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12.16.98

"The Dream of the Iron Gods"

How much of your life is an absolute lie?

You think you're well-informed because you read every newspaper, watch the news, browse a million and one Web sites. And yet, every word that is spoken is a lie. Every sentence typed has been crafted and conformed to a very precise mindset. Every image has been chosen and edited to inflame you in an exact, precise way.

You think you're doing well because you have a good job and you make good money and buy nice things. And yet you're just a pawn, a skill set, a cog in the vast wheel of the world economy that dictates the true direction of the world. Your purpose, regardless of what your profession is, is to earn money by performing certain actions for a certain number of hours a day so you may earn green slips of paper to spend on things other corporations make so the whole damn thing can keep whirring.

You think you're happy because you go out and have a good time, and you do what you want. And yet your beer and cigarettes, your socially approved drugs, are poison when ingested in the quantity that you do. Marijuana's not a tool of enlightenment, it's a joke. And nature's only an option if there's a chemical toilet and a shower nearby.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to posit the following theorem, first introduced by Moby:

Everything is Wrong.

I mean, what are you doing? You're sitting in a cubicle in this over-conditioned building in the middle of a crowded city. You're sitting in front of a glass and plastic monitor, bombarded by electrons, reading information that may or not may be of concern to you. Your back hurts, your eyes are sore, the air's awful. The weather isn't bad for December, but you never consider that having 70-degree weather in Boston in December might be a bad thing. You drive to work by yourself in a plastic and steel vehicle that burns toxic fuel, thus increasing the heat. You have ATM cards that hand out cash whenever you ask, credit cards when the cash isn't enough, and a million ways to buy the same crap.

Meanwhile, Torquemada's getting ready to torch 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Representational democracy has been exposed for the lie that it is. You've known, all along, that it was, that government really didn't matter because you and I and everyone else who isn't a rich white man doesn't have a voice and corporations have been buying and selling politicians since the late 19th century. You see the executioner bringing William IV up the stairs because William IV had bad sex with an intern and then didn't tell the world about it, and you realize that the Constitution means nothing, these jackasses prancing around in Washington are doing absolutely NOTHING for you, that everything you've been told since kindergarten was a damn lie, and your faith is gone, but you can't shut it off. You have a million different media sources all saying the exact same thing. No matter how hard you try, a newspaper or a TV or a Web page is screeching about the same thing, parroting each other and reinforcing the idea that you should really care. And you try and shut it all off and make it all go away, but then you're soaked in quiet, and you've been trained that the only times you should be quiet are during tests and when you're sleeping, so you turn something on or pick up a paper and read the same garbage they want you to read all over again. And eventually you care, because you can't get away from the shit, so you give in. In a sense, you do care, but not how they want you to care. You care about more important things, like the fact that everything seems wrong and NOTHING - not one goddamned thing in your life - has turned out the way you wanted it to. But you can't admit that - you'd never admit that to yourself - so you get really, really, really angry at Henry Hyde, until a brilliant commercial comes on and takes all your troubles away.

Why Won't You Play With The Other Marionettes?

You can't possibly think of any other alternative to the way you're living now. You want change - your body, mind, heart and soul scream for it. Is it you? Is it the world around you? Is it this crappy 17% marketed and advertised lowest common denominator world that everyone has been force-adapted to live in? You remember the weird kids in high school, the ones who didn't join Student Council, or the cool kids who didn't give a shit and smoked pot all day long. Is that what you need? You know you're doing better than them, you know you are. Because...I mean, look at all the stuff you own!

And yet, something has to give. Something has to give way. But you can't think of what to do - you're paralyzed because all your schooling has prepared you for is to be obedient, to sit in uncomfortable chairs, and to make money as quickly as possible, regardless of any mitigating factor. All you know of history is that things were a lot worse back then, before America, because there were wars and stuff and people didn't bathe and you can't even conceive of a world without skin moisturizer. But something's got to give, something has to change.

I mean, you don't think the world can just continue on this merry little jaunt forever, do you? You don't think it's always going to be like this, do you? I mean, you don't think the goddamn United States of America is going to exist forever until the planet explodes, do you? You don't think IBM and AT&T and Dow and Proctor-Gamble and the Coca-Cola Corporation are going to last forever, do you? No, something's got to give, and if it's not the two-legged primates running around, building stuff, ripping holes in the earth and shooting each other, if the humans won't change, then something else will, like global climate patterns. Maybe the sea-going plankton that's the basis for all life on the planet will die out. Maybe a comet will hit the Earth, except without Bruce Willis there to save the planet. Maybe Iraq will quit toying with everyone and launch that one nuke that begins Armageddon. And it'll be the end of the world.

Or should I say, the end of your world. Because everything will die out, and the cities will burn, but the planet will go on and adapt to the assfucking we gave it. And new life may evolve, or it might not. But the planet will still revolve around the sun for the next 7 billion years, until the sun expands and atomizes the planet.

The Tyranny of Belief

But let's face it. No matter what happens, you can't do anything to change it. I mean, look at you. You're just one person on a planet of almost 6 billion. Let's write that out: 6,000,000,000. You're nothing special. You're just a virus gone out of control. You're a drone, buzzing around for the queen bee, and if anything threatening (read: different) comes along, you'll have a kneejerk reaction and plunge your stinger into it. And you'll die, but the hive will be all right.

You have to believe this. All the evidence points at it. Statistically, you're nothing. Psychologically, you can be classified, filed, categorized down to the nervous twitch of your fingers. Sociologically, you've been profiled from birth, starting with a pink or blue blanket and going through to spending habits and opinion polls. To the United States government, you're a number, a nine-digit number that pays it money to fuck you over.

But you can't accept this. You just can't...you had hopes, you had aspirations, you had dreams of a better life. It can't be over - there still has to be hope - if there were only some way to escape...

But escape's impossible. There's no more wilderness. The Amazon is still being torched so McDonalds can graze cows for their shitty food. Central and Eastern Europe still looks like a tar pit. The radiation from the Chernobyl meltdown hasn't gone away. And no one's selling the islands anymore, and they're drinking Pepsi in the Congo.

But you see, the problem isn't with the world, it's in your head. Your mind is a cage, wrought with beliefs that have been hammered into you since you came out of the womb. And if you found the door of the cage unlocked, you'd scurry out and realize that you knew absolutely nothing about the way the world really works. Your survival skills are nonexistent. You've been so disconnected from your roots, from nature, from the elements, from instinct that you're broken into fragments, and nothing has joined together and nothing fits right anymore.

And so you dart right back into your cage and slam the door. After all, it's not so bad - it's comfy, and you've got this great apartment and friends to hang out with and the the bartender at your local haunt knows you, and you own a Playstation and a PC and a brand new Jeep Cherokee, and besides, you've got two weeks of vacation time coming up.

So you go out and drink and smoke and maybe hook up and finally you pass out drunk at 1 A.M., and you're gonna be a mess at work tomorrow.

And while you sleep, the men with the cold smiles and the iron eyes smile with satisfaction, and they turn off the stars.

-- sjc

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