I reject the premise of the American Dream: A mental midget buys a ladder and peers over the fence in the dawn of the age of voyeurism.
When I lost my job I decided to seek out and find the American dream. I always thought my failures as a man can be traced back to accidently seeking the Armenian dream after misreading a Government produced pamphlet sometime after highscool, a mistake made by many fine Americans who skim instead of reading the fine print. Now some ten years later, I like George W. Bush found drugs, in the pursuit of finding God, in pursuit of seeking the White House, in pursuit of my unknown death.
I do my best thinking when I’m alone and walking. It’s where I’ve lost and found myself time and time again throughout my life. It’s where I find the most peace in this world, where I’m free from the pollution of culture, comfort, and dim witted conversation with my own self dialogue. The best part is no matter where I am, I can always walk somewhere and let my imagination flow.
I let the cracks of the cement hypnotize me in a swell head spinning anxiety that’s better than any drug I’ve ever taken except the ones I really like. To think every block of cement is a pre-negotiated right of passage through many different individuals private property is an example of how well we really do work with each other as a society and the usefulness and necessity of government. When a blizzard strikes the ‘city of corruption’ a few hours after the storm you’d be hard pressed to find a sidewalk not plowed, shoveled, or salted clean. Neighbors help neighbors’ and the city that works gets the job done no matter how high the snow or the people shoveling get. People who think community is dead need not do more then walk down a Chicago sidewalk after a snow storm to truly understand communal partnership.
Chicago is one of the few cities (the only city I actually know of) where an old chair defines a priority right to a parking spot that said chair owner shoveled out of. It’s true our politicians are all corrupt, back room dealing vampires; but us day dwellers do fine dealing with one another in the coldest and hardest times in our yearly romp into the depths of the arctic. When you work hard in the frigid conditions to get your car out of its burial crypt that spot becomes yours and that chair is respected just as much as any law or bureaucracy conjured up in city hall.
Sometimes I like to walk to a predetermined destination, and sometimes I walk just to think. My destination during this particular walk was to that Mecca of corporate failure mixing a free sprit carefree attitude with a bustling business known as Boarders books and music. It’s an eclectic group that mooches off of the free words they leave on their shelves as they indulge in over priced coffee while sitting in the reading area. Half the crowd is college kids working on their future, another forty percent is the retired remembering their past, the rest is a mix between euro trash, business trash, and just plain trash.
While searching through the social science books I found a book about some twenty five year old who took a year to find the American Dream. I thought about reading his book as a fellow traveler seeking the same question and answers I do. Then it occurred to me. Who the hell is this kid, and who the hell am I? What is the American Dream? Why is not defined? Who cares if it’s dead? Why the hell do people come to a book store to talk on the phone? All fair questions in unfair times.
It never occurred to me how lame of a search the America Dream was. It never occurred to me that I should reject the premise of the question of, ‘is the American dream dead’. After all to give in to the thought or idea of an America dream is to give up individualism. One man’s American dream tends to differ greatly from another’s based on whom they are and what their social status is. Some may seek out marriage, a career, and like a good shampooing a rinse and repeat carrying the family name on. Others seek wealth, power, fame, and decadence while others are just happy with a joint and a willing woman. None are wrong yet all our right in their vision of the dream and that must be respected as outlined in our cultural motto of, ‘pursuit of happiness’.
So to say the American Dream is dead is to not point at the collective whole but rather at the man in the mirror with the dark rings around his eyes. It is us who creates our own dream and it placed upon us to seek out the midget at the end of the rainbow. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I don’t know who the hell I’m looking at anymore or do I remember what it is I’m searching for. The American dream is not dead, it did not fail me, in reality I failed it. Too much God damn pressure if you ask me, but what do I know I’m a failure in the eyes of society.
I started explaining this to some lady who probably was polish and didn’t understand because she quickly gathered up her books and rushed away. The only way to get through to anybody in this day in age is to message them with a phone, post on an on-line social gathering site, or rant like a lunatic and hope somebody puts you on youtube. Direct communication is discouraged as it might become awkward or strange and we’ve become way to comfortable to deal with others. In order to really get the message out I figured standing on a book ladder would be the best route to getting the world out on the American Dream. After all it’s a good message that one would think the authority figures would appreciate letting the sheep know they must take control of their own dreams and destiny.
A short few minutes later the authority figures had arrived no doubt too take notes on my rant and engage in their own journey of self discovery. Unfortunately for them they must have forgotten their pens and instead of asking for a copy of my rant, they ordered me to shut up and leave. I’m sure they just wanted me to continue at a later point when they were more prepared its really the only logical explanation. I thought that was a nice gesture and complied like we all end up doing in the end. The authority figure started his own rant but I couldn’t hear him over the germen guy yelling into his phone in one of the aisle. It’s odd what the world finds acceptable, and what they don’t anymore.
I walked home with my new found information and turned on the TV in hopes to wipe out any thoughts or motivation that the walk created. The rays from the television burned and battled my ambition as I zoned out watching the Simpsons in their colorful wit. After it ended it was time to find out what was going on in the world based on what the world wanted me to hear. We’ve all lost control of the who when it comes to storytelling as were force fed what the corporations want us to hear.
ESPN and FOX NEWS both are sounding more and more like each other every day as the escapism of sports is now engaged in a heavy battle with the United States Government in the war on drugs. It’s nothing new, in 1973 as the chairman of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce Harley Orrin Staggers released a report that sports were sinking in drug abuse and if it wasn’t stopped we would all turn into spawns of Satan. He wanted to drug test players but that idea was soundly rejected as unconstitutional, yet here we are in 2009 watching as organization after organization rolls over to the ever powerful government. We have allowed the authority to control us and wage war on us instead of those vile drug dealers over seize. Truth be told they were never what the war was about it was the vile power brokers of capitol hill that sought out ways of creating more power.
Much like the question that asks what noise a tree makes when it falls in the woods when nobody is around to hear it; I often wonder if nobody asked the question of drugs in sports, if anybody would have really cared. But this is the dawn of the age of voyeurism and we are all willing participants in this live action reality show where we have it so good, all we have left to do is claim our own fame.
Most Americans as children idolize sports stars and if the government can get those heroes to submit to their rules and laws in a public forum, what message does it send to the youth? Obey or be taken down. Submit to an over aggressive government or pay the price of jail, or at the very least career suicide. If the government can find ways to force private companies to drug test then how long are we really going to be free or more so are we still free THAT is the real fucking question. How long before the same witch hunt of joculent McCarthyism sweeps Hollywood, the music industry, and the factories of our nation?
Appalachia is one of the poorest sections of our country and for the most part always has been. White inbred hillbillies roam the hills bare foot and dirty. Honestly it’s probably one of the last places in our country one can go and have a true American adventure. Despite the poverty some very good jobs exist if one is willing to risk his life for monetary reward. A first year coal miner earns around sixty thousand dollars and just about anybody regardless of education can obtain these jobs. Most would assume that these jobs are tough to get with a long waiting list but that is not the case. It turns out that in order to get this job one must be drug screened but the majority of the people of the hills like to smoke grass therefore plenty of jobs remain open. Most of the locals choose to remain poor but high, instead of risking their lives for more materialism and fiscal stability. I’m not really sure if that fact helps or hurts my point but it does force the question of what right the government has in protecting these people. It’s ok to ruin your lungs in the pursuit of coal but not ruin your lungs smoking dope. Odd.
Our government has failed in fighting the war on drugs in our streets and boarders so now they are taking it to the people. They have turned their attention and have learned to play with in the media crazed society we have built and our doing so brilliantly. We don’t care, but yet we can’t turn away in the same rubbernecking demeanor usually reserved for fatal car crashes and freaks walking on the streets.
Voyeurism is quickly becoming the national pastime quickly replacing television. It’s not the first time our culture has sought out voyeurism as a means of entertainment it’s just it’s never been to this mass degree. Not to sound like Theo Kaczynski as I love technology and what it affords me, yet at the same time I’ve extremely weary and concerned about its unregulated growth. Not regulated by Government but rather by the individual as our nation buries the cowboy image as we all slowly turn into little Mrs. Gladys Kravitz watching our neighbors and friends from a safe Facebook distance.
Most people in the 1980’s were too busy taking vacations on their credit cards to care about the size of government. The ideology of the nation was often summed up with the question, “how does this affect me”. When the affect wasn’t immediate and didn’t interfere with the individuals spending spree then it was often shrugged off. Two decades of plastic vacations and people has come to a quick end. Now we are back to work but most of us are too damn tired to fight a government that didn’t take a vacation but rather expanded its role making us more and more obsolete.
The days of hitchhiking, causing trouble, doing drugs, and being free is over. We were too busy doing nothing to fight for it and most of us truly believed we would be safer without it. We allowed them to tie us all together through laws and loopholes so tight that if anyone of us died we would all have to drag the body. Now we are carrying the dead weight and enslaved to a system begging our masters for relief. We cry to them that we need healthcare, we ask them to cut some of this deadweight by tying us tighter, and every day we give in more and more because we’re too fucking consumed by comfort to fight. Maybe if the comfort vanishes we will one day rebel, again, and take back our country. Till then beware Mr. Phelps, watch your back Mr. Rodriguez, and be ready to piss in a cup.