Sunday, August 15, 2010

One Negative Summer or Why Zoloft is a Bad Vacation Idea

For those of you just awakening from a big pharm sponsored Zoloft coma, things are fucked. Not just kinda fucked, but really in a big way, let’s-all-move-quickly-toward-the-lifeboats fucked. So forgive me if I’m hesitant to post anything sweet about your kid’s recent birthday party photos or offer you solace on your latest breeder relationship hiccup out there in sunny suburban land. In the immortal words of Christian Aguilera, I think we got a problem here.

Bitter, bitter Bierce

I should back up and provide a little personal and historical perspective. In 1868 while Mark Twain was rolling around barely civilized San Francisco working as a freelance reporter, a journalist named Ambrose Bierce became a coworker and occasional friend. Bierce was legendary for his biting sarcasm, the teeth of which he often planted in the ass of the American robber barons of the day, namely the railroad industry. Both Bierce and Twain also wrote eloquently about the treatment of Chinese immigrants in S.F. and the general abhorrent way employers on the frontier often treated their employees. Twain often referred teasingly to Ambrose as Bitter Bierce because he saw Bierce as a pessimist who favored trucking in doom-n-gloom stories and essays. Ironically, both of these men's writing – especially their doom-n-gloom exposes – ended up fostering some significant social changes when people read their articles.

On a more personally front, I’ve been unemployed for nearly two years. Yup, two … fucking … years. And in the midst of my unemployedness, I’ve been in a legal fist fight for nearly the same amount of time. (There were court dates and hearings this spring, the stakes are very fucking high.) Think you can remain upbeat and as happy as a warm bowl of puppies after two years of getting doors figuratively slammed in your face? Please try, by all means SHOW ME HOW YOU DO THIS. Does Jesus help you comb your hair every morning? Or do you just swallow copious amounts of prescription drugs so you can view your mini-van, your kids and your life through a drugged fog and then feign surprise when the drugs don't make the problems go away?

Do your parents console you with love, fresh brownies and unlimited cable TV as you park yourself in their basement indefinitely while the winds of the worst economic crises ever perpetrated by Wall Street/Ayn Randian shitheads howl outside? Does your spouse high-five you every time you drag yourself home from another painfully depressing job interview in which some lobotomized twit sits across a conference table from you and spends five minutes trying to deal your resume out of a thick pile of others?

Because both my parents are long dead, I have no spouse (last boyfriend didn’t make it to the three-month mark because he had to MOVE out of state for a JOB) and I can’t afford cable TV. And neither Jesus nor any other celestial being helps me comb my hair or make life decisions. Yep, my life decisions are my own and I will neither apologize for them or shovel them off on any vague metaphysical belief as a way of placating any judgmental friends (internet friends included).

Recently someone posted a link to an article that, as my UK friends would say, left me gobsmacked. Not gobsmacked by insight or summation but by sheer, unblinking stupidity. The very idea that a “human potential expert” can shovel that much shit electronically and (Gawd forbid) get paid has left me gobsmacked.

I knew the Fourth Estate was dead. I’ve known this for several years but do we really need the likes of this dancing in its entrails while the old horse finally dies? Factoid: 80% of the “writers” and “reporters” of the Huffington Post, AlterNet News and the conservitard Noise Machine are un-paid. Most of what you read on the internet is not news, it’s not researched, no experts were consulted, and NOBODY fact checks like a real editor would in the olden days. At least half of what’s floating like turds at the top of the Infobaun’s septic tank are not “news articles," they’re op/ed pieces just like this one. Wanna read about President Obama, the predatory mortgage foreclosure crisis or the giant multi-disaster that is the BP oil spill? Rest assured when you Google any of those subjects at least half of what pops up is a link to someone’s O-P-I-N-I-O-N. Some where in there you might find a link to the Associated Press’s website and an actual story punched out on a keyboard by an actual reporter but those are getting rarer and rarer. And that’s just one of the reasons I’m so pessimistic and pissed off.

The gist of the “human potential expert’s” piece was: if women face their fears, their lives will improve. STOP THE PRESSES! This just in: THE SKY IS BLUE! It’s interesting because I had a discussion about this very subject with my mother. When I was eight. We talked about me getting up in the night (when the closet monsters were most lively), turning on my bedroom light and opening the closet door to confirm that, in fact, their were no closet monsters. It was just my wildly energetic imagination.

My first thought upon skimming the “human potential expert’s” essay was Jay Leno and Madonna. Several years ago, Jay was doing his monologue and he swiped at Madonna for a totally uber-celebrity stupid comment. Madonna said “human urine can stop the spread of Athlete’s foot”. Jay nearly fell out of his chair giggling and recounting this comment. He then very astutely said: “Listen, if you’re peeing on your own feet, while you’re in the shower, you got a lot bigger things to worry about than Athlete’s foot.”

Folks, we got a lot bigger things to worry about than Athlete’s foot.

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