Contributed to ThisCantBeHappening! by Rip Rense
It’s lurking. It’s salivating. It’s breathless, waiting in the pandemic quiet. And at first opportunity, it will step out, roaring, spitting fire, devouring free will yet again as it commands you, you, you, and you to consume, consume, consume. All in the name of “returning to normal.”
Well, I hate normal. I hate what normal has become in this society: addiction to low-common denominator “popular” culture, from empty-headed wailing pop “icons” to corporate sports to the smarmy Kardashian beasts. Greed, gluttony, self-adoration, arrogance, rudeness, willful ignorance, idolatry, acrimony, lack of empathy, compulsive consumerism . .are “normal.”
Yes, the corporate Grendel is waiting, snarling and slavering, and it is coming for your head again. Chomp. Trump has the green flag in hand, as thousands continue suffocating with crystallized lungs. TeeVee will rise up as never before, commanding you to buy that new Mercedes SUV and iPhone enema app in the name of “returning to normal.” Will you do it? Or will the ongoing lockdown and deprivation of beloved stimuli prompt the birth of something approximating empathy? A saner perspective? Will it (cue pious celeb versions of “Imagine”) rearrange our priorities? Make us kinder, gentler?
Oh, yes, and Trump will acquire humility.
As far as I’m concerned, this “shelter-in-place” thing can go on for the rest of the year. Or longer. Gimme Shelter! I love seeing fabulously spoiled Amerryguns deprived of their fave entertainments, addictions, with their corporate masters in blind panic. It’s the pleasant dream in this nightmare. Cynical? No. Moral.
Further consider American normality: racism, greed, amorality, greed, hatred, xenophobia, narcissism, greed, truculence, tattoos, Jennifer Lopez’s gyrating ass, greed, NRA ensuring more mass-shootings, $100 admission to Disneyland, $250-$300 for a family of four to watch multi-millionaires play baseball at Dodger Stadium, $80-bags of groceries, Grammarly, BMW’s built to roar like flathead hot-rods, greed, I was like, millions of polluting leaf-blowers, foodies, greed, Entertainment Tonight, The Bachelor, Flip or Flop, giddy newsmannequins, vocal fry, “influencers,” homeless tent cities full of TB and MRSA, greed, gluttony, obesity, apathy, entropy, and pee in the streets. And greed.
Re-start the economy? I would rather see fabulously spoiled millennial tekkie princelings standing ragged in soup and bread lines. I would roll on the floor in ecstasy to watch Giant Beardboy designers of “apps” and “start-ups” pitch pup tents outside trendy Venice buildings where they once made millions. I would tap-dance naked in the street to see developers and investors who have raped L.A. with thousands of hideouscool/awesome apartment/condo penitentiaries. . .lose their asses! Economic death, where is thy sting?
What of the poor? Well, they were already poor. And now they would have more company.
Der Trumpfuhrer is currently crying that he has to make the “most difficult decision of his life,” regarding “re-starting the economy.” Bullshit. He makes decisions the way people involuntarily belch. He is losing allegedly billions of his personal fortune, and is in deep re-election shit, and that’s the bug up his giant white ass (his defining feature.) Pardon my French.
Difficult decision? It’s the easiest decision imaginable: health over money. Verrry simple. Health over money. Chant it with me, now, health over money, health over money. How can there be any argument? Answer: the economy is predicated on hypertrophic luxury and titanic, flatulent avarice, and in recent decades has become a vulgar, stinking send-up of capitalism—what with sterile, ticky-tack cement hives renting tiny units from $2500 to $5000 and higher—and the crummiest old 800-square-foot 1940’s houses in Reseda and Compton going for nearly a million bucks. I mean, I give you: ten-story cruise ships. Shitbuckets from hell.
The economy is insane, tongue lolling and eyes rolling, and long has been only a stooge for “venture capitalists” and “private equity groups” (legalized criminals) to exploit for supernatural gain. Why should they care about: crazy-making density, more air and noise pollution, destruction of green space (and attendant birdies, squirrels, insects who enjoy it), housing prices driven to levels affordable only to tekkie royalty? It’s un-Trumpamerican!
Money over health—from Monsanto to Trump’s evisceration of environmental protections—is “normal” America.
Of course, I’ve lately watched allegedly adult humans on TeeVee whining about how the “shelter-in-place” order is “outrageous,” bleating, “I can’t even go out to a restaurant? That’s crazy!” As well as 30-40-50-year-old juveniles moaning about having to miss the Hollywood Bowl season, and the Coachella Festival. Gee, that’s tough! They must really envy Muslim Uyghurs thrown into China de-programming concentration camps, and girls raped and murdered by Taliban for learning how to read.
Some brain-trust I don’t know wrote this to me on Facebook the other day:
“ Continuing this sort radical isolation until the Fall of 2021, when we *may* have an effective vaccine, would destroy our economy. Millions would be out of work. In fact, hospitals would be unable to function, laying off staff, not purchasing supplies, and leaving many more people in danger of sickness and dying, and not just from C-19. We need to find some middle ground—as it seems that Sweden has been doing in their response to the crisis. I don’t mind someone having a negative opinion about a sitting president. (I have a few myself.) But please don’t let it color our thinking to the point where we become illogical.”
Oh, no! Not “illogical!” This society is nothing if not predicated on shining logic, lead by the very Wazir of Logical Wonderment! What’s more logical than ignoring warnings of impending pandemic as a Democratic hoax? If ending the lockdown is logic, give me the madhouse.
Destroy our economy? Uh. . .doesn’t there have to be an economy to destroy in the first place? The so-called economy, as I said, is a poisonous sham, and the shock of sudden market paralysis is casting a thousand-candlepower spotlight on the fraud. Millions would be out of work
Millions are out of work—never mind fake employment figures the government always cooks up. Driving for Uber is a career? The “gig economy” is an economy? Menial tasks are a livelihood? Former professors, highly skilled laid-off journalists, librarians, people earning honest livings as bookstore managers, etc. are putting things in boxes for Jeff Bezos! It’s the United States of Errand Boys (and Girls.) Tipping is not a city in China, but it is much of American income today. Here’s a tip: sell your silverware on eBay.
And Facebook Boy’s Trump-shilling scare tactic about hospitals is nonsense. Given the punishment hospitals are enduring right now, you’d think they would have already collapsed. Emergency room doctors and all nurses are the most valiant people we have, period end of story, and their courage is largely holding the wreckage of the country together. If hospitals “collapse,” it would be because the federal and state governments allowed them to collapse.
As for the limp centrism of “finding middle ground,” I run screaming! Here we have a catastrophe. Catastrophes require drastic action. What kind of fool would call for “finding middle ground” to combat a. . .plague?
Ah, but this is America the booty-full, the land of the fee and home of the crave, where Der Trumpfuhrer preaches Triumph of the Till and all the world’s a wage. Besides, billionaires who pay no taxes while the rest of us count every penny are. . .donating to help the crisis, aren’t they? Er. . .yes. . .
Amazon.com’s Jeff “I want to smell you” Bezos (as he wrote in an e-mail to then-married ex-newsbimbo Lauren Sanchez) has donated $100 million for food banks. Wow, you say? Of course, $100 million for Jeffy is, uh, a little more than one week’s income. Exclamation point. Gasp. Faint. And he still doesn’t provide sick leave for his slaves, I mean workers, unless they test positive for Covid-19, in which case they get a whopping two weeks. (Of course, they could die before time runs out, and save him more money.)
Then there is the “charity” of the Waltons of Walmart, who hired about 100,000 more workers (gypsy delivery persons) in the past three weeks but did not bother with social distancing for fourteen days after the CDC advocated it on March 16. Three callous-fingered Walmart employees died, and many more became sick. Gloves? Masks? Hand sanitizers? Not at Amazon, and not at Walmart (which also provides zero sick leave.) Yes, there was an attempted national strike at Amazon, which was filled by scabs faster than you can say “ventilator.” This would make Scrooge blush.
Ahem. Sing along with John Lennon, now: “I-I-I. . .soLAAAAAAAA. . .shun!”
You want “normal?” The lockdown has brought it back.
I mean, all the fine citizens who revel in bad behavior are now forced to do so in the privacy of their sumptuous domiciles. I don’t have to drive a gauntlet to the market—of darting scooters, oblivious skateboarders with earbuds, pedestrians on cell phones walking slowly down the middle of the streets (honk and you get the finger), cars blasting through stop signs, SUV’s lurching out of every alley and driveway without looking, tailgating me, waving arms at me for doing the speed limit, bicyclists cutting in front of me from nowhere (honk and you get the finger, or, as happened to me, a bicycle thrown at your car.)
I no longer have to sit outside my favorite coffee joint, having a moment of repose destroyed by millennials hollering conversation as if they are on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon, literally two feet away. Dude! I no longer have to fail to control my temper, snapping, “Hold it down, please,” and sometimes getting threatened with violence in return. I no longer have to listen to every entitled latte-sipping bro and influencer yelling “awesome!” every third word. And. . .no selfies! Bliss!
This is how things used to be!
Want more? The 405 is a sleeping kitten. My ears are no longer a circus of whoosh from nearby boulevards, a sustained explosion from the freeway three full miles away, not to mention: jackhammers, idling trucks, backhoes, leaf-blowers, buses, mowers, trimmers, beep-beep of trucks in reverse, sirens, throbbing car stereos pummeling the air with rap/hiphop filth, cries of “fuck you, asshole” inspired by inability to comprehend four-way stop signs.
I no longer have to play chicken with every millennial punk and punkette approaching on sidewalks, refusing to move to one side in order to allow passage. My wife no longer has to elbow them in retaliation, prompting, “Fuck you, bitch!” and other niceties so appreciated by senior citizens.
The air? Clearer than an Einstein equation.
And I hear. . .birdies! There aren’t many left, thanks to global warming (really—their local numbers must be down by 75 percent)—but I hear them. Little peeping hummingbirds, cheeping finches, chirping sparrows, the inevitable crow, every blessed morning! The Elysian Fields are a Megadeath concert by contrast. The only people I see are—gasp, sputter, cough—peaceable! Really! There they are, walking their happy little doggies, politely nodding to one another’s masks from six feet away. No conversation. You’d think this place is civilized or something.
End the lockdown? Hell, no. Cue the operatic aria, “O paradiso!” from “L’Africaine,” by Giacomo Meyerbeer:
My heart throbs, wondrous scene!
At last I embrace you, land that I’ve dreamed of!
(copyright 2020 Rip Rense, The Rip Post, all rights reserved.)
RIP RENSE, who contributed this article to ThisCantBeHappening!, is a Los Angeles based journalist and author. His work, including his many books, can be found at The Rip Post.