see that it is women who are the real instigators, the least threatened by change. At first, David/Bud opposes his sister and argues for the status quo, maintaining that his sister, who is actually the first one to “break the rules” and thereby to bring color to the town, must abide by the script.

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The Prince in Exile

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The Prince is Schooled in Tradition

sitaThe “young prince” knows the rules well. This fits with legend, where the new ways are brought by a prince who is not ignorant of tradition; in fact the prince is the one who has excelled in training in traditional ways. (See also, Common Themes from Myth and Mythology in Modern Fiction, Prince in Exile.)

In the movie, David is in fact a Pleasantville trivia whiz. He knows exactly the way things are supposed to unravel, the way events are supposed to go.

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The Prince Is Reluctant to Break with Tradition

So when his sister first introduces color by introducing sex, he admonishes her. And when he also is tempted to a change in the “script,” he refuses at first. This is when Bud is offered homemade cookies by the young woman who would be his romantic partner. He refuses because he knows that, according to script, it is another young man who is supposed to get the cookies and end up with that particular girl. Despite his attraction for the young woman, his strong sense of maintaining the status quo, not rocking the boat, causes him to try to refuse the cookies. It takes a great deal of forcefulness on the young woman’s part to get him, reluctantly, to accept the cookies that he actually does want. So, again, it is a young, significantly “colorized,” woman who tempts him into a change in the script.

The Prince Brings Change, Without Realizing It, Just Being Himself

It is not that the young man does not have the makeup for accepting change. In fact, even before his sister blatantly brings about change, and therefore color, by rebelliously introducing sex, he has already sown the seeds of change, although unconsciously, when he suggests to his boss, Mr. Johnson, that he think for himself, instead of following a rigid script. This he does unconsciously and out of selfish motives in that he by nature is different from the character he is supposed to portray and so he does not play his role exactly as it is “supposed” to be played. Specifically, because he is not really the robot character he has replaced, he ends up being late for his job–which heretofore was a totally unheard of event.

The Hundredth Monkey

It is also significant that it is the young that are the first ones in the town to become “colored.” As in the hundredth monkey phenomenon, it is first the young, especially females, who are open to new experiences, ways, and ideas. Then it is adult females–in this movie exemplified by Betty Parker, the mother of Bud and Mary Sue—who are next to consider alternatives and new ways. Adult males are the last to turn to color, but among them it is the sensitive of heart, exemplified by the artist/soda-jerk character, Mr. Johnson, who “turn on” initially.

Good Old Boys, the Last to Learn

Last to become colorizedi.e., to be open to change and thinking for oneself—are the “authorities” of the town, in this instance, those on the Chamber of Commerce. And among these the most recalcitrant of all is their leader, Big Bob, played by J.T. Walsh, in his final film role before his passing away. Though Big Bob displays a pleasing and affable persona on the surface (for this read “good old boy”), there is an insidious Hitleresque quality to him which provides the suspense at the climax of the movie where he presides over the fate of the artist, Mr. Johnson, and the “young prince,” David/Bud.

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Abortion of Cultural Rebirth Always Begins With a Conservative Backlash by The “Religious Wrong”

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A Conservative Backlash by The “Religious Wrong”‘ Attempts to Abort the Generational Changing of the Guard in America’s “Pleasantville”

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“You Can’t Legislate Morals”

With the support of the Chamber of Commerce, we know Big Bob has the power to do whatever he will with the two on trial. slide_194730_434143_smallAnd since the events preceding the trial has included mob actions which have included a book burning, the attack and destruction of the malt shop, and the cornering, physical intimidation, and physical attack of “coloreds” by gangs—images common to modern times which has seen these sorts of events in actuality occurring in the civil rights and anti–Vietnam-War movements, and currently in democracy and freedom uprisings in the Middle East, America, and throughout the world in the Occupy movement—the fate of the prisoners is imagined to include the ultimate penalty of death.

“Conservative Backlash”

Indeed, this ominous possibility is promoted by the actions of the soda-jerk Artist who, at the trial, pitifully pleads for a compromise. This is pitiful since we know that his art is his life, that it is the one thing that has truly enriched his life and made it worth living.

Sitting at the Lunch Counter

We know of its importance in that, even after the attack on his malt shop, he defied the “rules” laid down by the town’s authorities which outlawed art and color by working with the Prince through the night to produce a colorful mural on the outside wall of his shop depicting the current events of the town and the feelings swirling about inside its residents.

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This defiant act by the artist is reminiscent of antiwar demonstrators, who got fired upon at Kent State, of civil rights demonstrators, who police attacked with dogs, and of Tiananmen Square demonstrators, who were rolled over by tanks, shot, and killed, and most recently of all the courageous men and women of the Middle East risking their lives for freedom and of the Occupy heroes throughout the world putting their bodies in front of the most dire, widespread fascism ever to exist.

Since this character, recently so courageously defiant, is intimidated into pleading for a compromise in which he would be willing to use only certain colors or where he would submit for approval by the Chamber’s leader his ideas for painting beforehanda compromise which his body language and facial expressions show, wonderfully acted by Jeff Daniels, is one near up against the very death of his soulwe know he fears for the loss of his physical life.

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“Just Sign This Confession.”

The compromise is too much like the compromises we have witnessed being offered and come to expect being offered to some of the Tiananmen Square and other political prisoners of recent times wherein they are required to do something along the lines of admitting their guilt, apologizing to the State for the trouble they have caused it, and promising to never again to engage in such activities…and only in the most benevolent of circumstance being allowed to continue anything like their former activities but if so only under the supervision and with the approval of authorities with veto power over their proposed actions.

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The Religious Wrong

So Big Bob and the Chamber of Commerce represent in the current social framework the Religious Right (sometimes referred to as the “religious wrong” and sometimes about which it is noted that the Religious Right is neither). Big Bob’s Chamber of Commerce represents Republicans, Tea Partiers, and those in general in our society who have succumbed to the rewards and threats of the World War Two Generation to live a regimented robot-like unfeeling passionless life; to become one of J. D. Salinger’s “phonies,” to abide by their misconstrued idea of “family values,” and above all to “behave” and not do anything to rock the boat of the status quo which might threaten the privileges of those currently enjoying power and wealth handed down, mostly, by heredity.

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Civil Rights Movement

It is highly significant that in the courtroom scene the “colored” would be sitting in the balcony, above the black-and-white men. One might say this represents their status as being an elevated state, something to aspire to, and yet not on the level where matters are decided. But even more so, this scene is important in that it is a near exact replication of the courtroom scene in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” wherein the balcony of the courtroom is filled with Blacks, another kind of “colored.”

This makes it clear that when the movie is dealing with the conflict between the adult males of the town and the “colored” it is referring to the Civil Rights movement.

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Revenge of the Octogenarians and the American Tienanmen Square – Culture War

Abortion of Cultural Rebirth, Aborted Changing of the Guard – The King Refuses to Die

The American Tienanmen Square—Culture War

The events in China’s Tiananmen Square more than twenty years ago so affected and still affects some of us here in America because we know at some level that we have experienced it before. What happened in China two decades ago is so much like what happened here four decades ago, somewhat less graphically, around the Vietnam War demonstrations. Let me explain.

Standing Before Tanks, Flowers in Barrels

For one thing, the images of the demonstrations in China, e.g., the lone man standing in front of the tank, were so like those of Sixties demonstrations, e.g., Sixties youth blocking the paths of soldiers and placing flowers in their gun barrels.

Revenge of the Octogenarians

And the result of both was the same: In both cases the opposition, the youth movement, crushed violently in China, subtly and behind the scenes in the US—at the command of an octogenarian generation, clinging desperately to power as much as to their waning physical frames.

The King Won’t Die

Assassinations—Character and Otherwise

We see the same pattern of violent versus subtle played out in the US as well where we no longer assassinate our president as we did with JFK, we character assassinate instead, as we did with Clinton and which the Tea Party and the wealthy right are trying to manufacture against Obama. One might say the WWII generation in America has gotten more finesse, with practice, in its beating back sociocultural change not to their liking and that the Chinese geriatric set didn’t have as much practice with it.

The King Refuses to Die

Nevertheless the results in both countries are the same. They involve the ultimate victory of sociocultural change in both instances being delayed until the dying off of an elderly generation in power—a generation refusing to die or hand over the controls at the proper time like the generations before them. Simply, the king won’t die!

Time is Running Out.

Time is running out for the octogenarians and ninety-somethings on either side of the Pacific.

The expected, supposedly inevitable defeat of the WWII Generation—their dying off—is portrayed in “Pleasantville” by Big Bob, head of the Chamber of Commerce, ending up fleeing the scene in the courtroom. (Strange coincidence, the actor actually died after making this film.) There are many ways his defeat could have been played out in the movie. I think it is highly significant that he runs away, never to be seen again, just as in the current context the dying off of the WWII Generation is a literal leaving of the scene, not an outright defeat, or some other means of change of power.

The King on Life Support and The Consequences of an Abomination: America Since Its “Pleasantville”

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America’s Aborted Changing of the Guard and The King Propped Up Mechanically: Since “Pleasantville”

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With these factors in mind, what have we experienced in the last two decades, as the Sixties Generation finally got its turn? As expected, it was at first quite different from what the WWII Generation had been serving up during its forty-plus years’ reign.

The Nineties

We saw the beginnings of cultural enlightening and progress during Clinton’s term in the Nineties. In retrospect it was a colorful time; it was an enthusiastic time.

The Nineties were bookmarked between the economic wreckage left by Reagan-Bush and their voodoo economics throwing money at the rich leading to a huge recession and a financial scandal—S&L Scandal—that involved, for that time, an extraordinary price tag for the country. And the other end was the assignment by the Supreme Court of the election to George W. Bush over Al Gore—a battle of a Sixties Generation member against a WWII Generation paid-for concoction, the W.

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A Culture War Raged

In between those two markers a war was waged, a culture war, whose battleseconomics, abortion, sexuality, cultural expression, war/peace, child abuse, spouse abuse; and whose personalities—Clinton, Gingrich, Lewinsky, OJ Simpson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Brown, Ross Perot—were detailed and rehashed endlessly via the daily news mills.

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The W

At the end, the installment of the W represented a resurgence, in typical Culture War style, of the dominance of WWII-type oppression and manipulation of the masses.

The King Propped Up Mechanically

b209568907yuppieIt was the abortion of the changing of the cultural guard that was naturally occurring. It was the King propped up mechanically, robot-like carrying out the dictums of those who once lived but were no more. It was an abomination of the natural order.

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The Consequences of an Abomination

And its consequences during the first decade of the Twenty-First Century were exactly what would be expected from an abomination like that.

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Monsters Don’t Really Die in Horror Flicks

220px-David_H._Kochmatrix-podThe WWII Generationlike the endings of horror flicks, which leave always a hint or part of the monster living on somehow, thus setting up a possible sequelleft behind part of itself in the form of the Eighties Generation clones and the Fifties Generation. And these folks ain’t going away any time soon! They are here in the Tea Party; they are here in the wealthy right; they are here in the ownership and guiding principles of the mainstream media, now become principal propagandist of the American patriarchy (the “filthy rich”).

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Millennium’s Second Decade—Same Old Culture War

Currently, in the second decade of the new millennium, the Culture War has erupted in Nineties fashions, pitting Obama now against the cultural regressives.

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The Wisconsin-style anti-cutback, pro-union uprisings and the worldwide Occupy phenomenon have brought the lingering issues out into the open in a style not much different from the rebellious Sixties.

It is the same old culture war/class war, now brought to furious and fiery life, as a struggle suppressed by a decade of domination by untruths would be, as it emerges even angrier for having to wait.

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The King’s Gotta Die Sometime! Dangers and Prospects, Zombie Apocalypse vs the WWW

The King’s Gotta Die Sometime! Prospects and Dangers in the Post-WWII-Generation World

However much we cannot know the future, and despite the seeds of WWII Generation values left incubating in the minds of Eighties and Fifties Generation members and emerging under tea-bag hats, we can hope that the vision of “Pleasantville” will eventually hold out.

Hopeful News

People Fight Harder to Keep What They Have…For Good Things They’ve Experienced.

Just as in the movie when after everyone has experienced color there is no semblance of a wish to return to a black-and-white world, so also we might hope that as our society turns more and more away from war-making, selfishness, race- and sexism, ecological destruction, and all the other WWII Generation evils left behind, and turns more and more toward economic prosperity, peace-keeping, loving our children and having honest relationships, and the reclaiming of our natural environment and ecological balance, there will be fewer and fewer who wish to turn back the times to the unreal black-and-white world of the “Blue Meanies.”

Reason for Hope

We see evidence of this in both the election of Obama and the high popular ratings for him since in office. Earlier we observed it in the great support for Clinton even during the assassination attempt on his character.

People of Hope

The approval ratings of both of these Sixties-side-of-the-Culture-War Presidents certainly is not comprised only of Baby-Boomers. Sixties Generation values are infectious because they offer so much hope. African-Americans of all ages supported Clinton overwhelmingly; of course they support Obama. We can certainly see that our black population would not wish a return to the black-and-white world that included discrimination and violence against them.

Women of all ages, for the same reasons, would not be expected to wish a return to a less individualistic status, to a subservient state. And the young will always be idealistic if they are shown any ideals, which is what we can expect the Sixties Generation to be doing for them, as they continue taking their seats in the Wise Elders section of the parliament of sociocultural creation.

Last Ditch Battle

We have seen examples of this change all around us. In fact the current frenzied attack from the Right can be seen as a desperate last ditch battle in a war they will inevitably lose. That is the good news.

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Bad News

How Bad the Aftermath, The Devastation Left Behind

The bad news is that, similar to the way the Republicans cleaned out the Treasury and left huge deficits and several wars on the desk of the incoming Democratic administration in 2009, thus hobbling it before it began, we have no idea how great will be the destruction left behind from these culture waging, albeit waning, authoritarians in the current context.

Heavy with Gold

With their gains in stealing from all classes of society below them in their last dying clingings of a dying old guard, a king who simply won’t die, they are heavy with gold. They have the means to buy much more influence than their numbers.

Their Power Is Magnified

The multitudes are growing in size against them, but with their wealth and with the technology and science available now multiplying further their abilities, their capacity to control the minds of much of the population is magnified beyond anything previously and beyond anyone’s abilities to calculate or foresee.

Zombie Apocalypse?

So despite the trends toward a natural evolution like we have seen in the past, we might witness a strange aberration-—a zombie apocalypse created out of the thinking of a time long gone comprised of sick ghostly fantasies of a black-and-white golden age that never was. Such things have happened before; cultures have indeed stagnated for hundreds and even thousands of years. The Middle Age is one such example of stagnation beneath an oppressive deathly authority that would never renew.

Still, despite the scientific and technological monkey wrenches that might permanently upset a natural order of progression, it is more likely that things will work out as they have most of the time than that we will see an aberrant development. There is, after all, at least as much technology and science catalyzing progressive change as is not.

The Positive … Good News?

And the evidence for a natural development is there for all with eyes to see. With so much change needed, it is easy to forget how much has changed for the positive since the Sixties. Still, with no inclination to see it, no amount of listing of the evidence will bring them into view.

What might be helpful, though, is to note some other analogies from the movie “Pleasantville” which can provide insight as to what may be on the horizon or at least be considered food for speculation:

It Takes a Village; We Are a Global Village.

Whereas the black-and-white Pleasantville ends at the town’s borders and turns round again to the center of town, the post-color Pleasantville roads continue going, connecting Pleasantville with the rest of the world. Thus, with color and by inference imagination and thinking for oneself, Pleasantville has become part of a larger world, one in which Pleasantville citizens can participate and in which they can travel and take up residence. This represents the global village, the coming together of the interests of all nations–the emerging “global economy.”

We Have What Really Brings Down Tyrants – The Power of Individuals Is also Magnified by Technology.

But perhaps most of all this connection to a larger world represents those factors of modern telecommunications and travel that have made the world open to the eyes of all, which is the real reason the Iron Curtain fell, the real reason apartheid was overthrown, the real reason democratic revolution is coming to the Middle East and may yet be causative in bringing democracy to places like China and Iran, despite their oppressive propped-up elder-archies, their kings who will not die, their frozen non-renewing social processes.

The W’s Legacy Finally Overthrown by the WWW?

And the most potent analogy of all: the World Wide Web, bringing together all peoples of the world into a collective consciousness sharing ideas and together shaping a world, not just a neighborhood, with true democratization of information, uncontrollable by any wealthy elite of any country or any generation.

Stay Tuned.

Finally, the image at the end of “Pleasantville” is the most apt for what we may next expect: The only thing we know for sure is that it will be different.

Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Eight:
Creating an American Mind

Coming Up: The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths”–How The Big Lie Continued; The Fifty-Year Invisible Family and Community That Surrounded All Americans and Affected Every Aspect of Their Lives Including, and Intentionally, the Basic Components of One’s Personality, and the Erosion of Reason, Soul, and Independent Thought or Action.

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Six: “Pleasantville” as Culture War Allegory

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The King Who Won’t Die and the Abortion of Cultural Rebirth … What the Current Cultural-Political Regression Has to Do With the Struggles of Generations

Culture War, Class War, Chapter Five: The King Won’t Die – An Aborted Changing of the Guard

Generation Gap (60s-70s), Culture War (80s-90s), Class War (00s-10s) … The Song Remains the Same

Since the Nineties: America Getting Free and America in Chains

America Getting Free, Breaking Out

What do these events have in common? The popularity of Democrats since the Nineties, with Obama’s favorability ratings high despite US entanglement in several wars; the astounding progress in race relations exemplified by ever increasing numbers of African-Americans elected and appointed to the highest posts in US government since the Nineties, highlighted by the election of the first ever black President in the most lopsided victory in decades;

…the wild success of the Occupy Wall Street and Wisconsin union movements; massive demonstrations around the U.S., attended by hundreds of thousands at times, in favor of liberal Democratic causes and opposing Republicans and showing people carrying signs displaying the peace symbol; outpourings of peaceful pro-freedom and democracy protesters throughout the Middle East and North Africa; the reborn popularity of the “peace sign”–two fingers extended in a V-like shape, for those who don’t knowincluding saying “peace” while extending it as a greeting (most often these days, when leaving);

…renewed interest in the book, Catcher in the Rye; the nostalgia for Sixties and Seventies cultural accouterments as exemplified by the TV show, That 70s Show ; the resurgence of fashion items like bell-bottoms and, on women, clunky high-heel shoes; the movies “Pleasantville” and “The Truman Show”; the popularity in the Nineties of shows like Ally McBeal and The X Files;

…one-time Sixties activist Bill Clinton’s sixty-some percent approval rating throughout almost the entirety of the White House Sex Scandal alongside the pundits’ complete and total befuddlement as to the causes for it; the strong presidential run by a woman, also with roots solidly in Sixties activism, Hillary Clinton, in the 2008 Presidential race…significantly only beat out, and barely, by an African-American;

…the passage of medical use of marijuana laws in a number of states and poised for passage legalization of marijuana initiatives (I may be wrong, but I believe that the voters ruled that marijuana’s medical use would be allowed, or would continue, in every instance where this issue was on the ballot!); the return to ballad-style, Dylan-esque music embracing and expressing social, philosophical, and extremely intimate personal views and experiences….

We’ve also seen, in California, the passage of Proposition 10—the ballot measure that imposes a fifty-cents tax on cigarettes to fund programs for young children…which ballot measure, significantly enough, was begun by Sixties-Generation representative Rob Reinerformerly Meathead from All in the Family! The passage of single payer health insurance in Vermont… I could go on.

America in Chains, Breaking Down

On the other side of this we have seen, in the last two decades, several “Republican revolutions” taking the opposite side on women’s issues, union and worker’s rights, environmental policy, health care and education, budget and economic issues benefiting the poor and middle class, and all other “liberal” causes;

…the rise of a media-supported Tea Party movement, heavily funded by wealthy and corporate interests, espousing wildly reactionary and regressive measures like eliminating Social Security and Medicare, gutting environmental policies to give corporations a free hand in despoiling the environment, anti-union measures, deep budget cuts in social programs, and the showing in this movement of demonstrators hoisting signs with racist images and slogans and gleefully applauding the acting out of a slave auction depicting an African-American president, Obama, and his supporters in Congress and his administration as bloodied slaves in chains;

…the popularity of a news network promoting, in blatant and mostly dishonest form, reactionary issues and figures; the resurgence in the careers of Pat Buchanan, right wing propagandist out of the Nixon administration turned talk show pundit, and Newt Gingrich, reactionary culture warrior during the early Nineties; extreme pro-gun positions and actions, including openly carrying weapons to political rallies and events and proposing the allowance of children to bring guns to schools; thuggish attacks on left-leaning activists and demonstrators; the murder of physicians on the pro-choice side of the abortion/ women’s rights issue; and attacks and threats against progressive politicians and legislators, including the nearly successful assassination attempt on Democratic Congresswoman, Gabriel Giffords…. I could go on.

Most folks would see nothing connecting these issues on either side. What I believe we are seeing is a resurgence of the underground “culture war” that has been going on in the US since the 1960s between the Sixties Generationthose whose adolescent and young adulthood, formative years were influenced by the events of the Sixtiesand the World War Two Generationthose whose equivalent times of life were forged in the Forties, during and around the time of World War Two.

Generation Gap and Counterculture

The huge ravine separating the views of these two generations was most apparent when those of the Sixties Generation were in their youth, engaged in the process of discovering and exploring their values and therefore expressing them blatantly and with all the indiscretion, lack of subtlety, confrontation, and rebelliousness that characterizes the inexperienced. Thus, terms like generation gap and counterculture were bandied about, analyzed, and fervently discussed. The differences were “on the table,” in full view; and because the views and values of the youth were so “counter” or opposite to those of the WWII Generation, much debate and analysis was spawned in the media to try to explain–for the most part to the WWII Generation–how this could be so.

But these terms of generation gap and counterculture, which highlighted the great disparity of views, would fade mostly into disuse. This was because, later, the Sixties Generation would learn to keep their private views and values more hidden, for practical reasons having to do with making a living, advancing in their careers, being able to raise their children, and so on; but this did not mean their values had changed. They were biding their time, waitingsometimes hopeless that it would ever arrive–for a reversing of the pendulum and a return in society to the ideals and visions of a better world that had so inspired them in their earlier years.

For the most part, these Sixties adherents did not know about the psychohistorical tendencies I will be describing hereas for example in the evolution of child-caring and the triumphant phase of generations. For most it was just an awareness that something so strong and so right could not simply have completely vanished from the Earth, that with time comes change, and therefore there had to be a time, again, when the mood of the country would swing in the direction they felt to be healthiest and more ideal. For some of these people their hopes were based on the simple rules of gambling: Eventually, at some time or other, with the passage of time, the dice just had to roll their number, if just out of pure chance or randomness.

Others had a slightly more reasoned view buttressing their hope for a return to idealism. These folks were those of the Sixties Generation who had applied themselves to implementing the values they learned in the Sixties in the jobs and careers they held, in whatever small or not-so-small way that they were allowed by their older generation superiors, bosses, managers, or supervisors. Never knowing that they had allies among their generation that were doing the same kind of thing in their separate fields, they followed through, the best they could, on simple conviction, born of experience, of the rightness of the more idealistic ways.

Lastly, there were those of the Sixties Generation who identified themselves completely with their youthful idealism. In putting themselves “out front” this way in their values and beliefs they found others who were doing the same. They would together become the “New Age” movement, actively engaged in bringing about the better world their generation had envisioned in the Sixties and early Seventies. They would wonder, as decades passed, why it took so long for the rest of society to catch on to what they felt was an inviting and appealing evolutionone both necessary and therefore inevitable as well.

But these last, the New Agers, would be marginalized and scapegoated by the mainstream of society—a mainstream whose outlines, of course, were determined and inscribed by the mainstream media, which was, in turn, controlled by the wealthy elite of the World War Two Generation (more about this to come). Examples included Jerry Brown labeled “Captain Moonbeam,” the family dynamics in the TV show Family Ties, the burnt-out hippie depiction of cabdriver, Jim, in the Taxi television series, and thousands of other instances where those holding New Age views were labeled “flakes.”

Attack of the Body-Snatchers: The WWII Generation created an 80s generation of “Mini-me’s”

An Aborted Changing of the Guard – Attack of the Body-Snatchers

Another reason these terms depicting cultural division, viz., generation gap and counterculture, went into disuse was due to the mobilization of the World War Two Generationafter their initial phase of somnolent confusion over the events that were emerging in the Sixties which left them paralyzed and watching, growing in irritation and angerinto a comprehensive counterattack against the Sixties Generation, using all the Nixonian-like tactics in their arsenal…understandably, since Nixon was of that generation and his tactics were typical of the defensive style of his contemporaries.

Lassoing the Universities

In the early Seventies, the World War Two Generation used their power and wealth, being themselves in the Triumphant Phase of their lives, to put pressure on colleges and universities, nationwide, to discontinue the programs, courses, and the professors that they felt were responsible for the youth’s rebellion. Their targets for destruction included such noteworthy “dangers” as liberal arts programs in general, and especially “highly revolutionary” philosophy, religious studies, anthropology, and humanistic psychology courses. A transformation of colleges and universities into “career mills”whose primary function was to prepare the young for practical and skill-oriented jobs and professionswas called for…or else! Or else these World War Two alumni would discontinue their contributions to these educational institutions. The “bottom line” being threatened in this way, no university administration, to my knowledge, withstood their demands for very long, if at all.

Cloning Themselves … WWII Generation Creating an 80s Generation of “Mini-me’s”

The youth produced by these institutions would hereafter be dissuaded from thinking for themselves and from “questioning authority”as the previous generation had been encouraged to doso part of the lapse in the terms of division between the generationscounterculture and generation gaphad to do with the fact that the wave of youth that followed the Sixties Generation would be molded, in their college years, into distant replicas of World War Two Generation members. They would be termed the “Me Generation,” since selfishness, greed, money-as-god, and upward mobility were characteristics of the WWII Generation that they were able to instill in their youthful clones.

Thus, we saw the rise of Young Republicans on campus in the late Seventies, the return of ROTC to campuses, and the seeding of fertile young minds with the values that would later be verbalizedin the movie “Wall Street”in the mantram “Greed is good!” At the height of this phase, periodicals were declaring how similar the “youth of today”—meaning those of the late Seventies and Eighties—were to their parents, how close they were to their parents in the beliefs and values they held, and how the generation gap had inexplicably closed. Such was the success of the WWII Generation in cloning themselves in producing Eighties youth.

In sum, beginning in the early Seventies institutions of higher learning turned away from their idealistic goals of “bringing out” from the students their inner truths and wisdom (the original meaning of the term educate), which is the avowed role of liberal arts programs, and instead turned hard, to the right, onto a path of churning out engineers, MBAs, hard scientists (even in the field of psychology, where humanistic psychology was shunned), medical professionals, lawyers, and the like. My liberal arts, semi–ivy-league collegefounded, by half, by Benjamin Franklinturned from the idealistic studies that typified Franklin and those of his time and swung from being a bastion of energetic inquiry into all controversial realmspolitical and spiritual and societala virtual “Plato’s Academy” of inquiry, into being a career mill centered around a “pre-med” program.

Harnessing the Media

Similarly, these frightened and wealthy WWII “conspirators” (however unconscious their alliance) would use their leverage to ensure that books and the mediaTV, radio, magazines, and newspaperswould expound their views predominantly, would present events through the particular psychological lenses and filters with which they were familiar, and would eschew viewpoints, and even coverage of events, that would in any way strengthen the stance of the, by this time, scapegoated Sixties Generation. The media declared, with much fanfare, in the early Seventies that a “conservative backlash” was occurring; and they published books documenting this event. Meanwhile they ignored the polls and the eventsspecifically the ongoing and growing antiwar and other counterculture “demonstrations”that would show the lie to this idea, and they rejected and refused publication of the kind of books and articles, still being effusively churned outthat would support the counterculture movement. Controlling the media in this way and saying it long and loud enough, the “big lie” of the “conservative backlash” began to be accepted as truth. And even many in the counterculture and among the youth began to believe it.

Interestingly, those on the extreme right did not forget that the great divide in views was still with us. In the Nineties, Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich said a “culture war” was going on. More recently we see WWII and Fifties style Tea Partiers going up against huge rallies of Sixties style pro-union demonstrators and massive recall efforts.

So those on the right decry such massive outpourings against them, but they are correct that it is a “culture war.” Obviously they can see that the world has changed from the Fifties-style “Pleasantville” that they had imagined and wanted it to be.

The King Wouldn’t Die: World War Two Generation Clung to Power, Abomination and Stagnation Filled the Land

The King Won’t Die, An Abomination Grew in the Land

An Aborted Changing of the Guard

Culture War  The King Must Die

But the World War Two Generation could not maintain control forever. For one thing, people die. And being older than the Sixties Generation, eventually their numbers had to dwindle. Their numbers dwindling, they had to be replaced by those younger–some of whom were of the Sixties Generation and were now in what psychohistorians call the triumphant phase of life–that is, the time of life when a generation is in its “prime,” when it is most influential, when it takes over the reins of society, when it gets behind the wheel of the cultural bus.

From this perspective, we can view a remarkable film, “Pleasantville,” released in the late Nineties at the peak of the Sixties Generation’s triumphant phase, and see that it is a metaphorical review of history from the early Fifties up to that time–one which shows the Sixties Generation, in the end, finally realizing their vision of a more colorful, alive, open-to-new-experience and to change, growthful, changeful, passionate, unregimented, truthful, sensual, feeling and emotionful, and less determined, ritualized, and preordained existence. More about this later.

The Generational Changing of the Guard

First let me point out that this change in power, evident by this movie and the other recent cultural items I’ve mentioned, is a change as old as our species. Every generation, at some point, leaves or is removed from their seats of power when they are at or near the end of their arc of effectiveness and prowess by a younger generation that is coming into oras in the unusual case of the Sixties Generation for the reasons unique to this time to be mentioned belowis fully in the prime of its life.

Myths, fairy tales, stories, historical tales, and legends the world over depict this change of power. The myth that is most transparent in its depiction of this change is the one in which a monarch, despot, or ogre controls and rules the land, keeping the people miserable with oppressive and selfish decrees and policies. A young prince emerges and, after a period of trial (in the case of the Sixties Generation, an unusually long period of trial) in which the prince proves himself worthy, he takes up the cause of the people and overthrows the old king and takes his place. Thus the saying “The king is dead. Long live the (new) king.”

The triumphant phase of the Sixties Generation had been delayed, however, longer than any other generation in history because of the advances in modern medical science, which has served to keep the World War Two Generation alive and kicking longer than any previous generation. The average life expectancy in the last sixty years (since the time when the World War Two Generation were in their youth or young adulthood) has increased remarkably. Hence the Sixties Generation has had to wait longer than the World War Two Generation to get a chance behind the wheel of society. It is strange and ironic that at a time when the speed of cultural change is greatest because of an ever increasing speed of technological change, at a time when the elder generation’s worldview becomes obsolete sooner and faster than ever before, at such a time when it would seem the younger generation’s view would attain relevancy and effectiveness faster and sooner than at any previous time, at such a time we have the reverse occurring, that is, the younger generation’s ascendancy is delayed and the older one’s stranglehold on power is extended.

But this rapid change and increasing rate of obsolescence may just have something to do with the WWII Generation’s desire to hang on and their vehement struggle against change. For, as mentioned before, there is a gap—greater than ever before—between the views of the younger and those of the older. This gap is wrought of the different technological worlds and the corresponding sociocultural worlds that each experienced. It is widened by different, more advanced on the one side, child-caring of children as well as by different drugs used and the contrasting world views they would elicitas explained previously, in Chapter Three.

So the WWII Generation might be said to be more threatened than any previous one by the generation to succeed them, because the ascendancy of the next generation would appear to overturn and oftentimes reverse so much of what they believe, value, worked and sacrificed for.

Because of the unprecedented technological change and corresponding change in material culture, catalyzing in ways too numerous to mention a myriad of sociocultural and psychological changes in their successors, there is less overlap than ever before between the worldviews of the generation handing over power and the generation coming into power. It follows that it would seem to the generation in power, even as they approach the end of their mortality, that less of what they are and were will live on after them than has ever been the case in the history of generational succession.

This being so, this generational succession represents a previously unheard of personal invalidation and undermining of the self-esteem of those of the World War Two Generation and a corresponding unprecedented attack on the usual delusions of immortality (themselves living on in some fashion in their successors) that older generations are allowed in exchange for their relinquishing power.

Generational Changing of the Guard, Aborted

At any rate and whatever may be the reason, the fact remains that the World War Two Generation has used their longevity for all their worth to block the ascendancy of their successors. They used their longevity to amass wealth and power–wealth greater than any previous generation before and, because of their actions, likely to come.

For example, their actions have led to a situation, currently, wherein they were taken care of in their old age by a Social Security and Medicare system funded by the work of the Baby-Boomers, aka Sixties Generation, at the same time that predictions abound that that same Social Security and Medicare system will be depleted when it is the Baby-Boomers time to belly-up to the bar. One might also note the WWII Generation’s environmental and ecological decisions making it that no generation after them will enjoy anywhere near the benefits—health and quality of life among them—of clean environment, abundance of natural resources, and ecological balance that they enjoyed. Finally, their decisions regarding arms buildup and proliferation may deny life itself to the generations following them. Other unprecedented ogre-like—greedy, selfish, and uncaring-of-succeeding-generations—actions can be numbered against this generation.

So the World War Two Generation used their unprecedented wealth and power to wage a war against the generation who would be taking over from them, keeping them and their values under attack and away from the centers of power and influence in society as long as they possibly could.

Examples. This is meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive. See also “Balance the Budget on the Back of Billionaires” at the bottom of Chapter 27: Life Vs. Matrix

World War Two Generation

Stephen J Bechtel, Jr., born 1925

Richard Vos, born 1926

Fred Koch, born 1900, died 1967, co-founder of John Birch Society, living on through Fifties Generation sons, David H and Charles C., below

Stanley Hubbard, born 1933

Pawlenty donor goes to Bachmann: Billionaire media mogul Stanley Hubbard, a longtime friend and donor of the Minnesota governor, told POLITICO on Tuesday that he’s now backing the Minnesota congresswoman.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/61504.html.

Conservative Fifties Generation Followers, Fawning Fallow Fascist Generation

David H. Koch, born 1940

Charles G. Koch, born 1935

Yuppie Freak WWII Gen Clones. Examples:

Eric Cantor, born 1963

Desperate Last Stands in the Generation Wars: Clinton, Abortion, War, Voting, Wealthifying, Health Care, Tea Party, OWS

King Won’t Die – Generational Changing of the Guard, Aborted

Last Stands in the Generation Wars: Sex, Abortion, Neo-Con 9-11, Election Stealing, Corporate Personhood, Tea Party, OWS

So the World War Two Generation used their unprecedented wealth and power to wage a war against the generation who would be taking over from them, keeping them and their values under attack and away from the centers of power and influence in society as long as they possibly could.

Desperate Stand: The Battle of the Bill (Clinton)

It is enlightening to consider in the Nineties the persistent attacks on Bill Clinton (similarly, on Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, continuing)the first Sixties Generation U.S. presidentever since he took office. The Monica Lewinsky scandal is a typical example of the extent to which the World War Two Generation so effectively controlled the views and values expressed and subtly expounded in the media ever since it took conscious control of the society’s “collective consciousness” in this way in the early Seventies. By this I mean that in the entire time of the scandal, it was assumed that sex is bad, or at least that sex outside of marriage is bad. It was assumed that Hillary must be horribly pained and angered by the revelation of her husband’s affair(s).

Make Love, Not War

It is as if the slogan “Make Love, Not War” was never a generational outcry. I don’t believe you will ever find in the history books paid for/ published by World War Two Generation owned publishing houses mention of the fact that slogan was ever used. Indeed, with all the talk by pundits, analysts, and commentators on literally hundreds of TV shows during the entire time of the Lewinsky scandal and impeachment drama, that slogan, “Make Love, Not War,” was practically never mentioned. I am aware of only one time–when I heard it slipped in unnoticed by a participant in the middle of a talkin’-all-at-once brouhaha on the TV show “Politically Incorrect,” whereupon it was totally ignored. Even more astonishing, those same pundits discussed, ad nauseum, this scandal and all the myriad ramifications of it yet never, to my knowledge, made note of Clinton’s generational status and the views, exemplified by “Make Love, Not War,” which our generation espoused. It has simply been assumed that all of the Sixties Generation “grew out” of that kind of “nonsense” and had adopted the views of the WWII Generation..again, polls on values and viewpoints be damned.

Rewriting History

Most telling of all in the attacks on Clinton’s behavior is the assumption that such a stance on open marriage and uninhibited sexuality is a product of uncontrolled lewdness and the sexual license exhibited primarily by the young, which naturally everyone grows out of in order to adopt the constrained and secretive sexual views of the old. The sexual revolution’s parallel growth in the Sixties with expanding civil rights, women’s rights, and individual liberty is completely ignored. Its roots in an idealism about final and complete gender equality is totally vanquished as if it were never so.

In fact, I doubt you, the reader, know of this. Yet hordes of Sixties youth shared with each other, conspiratorial like, the Sixties novel, The Harrad Experiment by Robert H. Rimmer, that portrayedin poetic and highly intelligent fashionan evolution to a radical equality between the genders, to an elimination of neurotic suffering around sexuality as, for example, in painful jealousy, to an ending of sexual violence as in spouse abuse, and a final and complete solution to a gender war existing for all time with incalculable casualties and near infinity of suffering on both sides. It was a story about non-monogamy and open relationships…”free love.”

Neither did the pundits point out that Bill Clinton is of a generation who made a book on “open marriage” a bestseller. The clinch on the media by that older generation has been so complete as to have, apparently, completely dismissed or erased from the minds of the pundits the facts that those ideas and books ever existed. Another thing erased from history since the Seventies: the “sexual revolution.” Remember that? When was the last time you heard that talked about? All of the energy that had surrounded these controversial ideas has, because of media manipulation and repression of these views, been channeled into and reduced to a fight over a woman’s right to choose, i.e., the abortion issue, and more recently to fights over union rights and budget cuts.

Abortion Wars

Incidentally, it is no coincidence that the issue of abortion has taken on such importance for so many in the electorate, for it is the last remaining battle of the “culture war” directly continuing from the Sixties. Prior to the Sixties, women’s bodies could not be considered their own, in many ways; a prominent way was the illegality of abortion, which made outcasts and corpses out of untold numbers of women. It was reversed by Roe v. Wade in the Sixties. But the battle never went away and is the major front in a Gender War that has been going on for millennia.

And your position on the abortion issue is the closest thing to a military uniform indicating on which side of the culture war you have enlisted. Specifically, I am saying that there are few of the Sixties Generation who would not classify themselves as “pro-choice.” Meanwhile, the anti-abortionists are found to be comprised primarily of those of the WWII Generation, their Eighties Generation clones, and the Eisenhower-Presley-McCarthy—and now we might add “Pleasantville”—Fifties Generation. (For a definition and explanation of Fifties Generation see the previous chapter, “Chapter Four: Concocted Worlds“)

World War Two Generation just doesn’t get it…never has, and never will

Of course, I am saying that the War on Clinton was, in its essence, an unacknowledged but desperate battle in the Culture War that has been going on since the Sixties–despite these attacks not being framed or talked about this way–between the World War Two and the Sixties Generations. The World War Two Generation, especially after the elections of November 1998, has learned that it is way off in some of its assumptions, that their analysis of what has been happening in this country is woefully miscalculated. They are like the deluded schizophrenic who has believed passionately in the world he has himself created coming up against some of the hard, harsh, and indisputable facts of existence which undermine his world. The World-War-Two-Generation–mindedwhatever the individual’s agehave been fighting back, since the Nineties, with all the firepower they can muster against realizing the harsh realities around them of their waning ideals. They have been in total and absolute denial of the direction of the American, indeed the world, consciousness; and they have been flinging all their wealth into the mix to try to repress the emerging truths.

When I first published on this topic in 1998 I wrote, “But we shouldn’t be surprised if we see some of those in their ranks–wealthy and facing their inevitable demisemerely increasing the ferocity of their war waging…humiliating themselves and seeming ever more pitiful in the minds of the majority of observers, who increasingly, as time continues to decimate their WWII ranks, are younger than they and thus do not share their delusions.”

I’m sorry to say I was more correct than I could ever have dreamed as we have faced, since the change of the millennium, neo-con wars built on lies and confused tea-baggers railing against their own interests.

Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Six: Culture War Allegory

Return to Culture War, Class War Chapter Four: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Concocted Worlds

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America’s Lying Times, Beginnings – Matrix Aroused and The Hidden Puppeteers … It Started in the Sixties

Culture War, Class War Chapter Two:
Matrix Aroused, the Sixties: How We Became a Nation of Puppets, and the Hidden Puppeteers

Talkin’ Bout My Generation – The Fear We Engendered in the Privileged…the All-Out Campaign to Slander, Distort, and Scapegoat a Generation

“Dirty Hippies!”

Whatever Happened to the Sixties Generation?

Whatever happened to Sixties youth? What has become of the values, aspirations, ideals, and energy that manifested in those turbulent but exciting, angry but supremely hopeful years?

There was a time, after all, when the influence of the “baby-boomer” youth generation was everywhere to be found. Their activities were broadcast daily on the TV news. They were making political events. They were setting trends in fashion and style which business did its worst to copy, package, and sell–attempting thereby to cash in on such powerful enthusiasms.

Suddenly, faster than their appearance, this generation of youth faded from significance in the early Seventies. At the time, commentators were falling over each other attempting to fit a rationale to the relative disappearance of youth influence and the comparative placidity of events.

A common explanation that surfaced in those days was that many youth leaders, particularly activists, had begun being disillusioned about the effectiveness and results of confrontational politics.

Some argued that activists were beginning to “look inward” for the roots of problems or were reevaluating and seeking to come up with better ways of eliciting change. As for the less activist sectors of the youth culturethose referred to by the originally pejorative terms “flower children” or “hippies”many had moved out of the cities, often in disgust and equal disillusionment, to the countryside.

There they were reputed to be actively carrying out their “back to nature” values singly, in couples, and in communal groups. As far as the larger culture was concerned, they were invisible.

What happens to a revolution not televised:

Others have asserted that the media played a large and active part in the “disappearance” of this generation. It has been noted, for example, as simply one indicator, that 90% of youth protests were reported by the media in 1969, but only 20 to 25% were covered in 1970-71, and only 1% of such dissident activities could be found in the media coverage of 1972.

One could argue in response to this that demonstrations were becoming commonplace, so they qualified less as news as time went by. But this reasoning does not fully explain the precipitous nature of this decline, nor the resulting virtual elimination of coverage. In respect to comparable events of recent times, such a pattern has elicited the label “media cover-up.”

Killing “The Sixties”

It is therefore much more likely–and there has been evidence and published commentary to this effectthat this decline was part of a concerted effort by the media, in collusion with the threatened established sectors of society, to actively put a lid on student and youthful dissent and unrest.

Keeping the People Down

I myself have knowledge and personal experience of how a similar suppression at exactly this time was perpetrated on university campuses.

Enlightenment lobotomies…again

Specifically, at the college I was attendingFranklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvaniaand other colleges and universities around the country, wealthy alumni threatened to withdraw funding unless (1) certain faculty members, considered “threatening” to established interests, were fired, (2) certain programsconsidered too innovative, “disruptive,” or “instigative”were cut back or eliminated, and (3) certain “unorthodox,” “undisciplined,” or “publicly disrespectful” student behaviors were discouraged, suppressed, and/or harshly responded to and clamped down on.

The total remaking of society, so such a generation would never arise again

Indeed, such active “blacklisting” of counterculture figures, behavior, and values on university campuses seemed to be part of a general dictum across institutionsincluding publishing, films, TV, education at all levels, medicine and science, and the work placeto actively fight back at what was seen as dire threats to traditional mainstream values—values, incidentally, that were calculated to placate the masses and keep them, as for hundreds of years, feeling nervous, unworthy, inferior, and slavish in relation to the wealthy and powerful.

Culture War and Matrix Beginnings

The Fear We Engendered in the Privileged

Some commentators speculated that established societal powers had been caught off guard by the initial fervor and tenacity of counterculture energy and demonstrations, but that toward the end of the Sixties and early Seventies there had been time to regroup.

Declaration of Culture War

A massively funded attack by “the establishment.”

These established forces and economic interests began to implement a well-conceived, hugely funded, well-orchestrated, and highly cooperative counteroffensive against the new cultural values, which in their minds represented a dagger poised at the heart of their very existence.

From this perspective, then, the media’s active refusal to cover events could be seen as a small, albeit influential, aspect of a much larger efforthowever unconsciously carried outat suppression of the new values and reinforcement of traditional ones by the powerful interests that those values, if successful, either directly or indirectly put in jeopardy.

Creating a “conservative backlash.”

With these considerations, it is understandable that in 1971 and 1972despite increasing unrest and demonstrations on college campuses, increasing liberalization of values among all age groups and growing liberal and counterculture political powerthere would be a number of books published and widely reviewed which, closing their eyes on all this, instead presented dubious evidence and selectively chosen incidents to make a case for a so-called “conservative backlash,” which there is no doubt the authors earnestly hoped for and fervently sought to bring about in their proclamation of it.

The same tactics are being used today to create a conservative Tea Party “movement.”

This may be seen as the beginnings of the use of “The Big Lie” as a major, sometimes the only strategy, in conservatives’ attempts to fight back against this outpouring of sensitivity to injustice at all levels.

Strong man truth—Big lies!!…big ones

As background: The Big Lie basically amounts to the idea that you can say the most outlandish thing long enough, loud enough, and from the highest pulpit, and eventually it becomes accepted fact. No doubt, its use can be traced to the earliest times of civilized history and is certainly evident in this past century in the tactics of Hitler and Mussolini, where it played crucial and primary roles.

However, its more recent re-emergence in contemporary America and its rise to the heights of skillful political brandishment came in the hands, first, of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr.

Then later it had its most pervasive use, however awkward and skill-less, during the eight years of George W. Bush, where Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, and others took it to such moronic lengths they eventually were seen to be what they werebig lies, with no attempt to educate the public at all; but simply to cover up and to manipulate, like common criminals would. [Footnote 1]

Nevertheless, these later major uses, in fact the evolution of The Big Lie into the ONLY strategy of Republican politics may find its beginnings in such publications as these books from the early 70s, as well as to its highly skilled, and much documented, use by Richard Nixon throughout his political career.

Matrix Aroused, the Sixties: How We Became a Nation of Puppets, and the Hidden Puppeteers

Culture War and Matrix Beginnings – How We Became a Nation of Puppets, and the Hidden Puppeteers

Creating Their Own Reality –
It’s Their World, We Only Just Live In It


The Success of The Big Lie, and Its Eventual Morphing into the The Big Web of Deceit, More Easily termed The Matrix

The hidden puppeteers.

Whereas Sixties youth had only their enthusiasm and their heartfelt passion to allow a world of freedom, and all the other values espoused in our Constitution, they were up against huge entrenched, and filthy with wealth, nameless puppeteers. The wealth of these puppet masters got them any support they wanted for anything.

These wealthy manipulators sensed a threat to the status quo, hearing about idealistic notions of equality, freedom, and such. But they also knew that their positions depended not on the actual enjoyment of the masses of their supposed “freedoms” but only of ordinary folks being convinced they had them.

Culture War, Beginnings: Trauma at the Top: “Our Youth Have Gone Crazy! They Actually Believe That Claptrap About Freedom That We Put in Schoolbooks To Keep the Masses Complacent! They’re Daring to Use Them!”

So it was a huge threat to see masses of people proclaiming their rights and actually daring to use them. They could be slowed down in using their rights by having them violently bludgeoned by police and riled up construction workers in Chicago; they could be taken off track perhaps, by having several of them killed at Kent State; and they could be continually arranged to be misreported in the media and maligned as well. But this seemed to make them only more determined.

Paying the piper, calling the tune.

Still, these puppeteers owned the media and therefore controlled what the public would be told; they were the main sources of income for universities across the country, so they controlled what would be rolled out as truth and knowledge. Ultimately they could fund politicians and speakers…and radio and TV show hosts who would speak their Big Lies. They really had all the weapons to roundly put down this band of idealists whose only weapons were truth, and righteous feeling, and passion of youth, and clarity of youthful mind.

No contest.

It was no contest, especially as only one side was fully aware that they were at war. Indeed the other sidemost of themhad no inkling of the powers behind the scenes. That reality would of course be left out of the history and sociology books they had readfunded by the puppeteers of course.

Many 60s youth even began to believe that they had lost and that most Americans were lashing back at them. This would be disheartening to many; especially to those who had seen the coming together of middle class, upper middle class, and working class to join in mass movements like the one million who showed up from all over the country to be at Moratorium Day on November 15, 1969. In this way the media had a big influence on taking the wind out of the sails of many of the youth.

Living Under the Big (Conservative) Lie

Others felt they must have been wrong because they had now, according to the media, become the enemy of those they hoped would see the wisdom of these values that basically came from them! That is to say that young radicals in general had come from middle class liberal family backgrounds. They always felt they were carrying out the values that their parents had taught them.

“First, We’ll Instill Doubt in the Masses, Thereby Creating Division”

These youth saw the country come awake to their values through massive movements like the antiwar movement and the cultural flowering, which older and middle class folks were increasingly taking on themselves. It was therefore disconcerting and confusing to be told they were actually at odds with a conservative majority, a “silent majority.” This wasn’t true, but that would not be obvious to them at the time. So thinking the country was at odds with the actual following through on the values of their parents and the liberal worlds they grew up in, doubt was palpable.

“Next, We’ll Push Them Into Poverty, Thereby Eliminating Alternatives.”

For these youth, their response, unfortunately, was to try to reintegrate with the society they had thrown behind them, but now saw as the only one possible.

“Last, We’ll Compel Obedience”

Still, this cadre of youth retained their values into later life. It became common to hear that these motivated youth decided on a strategy of playing the game to gain entrance to the positions of power and to change the structures of violence and hatred from within. To some extent they succeeded, as we see from the careers of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Peter DeFazio, to give just three names of many that could have been used.

Continue with Culture War, Part Three: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter One: Smoke, Lies, and Revelations – 1950s Through 1970s


Footnote

1. The results of this are discussed, with a fair amount of humor, in my article/audiocast “Naked Republicans.”

Naked Republicans – Blue Meanies Fleeing or Looking Foolish

For the author’s reading of “Naked Republicans,” click on the link to the audio site above (36 minutes):

You might also be interested in the 4-minute clip taken from “Naked Republicans.” Click on the link to the audio site below:

“You’re Turning Down my Money for ME!…To Stare Down…Who?!!”:
Likely Constituent’s Response to Republican Governors
Who Turned Down Unemployment Money from Stimulus
to “Score Points” Against Obama”



Audio of Chapter Two: Matrix Aroused

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site below.

The Why of Obvious Truths, Culture War and Matrix Beginnings:
Pt. 1, “Whatever Happened to the Sixties Generation?”
The Fear they Engendered in the Privileged,
the All Out Campaign to Slander, Distort, and Scapegoat a Generation

Matrix Aroused – Topics

  • Whatever Happened to the Sixties Generation?
  • The Fear they Engendered in the Privileged
  • The All Out Campaign to Slander Them, Distort their Actions, Activities, History, and to Scapegoat the Sixties Generation, their Values and Ideals
  • The “Big Lie” of the “Conservative Backlash” That Never Was
  • The Total Remaking of Education, Publishing, Media, Middle Class Prosperity, and Other Institutions so Such a Generation Would Never Rise Again
  • The Beginnings of the Comprehensive Blanket of Untruth–Put Out by a No Longer Free Media, a Media Bought and Owned…
  • Which Is Increasingly Being Termed “The Matrix”

Continue with Culture War, Part Three: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter One: Smoke, Lies, and Revelations – 1950s Through 1970s

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Hippies, Yippies, Yuppies … How the 1% Diluted the Progressive Movement by Slandering Boomers to Foster Culture War Between Them and Gen Xers and to Distract from Their Own Looting

Wisconsin-labor-unions460

Money Madness … Foolin’ the People About Money, Part Six: The Yuppies Were Hardly Boomers … But This Idea Supports a Right-Wing Agenda by Pitting Progressives Against Each Other … Try the Red Pill Instead

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Yuppies are former hippies.
  • “Flower children” abandoned their idealism and became greedy careerists focused on money.
  • Former young radicals saw the error of their ways and became more conservative politically as they got older.
  • The “Me” Generation is the Sixties Generation
  • Sixties youth turned from free love and a sexual revolution to conservative sexual values and evangelical religion.
  • “My Generation” gave up their idealism as everyone does with greater age and maturity.
  • The Woodstock generation turned from pot and visionary thinking to booze, cocaine, and disco dancing a decade later
  • The “free love” generation settled down and focused on family and jobs, centered around monogamy.
  • “My Generation” is currently filling up the suburbs and feverishly maximizing their portfolios, at any and all cost.

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Real Truth – All the Above Are Lies … Propaganda to Further the Motives of the 1%, the Filthy Rich

I can say I feel fortunate to have lived many years in an America quite different from what most people in America being younger than me have been growing up with.

Opinion - Moratorium demonstration

I watched in the early Eighties the lies about a “Me Generation” coming out. Republicans brought that out to beat people down with. The idea was planted that people who wanted anything for themselves were selfish, for after all only the wealthy should ever benefit.

And it’s funny too, how they were able to use their own spawn to make this case. You could look around and see a new cadre of young folks—Gen X Yuppies—who had bought into the WWII values, who had been deluded by the untruths the 1% of that WWII generation had been using against the masses. The rich elite had succeeded in convincing those younger of mind that the wealthy folks interests where actually their own.

The 1% of the WWII Generation’s response to Sixties activism on campus, as I showed earlier, led to their taking over the universities in the early Seventies and turning them away from the humanities and social sciences and into career mills; I was there and observed it first hand. The success of this is what created the Yuppies in the Eighties–young upwardly mobile professionals–who were the first batch of Generation X—who are those born 1961 to 1981, who therefore left high school beginning in 1978.  [Footnote 1]

So these Gen X Yuppies were coming onto the scene in the early Eighties, when the first of them were leaving the universities. The turnaround in education, away from free thinking and towards conservative careerist values, was in full swing by the time they reached college in 1978 on. And its effect on them was patent when they began coming of age. They were what the WWII Generation wanted: money-oriented and compliant…greed had been made “good” again. Standouts of this generation today are Sarah Palin (born 1964), Eric Cantor (born 1963), Rand Paul (born 1963), and Paul Ryan (born 1970).

So then the WWII Generation, fully in charge of society, could point to these yuppie spawn as examples of the obscenity of greed, thus deflecting attention away from their own, WWII Generation, me-spiritedness. To further their ends, they also claimed the origins of this unseemly greed lie in the failed, unrealistic values of the Sixties generation and their idealism.

This was one of their most amazing feats. They were able to take their values of greed and conformity, sow them in another generation, point to those values and criticize them, blame them on the hippies, all the while hiding their own espousal of those values. They perpetrated, denied, criticized, scapegoated, distracted, and obfuscated all together! They thoroughly convinced Americans that the Me Generation and Yuppies were those who formerly were flower children.

Whereas this actual Me Generation, these Yuppies, were predominantly a bunch of reactionary young people who said to hell with this idealistic stuff, and of helping out, and kumbaya, and all that stuff. They said, we’re for money, to hell with any one else. And somehow the WWII-Generation-owned media, assisted by a Fifties Generation now in their prime, convinced folks that these careerists out only for themselves were the one-time visionaries. Of course they only pulled this off because they owned or controlled all the major organs of expression in America—the newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, education, book publishing. I’ve delineated how they did this in one of the earliest all-out assaults, after their initial setbacks in the Sixties, of the Culture War/Class War they have been waging on the 99% since that time.

The media flooded American minds with the idea that the Me Generation was My Generation (I’m “talkin’ bout my generation” here) in the Eighties. They had prepared the ground for that lie, as there had been constant slander of my generation in the press since the beginnings of our activism in the Sixties, exactly like they are now putting out against the Millennials and those in the Occupy movement today. Beginning in the Seventies, owning the publishing and media industries, they concocted the lie that there was a conservative backlash going on. (See Chapter Two: Matrix Aroused, the Sixties and The Big Lie About Yuppies Being Hippies.)

This supposed conservative backlash was merely a continuation of Nixon’s laughable claim that he was supported by a “Silent Majority,” which he had used since the beginnings of his term in 1969 and which was obviously false, as demonstrations grew in size and support swung away from him throughout this period; and eventually he was forced to resign. But Republicans always claim there are a majority of real folks out there—“real Americans” as Palin and her kind say today—who support them but are doing it secretly. (btw, lol!) 

Anyway, by the Eighties the powers-that-be were able to place this idea of a selfish “Me Generation” of Sixties youth, which they had been saying for a while, as being the ones on the campus at the time or recently out, the Yuppies. It fit their narrative. But it was a lie, and virtually all my generation knew it and thought it laughable. We stopped laughing after a while as over the years, it became clearer they had done such a good job of preparing the ground and repeating the lie that it stuck in the minds of those other than my generation—the Fifties Generation ahead of us and Gen X behind us—and the right wing, who of course saw this as red meat to further their causes. The media controlled by the 1% said the Sixties generation had gone from idealism to just wanting money, thereby discrediting their opponents, us who were consistently representing the 99%. At the same time they gave credibility to their claim of the superior veracity of their own values of greed, materialism, ruthless pragmatism, ego above all, and even me-spiritedness. Also, it validated, even glorified their personal traits of conformity, hard-headedness, cynicism, compliance, and even mean-spiritedness .

The Lies About Jerry Rubin

They could only give one example, Jerry Rubin; and even about him they lied and slandered. First off, neither Jerry Rubin, or Abbie Hoffman for that matter, were Boomers or Sixties Generation members. They were Fifties Generation, born in 1938 and 1936 respectively. Boomers were born in the post-WWII baby boom from 1946 through 1960. So that is enough to discredit what they said about “my generation.” But taking it as an attack aimed at the counterculture, let’s examine it:

They said Jerry Rubin was engaged in trying to make money. And they never mentioned what he was trying to make money on… but God forbid anyone but them should try to make money anyway. You see, what the 1% do is drive people into lowered standards of living and poverty where they experience desperation for money at times. Then they can point to that grasping to survive as proof that their values of money above all else are legitimate and that it is not possible for humans to have any other values higher than that. They create the conditions that they can use to support and validate themselves…how convenient.

But telling the whole truth would never allow them to do that. They didn’t mention about Jerry Rubin that he was engaged in selling health supplements; he was trying to help people out with their health. He was involved in multilevel marketing. He was an early investor in Apple Corporation, helping to foster the cybernetic revolution that progressives depend on today and which has strengthened our movement incredibly with Facebook and Twitter aiding us in overthrowing dictators in the Mideast and joining us in support of the Occupy and Wisconsin union movements.

He traveled with Abbie Hoffman in doing “Yippie versus Yuppie” debates, that is true. Since it did not fit the narrative of their discrediting their opponents in the Sixties generation, they never understood or at least never mentioned that in using those terms for their “debates” they were continuing their tradition of fucking with their opponents’ minds by flaunting the terms that had been used against them. Critics don’t get and opponents conveniently overlook the heavily ironic and playful way my generation, and Yippies in particular, present themselves. “Yippie versus Yuppie” is supposed to make you think; it is a hook; and it is funny to those of us in the know. Believe me, I have the same problem with people sometimes misunderstanding my intent for the opposite of what I believe because of the amusingly ironic titles I sometimes give my writings.

But Rubin’s position in this “debate”—which was actually a discussion of different ways the Sixties values might succeed, not be overturned—was that the POOR COULD BE HELPED by promoting programs to create wealth in their communities. I quote:

Rubin’s argument in the debates was that activism was hard work and that the abuse of drugs, sex, and private property had made the counter-culture “a scary society in itself.” He maintained that “wealth creation is the real American revolution. What we need is an infusion of capital into the depressed areas of our country.”

Someone who knew him well, Stew Albert, said this of Jerry in eulogizing him.

Jerry was always a rebel, but then he was always a rebel within the rebellion. He was always sort of rebelling against the norms of the rebellion.

And,

Jerry changed costumes, and he changed rhetoric, but he never changed his heart.

Does that sound like someone promoting the interests of the 1%? Or like someone just out for himself, as Yuppies really are? Remember that at the time, militant, even violent revolution had been in the air for a while—with the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, and the Symbionese Liberation Army and such. So “Yippie vs. Yuppie” was a leftist debate about tactics. Today it would be considered a discussion of liberal vs. progressive views…hardly conservative, Yuppie, or Republican views. And Jerry Rubin’s putting on a suit made him about as conservative as it made Bob Dylan a conservative when he picked up an electric guitar at the Newport Festival of 1965. Dylan got booed for what was only considered unusual alongside some very high, and strict, expectations about purism in music having nothing to do with political ideology or musical quality but simply technology. Rubin’s wearing a suit was the same kind of thing at the time he did it…and it had nothing to do with ideology but simply tactics—i.e., revolutionary technology.

Also, at the same time as Rubin was doing all this and supposedly a Yuppie, he was running a legal and civil rights office in an artsy/alternative part of L.A., Echo Park, where he also lived. When he died he was on his way to dinner in the company of Fred Branfman of the Making a Difference project, whose purpose was to bring money into poor communities by helping inner-city youth learn how to start their own businesses. Does that sound like a Wall Street careerist? Does that sound like he turned over his ideals and bowed to the god of money? So, lies, lies, lies. And these lies become instituted and they’re not challenged after a while, after you hear them for decade after decade after decade….

You have to be older to know that it wasn’t always the way they tell you it is. It helps to have lived in different times and places and to have seen things with your own eyes to be able to see through these inane “obvious truths” that people take as absolute truths. It helps to have had experience with the things they are talking about to know what are actual facts and what are complete fabrications.

Setting the Record Straight on Boomers

Boomer-Generation X Culture War

A friend who supports the Occupy movement, and who happens to be a Gen Xer, recently shared this with me,

As a Gen Xer, I have to say we were outnumbered as a Generation with half the numbers of the boomers and the previous traditional generations.

…the boomers cut taxes on the wealthy and wages for the middle class to create the world’s largest debt, our dependence on dirty foreign oil grew as our manufacturing base got shipped over seas.

You Boomers call Gen X a slacker generation while doing all that?

It is the boomers who are the dead beat generation now.

If this person were correct, then why have the Boomers voted consistently Democratic?  [Footnote 2]

The Gen X/Yuppie—Fifties Generation alliance was responsible for getting Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II elected. Boomers voted against Republicans, especially these; it’s all in the public record. Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II are the ones who did the tax cuts. Whereas Clinton—a Boomer and a Democrat—raised taxes on the 1% and balanced a budget for the first time.

Indeed, all Democratic candidates and Presidents going back to Roosevelt at least, with the one small exception of Kennedy favored and fought for raising taxes on the 1%, not cutting them, so as to relieve the burden on the 99%. The right likes to use Kennedy as an example of a Democrat seeing the wisdom of cutting taxes to improve the economy, but Kennedy’s proposed tax cut for the 1% was when the marginal rate was 91% range, not at 35% as today, and the country was prosperous. (See The Myth of JFK as a Supply Side Tax Cutter.) Also it was not instituted until Johnson began his term … which was incidentally when the huge deficits began. So Kennedy’s tax cut had nothing at all to do with the prosperity we enjoyed during his term, indeed its institution marked the beginning of increasing deficits.

Even today, it is Democrats—supported heavily by Boomers—who are opposed to tax cuts and favor reining in the greed of the 1%. This includes Obama, who incidentally is a Gen X-Boomer cusper, born 1961. Note that he has surrounded himself with Boomers—Biden, Clinton, et al. And they are engaged in that same Democratic struggle of decades past of trying to get the 1% to pay their fair share in taxes. Meanwhile Republicans supported by that Fifties Generation (the Koch Brothers, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, et al) – Gen X/Yuppie (Palin, Cantor, Ryan, Rand Paul) alliance oppose Boomer-Democratic tax and other progressive initiatives at every turn.

So to accuse Boomers, who voted predominantly for these Democrats and their policies, of cutting taxes is grossly misinformed or a lie. And for a Gen Xer to do this blaming is either ignorant, a denial, or delusional…but is in any case a product of that misinformation I’ve been talking about.

For to address that Gen Xer’s charges of Boomer’s causing the dependence on dirty foreign oil, the Sixties Generation started the environmental movement. I know a little about this; as I explained previously, I was one of those who helped bring nuclear plant construction to a halt in America, which we did in Springfield, Oregon, in the early Eighties. We, Boomers…I was born in 1950…supported Democrats who fought for environmental legislation, alternative energies, and reduced dependence on dirty energies against Republicans, supported by the Fifties-Gen X alliance, who watered down those policies and legislated a rape of our natural resources and our environment to benefit big business, Big Oil, Big Nuke, Big Coal, and the 1%.

As for the accusation that Boomers sent our manufacturing base overseas and caused a lowering of middle class wages, how can that possibly be true alongside the more than obvious knowledge that Democrats are the ones who consistently push for and favor raising the minimum wage and are the union supporters? Can this OWS person not be aware of the parallel Wisconsin union movement which has Democrats and union folks up against Republicans and Gen X/Fifties Gen Koch-supporters? Or is he somehow unaware of the fact that Boomers have consistently voted in greater numbers for Democrats than Republicans over all these decades?  [Footnote 2]

Well, this shows the amount of success the WWII Generation and Fifties Generation enjoyed in shifting the blame for their policies and their theft of the national wealth. And, by the way, it was the WWII Generation that had the greatest retirement wealth per person and who instituted Social Security and other benefit programs for themselves … making themselves the wealthiest as well as the “Greatest Generation.” Probably with the tax cuts, the current Fifties Generation who in their retirement years are raping the wealth of the country to fatten themselves, are bettering them. Whereas the Sixties Generation, scapegoated again, is facing cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits at the exact time as they need it and are facing or entering retirement—being beaten down, harassed, and scapegoated by the Gen X-Fifties Generation alliance again.

You think this is ancient information and is irrelevant to what is happening today? Remember that the comment I quoted above from my Gen X friend and fellow Occupier was from only last week. He has his sights set on my generation as the perpetrators of the problems; these ideas have caused a split between Gen X and Boomer Progressives. I can tell you that his comment is not atypical from others I hear from Gen X in their attitudes toward Boomers.

Similarly, to some extent the Millennials believe Boomers are at fault also—this is what they have been taught. They are simply misinformed and so are not so committed to the lies as the Gen Xers. The Millennials are open to the fact they have been deceived. After all their Boomer parents are models of the fact that these “facts” are actually lies. The Millennials have been made to believe, simply, that their own parents and those of their friends are somehow just different from those “bad Boomers” out there who are really the selfish and tax-cutter ones.

Lies and toxic misinformation are not healthy, at all, for a movement that is predominantly an alliance of Millennials and Boomers, with some Gen Xers (notably, few Fifties Generation folks). After all, how do you think a progressive Boomer feels, after fighting his entire life with his generational cohort for the changes that we are still fighting for with the OWS and Wisconsin union movements, and after hearing his entire life the made up lies, the slander, the scapegoating about himself, his generation, and his beliefs? How do you think she feels seeing those same lies being pulled out again and thrown against OWS supporters, for example, continuing therefore to throw salt into old wounds. And finally how do you think she feels to hear from her friends and allies in the movement that she has been the problem all this time, not the solution? It is disheartening, to say the least.

In this antagonism against Boomers, the other side—the WWII-Fifties Gen alliance, supportive of the 1% and their Tea Party sycophants—have won again. [Footnote 3

For these WWII-Fifties Gen lies have thrown discord into progressive ranks. And they have thrown off the aim of our movements as to who the perpetrators are, giving the 1% a convenient fog of confusion behind which they can continue unfettered their actions against us.

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Finally a most visible example of the right-wing/Republican Fifties Generation – Gen X alliance was shown in the last presidential election with a Fifties Gen, McCain, matched with a Gen X – Palin, born in 1964, coming smack in the middle of the Yuppies (1961 through 1970). This is the generational alliance and the generational values we should be targeting, not Boomers, and Progressives would do better to know that.

Continue With Culture War, Class War, Chapter Sixteen: The Fall of “Obvious Truths”

Return to A Rising Tide Lifts All Yachts…The Rich Are Getting Richer and the Workers Are Getting Humiliated: Money Madness … Foolin’ the People About Money, Part 4



The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?1305835355



Footnotes

1. A lot of confusion about Boomers, Yuppies, And Generation X has been generated by the Census Bureau and main stream media. A generation, see below, is defined as a cohort of people occurring roughly every twenty years who share some common viewpoint and experiences.

This is what a generation actually is:

Defining a generation

Lynch Armenia Five generations.pngStrauss and Howe define a social generation as the aggregate of all people born over a span of roughly twenty years, or about the length of one phase of life: childhood, young adulthood, midlife, and old age. Particular generations are identified (from first birthyear to last) by looking for cohort groups of this length that share three criteria. First, members of a generation share what the authors call an age location in history: they encounter key historical events and social trends while occupying the same phase of life. Because members of a generation are shaped in lasting ways by the eras they encounter as children and young adults, they also tend to share certain common beliefs and behaviors. Aware of the experiences and traits that they share with their peers, members of a generation also tend to share a sense of common perceived membership in that generation.[16] For example, in a 2007 Harvard Institute of Politics survey, Americans born 1982 to 1989 (whom Strauss and Howe define as the first-wave cohorts of the Millennial Generation) identified themselves as belonging to a “unique and distinct” generation, with an outlook different from people in their 30s or older.[17] Surveys show that Boomers also strongly identify with their own age cohort.[18]

Strauss and Howe base their definition of a generation on the work of diverse writers and social thinkers, from ancient writers such as Polybius and Ibn Khaldun to modern social theorists like José Ortega y Gasset, Karl Mannheim, John Stuart Mill, Émile Littré, Auguste Comte, and François Mentré.[19]

From Strauss-Howe generational theory

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau definition of Boomers is different. See Baby boomer.

Why would it be different? That is the crucial question. The Census Bureau’s definitions of Boomers and Generation X is as follows:

  • The Baby Boom Generation is the generation that was born following World War II, from 1946 up to 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates.[10] The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave”[11] and as “the pig in the python.”[12] By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as it passed through it. In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence.[11] One of the features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.[13]

From Generation in Wikipedia.

So why are those born 1961 through 1964 considered part of the Boomer Generation by the Census Bureau, which has informed much of the discussion on this? Why is the Census Bureau attributing only 17 years to Generation X but 19 years to Boomers, when in fact the Boomers were born in a World War II “baby boom” that had them being born in a distinctly shorter period. Whereas Generation X was born of the Fifties Generation during a more languorous, hence longer period? Why is the Census Bureaus including as Boomers those born at those end years of 1961 through 1964 when the number of births was decreasing, not “booming”?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know this decision by the Census Bureau has served pundits and right wing commentators in giving more weight to their positions by diluting the distinctly liberal voting record of actual Boomers. As I have been stating above, there was a concerted effort to scapegoat Boomers and to confuse them with Yuppie-Gen Xers. This confused definition by the Census Bureau is part of that. It has allowed pundits to slander the Sixties Generation, as I said, by attributing qualities to them that were actually a part of the WWII Generation’s Culture War Attack of creating a generation different from and more compliant than the Sixties Generation/ Boomers.

At any rate, that is why we have the discrepancy shown in this description of the Pew Report findings on “Boomer” voting patterns. Let’s look at a few relevant findings:

Of greatest interest to BTS are the Pew Research Center survey findings about Boomers.

  • In recent years Boomers increasingly call themselves conservatives.  They voted for Republican candidates in 2010, but are still on the fence for the 2012 Presidential Election.
  • Older Boomers tilt Democratic while younger Boomers tilt Republican.  When asked to name the best President during their lifetime, Boomers were evenly divided between Clinton and Reagan.
  • Younger Boomers and Generation Xers have been one of the most reliable Republican voting groups.

From The Baby Boomer Voting Bloc

This supports what I’m saying about generational voting patterns. The difference lies in that this author has to differentiate between late Boomers and early Boomers. They are opposite in their voting patterns. This person wouldn’t be so confused if he placed the generational divide where it belongs, at 1961, not 1965. Boomers were born between 1946 and 1960, as shown in the chart below, which also shows Generation X beginning in 1961.

The Boom Generation defined by Howe and Strauss, as shown in the chart above, born 1946 thru 1960 are the ones who vote consistently Democratic. They are the ones who shared common events and experiences growing up and were shaped by them, notably the Vietnam War; the JFK, RFK, and MLK assasinations in 1968; the sexual revolution; the explosion of the use of LSD and pot as drugs, and the counterculture. These events were not on the cultural map that faced the ones born 1961 through 1964, for they were too young. Yet how can one define a Boomer-Sixties Generation that does not include these as formative experiences?

So this discrepancy is an example of what I’m talking about in this article. For it continues the confusion about Boomers and contributes to the scapegoating and the denigration of Boomers as being a Me Generation and Yuppies being former hippies by simply getting confusing results by including some from Gen X—some actual Yuppies. To include those born between the four years, 1961 through 1964, you end up getting the confused results this author gets. You are including the likes of Sarah Palin and Eric Cantor, fer Chrissakes! I’ve never heard anyone mistake them for my generation. It would have Barack Obama, born 1961, categorized as a Boomer, as if there is not an obvious generational difference between him and some the notable Boomers in his administration, like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. But by seeing that Obama is a Yuppie-Gen Xer, it helps explain the differences between him and the actual Boomer president, Bill Clinton.

For more on this, see Generation Jones, which is the term given for those born 1954 through 1964. They are seen to be very different from the Boomers. They did not confront the same social realities as did Boomers. They even came of age after the Vietnam War. They missed the counterculture movement. It is ludicrous for generationalists to include these with Baby Boomers as especially the second half of these have an entirely opposite world view from Boomers. Their stalwarts include Rick Santorum (born 1958), Sarah Palin (born 1964) and Eric Cantor (born 1963)…hardly Boomers. Notice that it also includes Rand Paul (born 1963), who as expected is the son of a Fifties Generation parent with whom he is allied, Ron Paul (born 1935).

See also the write up on Generation X in Wikipedia, which addresses this confusion as to where the dividing line between Boomers and Gen X is as well.

Finally, see Baby boomer, which discusses this confusion and adds two important considerations: The person who coined the term “baby boomer” described them as those born between 1943 and 1960. So why did the Census Bureau change it? The second point discussed is that many theorists have two distinct generations during this supposed period of Census Bureau BoomersBoomers and Generation Jones, which are said to be those born 1956 through 1964. So this latter group is not included with Boomers.

Is all this not confusing enough? Does it not play into the right wing agenda to dilute their opponents power by confusing their opponents profile, so they can lob any charge against them? Or attribute any self-congratulatory trait to them, as they wish?

Most of all, this strikes me as devious in that it allows right wingers to blame Boomers for the cadre of youth, the Yuppies, who were actually their creationthat of the 1% and those reactionary culture war forcesand were in no way influenced by, so should hardly be included in, “my generation” of Boomers, the Sixties Generation.

2. BLAM!! From the site, Gallup Politics, of May 8, 2009. Even though continuing the misinformation that Boomers were born up till 1964, going with the Census Bureau definition, Gallup Poll data still solidly support the premise that Boomers are predominantly Democrats, as well as the fact that Millennials are as well.

Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers

Republicans do better among Generation X

by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ — Although Democrats currently enjoy a party identification advantage over Republicans among Americans at every age between 18 to 85, the Democrats’ greatest advantages come among those in their 20s and baby boomers in their late 40s and 50s. Republicans, on the other hand, come closest to parity with Democrats among Generation Xers in their late 30s and early 40s and among seniors in their late 60s….

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Demographers and social observers have made attempts over the years to classify Americans into generational groups based on the social, political, economic, and cultural environment of the years in which they grew up and “came of age.” The most clearly delineated such group is the baby boomers, generally agreed to be those born between 1946 and 1964 — or roughly ages 45 to 63 today. Generation X follows the baby boom and is generally considered to be those born between 1965 and 1979 — or roughly between ages 30 and 44. Those younger than Generation X have been labeled Generation Y or the “Millennials,” who are 18 to 29 today. There are various ways of grouping those who preceded the baby boom generation, including the famous sobriquet “The Greatest Generation” used by Tom Brokaw in his book of the same name, but it is convenient to label those who today are 64 and older as seniors (even though some in this group would no doubt resist that label).

From Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.

Notice here that not only are arbitrary birth figures used to stipulate Boomers and Generation Xers, but everyone older than a Boomer is classified as part of the World War Two Generation—”The Greatest Generation.” So they would have everyone born in the forty-five year period from 1901 through 1945 to be WWII Gen even though some were born during the war and had their coming of age after the war and in the decade of the Fifties—those born 1925 through 1945. Elsewhere this generation has been termed the Silent Generation or the Eisenhower-Presley-McCarthy Generation…I’m calling them the Fifties Generation for convenience sake. Still, the study does find Democratic tendencies among Boomers, however wrongly defined, and Millennials. And it finds Republican leanings among Generation Xers, however wrongly defined, and the Fifties Generation, however wrongly defined again, as shown by the graph below:

The current data suggest that political party identification in the United States today follows these generational patterns to a perhaps surprising degree.

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· Generation Y (18 to 29) clearly is skewed fairly strongly in the direction of being either independent or Democratic in political orientation. This group constitutes a significant weakness for the Republican Party.

· Generation X (30 to 44) includes some of the strongest support for Republicans. For whatever reasons, the Democratic over Republican gap among Generation Xers, particularly those ages 37 to 43 at the heart of this generation, is on a relative basis much closer to parity than for any other age group with the exception of those in their late 60s.

· Baby Boomers (45 to 63) skew Democratic in their political orientation, with the Democratic advantage reaching a peak at ages 58 and 59.

· Seniors have a more mixed pattern of party identification, with Republicans gaining on a relative basis among those in their late 60s, but with Democrats doing better as Americans age into their 70s and early 80s.

Bottom Line

Democrats have a significant advantage over Republicans today in terms of overall party identification, and the data reviewed here show that this advantage holds at every age between 18 and 85.

At the same time, there are clear ebbs and flows in the degree of this Democratic advantage across the age spectrum. Democrats have the greatest advantage vis a vis Republicans among Americans at the very youngest voting age and also among members of the fabled baby boom, particularly those in their late 50s. Republicans do relatively better among those who are in Generation X, including in particular those in their late 30s and early 40s. Republicans also show greater support among older Americans in their late 60s….

There is…the hypothesis that the differences are explained by the unique circumstances that surrounded the coming of age of the generations. Baby boomers, as is well known, grew up in the tumultuous age of civil rights, Vietnam, Woodstock, and Watergate. It is certainly possible that these events have marked this generation in a more Democratic or liberal direction for life. Many Generation Xers came of age during the Reagan-Bush years (1980 to 1992) or the “Republican Revolution” marked by the 1994 midterm elections. Today’s Generation Y has reached maturity in a time period largely marked by the administration of George W. Bush, and certainly for many the nascent Obama administration is a major formative factor in their political orientation….

From Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.

Now contrast what above is said in the Gallup Poll about Boomers with what is said here about “late Boomers,” or who Howe and Strauss and other social scientists would call Generation X, and I would call Gen X-Yuppies:

the 1980-1988 run where young Late Boomers broke heavily for Republicans in the three Presidential landslides of that decade. When that generation grew to political maturity, it resulted in by far the most Republican-identifying generation in over half a century, the 1994 Republican landslide, and the general sense of creeping conservatism the country experienced through the 1990’s and first half of our current decade

From The Importance of Generation Y.

The article above also describes the Democratic voting patterns of the Millennials, or what they call Generation Y.

On the idea that the Millennials being the sons and daughters of the Sixties Generation/Boomers, as I continually point out, I offer the following definition of Millennials from WhatIs.com

Millennials, an abbreviation for millennial generation, is a term used by demographers to describe a segment of the population born between 1980 and 2000 (approximately). Sometimes referred to in the media as “Generation Y,” millennials are the children of the post-WWII baby boomer generation.

A few things about millennials:

  • According the U.S. census bureau, around forty percent of the millennial generation is African American, Latino, Asian or of a racially-mixed background.
  • There are about 76 million millennials in the United States (based on research using the years 1978-2000).
  • Millennials are the last generation born in the 20th century.
  • Twenty percent have at least one immigrant parent.
  • A number of studies, including one by the Center for American Progress, anticipate that millennials will be the first American generation to do less well economically than their parents.
  • Millennials are also sometimes called the Net generation because (at least according to some people) they don’t remember a time when there was no Internet.
  • As a result of growing up with the Internet and associated devices, millennials are often said to be the most technologically savvy generation to date.

Finally a most visible example of the right-wing/Republican Fifties Generation – Gen X alliance was shown in the last presidential election with a Fifties Gen, McCain, matched with a Gen X – Palin, born in 1964, coming smack in the middle of the Yuppies (1961 through 1970). This is the generational alliance and the generational values we should be targeting, not Boomers, and Progressives would do better to know that.

3. There is some scapegoating done by Millennials out of this misinformation. The following was published a few days ago, on June 17, 2012. It is further validation of the antagonism against Boomers regarding the issues of the movement—OWS and Wisconsin union:

The War on Boomers

9/11 and the “war on terror” became part of common jargon.  Recently, the “war on women” and the “war on religion” are hot political topics.  Now, I’m thinking there is a “war on boomers”….

I was sitting at a reception party table politely nibbling on a too-sweet slice of wedding cake chased with lukewarm burnt coffee when a recent graduate seated at the table started whining about how unfairly life was treating him.  First, he believed that four years of (sheltered) college life entitled him to a first-class ticket to affluence with a side-trip on a guaranteed career path.  And, now there were no job tickets to be had and (worse) he was expected to pay back all the money he borrowed to get in on this total sham.  Life was so unfair!  His debt should be forgiven – because it was only fair to be compensated for this bait-and-switch.

He continued his tirade.  Boomers should be retiring to make room for all the recent grads that deserve jobs now.  It’s only right.  On top of this, these boomers with all of their massive wealth were actually going to bankrupt Social Security – a heartless action since they don’t actually need it.  The injustices just keep piling for the new graduates with their superior skills and up-to-date knowledge.  Down the road he had nothing to look forward to — once he finally got that plum job that he had a right to based on his attendance at an institution of higher learning – except huge national debt and no Social Security or Medicare, an unwanted and unwarranted gift from self-centered boomers.

And, now I’m starting to pay attention to what seemed idle conversation.  I glance at the Count who gives me a look that says, “Don’t go there –– please!”  I concentrate on my cake that is now too dry to choke down without more lukewarm burnt coffee; and wonder if Clueless thinks those seated at the table are in our 30s (or perhaps our 80s!) and am amazed at how he can find it acceptable to disparage all boomers while sitting among them.  Generously, I wonder if maybe he just has a sarcastic sense of humor.  However, Clueless continues.  I smolder some and then catch the Count’s glance again.  He slyly places his thumb and first finger on either side of his mouth pulling a smile into place – and I reluctantly accept his wisdom.  But, the Count did get an earful on the way home.

  • I think about Julie, a single mother, who helped two kids through college while working 40 hours per work as an administrative assistant, selling Avon after work hours, and running a food concession stand at weekend events during the summer.  Julie has little in her nest-egg, but her children do have a chance at the American dream – although it will always require some effort.
  • I suspect that John, another co-worker, was on track to fund his retirement.  Unfortunately, at about the same time the 2008 financial crisis cratered his retirement savings his father was diagnosed with Alzheimers.  John knew he should avoid using his tax-deferred savings at the bottom of the financial market, but his father’s healthcare bills had to be paid.  John’s plan to retire at 62 is a dream lost to reality.
  • I bumped into Mary Beth at the greenhouse when we were buying our bedding plants.  She pointed us to the “spikes” that the Count insists on adding to the geranium-filled pots on the patio.  As we caught up on gossip about former neighbors, she confided that plants have always been her hobby and that this “green” job was perfect.  This temporary part-time job was crucial to replacing the family income lost when Jerry was laid off from his welding job – months ago.  And, she laughed when she acknowledged that, in fact, “work” was a respite from a house now over-crowded since her daughter and family are living in the basement.  I’m pretty certain that Jerry and Mary Beth — both boomers, planners, and savers – no longer have the luxury of maximizing their tax-deferred retirement savings accounts (or even the ability to set aside savings) as they approach the age they used to believe would be the end of their full-time working careers.

With investment portfolios and home values shrinking, medical expenses and LTC costs rising, financial worries for some boomers are dire.

  • A May 2010 Pew Research survey found that 60% of Americans age 50 to 61 believe they may need to delay retirement because of the recession.  Plus, the highest percentage of any generation, 57% of boomers, said that their household finances have deteriorated in the past few years.
  • In 2010 the ERBI reported that only 13% of workers age 55 or older are “very confident” that have enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
  • Some have labeled the boomer generation the “sandwich generation”, a group dealing with healthcare issues of their elderly parents at the same time they are backstopping the impact of the stagnant economy on their boomerang grown children.

Aiming fingers and lobbing blame doesn’t solve anything.  We are all in this together since our generations are linked in complex ways.  We are all fighting the same war of financial and economic uncertainty, just not at on the same battlefield – as determined by our stage of life.  A war on anyone does nothing but divide us – when the ultimate victory is prosperity for everyone.

From The War on Boomers

Continue With Truth Will Out – Their Intentions Are No Less Than Those of the Nobles of Old: The Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part One

Return to A Rising Tide Lifts All Yachts…The Rich Are Getting Richer and the Workers Are Getting Humiliated: Money Madness … Foolin’ the People About Money, Part 4

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Abortion of Cultural Rebirth Always Begins With a Conservative Backlash by The “Religious Wrong”

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A Conservative Backlash by The “Religious Wrong”‘ Attempts to Abort the Generational Changing of the Guard in America’s “Pleasantville”

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“You Can’t Legislate Morals”

With the support of the Chamber of Commerce, we know Big Bob has the power to do whatever he will with the two on trial. slide_194730_434143_smallAnd since the events preceding the trial has included mob actions which have included a book burning, the attack and destruction of the malt shop, and the cornering, physical intimidation, and physical attack of “coloreds” by gangs—images common to modern times which has seen these sorts of events in actuality occurring in the civil rights and anti–Vietnam-War movements, and currently in democracy and freedom uprisings in the Middle East, America, and throughout the world in the Occupy movement—the fate of the prisoners is imagined to include the ultimate penalty of death.

“Conservative Backlash”

Indeed, this ominous possibility is promoted by the actions of the soda-jerk Artist who, at the trial, pitifully pleads for a compromise. This is pitiful since we know that his art is his life, that it is the one thing that has truly enriched his life and made it worth living.

Sitting at the Lunch Counter

We know of its importance in that, even after the attack on his malt shop, he defied the “rules” laid down by the town’s authorities which outlawed art and color by working with the Prince through the night to produce a colorful mural on the outside wall of his shop depicting the current events of the town and the feelings swirling about inside its residents.

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This defiant act by the artist is reminiscent of antiwar demonstrators, who got fired upon at Kent State, of civil rights demonstrators, who police attacked with dogs, and of Tiananmen Square demonstrators, who were rolled over by tanks, shot, and killed, and most recently of all the courageous men and women of the Middle East risking their lives for freedom and of the Occupy heroes throughout the world putting their bodies in front of the most dire, widespread fascism ever to exist.

Since this character, recently so courageously defiant, is intimidated into pleading for a compromise in which he would be willing to use only certain colors or where he would submit for approval by the Chamber’s leader his ideas for painting beforehand–a compromise which his body language and facial expressions show, wonderfully acted by Jeff Daniels, is one near up against the very death of his soul–we know he fears for the loss of his physical life.

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“Just Sign This Confession.”

The compromise is too much like the compromises we have witnessed being offered and come to expect being offered to some of the Tiananmen Square and other political prisoners of recent times wherein they are required to do something along the lines of admitting their guilt, apologizing to the State for the trouble they have caused it, and promising to never again to engage in such activities…and only in the most benevolent of circumstance being allowed to continue anything like their former activities but if so only under the supervision and with the approval of authorities with veto power over their proposed actions.

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The Religious Wrong

So Big Bob and the Chamber of Commerce represent in the current social framework the Religious Right (sometimes referred to as the “religious wrong” and sometimes about which it is noted that the Religious Right is neither). Big Bob’s Chamber of Commerce represents Republicans, Tea Partiers, and those in general in our society who have succumbed to the rewards and threats of the World War Two Generation to live a regimented robot-like unfeeling passionless life; to become one of J. D. Salinger’s “phonies,” to abide by their misconstrued idea of “family values,” and above all to “behave” and not do anything to rock the boat of the status quo which might threaten the privileges of those currently enjoying power and wealth handed down, mostly, by heredity.

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Civil Rights Movement

It is highly significant that in the courtroom scene the “colored” would be sitting in the balcony, above the black-and-white men. One might say this represents their status as being an elevated state, something to aspire to, and yet not on the level where matters are decided. But even more so, this scene is important in that it is a near exact replication of the courtroom scene in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” wherein the balcony of the courtroom is filled with Blacks, another kind of “colored.” This makes it clear that when the movie is dealing with the conflict between the adult males of the town and the “colored” it is referring to the Civil Rights movement.

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Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Seven: Cultural Rebirth, Aborted

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Attack of the Body-Snatchers: The WWII Generation created an 80s generation of “Mini-me’s”

 
An Aborted Changing of the Guard – Attack of the Body-Snatchers

Another reason these terms depicting cultural division, viz., generation gap and counterculture, went into disuse was due to the mobilization of the World War Two Generation–after their initial phase of somnambulant confusion over the events that were emerging in the Sixties which left them paralyzed and watching, growing in irritation and anger–into a comprehensive counterattack against the Sixties Generation, using all the Nixonian-like tactics in their arsenal…understandably, since Nixon was of that generation and his tactics were typical of the defensive style of his contemporaries.

Lassoing the Universities

In the early Seventies, the World War Two Generation used their power and wealth, being themselves in the Triumphant Phase of their lives, to put pressure on colleges and universities, nationwide, to discontinue the programs, courses, and the professors that they felt were responsible for the youth’s rebellion. Their targets for destruction included such noteworthy “dangers” as liberal arts programs in general, and especially “highly revolutionary” philosophy, religious studies, anthropology, and humanistic psychology courses. A transformation of colleges and universities into “career mills”–whose primary function was to prepare the young for practical and skill-oriented jobs and professions–was called for…or else! Or else these World War Two alumni would discontinue their contributions to these educational institutions. The “bottom line” being threatened in this way, no university administration, to my knowledge, withstood their demands for very long, if at all.

Cloning Themselves…WWII Generation Creating an 80s Generation of “Mini-me’s”

The youth produced by these institutions would hereafter be dissuaded from thinking for themselves and from “questioning authority”–as the previous generation had been encouraged to do–so part of the lapse in the terms of division between the generations–counterculture and generation gap–had to do with the fact that the wave of youth that followed the Sixties Generation would be molded, in their college years, into distant replicas of World War Two Generation members. They would be termed the “Me Generation,” since selfishness, greed, money-as-god, and upward mobility were characteristics of the WWII Generation that they were able to instill in their youthful clones.

Thus, we saw the rise of Young Republicans on campus in the late Seventies, the return of ROTC to campuses, and the seeding of fertile young minds with the values that would later be verbalized–in the movie “Wall Street”–in the mantram “Greed is good!” At the height of this phase, periodicals were declaring how similar the “youth of today”—meaning those of the late Seventies and Eighties—were to their parents, how close they were to their parents in the beliefs and values they held, and how the generation gap had inexplicably closed. Such was the success of the WWII Generation in cloning themselves in producing Eighties youth.

In sum, beginning in the early Seventies institutions of higher learning turned away from their idealistic goals of “bringing out” from the students their inner truths and wisdom (the original meaning of the term educate), which is the avowed role of liberal arts programs, and instead turned hard, to the right, onto a path of churning out engineers, MBAs, hard scientists (even in the field of psychology, where humanistic psychology was shunned), medical professionals, lawyers, and the like. My liberal arts, semi–ivy-league college–founded, by half, by Benjamin Franklin–turned from the idealistic studies that typified Franklin and those of his time and swung from being a bastion of energetic inquiry into all controversial realms–political and spiritual and societal–a virtual “Plato’s Academy” of inquiry, into being a career mill centered around a “pre-med” program.

Harnessing the Media

Similarly, these frightened and wealthy WWII “conspirators” (however unconscious their alliance) would use their leverage to ensure that books and the media–TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers–would expound their views predominantly, would present events through the particular psychological lenses and filters with which they were familiar, and would eschew viewpoints, and even coverage of events, that would in any way strengthen the stance of the, by this time, scapegoated Sixties Generation. The media declared, with much fanfare, in the early Seventies that a “conservative backlash” was occurring; and they published books documenting this event. Meanwhile they ignored the polls and the events–specifically the ongoing and growing antiwar and other counterculture “demonstrations”–that would show the lie to this idea, and they rejected and refused publication of the kind of books and articles, still being effusively churned out–that would support the counterculture movement. Controlling the media in this way and saying it long and loud enough, the “big lie” of the “conservative backlash” began to be accepted as truth. And even many in the counterculture and among the youth began to believe it.

Interestingly, those on the extreme right did not forget that the great divide in views was still with us. In the Nineties, Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich said a “culture war” was going on. More recently we see WWII and Fifties style Tea Partiers going up against huge rallies of Sixties style pro-union demonstrators and massive recall efforts.

So those on the right decry such massive outpourings against them, but they are correct that it is a “culture war.” Obviously they can see that the world has changed from the Fifties-style “Pleasantville” that they had imagined and wanted it to be.

The King Must Die

But the World War Two Generation could not maintain control forever. For one thing, people die. And being older than the Sixties Generation, eventually their numbers had to dwindle. Their numbers dwindling, they had to be replaced by those younger–some of whom were of the Sixties Generation and were now in what psychohistorians call the triumphant phase of life–that is, the time of life when a generation is in its “prime,” when it is most influential, when it takes over the reins of society, when it gets behind the wheel of the cultural bus.

Continue on this site with
Culture War, Class War, Chapter Five:
The King Won’t Die – An Aborted Changing of the Guard

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Talkin’ Bout My Generation – The Fear We Engendered in the Privileged…the All-Out Campaign to Slander, Distort, and Scapegoat a Generation

America’s Lying Times, Beginnings – The Why of “Obvious Truths”

“Dirty Hippies!”

Whatever Happened to the Sixties Generation?

Whatever happened to Sixties youth? What has become of the values, aspirations, ideals, and energy that manifested in those turbulent but exciting, angry but supremely hopeful years?

There was a time, after all, when the influence of the “baby-boomer” youth generation was everywhere to be found. Their activities were broadcast daily on the TV news. They were making political events. They were setting trends in fashion and style which business did its worst to copy, package, and sell–attempting thereby to cash in on such powerful enthusiasms.

Suddenly, faster than their appearance, this generation of youth faded from significance in the early Seventies. At the time, commentators were falling over each other attempting to fit a rationale to the relative disappearance of youth influence and the comparative placidity of events.

A common explanation that surfaced in those days was that many youth leaders, particularly activists, had begun being disillusioned about the effectiveness and results of confrontational politics.

Some argued that activists were beginning to “look inward” for the roots of problems or were reevaluating and seeking to come up with better ways of eliciting change. As for the less activist sectors of the youth culturethose referred to by the originally pejorative terms “flower children” or “hippies”many had moved out of the cities, often in disgust and equal disillusionment, to the countryside.

There they were reputed to be actively carrying out their “back to nature” values singly, in couples, and in communal groups. As far as the larger culture was concerned, they were invisible.

What happens to a revolution not televised:

Others have asserted that the media played a large and active part in the “disappearance” of this generation. It has been noted, for example, as simply one indicator, that 90% of youth protests were reported by the media in 1969, but only 20 to 25% were covered in 1970-71, and only 1% of such dissident activities could be found in the media coverage of 1972.

One could argue in response to this that demonstrations were becoming commonplace, so they qualified less as news as time went by. But this reasoning does not fully explain the precipitous nature of this decline, nor the resulting virtual elimination of coverage. In respect to comparable events of recent times, such a pattern has elicited the label “media cover-up.”

Killing “The Sixties”

It is therefore much more likely–and there has been evidence and published commentary to this effectthat this decline was part of a concerted effort by the media, in collusion with the threatened established sectors of society, to actively put a lid on student and youthful dissent and unrest.

Keeping the People Down

I myself have knowledge and personal experience of how a similar suppression at exactly this time was perpetrated on university campuses.

Enlightenment lobotomies…again

Specifically, at the college I was attendingFranklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvaniaand other colleges and universities around the country, wealthy alumni threatened to withdraw funding unless (1) certain faculty members, considered “threatening” to established interests, were fired, (2) certain programsconsidered too innovative, “disruptive,” or “instigative”were cut back or eliminated, and (3) certain “unorthodox,” “undisciplined,” or “publicly disrespectful” student behaviors were discouraged, suppressed, and/or harshly responded to and clamped down on.

The total remaking of society, so such a generation would never arise again

Indeed, such active “blacklisting” of counterculture figures, behavior, and values on university campuses seemed to be part of a general dictum across institutionsincluding publishing, films, TV, education at all levels, medicine and science, and the work placeto actively fight back at what was seen as dire threats to traditional mainstream values—values, incidentally, that were calculated to placate the masses and keep them, as for hundreds of years, feeling nervous, unworthy, inferior, and slavish in relation to the wealthy and powerful.

Culture War and Matrix Beginnings


The Fear We Engendered in the Privileged

Some commentators speculated that established societal powers had been caught off guard by the initial fervor and tenacity of counterculture energy and demonstrations, but that toward the end of the Sixties and early Seventies there had been time to regroup.

Declaration of Culture War

A massively funded attack by “the establishment.”

These established forces and economic interests began to implement a well-conceived, hugely funded, well-orchestrated, and highly cooperative counteroffensive against the new cultural values, which in their minds represented a dagger poised at the heart of their very existence.

From this perspective, then, the media’s active refusal to cover events could be seen as a small, albeit influential, aspect of a much larger efforthowever unconsciously carried outat suppression of the new values and reinforcement of traditional ones by the powerful interests that those values, if successful, either directly or indirectly put in jeopardy.

Creating a “conservative backlash.”

With these considerations, it is understandable that in 1971 and 1972despite increasing unrest and demonstrations on college campuses, increasing liberalization of values among all age groups and growing liberal and counterculture political powerthere would be a number of books published and widely reviewed which, closing their eyes on all this, instead presented dubious evidence and selectively chosen incidents to make a case for a so-called “conservative backlash,” which there is no doubt the authors earnestly hoped for and fervently sought to bring about in their proclamation of it.

The same tactics are being used today to create a conservative Tea Party “movement.”

This may be seen as the beginnings of the use of “The Big Lie” as a major, sometimes the only strategy, in conservatives’ attempts to fight back against this outpouring of sensitivity to injustice at all levels.

Strong man truth—Big lies!!…big ones

As background: The Big Lie basically amounts to the idea that you can say the most outlandish thing long enough, loud enough, and from the highest pulpit, and eventually it becomes accepted fact. No doubt, its use can be traced to the earliest times of civilized history and is certainly evident in this century in the tactics of Hitler and Mussolini, where it played crucial and primary roles.

However, its more recent re-emergence in contemporary America and its rise to the heights of skillful political brandishment came in the hands, first, of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr.

Then later it had its most pervasive use, however awkward and skill-less, during the eight years of George W. Bush, where Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, and others took it to such moronic lengths they eventually were seen to be what they werebig lies, with no attempt to educate the public at all; but simply to cover up and to manipulate, like common criminals would.  [Footnote 1]

Nevertheless, these later major uses, in fact the evolution of The Big Lie into the ONLY strategy of Republican politics may find its beginnings in such publications as these books from the early 70s, as well as to its highly skilled, and much documented, use by Richard Nixon throughout his political career.

Continue with
Culture War, Class War, Chapter Two:
Matrix Aroused – The Sixties

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Feeling Good Is Not Bad: How to Stop War, Violence, and Planet Poisoning

War, Violence, Earth .. and Our Tendency to Always Screw Up a Good Thing

What’s So Bad About Good?

Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

The question posed at the end of the last chapter was whether we would self-destruct bringing death to the entire planet along with us or we would become good citizens of this planet and our species continue on.

What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring?

Most folks would think there would be only one answer to that question desired by virtually all humans. The last chapter, however, intended to show how that common-sense notion would, amazingly, be wrong: It explained how there is a huge percentage of our human Earth citizens, and a part of all of us, that wants to “throw in the towel.” This has always been true of humans, but it is of critical importance only now.

But I will assume anyone reading this will at least consciously be wanting our vital question to be answered in the affirmative. You know as well as I that the folks on the other side of this question are doing vastly different things right now than us and are nowhere to be found around here.

How do we “unlike” fascism?

So the next thing to be addressed is how we might change our fortunes and live. Since continuing on is not just of matter of deciding it–-voting “like” on it or checking its box-–as we saw in the last Part, how can we get around this part of ourselves and our population that wants to do us all in? We need to know how to derail our perpetual cycles of war and violence; we need know how to quit bringing fascism on us. We have to know how we can stop our secret desire to be controlled, how to “unlike” totalitarianism on our inner “profile.”

I have written a great deal on this question, including an entire book in 1999 which I have just updated. [Footnote 1]

For our purposes presently I will focus on the element of all that which is critical to answering our question.

So we first need to look into the place from which emanates our dilemma. I showed in the last chapter that this bugaboo is our Will to Death.

Now we need to get more specific on this negative inclination of ours. Again, the book of mine mentioned deals with this in great detail. But to cut to the chase, this Will to Death arises from human’s unique-among-all-species primal pain, rooted in our singular way of coming into the world, our unique human birth.

This pain surrounding our birth has been termed perinatal, literally, “surrounding birth.” And since this pain is something that as neonates we cannot handle, or face, we repress it and create a perinatal unconscious. This perinatal unconscious-–this part of ourselves that we have pushed out of awareness but that contains a boatload or unresolved energy that affects us anyway-–is what we see manifest in us that Freud called the Will to Death. It is our self-sabotaging part.

We need to look deeper into the elements of that part of ourselves that would have us take us all down. We need inquire into that tendency of ours to choose tyranny over freedom, Republicans and fascists over Democrats and liberators, enslavement over autonomy, oppression over liberty, war over peace, violence over pacifism, misery over happiness. We must derail the cycles of war and violence. We must know how to “like” happiness.

To do so, we must separate the skeins of this inner entanglement and shed light into this darkness within. We need to know specifically, precisely where to place the lever of effort we will apply to truly move the world, to derail it from its current acceleration into oblivion.

So we look now into the elements of that perinatal unconscious manifesting currently as a will to die on the grandest scale imaginable. [continued after audio links]


Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence Audiocasts

“Part 1; What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Offspring?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:

Image of Apocalypse or New Dawn, Ch. 8: Derailing the Cycles of War.and Violence, Pt.1: What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring? by SillyMickel Adzema


“Part 2; Can You Handle Happiness (And the Pain That Comes With It)?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:


Image of Apocalypse, or New Dawn?: Chapter Eight: “Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence, Part 2: Can You Handle Happiness? (And the Pain That Comes With It?)” by SillyMickel Adzema



Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth

We find there are two researchers who are particularly relevant to our understanding of the elements of the perinatal unconscious in a way as to avert collective, worldwide disaster. These are Stanislav Grof and Lloyd DeMause. [Footnote 2]

Men Would Rather Be “Manly” Than…Alive…

DeMause writes,

[T]he group-fantasy shared prior to wars expresses the nation’s deep feeling that the increase in pleasure brought about by the prosperity and progress that usually precede wars “pollutes” the national blood-stream with sinful excess, making men “soft” and feminine”–-a frightful condition that can only be cleansed by a blood-shedding purification. [Footnote 2]

Men are more terrified of appearing “feminine” than of losing their lives. Why we invite war.

DeMause is saying we go forever into war because after a while peace makes men feel guilty, “sinful.” Men have uncomfortable, even shameful…homophobic…feelings of being “soft” or “feminine” when their lives are good. So men choose the “purifying,” masculinizing ritual of war to fight off these feelings. Nothing distracts one from looking inward better than a “good, old-fashioned” life-or-death struggle, and war is the most all-encompassing of them.

Men are more terrified of appearing “soft” than having the boot of totalitarianism on their neck. Why we allow fascism.

What DeMause says about bringing war upon us can be said also about allowing fascism, inviting totalitarianism. For whether we are fighting enemies of another nation or struggling to survive against oppression at home, we are involved in a daily struggle. Secret to us, we feel better being engaged in a dramatic battle, though it brings us suffering and misery.

We simply can’t hack peace for very long. We feel guilty, for some reason, lolling on the beach. You ever notice how at the end of your vacation time, you are anxious for it to be over and to get back to work? That feeling-–that one where we feel…guilty?…uncomfortable…tense?…unfulfilled?…(you tell me)–-that’s it. That’s the one I’m talking about.

It happens the same way collectively after we have experienced a “vacation” of national peace-–for example, in the Nineties when we were prosperous and mostly peaceful under Clinton. At the end of it, with Bush, we ended up getting the misery and struggle many in America were driven to want, though no one would ever admit that.

A quick aside. The fact that the majority of Americans actually didn’t vote for Bush and so tried to choose happiness over struggle is a source of hope for us in all this. That’s a hint of what’s coming.

But for now, let us get back to this opening provided us. We can make better use of DeMause’s insight using Stanislav Grof’s delineation of this birth unconscious of ours.

Grof explains we are moved by four specific kinds of drives emanating from our earliest experiences. These specific tendencies in us relate to four different times in the birth process which involve four radically different kinds of experiences.

Grof uses the term, basic perinatal matrices (BPMs), to refer to these four aspects of our inner urges. I will describe them here and refer to them along with DeMause’s cycles of social-historical violence and war to pull apart the roots of our dilemma. [Footnote 3]

Our Tendency to Always Screw Up a Good Thing, BPM I

The first of Grof’s aspects of our unconscious he terms Basic Perinatal Matrix I, BPM I for short.

Prosperity and progress equal feeling “soft” and “feminine”

Grof’s BPM I is sometimes described as “oceanic bliss” and involves the experiences and feelings related to the relatively undisturbed prenatal period. On the social, macrocosmic level, it is the period described in the quote by deMause above in which there is a period of “prosperity and progress” and feelings of being “soft” and “feminine.” [Footnote 2]

The strong connection between individual experience (personal psychology) and collective realities (social-historical events and elements) is patent here since in BPM I experience the individual is still in the mother’s womb and to some extent shares her identity, which is of course feminine. Being unborn and not having gone through the “toughening” experiences of birth and later trauma, which predominantly create one’s defenses, the individual is also “soft,” i.e., undefended.

“No Pain, No Gain,” Hell, Satan, and Poisonous Placenta; BPM II

“No-exit” claustrophobia

To further review Grof’s schema and its relation to deMause’s cycles of war, I want to remind you that BPM II is related on the individual level to the time near the end of pregnancy when the fetus is no longer rocking blissfully on the waves of oceanic bliss but is trapped in an ever more confining womb. As the fetus grows in size, the suffering becomes greater; no doubt this is the source of the common-sense belief that growing has to involve suffering, for example, “No pain, no gain.” At any rate, the feelings are those of claustrophobia and “no exit.”

There is heavy non-agitated depression here, since there appears to be no hope, no change in the situation that would indicate a way out of the suffering. Indeed, this period continues practically right up to the time of birth, ending only when the cervix becomes dilated and, experientially speaking, there appears suddenly to be a “light at the end of the tunnel” and therefore hope.

Where the hell we get the idea of hell.

However, up until that time there are feelings of being totally unempowered, completely in the hands of an entity (the womb) that imposes a horrifying reality that appears to be unending and eternal. Herein we have the psychological roots of notions of hell and Satan. Feelings associated with this state include despair, victimization, blame, and guilt.

“You’ll wallow in your shit, and you’ll think you’re happy.” – Kurt Cobain, from the song, “Sad”

As birth comes nearer, “fetal malnutrition” increases, since the neonate’s increasing size and weight press down on and constrict the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the placenta, when the mother is standing. The decreased blood supply means a reduction of life-giving oxygen as well as the buildup of toxins that would otherwise be taken away by a normal blood flow. So feelings of suffocation as well as skin irritation and other feelings of wallowing in waste matter-–deemed poisonous placenta by deMause-–increase.

“You’re really in a laundry room.” – Kurt Cobain, from the song, “Sad”

As I have said previously, deMause has found that these feelings exist to an extraordinary degree in a society and its leaders prior to its engaging in a war. Similarly, they precede, and obviously can be held to be accountable for, individual acts of violence-–including everything from murder and rape to unfortunately all-too-common and ordinary spousal and child abuse in the household, and of course everything in between. [Footnote 4]

Bloody War, Bloody Birth; BPM III

BPM III is birth. Its social analogue is war or violent assault. Feelings that accompany this state on both the individual and societal level include rage and intense aggressiveness, all-encompassing struggle, and sexual excess.

Nothing’s Ever Good Enough, BPM IV

BPM IV relates to the time of actually coming out of the womb and the post-natal period. On the societal level it is the ending of a war.

“Busting out all over”

Feelings of expansiveness, release, exultation, coming finally out into the light and/or being “on top” of things, and victory are feelings associated with this matrix, whether in the individual birth or the collective war cycle.

As I said the societal analogue to BPM IV, or actually being born, is a war’s end. It is no coincidence that in triumph or peace, the two-finger peace symbol is used. What better way to signal we have come from constriction into openness, specifically through the vise of a mother’s cervix, out from between two legs. As John Lennon so aptly put it, using the peace sign frequently, “War is over (if we want it).”

Mission accomplished…not!

Interestingly, just as in recent times harsh modern obstetrical practices and the removal of the baby from the mother can leave lifetime feelings of success not bringing with it the expected rewards and thus a post-accomplishment sort of depression, so also the ending of successful wars sometimes also leaves a society with a sort of letdown. For example, the euphoria following George H. W. Bush’s Gulf War-–which catapulted his approval ratings into the ninety percent range in 1991-–was followed, only a year later, by the increasing agony of a recession and Bush’s defeat at the polls.

Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War

All of this is to say that in society, as in the womb, a period of uninterrupted and relatively undisturbed feelings of growth leads to feelings of depression-–being too “soft” and “feminine,” but also “too fat” in the womb and, therefore, extremely constricted and compressed.

Why women fear becoming fat and men fear appearing “feminine”

Another way of saying this: feelings of expansion are followed by a fear of entrapment. And I agree wholeheartedly with DeMause in saying that it happens this way in a nation’s cycle of feelings because it happened that way to us prior to and during our births. We have these patterns of feelings as collective groups of individuals because our first experience of expansion was followed by extreme depression, guilt, despair, and then struggle and something bloodily akin to war–our actual births.

What Can Be Done?

So knowing this, how can we use it? Elsewhere I explain how and why we see the dynamics of this perinatal unconscious, not coincidentally right now, on the ascendance, just at the time when it is crucial we deal with it to survive. I call this an emerging perinatal unconscious, and I go into detail about why it is happening now, what it means, and how we can take advantage of an opportunity it brings that could aid us in our current dilemma. [Footnote 1]

For now, I only need mention the fact that facing these unconscious forces instead of turning away from and thereby insuring our continued ignorance of them and helpless acting out of them is imperative.

So, how do we consciously participate in these drives not merely be driven by them? Lloyd DeMause, in his article, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence,” printed in the spring 1996 issue of The Journal of Psychohistory, calls for kinder and gentler birthing and child-caring practices to mitigate the ferocity of these forces within humans and help us avoid an otherwise inevitable planetary disaster. He is restating what other pre- and perinatal psychologists…I am one, by the way…including Thomas Verny and Stanislav Grof assert. [Footnote 2]

However, I believe we need to go further than that. I, along with Grof, call for a larger awareness of and efforts in the direction of healing these perinatal elements in the consciousness and unconscious of those already alive right now. For unless we act to heal the people currently inhabiting this planet, we might not leave a planet that babies can be born into!…let alone people to conceive and give birth to them. Healing the perinatal traumas can be accomplished through, at this point, thoroughly tested and effective techniques of experiential regression and emotional release.

But it is impossible for everyone to take advantage of these techniques, especially in the short time we have to make the changes. But something short of that ideal may be sufficient to stave off otherwise inevitable doom.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

Finding the Weakest Spot

Elsewhere I address the question of what might be the result of this emerging perinatal unconscious for our species. And of course only time will tell. [Footnote 1]

Real, not blindly delusional, action is required.

But to get an idea of what we might hope for, given a readiness to actually do something about this, I offer a perspective. This understanding requires we remember some critical aspects of the cartography of the psyche described above. Looking into them we might begin to see where are the openings allowing for realistic action to be taken to bring about true, not just blindly delusional, change for our species.

We can no longer afford otherwise.

For our purposes here, the most important part of the cycle is BPM I. Societies, according to DeMause, go through these cycles of war and peace and have been doing so for as long as we know. But we can no longer afford these wars, as World War I and World War II have shown–with each one being an increase in our ability to destroy and to commit atrocities. We cannot afford to have a World War III as that most likely would end life on our planet. Indeed, as I’ve been pointing out, we cannot even afford the less extreme forms of acting out of perinatal trauma that we have been doing in our poisoning of the earth and air, global overpopulation, and the ongoing regional wars to give just a few of many examples I could have used. These things, along with many other current quite insane tendencies of ours, have the capacity to end our species and possibly all life on this planet.

Feeling Good Is Not Bad

So the cycle of societal perinatal acting out must be stopped. And the most obvious place to derail the insidious cycle is at the point of societal prosperity and progress. Feeling soft, undefended, and feminine are, rationally speaking, not things to be alarmed about. Quite to the contrary, it is rational that prosperity should make people feel good. It is rational that feeling soft should be a source of contentment, sensitivity, and intimacy with others. It makes sense that men should have no shame about feeling feminine because that only means that they have access to sensitive and nurturing feelings that are a source of joy, “color,” and fulfillment in life.

Changing the Patterns of Millennia

But how do we do this? How do we convince people that feeling good is not bad? For these unconscious forces, these cycles of violence, have been pulling our strings for at least tens of thousands of years. How can we change such an engrained pattern?

Chasing the Mirages of the Future

Well, again, we get our leads from the experiences of individuals undergoing experiential psychotherapy.

“It’s never enough.”

For individuals also, if they are to heal themselves, have to learn how to appreciate success and to stop sabotaging themselves in the myriad of ways they do. Individuals act out their mini-cycles of “war” in their struggles to achieve. And people are driven to struggle to achieve because they cannot be pleased with what they have.

Relating back to DeMause’s societal schema, people cannot simply enjoy their “prosperity.” People cannot stop to smell the roses occasionally. We cannot count our blessings and feel contented with what we have. Nor can we enjoy the natural pleasure of being alive in the moment.

“Wrong…It IS enough.”

No, instead what characterizes we humans–-for the most part because of our having birth trauma-–is a persistent drive to always have more than we do. We find that every accomplishment or success is short lived, with inexplicable depression following it. For each new attainment does not bring the expected (unconscious) rewards and leads us almost immediately to a new struggle, a new accomplishment to be sought. Humans are driven to chasing mirages of better times somewhere off in the future, and we fail to live in the present. We feel unsatisfied with what we have and are continually deluded that some new possession, accomplishment, or love “conquest” will bring with it the missing happiness.

Becoming Self-Actualizing Instead of Self-Sabotaging

When people are aware of the way they unconsciously sabotage their happiness, they sometimes seek help. And if they seek help in the experiential psychotherapies, they are enabled to work through their birth trauma so that they are no longer driven out of the moment, with its pleasure and pain, into an imagined but never attainable pleasureful and happy future.

Learning that it is enough

So people derail their cycles of drivenness and their tendencies to sabotage their successes by learning to enjoy their “prosperity,” even if it is the simple pleasure of being alive. And when they act to add to that pleasantness, they do so, not out of drivenness, but out of feelings of flow and the simple joys of acting and actualizing one’s tendencies, talents, and desires. They become self-actualizing instead of self-sabotaging.

Can You Handle Happiness?…
And the Pain That Comes With It?

OK, knowing this, one might ask if I am suggesting that to save our species everyone needs to get into experiential therapy. While that would be nice, it is not practical. But I believe it is not necessary either. There is an element of that societal period of prosperity that can be used and focused on in order to make the societal change of pattern, the societal derailing of the tendency to self-sabotage through war-making.

Getting By, With a Little Help From Our Nature

And that element is this: During times of prosperity, when one is less engaged in a struggle to survive, we find that one’s body will naturally try to heal itself of unresolved and somatically imprinted trauma by bringing into consciousness the repressed traumatic memories needing resolution.

Hierarchy of healing

This occurs in a manner similar to that of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Basically, one’s needs to “grow emotionally”…i.e., clear away the unresolved trauma…can only come to the fore when one’s physical survival needs are relatively taken care of. And arise they unerringly do, given any opportunity to do so.

“Don’t just do something, STAND there!”

However, when these traumatic memories come up seeking resolution, they, also unerringly, bring with them the associated feelings of depression, unease, and pain. But because these feelings are anything but pleasant, to their detriment most people seek to avoid these feelings through addictions and other forms of “acting-out” behavior. So addictions and acting-out behavior emerge after periods of relative stability precisely because that stability allows unresolved feelings an opening for emergence and a possibility of resolution and healing.

Allowing Our Society to Be Honestly, Blatantly “Sick”

So there you have it; that is the crux. The period of societal prosperity can be maintained and added to if that society refuses to run away from the negative feelings that come up with success. As I have said, one needs to get “sicker” in order to get really well.

“Stand in the place where you are…just stand.”

Societally, we need to allow the social, formerly repressed, “sicknesses,” negativities, and the pain that comes with them to arise and be socially worked out, to be hashed out, rather than to escape them by resorting to scapegoating enemies and waging war against them. But can societies do this? Are they doing this? [Footnote 5]

It does not seem so at the moment. For we have extreme acting out going on from Tea Party type elements. The homophobia that characterizes them is an indicator of the degree to which they are fearful of that feeling of being “soft” and “feminine,” I mentioned.

However there is a pattern in change that things can not really change until the negative slide has “hit bottom.” These negative forces cannot be gone beyond until they have wasted themselves in desperate acts. At this time also, positive forces are strengthening in the wings, burnishing their skills, tempering their character and nobility, fully capable when the time comes to take over. There are so many examples of this in social and individual histories, but not to get bogged down, I will mention one powerful one–-Nelson Mandela. You can take it from there.

The more common thing to mention about change is that prior to a major paradigm shift, the forces on the decline always wage a fierce, desperate battle…a bloody retreat, a burning of the fields, near suicidal and totally reckless forays.

We see people do this, too, just before they are about to change. We see people who self-destruct being the ones whose last desperate battle before awareness can dawn being something that takes their life and perhaps others with them.

We currently can point to Gaddafi, Assad, and other tyrants. We can observe reckless tea-baggers willing, as in the debt ceiling clash, to bring down the country for ideals that, however rationalized and spun, are at their roots as simple and crude as jealousy–-of those smarter and more capable; hatred-–of minorities, the poor, the “dirty,” the “slobs,” the “lazy”…basically all the scapegoats society allows them to vent the rage of their inner fears and hurt on; and homophobia–-that fear of being “soft,” feminine, unmasculine, and being willing to kill or be killed rather than to let oneself be seen that way.

Before continuing, one big misconception around that last point needs clearing up: homophobia is at base not fear/hatred of homosexuals, it is terror/hatred of the “feminine” and “softness” inside of the man himself who is homophobic. And this is the result of tens of thousands of years of “civilization,” still continuing, in which men are threatened with disapproval, ostracism, ridicule, attack, or worse for not repressing their softer sides down to the level of the norm of their group. Boys learn they must constrict their potentials and diminish themselves to that which coincides with-–and does not threaten-–the older males in their group or face severe punishment. Boys learn the consequences for not becoming less than they could be are severe, often from their own fathers.

And by the way, something similar goes on with young girls and the reduction of their potentials. We see a blatant example of this in the practice of cliterectomy-–also called female genital mutilation–in some cultures. In this practice the older women-–mother and aunts usually-–are responsible for this brutal and extremely painful and bloody attack. It tells little girls they will have no pleasure more than that which was allowed the older women, themselves, in that patriarchal world. So girls must diminish themselves in order to not be hated and ostracized by the women of the group, who, already having been diminished, would be jealous of someone being allowed to have what they have not. This is an exact mirror image of the process that goes on the diminution of the personalities-–the potentials-–of young boys.

Now to continue: So seeing so much of this pathos, hate, and bitter fear and anger is hopeful for us to be near the end of the cycle. Certainly it could get worse. But I personally don’t see how we could go much further on this path to oblivion without going past the point of no return. Perhaps we are not meant to succeed. Perhaps we are doomed. But I know in my own life, and that is the only true basis anyone can have for knowing how things really work, that, without fail, every seeming “loss of ground” was a prelude to an even bigger “advance.” As Jung said, we need to take two steps backward to make a big leap forward. That is the way individuals are. And societies and populations are just collections of individuals. So we can hold on to that, for one thing.

There is much else to be considered. In the other work of mine mentioned, Apocalypse Emergency, I consider in much detail the factors in the current situation that are the basis for hope, as well as those that are not so but can be valuable as warnings at least.

There I evaluate our current social-cultural scenery for our prospects. I look into whether there are any indications that this standing firm in the face of the rising up of the repressed social Shadow-–allowing the pain of it and facing it foursquare, hashing it out-–is to be currently found around us. If we can find this being done, we may allow ourselves at least the hope for a change in consciousness radical enough to save us from extinction. On the contrary, if we find little or no evidence for this kind of auspicious, fruitful healing activity, we might as well consider ourselves doomed.

Where this book leaves off, then, is where the other book takes up.

But before all that, there is still a few more things to be said in this one about what we have learned and what it means. So next we look at a few prevalent pervasive attitudes of these times that are distinctly and specially self-sabotaging. It is time we at least did our part to puncture these ego balloons. We deal in the upcoming section with the smug attitude many have that politics is somehow beneath them. Afterward, I look into this development emanating still from the Eighties that the human endeavor to do or be good, or noble, honest, have integrity, is somehow a naive, silly, and not truly “real” way to live one’s life…in these woefully non-idealistic, mean-spirited times.

For we need to show the hypocrisy and cowardice of these claims. They are most assuredly rooted in the pathetic egotisms of ordinary souls trying to fend off the insights that would grow and better them. For if we cannot deflate these obvious grand ego stands and convince people that they are self-defeating and cowardly to look down their noses at politics and as well they cannot see the pathos and self-sabotage at the base of being cynical and condescending toward those who would help, well then there is no further to go after that. For how can we improve on our current situation if people are convinced they are above the means of effecting change and lots of people also have succumbed to thinking that being cynical and mean-spirited is the only option for garnering self-esteem through the approval of others…is the only “cool” option. Without effective means and good people then the dark forces truly win.

So I will address this now. [continued after audiocasts]


Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence Audiocasts

“Part 1; What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Offspring?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema

Image of Apocalypse or New Dawn, Ch. 8: Derailing the Cycles of War.and Violence, Pt.1: What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring? by SillyMickel Adzema

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:


“Part 2; Can You Handle Happiness (And the Pain That Comes With It)?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema

For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:

Image of Apocalypse, or New Dawn?: Chapter Eight: “Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence, Part 2: Can You Handle Happiness? (And the Pain That Comes With It?)” by SillyMickel Adzema


So Did Politics Matter?

As we approach the end of this book-length exposition, I wish to focus on a pervasive attitude in the West of late. I have noticed how many folks in these established democracies, notably among the educated, present themselves in a way as to be above politics…as if politics is a profane activity that only ruffians and crooks get involved in.

Never mind that it has been through the “dirty” political action of their forebears they have been blessed with educational opportunities; unions and workers’ rights; the right to vote for women and minorities; freedoms, opportunities, and jobs; civil rights; relative peace, sometimes, or maybe just the privilege of not living under war; environmental safety; and so much more. No doubt more needs to be done in all these areas, but that’s part of the point: How ungrateful is one to be too good to dirty oneself in those matters that people of the past engaged in, which benefits they enjoy, but be “too good” to do anything to defend, let alone expand, those privileges for those to come after?

At length in several earlier chapters I discussed a “time capsule”—an article I had written just prior to the 2000 election in America that ended with the Supreme Court giving the presidency to George Bush. I related my astonishment at how closely the events that followed that election traced the course I predicted if Bush were to become president.

Now that the “time capsule” has told its tale—and I have related what this perception did to me, how it changed me—I’m curious as to how many others had any thoughts at all similar to mine during that period leading up to the election in 2000. Perhaps more did among the people reading this than in a random sampling, I would guess.

2000 Election Inconsequential?

Still, bemusedly I recall that at the time, as I made posts on international list services, principally on topics of deep feeling psychotherapy, psychohistory, and childhood and parenting, I was especially targeted for attack by non-Americans—several French and a German or two—who wanted to know how in hell a mere American presidential election was a thing of consequence to them, or to any non-American. I was brow-beaten also for daring to insert politics into matters pertaining to how we teach and love our children, or how we can help to love away each other’s traumas. Most often I was told it didn’t matter who won—Bush or Gore, Democrat or Republican—that they were all the same.

Being “above” politics—intellectuals…

More telling even than the attacks and the efforts to muzzle me about such “inconsequential” things was the vast stillness and silence of all the rest who sat watching or ignoring the drama, unmoved by the muzzling of opinion. Perhaps they felt themselves “cleaner” for not knowing, caring about, or in any way allowing their superior intellects to be dirtied by even the slightest rub up against the mud of profane politics. So also they were staunchly complicit in the ostracism that was the end result.

Shocked, I found that only one person out of all the three-four groups I participated in spoke up for me or supported my position. But even then, disappointingly, this woman who did support me spoke not on the grounds of the need to avert a disastrous outcome in the election. No, she aped the prevailing and supposedly “superior” position of neutrality about that. She upheld with the rest that, to me, strangest of notions about intellect and knowledge—that its true nature is detached.

This belief that an authentic quest for knowledge is dispassionate I have seen to be prevalent; I observe and hear it espoused repeatedly all about. Surely there are others thinking this to be strange too, I hope. And is it a mostly American thing somehow? Are those in other cultures more appreciative of passion?

They think that being fair means to not care.

The essence of this view is that intellect, first-hand knowledge, and intense study and thorough research in any and all fields of knowing lead always to a neutral, dispassionate position in the end and an acceptance of all the officially accepted traditional positions-–however dissonant, contradictory, even essentially opposed they might be and crying out for fresh insight and re-envisioning of them.

That stance is a total painful mind-bender to me, as my view is that intense and passionate search for truth and the actualities of events is the path to greater awareness. For I know of no original contributor in any field, especially of the genius caliber, who has not–-by necessity in fact, else it’s not a real contribution–-come out in the end as passionate advocates, committed and fervent articulators of their insights. I have observed them to identify with that specific and thoroughly detailed, often comprehensive, even visionary position, which they having suffered, sweated, and patiently waited, and sacrificed for before arriving at it. I see these truly original contributors to be passionately identified with their discoveries and hardly neutral about their validity!

So I wonder: Is it somehow profane or crude to be passionate these days? Have we become so “cool” as to look down our noses on those who are fully alive and fully engaged in life, not “compartmentalizing” or “managing” it from afar? Not multitasking it at a safe distance?

If so, what has happened to the life force in people? Are these claims to having superior numbness about life-and-death matters ego? Neurosis? Are they perhaps a byproduct of the huge injections of pharmaceuticals that are at present being shot into the veins of our social body?

Not to be smart so much as to be seen as smart

So that dispassionate position secretly says to me that like C-student Bush these people are not so much intelligent as seek to have the position of intelligent, rather, of intellectual. Their motive is not knowledge, but the benefits of traveling and being accepted in such society and circles. Therefore, it seems, the hardest place to find intelligent discourse is among the groups who are avowedly intellectual by definition.

And this stance of neutrality–-sometimes only purported, though, as happens often in the field of journalism-–strikes me as a real howler. For it would have us believe the most intelligent of the bunch were the last ones to adopt the heliocentric universe and the globe-like nature of our home. Wouldn’t they also be the last to position themselves on the side of evolution, too?

Just imagine any of the great and thoroughly established positions of our days, which once were astonishing discoveries, and I doubt you’d of found these neutral dispassionate types as first to the lecture halls to learn it. More likely these disinterested “smart” folks woulda been the stolid types–-the Salieris, hardly the Mozarts–-happy to have a position and eager to pick up its paycheck and then to enjoy the ease of hearth and home, comforting and filling food and drink….happy to be aware of the raskolnikovs, demians, and steppenwolfs in literature but totally nonunderstanding of such a nature and hardly believing that such people even exist, let alone walk among them.

Politics profane?

The person who supported me did not do so on the merits of the warnings I was making about political developments-–remember they ended up proving true. No, I was supported only on the grounds of fairness, individual expression…you know the old Bill-of-Rights type of support talk. Though who knows if she may not have been afraid to express her political concerns after witnessing the way her esteemed and “supposedly” high-minded idealistic–and oh-so-eminently mannered, always appropriate, ever so intellectual and high-spoken colleagues had, in what seemed an immediate and collective and nearly audible harrumph-like reflexive turning away and textual mouth-covering, nose-holding reaction, directly upon my raising the question of politics—and worse, of espousing one position, party, and person over another-–apparently perceived such a thing exactly the same as if I had loosed something dirty, stinky, sensual or sexual, and at least lowly, for certain profane, into the space which of a sudden it seemed all had judged to be reserved for only sacred topics…whatever that could mean.

And keep in mind it was only one person out of the several large groups I was following and posting with that found any reason at all to support me.

So now among those various groups I wonder how many of those that criticized me still maintain that in Europe they are only slightly, if at all, affected by American politics? I wonder this of those who considered their sympathetic and helping actions in person and one-on-one to be the only actions useful in the problem of worldwide human misery.

I wonder, as well, if there are still those–after the last American presidential election of 2008—who are still maintaining it wouldn’t have mattered a twit, in terms of the future of our world and the degree of suffering and dying and torture that it will witness…assuming even that it survives…in the coming upcoming years if McCain had won.

Gore not winning inconsequential?

And I wonder how many catastrophes created by their haughty disinterest around politics it takes to rouse them to interested concern. Just how many are required of tragic Katrina debacles; environmental collapses; massive and increasing species extinctions; stolen elections and rigged voting machines; losses of democracy, human rights, and habeas corpus; governmental mass murders orchestrated to instill fear and hatred enough to wage endless costly wars with the concomitant extinction and suffering of hundreds of thousands of collateral innocents; big-brotherish listening in and recording of all electronic activity; worldwide slaughter and rape of innocents which if not perpetrated then simply ignored or allowed; and worldwide economic collapses, to name just a fraction of the unexpected, unprecedented “dictatorial” actions that resulted from the fact that a Bush not a Gore, a Republican not a Democrat, was placed into the most powerful position on the planet in 2000 by a Supreme Court picked mostly by Republicans and against the will of the majority of Americans-–both popularly and electorally.

How much tragedy does it take?

I wonder just how many such events have to happen to bring about that relatively minor percentage point swing in opinion away from the Republican perpetrators of these atrocities that would allow, at long last, the election of a person from that thoroughly besmirched, maligned, lied about party. You know, that ridiculed and laughed about other party of namby-pamby “bleeding hearts” expressing concern for the suffering; that party who has members espousing useless, profitless, “kumbaya” moments of fellow feeling, community solidarity, and global caring; who have passionate aspirations and allegiances to invisible principles and values which involve the betterment of others—even non-Americans!—beyond just oneself and one’s kin; that party which—as empty-headed , soft, and nonsensical as it sounds—actually values these ideals higher than motives of profit—the dimwitted snots actually deeming a good number of things to be greater than money!

Just how many calamities need to occur in America and the world in order for a Democrat to be elected to the helm? Why else would there be only an infrequent election of someone from that alternative party?

The consequence of this is that the Republicans have managed even greater control, after their decades of entrenchment and ever increasing bloating of power and riches arrived at primarily through the consistent scapegoating and then feeding upon and stealing from the vulnerable, the helpless, the poor, and the different.

The Republicans have maneuvered and bought themselves into actual ownership of so many of the necessary societal institutions–-education, for example, and most of all the mainstream medias. Then as owners they direct the pundits of the popular media. So these talking heads come across as though programmed in their utterances so that the narrowest vision is presented.

We hear this paid-for perspective packaged in snide comments and insulting and misinforming appellations carefully crafted over time by Republican operatives and fed to their lackeys for the purpose of beating down the comprehension of the public through repetition and the total lack of any accompanying informing or contradictory viewpoint.

Notice in this regard the rise and fall the “liberal” moniker, somehow brought to its grave by someone’s strange verbal construction , however lacking in meaning but, having the quality, the crucial thing sought, so as to malign and affect opinion and feeling, of it sounding offensive and wrong and something that nobody, I mean nobody, would find appealing and identifiable to themselves.

By this I am referring to the success of the nonsensical but hugely unappealing epithet of “bleeding heart” which, added to and repeated endlessly along with the word, liberal, has succeeded in the complete and utter destruction of the use of that word. The connotation of this word, even, has been so successfully made to be distasteful as to sully even the words in its vicinity, as in the unappealing and rarely ever talked about anymore “liberal arts” education, school, or ideal.

Mainstream media have managed to convince nearly everyone, somewhat, of the validity of Richpublican-biased talking points—“obvious truths” which are in fact not–-through methods of endless repetition. They have poisoned common perceptions through the trick of the derisive appellation, concocted for the media by Republicans, to be endlessly rained upon their opposition. The opinion-creators have reached unprecedented skillfulness in the practice of mesmerism through the never-ending manufacture of nonsensical straw men which, in the practice of their being pummeled, provide ongoing drama to distract the millions from the issues of real and direct concern to them, to their lives.

How much of this is required? How much suffering needs to occur each time in America and the world in order for at long last a Democrat be chosen?

So, a full eight-year course of Republican fare later, served up for, and often force-fed down the craws of both Americans as well as non-Americans, I wonder now how many of those that criticized me still maintain that in Europe they are only slightly, if at all, affected by American politics.

I wonder how many remain unchanged of those who put up their noses at politics and proclaimed proudly their neutrality or their lack of involvement in it–-thus expressing their superiority in either their not being brainwashed like us others into thinking it mattered or in their purity and elitism above us worldly creatures in being above such roughish activities.

I wonder if they still think such things.

And since some of them also espoused that the personal one-on-one sympathetic and helping activities they engaged in were the only ways one could expect to ever make changes in the world and to alter the global trajectory heading inexorably toward the environmental abyss (among many others), I wonder if by now they’d bothered to do a little math around that concept-–what with people and their needs and their sufferings ever rising at the same time as we rapidly increase global warming, overpopulation, and the like.

Lastly, having heard it so proudly proclaimed before all elections and by personages both public and private and with equal sort of superiority, I wonder if there are still those who think politics does not matter and does not really affect them in their daily pursuits.

But what did it take?

One the other hand, if some of those I refer to have subsequently reevaluated their status as being above such concerns of lowly humans, I ask what did it take? How much suffering is required of us before those who would but for their egos be at our sides descend to join our ranks? And, it being so much misery, why so much? Do they actually feel that empathy for others they seek credit–-and some being “helping” professionals, profit-–for having?

Not to belabor but to expose this perspective so easily shunned and darkened, I ask just how much? As Ted Kennedy roared in the Senate, “Just how much greed is required by the other side? Just how much money does it take? How much is enough?”

And my version of that: I ask just how much is wanted of infinite debt–-burdening Americans and their children for generations without end-–created not out of any spending for healing or the alleviation of suffering of any kind but solely out of the desire of that wealthiest, unnamed one percent of Americans–-since the Sixties, but especially rapidly since the Eighties with Reagan-Bush I and now with Bush II, and controlling sixty percent of all resources…still wanting more, refusing to contribute even the slightest, and in the end result, not merely aligning their riches to bring illegally into power another Bush to redistribute upward the wealth alongside the stomping ever increasingly into the dirt of the poor and working classes?

We must not forget a budget surplus after eight years of Democratic leadership in the Nineties, a hard fought for budget surplus, cavalierly gifted to the least needy and the most greedy, as practically Bush’s first big act after receiving the Presidency…almost like it was a payback.

And how unbelievably outrageously despicable this, continuing with Bush right up to the end, to the final days of Bush’s second term—everyone being aware of Obama’s plans for major changes in health care, the environment, jobs, and so much else to benefit the greatest numbers and the most needy—well, too conveniently to not be suspicious and yet with all the boldness of an outlaw gang of the old West terrorizing the citizens of an isolated town, who unashamedly and in their last looting before moving on, resort to stripping the town bare, removing even the gold in the townsfolk’s teeth, and laughing uproariously, powerdrunk, upon overhearing the sobs of mothers contemplating the feeding of their children, the agonized groans of fathers feeling defeated and helpless to protect, nor even to sustain their families.

We observe the strong arm tactics of the representatives of these greedy elites calling the shots of politicians from their hidden or disguised positions. We hear the Democrats of Congress bullied with another fearful specter, some kind of financial nuclear holocaust at the eleventh hour. With all the temerity to actually employ, undisguisedly, the high pressure, railroading tactics of auto salesmanship, we see an extortion by the rich of such magnitude as if wanting to insure the failure of America’s leadership in bringing forth the society of ordinary opportunity for all, and a health care affordable enough to allow citizens a little respite from the knowledge of their inevitable death.

No, instead we see what seems an attempt to rob the store one last time…and hearing the voices of CEOs like that at Chase who afterwards bragged that they would not loan out even a penny of the thirty billion they received and instead use it buy up their competition, thus insuring even greater profits…it is difficult to believe it was anything BUT what it so obviously appeared to be, this theft.

But its results go far beyond that, handicapping the sincere efforts of good politicians and leaders who would want to make a better situation for us all, and doing it so severely, beyond draconian, as to insure a kind of soft burden or soft cage of enslavement for Americans forever into the future.

So great the theft, so great the extortion over the course of eight years that at least one expert has written a book, whose calculations he struggles with in every scenario having results that all carry one conclusion in common: that America will never, repeat, never again be able to regain the relative material gains and ordinary prosperity for those who worked for it that for a long time it held out to its citizens.

And No Sooner Had…

Yet immediately after the election of a Democratic president we hear the persistent cacophony of Republican and wealthy misconstruction and misinformation. They cry out all the louder now in blaming Obama for the very things they had accomplished during their eight years at the cash register, as if by doing so they could blot out the memory of the much greater outpourings of tax dollars for their rich friends and for ends much less noble.

In fact, we’re already finding the ends ignoble, as the banks took the help and then conducted a campaign to bankrupt and default everyone they could find who was dangling on the edge, not well-off like them, nor yet overboard.

It seemed a calculated attack on Americans by the faceless wealthy elite who for reasons we can’t understand appear to want to actually destroy or weed out of existence all but the very strong—these harder ones who, often, we see, are the very types who have aligned themselves with the multinationals and have no patriotic interests.

It is hard to understand, this assault on ordinary Americans by this unknown faceless enemy and for unknown reasons. But sure enough, with talk of a great depression and about and having received unprecedented handouts to help those struggling with debt, we find that moneyed sliver of us precipitated a nationwide campaign, then ratcheted it to full speed, involving the unilateral, universal, and comprehensive doubling, tripling, and more of credit card interest rates, whose effects, while many are simultaneously facing job layoffs, could only bring about more often than not the loss also of home loans, meaning loss of credit, job, and home all at once. One can only wonder at the designs behind such cruelty.

As for me, my greatest wonder is how it is that some of the American people are still going along with the Republican lies as they cover, still, for the continued looting of the poor by the rich. Eight years long; but still continuing. And, again, I’m wondering at the perverse gullibility of some people following blindly those many in the media who are engaged in the coverup, the bait and switch, the offering up of newly elected Obama for the sins of a secret wealthy class over the course of almost thirty years plundering the poor with Republicans help and now without even connivance, shame, or aforethought. In plain sight.

And we see them continue the plunder, with even more obvious support from the media, as they target job-stimulating “earmarks” many of which are scaled in terms of dollars measured by thousands, while individual bankers so very recently bragged about tens of billion being extorted.

It is incomprehensible to me that after all we’ve been through and with all that we see we must deal with, not only now, but also as far into the future as we can imagine, that a good many Americans are still singing with their “daddies” the Republicans. I mean at one time at least one was rewarded with bread and circuses for such misplaced loyalty.

Even as they suffer, even as they lose their jobs and self-respect in being unable to care for their families, or even themselves, still these are mesmerized, seemingly unconsciously acting against their own interests. One wonders again at how long one will feed on one’s own entrails before at least noticing.

So does politics matter? Did politics matter? Can you guess that I think it does?

Perverse Puppeteering

At the beginning of this Part, I began to address that curious behavior, which is uniquely human, of choosing to punish oneself and to attack innocents—being unable to accept happiness—while the perpetrators of suffering stand untouched and in sight. Indeed, listen up and you hear that it is the voices of these guilty that are still pronouncing horrid acts to be done, spelling out in detail the sufferings to be endured and to be inflicted. Yet people, as I have shown, allow, even wish this upon themselves.

In the next section I look into another aspect of that weird masochism, particularly of many Americans currently, to derail their own well-being by buying into wishes of their puppeteers to go after—to attack, ridicule, and beat off—the very ones who would put out a hand to help them from their suffering, to beat off the very rescuers who swam out to save them from drowning.

I look into the strange success of the “directors” in getting folks to take pleasure in their enslavement by embracing the scapegoating of those with good hearts wishing to raise us all, including them, up, thus ensuring their continued and even increasing agony.

I ask how is it possible that the ones most good of us have been made to receive judgement as being not good? How is it possible for people to be made to feel proud and superior for shouting down our positives instead as bad, stupid, or naïve…even at great cost to their own happiness? How is it possible that cyncism, mean-spiritedness, even covert racism and other hate, has been made “cool,” hip, and more real than that which would actually bring what is wanted?

In the upcoming section I ask, why is good so bad?

Tags: politics,time,capsule,psychohistory,intellectuals,election, Republican, Bush, Gore, American, 2000, Democrat, Obama, McCain, lies, wealthy, filthy, rich

What’s So Bad About Doing Good?

In the last section it appeared that politics might be sort of a good thing to pay attention to if one cares and wants to make a real difference in our world. But I notice in what I see around me that we need also to address the issue of whether to care is even a good idea. I am being serious about this.

Let me tell you what I mean. “The Rainmaker” is a 1997 movie based upon the blockbuster novel of the same name by John Grisham. It is directed by Francis Ford Coppola and stars Matt Damon and Danny DeVito among others. It is no B-list movie.

And while “The Rainmaker” is an extremely well-produced, acted, and directed movie, I vividly remember the first time I saw it. I did not feel good when I left the theater afterward.

Uncovering the layers of feelings that were in me then, I realized I was not satisfied at all with the ending. The movie had a triumphal and climactic courtroom scene, a delightfully sweet love story, and was totally engaging throughout—so much so that I was surprised, upon checking in with my body, occasionally, at how tense and “in suspense” I was because of my involvement with the movie: I found myself caring and pulling for the events to turn one way as opposed to another—just as if these were real events in people’s lives instead of mere fictional events played out by actors with lives totally unlike the characters they portrayed.

Nevertheless, I noticed my body being in suspense, as well as my wet cheeks, replenished continuously by tears flowing freely during love scenes of caring and compassion, and scenes of tragedy and sadness. [Footnote 6]

So why did I leave the theater feeling so dissatisfied? Beneath the more superficial layers of feelings—the disappointment that the “victory” was only a pyrrhic one—that is, it did not reap the expected benefits and was almost as good as a loss; and the fact that the romantic element was left undetermined—you weren’t sure there was going to be a “happily ever after” for this couple—I realized there was the larger disappointment that the “heroic” main character, after this first and only case as a lawyer, and despite his huge though prryhic victory, was considering quitting the legal profession. This, because of the corruption and injustice in it.

I realized this part was disappointing because it fit with a pattern of numerous stories of the Nineties—especially, but in the decades since, as well—whose message was largely that corruption and injustice…or downright evil…was everywhere and that it is hopeless to resist…and that heroic responses, by contrast, were stupid, or naïve, or—worst of all—too…well, “Sixty-ish.” So I was beginning here to notice the generational tie-in –> deeper depressing feelings still!

Among those images of BPM II hopelessness and despair in the face of an overwhelming, insensitive, unjust–and monstrously huge and randomly acting–social system, I remembered “The X Files.” Will Scully and Mulder ever find out the truth? Will any episode ever end with the truth concerning the events portrayed actually being spelled out and affirmed in their “FBI Final Reports” . . . rather than left as “Status: Unexplained” or “Reason-” or “Cause Unknown” . . . when in fact the TV viewer, as well as of course Mulder and Scully, know full well what happened and why. The truth is left always hidden and covered up.

Why? Well, because Scully, especially, cannot put out explanations that do not fit the prevailing paradigm—that do not fit traditional “scientistic” explanations—for fear of ridicule. Hence, she covers up the truth and denies that she’s observed, learned, and experienced what in fact she has. In this way she demonstrates the hallmark of neurosis—denial of one’s own experience, one’s own reality.

I remembered also how popular “The English Patient” was. Talk about a bummer movie!! No hero here either—just random events, tragedy, meaninglessness. Yet a huge box office success it was! What the hell’s going on here?

Used to be that the “good guys” would win in the end and that a promise of real love was gifted, by movie’s end, to everyone in the theater. While not always realistic, what’s so wrong about hope and ideals? What’s so wrong, or stupid, about trying for the best in one’s life . . . or to be the best one can be in one’s life?

There are many other media stories that fit the pattern of hopelessness against overpowering forces, of course. The TV series “Millennium” is a good example. But I think I’ve made my point.

clip_image074Lest I be misunderstood, however, you should know that I’d be the first to decry a sappy plot that glosses over reality and sugar coats, rationalizing everything as wonderful, happy, and good. Yet, is the truth then that life is always so hopeless? Is reality truly so grim, horrific, tragic…? Is the effort to make a better world or to be a better person clip_image076really so stupid and naïve because so impossible—with everything stacked against one? Or, instead, can it be true that this hopeless view is actually a paranoid one—”the whole world against me”—a manifestation of BPM II birth pain?

At any rate, then it dawned on me how these attitudes are physicalizing themselves in the furniture of our social reality: adolescents and young adults wearing black, painting their faces to be deathly masks, sticking pins in themselves everywhere—from tongue to genitalia…and the ongoing vampirism craze…simply the name itself, “Generation X”—indicating a generation with no overriding ideals, purpose, meaning, or even profile! So ambiguous and lacking in shape as to merit only an X as a name!

Alongside the above: the scapegoating of the Sixties generation and its ideals. “How Sixties!” “Too Sixty-ish,” and “Old-fashioned”—I’ve already discussed “kumbaya” and “bleeding heart”—have become putdowns for expressions and examples of idealism, hope, visions, efforts to make a better world or to fight injustice.

I realized then why my spiritual teacher, Sathya Sai Baba, often exhorted his audiences to be “heroes not zeroes.” He is not saying people should emulate John-Wayne-ish egotistical machismo and unfeelingness. To the contrary, he exhorts his followers to strive to be as fully human, caring, sensitive, courageous in the service of truth and justice; to be feeling people, caring people and as actualizing of the best in them as they can possibly be. He says it is better to fail at aspiring after high ideals than to succeed stupendously at lower aims.

It’s not that there are no heroes anymore. We still have the movies and stories where good triumphs in the end, against even hopeless odds. Sure we have them. And we even have uplifting and inspiring TV shows like “Touched By an Angel” to watch. It’s just that, when teen suicides are occurring in record numbers, drug addiction is ever rising, and an epidemic of “depression disease” has swallowed our society whole and doctors are scattering antidepressants over the masses like holy water…well, maybe, we should not be reinforcing this depressive attitude.

clip_image070Writers and producers will choose to write and produce what they will, and they will make the ending whatever they want it to be. But I, for one, have got the point, already, that the Fifties-shlock-pollyanna view was a sham that needed overturning and unraveling because it hid so many social problems that needed to be looked at, addressed, attended to—that is, the Government, and Eisenhower, is not always right; parents do not always love their children, in fact sometimes they beat and even kill them; a newborn’s screaming entrance into the world is not a joyous occasion indicating healthy lungs; women, African-Americans, and minorities are not happily oblivious in their subservient or submissive roles; and on and on.

Yea, I got it. A whole generation got it…in that oh-so-much-maligned Sixties. And because we got it, we exposed it. We fought it. We sought justice; we sacrificed; we strove to start from scratch and build a world on high and glorious ideals. Euphoric in our growing numbers, we grew optimistic… hell, even certain that we could/would change the world. And we would do it “NOW!” You know the story.

OK, so, yes, we did get put down by the moneyed elite who commanded and manipulated the media into stopping its coverage of the revolution and “the greening of America” that was actually occurring and instead instructed and coerced the media into announcing the “big lie” of a “conservative backlash”…which didn’t really exist at first…any backlash occurring only in the minds of the few but powerful moneyed elite, with the actual trend of the masses in the country being toward more demonstrations, more change, more liberalism, and so on. But…eventually, with enough of the repetition in the media that money can buy, enough accompanying discussion of such a “conservative backlash” and other treatment of this fictitious reality in the lackey press…well, sure enough, people began to accept it as the consensus reality—a reality bought and paid for.

And this supposed reality was hammered home by TV shows, funded by corporate and moneyed interests that would benefit by such a view being promulgated. Shows such as “Family Ties”—showing a conservative son rebelling against Sixties-generation parents. A total farce in that, predominantly, children grow up owning not rebelling against, the values of their parents. If they rebel, it is in the direction of being more extreme than their parents in pursuing those values; studies have proven this.

The reality at that time was that the conservative youth of that time were the children of a Presley-Eisenhower generation—late World War Two through early baby-boomer generation—who had their adolescent and formative years during the “Monk-ish” and conformist Fifties. Nevertheless, the show served the powered interests in scapegoating Sixties values by belittling and trivializing them. clip_image071A generation’s serious ideals and efforts to completely re-create the world on a more humane, just, right, and true foundation became a laughing matter and its proponents a laughing stock, scapegoated. The attitude being put out then about Sixties revolution and values became: “It was all only about youth wanting not to have to go to war, after all, wasn’t it?”

And the conservative forces succeeded. For all of this media reconstruction of reality certainly discouraged the efforts of my generation of youth, as well as all youth since then—including and especially today’s—toward even thinking they could affect the world for the positive. A contract had been put out on optimism; idealism was dead and its scattered forces were ridiculed and scoffed at.

But . . . hey now! We did stop the war. We did improve civil rights for African-Americans, women, and minorities…though it’s a never-ending effort and cause, of course. We did raise consciousness about the pollution of the environment. And, indeed, we did instill an awareness of spiritual reality and values into a heretofore thoroughly mechanical, materialistic, and religiously hypocritical paradigm of social reality and normal human behavior. As Abbie Hoffman, pounding the podium in frustration, bellowed in a speech he gave not too long before his unfortunate death, “Goddamit! The truth of it all is that WE WERE RIGHT!!!”

My point is that reinforcing despair and hopelessness—as in “The Rainmaker” and productions like it—can only serve to undermine the idealistic energy, hope, and enthusiasm necessary to continue the struggle on those, and so many other, fronts, clip_image061which are necessary to be won if we are to bring in a new era…indeed, if our species is even to survive.

When our species’ survival is at stake, why reinforce hopelessness, which can only lead to apathy and paralysis in the face of injustice and suffering?

And yet, these media patterns and images are merely reflections of our society’s collective psyche. They are produced, and people go to see them, because people recognize their own feelings in them. So they are an expression of self-sabotaging, self-destructive behavior on a collective level…an expression of collective neurosis.

And the only thing that can be done about such things going on are to point them out…for whoever has ears to hear. I, for one, would like to point out that the glass is half full, not half empty…and I’d like to see some real heroes again. (See the movie “Strange Days” as an antidote to the hopelessness and anti-heroism I’ve discussed.)

For life is a game, and we can only lose by not playing it. Since we must act, and must decide—even apathy and indecision are actions and decisions—why not choose a “heroic” path or—to better avoid the negative connotations of the word hero—as Castaneda has enjoined us, why not choose “a path with a heart”? And I would like to see stories, TV shows, movies, and plots that sustain, support, and inspire us in that direction. What have we got to lose by being positive? Hell…what’s so bad about doing good?

Goodbye, Hello

clip_image060As I bring this topic of culture/class war to a close a new one begins. I have been alluding in this and a few of the chapters just before this to the fact that the political and cultural problem we face in America and worldwide is the most dire because it distracts from attention to and ability to act on a problem of infinitely greater significance…as if that could be possible. But something bearing down on us, actually does have far greater consequence for our lives than a fascism that is no longer creeping, or even “jogging,” but is actually “sprinting” in its advance now.

This thing has far greater consequence for our lives and for future generations, but amazingly also, for all previous generations…indeed all life that exists or one-time existed on this planet…and possibly for any life beyond this planet. The more spiritually-inclined might also say that the divine is intimately involved and intently watching it.

Sound grandiose? I only wish I were exaggerating. I am only saying straight as it is about something that is desperately being downplayed and too often pathetically denied. You probably know what I am talking about.

So this discussion of what is wrong and what can be done about it turns now to the environment, to the rapidly approaching environmental collapse and unprecedented mass extinction of life on this planet. Turning, we face and peer into an even greater darkness about. We uncage our power and bring real hope into our predicament by letting ourselves know apocalypse. First, we must acknowledge our “Apocalypse Emergency.”

Copyright © 1999, 2011 by Michael Derzak Adzema

Continue on this site with
Culture War, Part 16:
Anatomy of Class Consciousness


Footnotes

1. The book published in 1999 is titled “Apocalypse? Or New Age?” It was rewritten in 2011 with considerably more material and titled “Apocalypse Emergency: Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth? [return to text]

2. Lloyd deMause, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence.” The Journal of Psychohistory 23 (1995): 2. Reprinted with permission on the Primal Spirit site.

Stanislav Grof, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research. New York: Viking Press, 1975; LSD Psychotherapy. Pomona, CA: Hunter House, 1980; Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1985; The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988; The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. [return to text]

3. I explain this in more detail in Apocalypse Emergency, especially Part Seven, “We Ain’t Born Typical under the heading “Elements of Birth Experience.”

4. “You’ll wallow in the shit and you’ll think you’re happy” and “You’re really in a laundry room” from, and with appreciation to, Kurt Cobain. These are lyrics in his song, “Sad.” The video and lyrics are reproduced again here for your convenience:

Nirvana – “Sad” (also “Sappy” and “Verse Chorus Verse”)

“Sad” lyrics

And if you save yourself
You will make him happy
He’ll keep you in a jar
And you’ll think you’re happy
He’ll give you breathing holes
Then you’ll think you’re happy
He’ll cover you with grass
And you’ll think you’re happy
Now
You’re really in a laundry room,
You’re really in a laundry room
Conclusion came to you, oh
And if you cut yourself
You will think you’re happy
He’ll keep you in a jar
Then you’ll make him happy
He’ll give you breathing holes
Then you’ll think you’re happy
He’ll cover you with grass
Then you’ll think you’re happy
Now
You’re really in a laundry room,
You’re really in a laundry room
Conclusion came to you, oh (x2)
And if you fool yourself
You will make him happy
He’ll keep you in a jar
And you’ll think you’re happy
He’ll give you breathing holes
Then you will seem happy
You’ll wallow in your shit
Then you’ll think you’re happy
Now
You’re really in a laundry room (x3)
Conclusion came to you, oh
Alternate lyrics:
And if you kill yourself
You will make him happy

5. “Stand in the place where you are…just stand” from and with appreciation to R.E.M. While it seems no one understood the group’s huge initial release, “Stand,” it is quite meaningful in the current context. A video and lyrics are included here for your consideration:

R.E.M. – “Stand”

“Stand” lyrics

Stand in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven’t before
Now stand in the place where you work
Now face West
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t before
If you are confused check with the sun
Carry a compass to help you along
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
[repeat 1st verse]
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
If wishes were trees the trees would be falling
Listen to reason
Season is calling
[repeat 1st verse]
If wishes were trees the trees would be falling
Listen to reason
Reason is calling
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
So Stand (stand)
Now face North
Think about direction, wonder why you haven’t before
Now stand (stand)
Now face West
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t
[repeat 1st verse]
Stand in the place where you are (Now face North)
Stand in the place where you are (Now face West)
Your feet are going to be on the ground (Stand in the place where you are)
Your head is there to move you around, so stand.

6. I really should not have to mention this but considering the thing being addressed in this section I suppose I had better. For I have experienced our culture changing drastically over the last few decades in its valuing of feelings and emotion. If you are familiar with earlier chapters of this book, you know this is a theme that keeps coming up in our understanding of this culture war, class war—that is, American and Western culture increasingly, in brave-new-world fashion, instilling cynicism, apathy, mean-spiritedness—creating “zombies” and “trolls”—and suppressing, ridiculing, beating down our human qualities—softness, kindness, caring…all that “bleeding heart” “kumbaya” stuff.

So, yes, I am one of those people who feels things. I am not being facetious, for I did deep feeling experiential psychotherapy at one time in my life to be able to handle such capacity to be sensitive and empathetic. I also spent a good deal of my life as a helping professional facilitating others in several of the most powerful and profound methods of healing and consciousness expansion—specifically, primal therapy (that’s the one John and Yoko went through and expressed in their music), rebirthing/vivation, and holotropic breathwork. You can check my bio in “About” for more on that.

So, yes, I cry, and it is not a big f—ing deal or a “meltdown” when I do. Laughing out loud I can’t write that last sentence without lmao. Anyway, you got the idea.

Continue on this site with
Culture War, Part Sixteen:
Anatomy of Class Consciousness

Invite you to follow me on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/sillymickel

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The Day that Goodness Died: A Contract Out on Optimism, Idealism Dead. Why Not “a Path With a Heart”?

What’s So Bad About Doing Good?

In the last chapter it appeared that politics might be sort of a good thing to pay attention to if one cares and wants to make a real difference in our world. But I notice in what I see around me that we need also to address the issue of whether to care is even a good idea. I am being serious about this.

Let me tell you what I mean. “The Rainmaker” is a 1997 movie based upon the blockbuster novel of the same name by John Grisham. It is directed by Francis Ford Coppola and stars Matt Damon and Danny DeVito among others. It is no B-list movie.

And while “The Rainmaker” is an extremely well-produced, acted, and directed movie, I vividly remember the first time I saw it. I did not feel good when I left the theater afterward.

Uncovering the layers of feelings that were in me then, I realized I was not satisfied at all with the ending. The movie had a triumphal and climactic courtroom scene, a delightfully sweet love story, and was totally engaging throughout—so much so that I was surprised, upon checking in with my body, occasionally, at how tense and “in suspense” I was because of my involvement with the movie: I found myself caring and pulling for the events to turn one way as opposed to another—just as if these were real events in people’s lives instead of mere fictional events played out by actors with lives totally unlike the characters they portrayed.

Nevertheless, I noticed my body being in suspense, as well as my wet cheeks, replenished continuously by tears flowing freely during love scenes of caring and compassion, and scenes of tragedy and sadness.  [Footnote 1]

So why did I leave the theater feeling so dissatisfied? Beneath the more superficial layers of feelings—the disappointment that the “victory” was only a pyrrhic one—that is, it did not reap the expected benefits and was almost as good as a loss; and the fact that the romantic element was left undetermined—you weren’t sure there was going to be a “happily ever after” for this couple—I realized there was the larger disappointment that the “heroic” main character, after this first and only case as a lawyer, and despite his huge though prryhic victory, was considering quitting the legal profession. This, because of the corruption and injustice in it.

I realized this part was disappointing because it fit with a pattern of numerous stories of the Nineties—especially, but in the decades since, as well—whose message was largely that corruption and injustice…or downright evil…was everywhere and that it is hopeless to resist…and that heroic responses, by contrast, were stupid, or naïve, or—worst of all—too…well, “Sixty-ish.” So I was beginning here to notice the generational tie-in –> deeper depressing feelings still!

Among those images of BPM II hopelessness and despair in the face of an overwhelming, insensitive, unjust–and monstrously huge and randomly acting–social system, I remembered “The X Files.” Will Scully and Mulder ever find out the truth? Will any episode ever end with the truth concerning the events portrayed actually being spelled out and affirmed in their “FBI Final Reports” . . . rather than left as “Status: Unexplained” or “Reason-” or “Cause Unknown” . . . when in fact the TV viewer, as well as of course Mulder and Scully, know full well what happened and why. The truth is left always hidden and covered up.

Why? Well, because Scully, especially, cannot put out explanations that do not fit the prevailing paradigm—that do not fit traditional “scientistic” explanations—for fear of ridicule. Hence, she covers up the truth and denies that she’s observed, learned, and experienced what in fact she has. In this way she demonstrates the hallmark of neurosis—denial of one’s own experience, one’s own reality.

I remembered also how popular “The English Patient” was. Talk about a bummer movie!! No hero here either—just random events, tragedy, meaninglessness. Yet a huge box office success it was! What the hell’s going on here?

Used to be that the “good guys” would win in the end and that a promise of real love was gifted, by movie’s end, to everyone in the theater. While not always realistic, what’s so wrong about hope and ideals? What’s so wrong, or stupid, about trying for the best in one’s life . . . or to be the best one can be in one’s life?

There are many other media stories that fit the pattern of hopelessness against overpowering forces, of course. The TV series “Millennium” is a good example. But I think I’ve made my point.

clip_image074Lest I be misunderstood, however, you should know that I’d be the first to decry a sappy plot that glosses over reality and sugar coats, rationalizing everything as wonderful, happy, and good. Yet, is the truth then that life is always so hopeless? Is reality truly so grim, horrific, tragic…? Is the effort to make a better world or to be a better person clip_image076really so stupid and naïve because so impossible—with everything stacked against one? Or, instead, can it be true that this hopeless view is actually a paranoid one—”the whole world against me”—a manifestation of BPM II birth pain?

At any rate, then it dawned on me how these attitudes are physicalizing themselves in the furniture of our social reality: adolescents and young adults wearing black, painting their faces to be deathly masks, sticking pins in themselves everywhere—from tongue to genitalia…and the ongoing vampirism craze…simply the name itself, “Generation X”—indicating a generation with no overriding ideals, purpose, meaning, or even profile! So ambiguous and lacking in shape as to merit only an X as a name!

Alongside the above: the scapegoating of the Sixties generation and its ideals. “How Sixties!” “Too Sixty-ish,” and “Old-fashioned”—I’ve already discussed “kumbaya” and “bleeding heart”—have become putdowns for expressions and examples of idealism, hope, visions, efforts to make a better world or to fight injustice.

I realized then why my spiritual teacher, Sathya Sai Baba, often exhorted his audiences to be “heroes not zeroes.” He is not saying people should emulate John-Wayne-ish egotistical machismo and unfeelingness. To the contrary, he exhorts his followers to strive to be as fully human, caring, sensitive, courageous in the service of truth and justice; to be feeling people, caring people and as actualizing of the best in them as they can possibly be. He says it is better to fail at aspiring after high ideals than to succeed stupendously at lower aims.

It’s not that there are no heroes anymore. We still have the movies and stories where good triumphs in the end, against even hopeless odds. Sure we have them. And we even have uplifting and inspiring TV shows like “Touched By an Angel” to watch. It’s just that, when teen suicides are occurring in record numbers, drug addiction is ever rising, and an epidemic of “depression disease” has swallowed our society whole and doctors are scattering antidepressants over the masses like holy water…well, maybe, we should not be reinforcing this depressive attitude.

clip_image070Writers and producers will choose to write and produce what they will, and they will make the ending whatever they want it to be. But I, for one, have got the point, already, that the Fifties-shlock-pollyanna view was a sham that needed overturning and unraveling because it hid so many social problems that needed to be looked at, addressed, attended to—that is, the Government, and Eisenhower, is not always right; parents do not always love their children, in fact sometimes they beat and even kill them; a newborn’s screaming entrance into the world is not a joyous occasion indicating healthy lungs; women, African-Americans, and minorities are not happily oblivious in their subservient or submissive roles; and on and on.

Yea, I got it. A whole generation got it…in that oh-so-much-maligned Sixties. And because we got it, we exposed it. We fought it. We sought justice; we sacrificed; we strove to start from scratch and build a world on high and glorious ideals. Euphoric in our growing numbers, we grew optimistic…hell, even certain that we could/would change the world. And we would do it “NOW!” You know the story.

OK, so, yes, we did get put down by the moneyed elite who commanded and manipulated the media into stopping its coverage of the revolution and “the greening of America” that was actually occurring and instead instructed and coerced the media into announcing the “big lie” of a “conservative backlash”…which didn’t really exist at first…any backlash occurring only in the minds of the few but powerful moneyed elite, with the actual trend of the masses in the country being toward more demonstrations, more change, more liberalism, and so on. But…eventually, with enough of the repetition in the media that money can buy, enough accompanying discussion of such a “conservative backlash” and other treatment of this fictitious reality in the lackey press…well, sure enough, people began to accept it as the consensus reality—a reality bought and paid for.

And this supposed reality was hammered home by TV shows, funded by corporate and moneyed interests that would benefit by such a view being promulgated. Shows such as “Family Ties”—showing a conservative son rebelling against Sixties-generation parents. A total farce in that, predominantly, children grow up owning not rebelling against, the values of their parents. If they rebel, it is in the direction of being more extreme than their parents in pursuing those values; studies have proven this.

clip_image071The reality at that time was that the conservative youth of that time were the children of a Presley-Eisenhower generation—late World War Two through early baby-boomer generation—who had their adolescent and formative years during the “Monk-ish” and conformist Fifties. Nevertheless, the show served the powered interests in scapegoating Sixties values by belittling and trivializing them. A generation’s serious ideals and efforts to completely re-create the world on a more humane, just, right, and true foundation became a laughing matter and its proponents a laughing stock, scapegoated. The attitude being put out then about Sixties revolution and values became: “It was all only about youth wanting not to have to go to war, after all, wasn’t it?”

And the conservative forces succeeded. For all of this media reconstruction of reality certainly discouraged the efforts of my generation of youth, as well as all youth since then—including and especially today’s—toward even thinking they could affect the world for the positive. A contract had been put out on optimism; idealism was dead and its scattered forces were ridiculed and scoffed at.

But . . . hey now! We did stop the war. We did improve civil rights for African-Americans, women, and minorities…though it’s a never-ending effort and cause, of course. We did raise consciousness about the pollution of the environment. And, indeed, we did instill an awareness of spiritual reality and values into a heretofore thoroughly mechanical, materialistic, and religiously hypocritical paradigm of social reality and normal human behavior. As Abbie Hoffman, pounding the podium in frustration, bellowed in a speech he gave not too long before his unfortunate death, “Goddamit! The truth of it all is that WE WERE RIGHT!!!”

My point is that reinforcing despair and hopelessness—as in “The Rainmaker” and productions like it—can only serve to undermine the idealistic energy, hope, and enthusiasm necessary to continue the struggle on those, and so many other, fronts, clip_image061which are necessary to be won if we are to bring in a new era…indeed, if our species is even to survive.

When our species’ survival is at stake, why reinforce hopelessness, which can only lead to apathy and paralysis in the face of injustice and suffering?

And yet, these media patterns and images are merely reflections of our society’s collective psyche. They are produced, and people go to see them, because people recognize their own feelings in them. So they are an expression of self-sabotaging, self-destructive behavior on a collective level…an expression of collective neurosis.

And the only thing that can be done about such things going on are to point them out…for whoever has ears to hear. I, for one, would like to point out that the glass is half full, not half empty…and I’d like to see some real heroes again. (See the movie “Strange Days” as an antidote to the hopelessness and anti-heroism I’ve discussed.)

For life is a game, and we can only lose by not playing it. Since we must act, and must decide—even apathy and indecision are actions and decisions—why not choose a “heroic” path or—to better avoid the negative connotations of the word hero—as Castaneda has enjoined us, why not choose “a path with a heart”? And I would like to see stories, TV shows, movies, and plots that sustain, support, and inspire us in that direction. What have we got to lose by being positive? Hell…what’s so bad about doing good?

Goodbye, Hello

clip_image060As I bring this topic of culture/class war to a close a new one begins. I have been alluding in this and a few of the chapters just before this to the fact that the political and cultural problem we face in America and worldwide is the most dire because it distracts from attention to and ability to act on a problem of infinitely greater significance…as if that could be possible. But something bearing down on us, actually does have far greater consequence for our lives than a fascism that is no longer creeping, or even “jogging,” but is actually “sprinting” in its advance now.

This thing has far greater consequence for our lives and for future generations, but amazingly also, for all previous generations…indeed all life that exists or one-time existed on this planet…and possibly for any life beyond this planet. The more spiritually-inclined might also say that the divine is intimately involved and intently watching it. 

Sound grandiose? I only wish I were exaggerating. I am only saying straight as it is about something that is desperately being downplayed and too often pathetically denied. You probably know what I am talking about.

So this discussion of what is wrong and what can be done about it turns now to the environment, to the rapidly approaching environmental collapse and unprecedented mass extinction of life on this planet. Turning, we face and peer into an even greater darkness about. We uncage our power and bring real hope into our predicament by letting ourselves know apocalypse. First, we must acknowledge our “Apocalypse Emergency.”  

Continue on this site with
Culture War, Class War Interlude –
Chapter 32: Anatomy of Class Consciousness

Footnote

1.  I really should not have to mention this but considering the thing being addressed in this chapter I suppose I had better. For I have experienced our culture changing drastically over the last few decades in its valuing of feelings and emotion. If you are familiar with earlier chapters of this book, you know this is a theme that keeps coming up in our understanding of this culture war, class war—that is, American and Western culture increasingly, in brave-new-world fashion, instilling cynicism, apathy, mean-spiritedness—creating “zombies” and “trolls”—and suppressing, ridiculing, beating down our human qualities—softness, kindness, caring…all that “bleeding heart” “kumbaya” stuff.

So, yes, I am one of those people who feels things. I am not being facetious, for I did deep feeling experiential psychotherapy at one time in my life to be able to handle such capacity to be sensitive and empathetic. I also spent a good deal of my life as a helping professional facilitating others in several of the most powerful and profound methods of healing and consciousness expansion—specifically, primal therapy (that’s the one John and Yoko went through and expressed in their music), rebirthing/vivation, and holotropic breathwork. You can check my bio in “About” for more on that.

So, yes, I cry, and it is not a big f—ing deal or a “meltdown” when I do. Laughing out loud  I can’t write that last sentence without lmao. Anyway, you got the idea.

 Continue on this site with
Culture War, Class War Interlude –
Chapter 32: Anatomy of Class Consciousness

Invite you to follow me on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/sillymickel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel

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