Friday, June 1, 2012

Think On This: Friday Edition

Buzzfeed has published their list of 40 of the Most Powerful Photographs, and it's a doozy of a list. Some of these photos are so familiar that I am a bit jaded by them - or was, until today. In this era of heightened information sharing, we're constantly bombarded with pictures of all kinds, from all sides. These images have held their value without need of fancy filters and followers on Instagram. I wonder - are they still worth 1000 words each? We've come a long way, folks.

I made it to #10 before I had to grab a towel (not a tissue!) to mop up tears. What a way to start a Friday, eh?

And now, for a bit of societal observation...

I take pleasure in guessing what the next big trends will be in pop culture. I've been right and I've been wrong. Pirates, who all look like Johnny Depp, were quickly overpowered by vampires. ("Vampirates" will always have a special place in my heart).

Fig. 1. What "sexy" has been lately, soon to be replaced!
Fig. 2. Different sort of vampire, obscurely hip in some circles.
I saw the zombie madness from a mile away, as Sean came down with a case of early-onset apocalyptia. People like stories where the characters are so overcome by horror, they lose their way of life (and oftentimes their moral compass). We like The Walking Dead because it pits "normal" people against against other formerly-normal people, and only a few survive. Plus, we're being conditioned to like gore and respond to it in a positive manner - and that's screwed up!

Fig. 3. Zombified Occupants
 Fortunately, the "Next Big Thing" is coming - and it's not Sexy Bankers. (Sorry, Dad.)

Fig. 4. What a "Sexy Banker" might look like.
For months I've been running my mouth, talking about the great Western Americana resurgence. America's identity and belief that it is exceptional largely reflects the romance and independence of The West. With Western Americana comes the idealization of guns, guitars, loose morals, deserts, tribal life, dust, extreme conditions, horses, hard work, ranches, rugged independence and ingenuity, cowboys, fringe, leather, mustaches, big hats, whores, gambling and a determined irreverence for the system. What's not to like? I was certain that the resurgence of the West was nigh.

Fig. 5. American Cowboy

After seeing the Les Miserables trailer I am rooting for a new fad - Revolutionaries! Some historians (and whoever paid close attention in high school) will knock down your door in a frenzy of nerdy excitement for the chance to talk about the intricacies of the French or Russian revolutions. I've heard the suggestion that the American Revolution (which was driven by markets!) has never ended, or at least carried on until the Civil War. History is blanketed in revolutions. That's what history is: one big, revolving power struggle.

Fig. 6. Tank Man, the peaceful protester in Tienanmen Square

The trouble is that Mass Media will NOT be featuring revolutionaries in a good light. That's what they say, right? "The Revolution Will Not Be Broadcast." They don't want you to see that kind of inspirational, fact-based stuff that might confuse you. They don't want you to see gore, real gore, and realize that it's not appropriate to clap and cheer when someone gets brained. They want guns in the hands of Bad Guys and Keepers of the Peace, not normal people. And they certainly don't want you brushing up on your history. Then you might realize that most revolutions are caused by food shortages, and that we're staring down the barrel of Peak Oil and all of the joys that come with it. You might stop wasting your money on their poisonous crap that belittles and imprisons you, and everyone else. Your family, classmates, friends, neighbors, your boss, even all of the strangers on the street you ignore while staring at your phone.

I'm telling you this because I care about you.
Everything runs out, and the rate we're
consuming things it's gonna be sooner, rather than later.

Don't waste time in a panic, all in a tizzy.
Don't be fearful. Just think.

Do yourself the favor of taking 15 minutes
to learn more about Peak Oil and what's to come.

Or, take 15 minutes and figure out how you're going
to cope with increasingly higher gas prices, food prices and debt.

If you think you'd be happy enough living off of MREs, buy a case.

If stocking up on Kraft Mac and Cheese
(why is it that color?!) and hotdogs
is your fall-back, it's time to go to Costco.

If you really want to help yourself out, though,
plant a few seeds in the dirt and see what happens.

You have you lead yourself to happiness.
You have to teach yourself what you need to know,
if you don't want to be one of the Sheeple
waiting blindly for a cataclysm.

I hope I don't sound insane.
I swear, I'm not.
I'm not on a soap box,
I'm just sharing information with
whoever wants to listen, and think.

In the last few years I have experienced
a gradual lifestyle shift, and I truly think
I'm better off now that I'm off the merry-go-round.

Do a few simple things this weekend to help yourself.

Stop watching so much damn television,
 especially those cable news shows!
Drink more water.
Drink less milk.
(It's for babies. Seriously.)

Don't eat at restaurant chains.
Applebee's is no better than Arby's.
If you don't want to cook for yourself,
then go to an independent restaurant that uses
fresh ingredients, not frozen meat patties and "special" sauces.

If you're already doing these things, good on you!
But don't stop there.

Take a look at what you slather all over
yourself and your stuff every day.
Shampoos, lotions, cleaning products.
What's in them?
Who manufactures them?
And who owns those manufacturers?
Proctor and Gamble, probably.

You could go to the farmer's market and try hand-made soap.
You could try making your own laundry detergent, like we did.
It works great and costs about 20 cents a gallon, if that.
There are various recipes with different ingredients, so take a look.

Buying soap isn't some hoity-toity hipster thing.
Soap is soap. It has been for centuries.
The oddly scented, colorful liquid stuff in bottles
is the new and disturbing option for 1st Worlders.

Once again, I recommend reading
The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living.
It disgusts me to link to Amazon, but it's for the greater good. :P

I'll call it a day, here.
If living better interests you, let me know.
I'm thinking about doing a series of posts
showing what we're doing as an example.

"If  the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." - Thomas Jefferson

Step away from the screen, now. 
Go outside, rain be damned.

No comments: