Saturday, March 19, 2005


The United States of Leland

Our culture is schizophrenic.

I watched the superbowl this year and unfortunately was bombarded with paid advertising of the worst kind (enormous amounts of money for a few paltry seconds). There was a commercial by that mocked the talk of censorship by fanatical reactionaries that has filled the media landscape since Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction from the year before. In the spot, a well-endowed young woman is trying to persuade a government hearing on indecency that her commercial is suitable for viewing, but while she shows them what she’s going to do in the commercial a shoulder strap breaks and she almost spills out of her halter top. Meanwhile the grumpy old men hem and haw as they desperately scramble for their oxygen masks. It was quite amusing and worked as a lighthearted attempt to show the absurd idea that a few decrepit souls are deciding what decency means for the rest of us. Well, apparently that commercial was supposed to run later in the game, but a worn-out old guy with power (who was obviously offended, I don’t know why?) decided that it wasn’t appropriate viewing for the innocent families out there watching the most violent sport in Amerika (besides boxing, but can you really call two guys beating the crap out of each other truly a sport?). I guess he failed to understand the important message hidden deep within the content, perhaps he was only able to focus on the more obvious aspects of this 30-second spot. The crazy thing about it is that there was at least one other commercial that had a woman revealing even more of her indecency, but since it was the type of advertising that we find on our television, our billboards, our magazines, our newspapers, our computers, everywhere everyday then no one bothered to get hot under the collar.

My cousin recently got back from Kiribati. She realized that many of the aspects of our culture are very twisted seen through the eyes of others. It took immersing herself completely within another society for her to understand that things she completely accepted before were actually quite destructive. One of the great flaws of the Amerikan mentality is that “our way is best”. Our government is trying to spread the idea of democracy to all corners of the globe, just as long as it’s our version of democracy. Missionaries push their version of the truth on natives everywhere, without opening their hearts to the value that already exists within these various cultures. This is something she experienced first hand when she was forced to wear a dual-skirt-short outfit so as not to reveal any part of her crotch area, which was deemed unsuitable by the Mormon missionaries that settled there. Why do we get to decide for the rest of the world what is good or bad, right or wrong, decent or indecent? What is it about our way of life that makes it superior to all others? Why are we so goddamn arrogant?

If a society is the best wouldn’t the people of that society reflect the wonder and greatness for the entire world to see? If a culture is so fabulous then why would they have to do so much to convince others how wonderful it is? Shouldn’t the example be enough? None of it makes sense when you look around and see so much sadness. It’s infused in our society. We constantly take drugs to counteract the problem but more and more people are getting depressed every year. We put on masks of happiness while our eyes show what’s really going on inside. We go around acting civil but then listen when the devil on our shoulder convinces us to destroy that civility. Suddenly were in compromising situations that require even more dishonest activity, anything to avoid responsibility. Many people who support the Anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment have been married more than once. Many of the people who oppose abortion support the death penalty or the war agenda. Most of the people who are against providing a reasonable wage to the working class are the biggest supporters of corporate welfare. Many of those who are against the separation of church and state only think that it should pertain to their religion. Many of the leading advocates for “family values” would prefer that public education be abolished. We are told to believe in freedom but can’t make decisions on our own about what is indecent. We are constantly being bombarded by hypocrisy and we are constantly struggling to fight against the apathy that it creates within us. If we are going to succeed we have to fight against the message of confusion that haunts our culture. We must struggle to live the ideals that this country was founded on so that one-day others may see the wonders of our civilization with their own eyes. We won’t have to convince them of anything.

Or we can do what Leland does. We can kill someone who represents the complete frustration that we feel in ourselves. We can murder someone retarded.

(C-) --maybe...if you don't have to pay for it

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