Monday, November 7, 2011

11/7/11 - Doublethink, Princess Cars, Parade Routes, Republican Denials

Big Brother Orwell "1984" in Donetsk...Image via WikipediaOver the weekend, I found myself involved in a casual conversation regarding the schizophrenic nature of today's culture, mainly involving the influence of entertainment and advertising media on society's ideological foundation. Afterwards, I found myself pondering the aspect of a "Schizophrenic Society," what I or other people actually mean when making such a claim.

While I can't speak for other people, I usually throw the phrase out to imply that our generally accepted belief system forces us to attempt to simultaneously believe two diametrically opposing concepts. The examples of this kind of hypocritical cultural programming are many and varied, like family sitcoms espousing the wisdom of recognizing inner beauty or superficial outward appearances while being interrupt every ten minutes by ads for beauty products featuring waifish, plastic-molded models.

However, I've been chewing on the very concept the past few days, and it occurs to me that I am guilty of the exact same things I am fond of accusing the general public of falling for. From an idealistic viewpoint, I seem to be constantly at war with myself when it comes to my overall opinion regarding the current shape of the world and people as a whole. My opinion regarding the worth of people, society, government, and religion will often swing from hopeful and positive to cynical and misanthropic, at times with the same day or hour. Contemplating this, I have come to the conclusion that this apparent hypocritical mindset, while disconcerting and cautionary, isn't completely unfounded. I am of the firm belief that both my negative and positive views regarding the world and its inhabitants are easily defended and merit equal consideration.

I guess what I'm saying is, Doublethink (to coin a term made popular by George Orwell in his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four) might not be as destructive a concept as we might think. Considering the complexities of the human mind and spirit, skewed logic might be the only real way to fully comprehend the reality we have created for ourselves.

I'm still debating as to whether this is good or bad.


And now, for your viewing pleasure, a scene from the Japanese animated film Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Adolescence of Utena, featuring a young Princess being transformed into a sports car.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled random thoughts and opinions.


What makes local officials think that the best way to draw business into their town is to arrange an event, such as a parade or marathon, that shuts down streets, backs up traffic, and effectively isolates the town's main commercial venues from anyone wanting to swing by for some quick or casual shopping. Parents, locals active in community events, and people with too much time on their hands might be willing to park ten blocks away and run baby stroller hurdles down crowded sidewalks in order to watch a bike race or a parade comprised of pickup trucks and tractors with random kids and strangers waving from flatbeds, but someone looking to spend some weekend folding money on a nice meal or expensive home decor are probably just going turn around and drive on to the next exit. You want to draw activity to your town? Overrun the lesser-populated areas of town, and give those not interested in extravagantly underfunded displays in local pride access to the parking meters. Just a thought.



Dahlia Lithwick has a great article over at lamenting that the instinctual Republican reaction the the recently resurfacing accusations of sexual harassment leveled at primary hopeful Herman Cain has not been to defend him, but to instead imply, suggest, or outright stating that sexual harassment in the workplace just doesn't happen.

This has always been a major disconnect for me with the Republican party and those who religiously follow their talking points, a false logic meant to cover flaws in their idealistic posturing. Instead of acknowledging and attempting to correct or address inequalities and injustices that hurt their political agenda, they always find it much easier to dismiss claims of abuse or need.

In this convoluted, self-serving fashion, welfare recipients wear fur coats and have multiple children to increase their benefits, those collecting unemployment are just lazy freeloaders, labor unions are terrorist organizations that hold defenseless corporations hostage for inflated salaries, worker rights are just another excuse for employees to avoid doing their jobs, sexism is just a feminist myth, and racism just plain doesn't exist anymore.

I understand that not all Republicans think or talk this way. But it is the majority of the ones in power who do, and those who follow their lead, that prevent me from taking anything their party espouses idealistically as serious or trustworthy.
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