I was riding my motorcycle this past week and encountered an elementary school’s “current events” sign on which was prominently displayed the message, “I touch the future. I teach.” Avoiding the heated adolescent fantasies for the moment, my mind started doing what it does when it hears or sees anything falling out of the brains or mouths of the people of Texas. There are good reasons for engaging in these types of gymnastics and most of them have to do with the nature of the subconscious mind and its drive to communicate the true state of being of the organism through which it finds itself attached.
I touch the future I teach.
A fairly remarkable statement born of at least my personal experience and probably the experience of every human being alive on this planet: as I teach, so shall I experience. As I believe, so shall it seem to me to be.
Applying this bit of trivia to the top five Digg encounters for the week, one can almost see the human drive for notoriety and the need, almost the obsession, to control how that notoriety is achieved and then maintained. Completely absent from all of these displays of human image-making, however, is the subconscious truth that is so obvious we completely ignore it: we receive what is our truest desire to receive.
This past week’s numero uno example of existential ignorance and futility featured the story of Wikipedia banning the Church of Scientology from editing articles relating to itself due to self-serving edits, read: propaganda. The story’s popularity was meteoric, rocketing to the top spot after only two days on Digg.
Apparently the Wikifiddlers fancy themselves a Web 2.0 utopia where the ideals of Libertarianism can be put on display for all to see and experience. Not so much now. It appears that the legendary, perhaps myth-making, propagandizing of the Scientology sect in the media has invaded Wikipedia like a plague, forcing the hand of all those interested in a “fair and balanced” account of the Church of Scientology’s nature, history and past behavior. Scientology, like any religion, has no interest in truth-telling, only in image-sculpting. That everyone can see this naked propagandizing in progress – perhaps due to the increased speed of evolution of modern culture – causes Scientology to be unfairly scandalized in the media, by the media. But the truth of the matter is that Scientology, like all religions, is engaged in a warlike battle to control the flow of information to all its members and future members. In the absence of truth, myths can appear and legends constructed, and thus religions made. The problem is not Scientology, methinks, but the nature of religions of every stripe. These are meaning-making institutions whose task it is to construct a symbolic language that excludes non-members from its ranks.
The feeling of alienation one gets when walking into a new church for the first time, or a different culture for the first time, is not by accident. Outsiders have historically represented a threat to insiders on any number of levels since the dawn of civilization. In the absence of any physical differences, the use of language and meaning serves notice to insiders that they are dealing with a potential threat to the established order. The threat can either be assimilated or it must be neutralized. Sometimes this ability to distinguish between in or out, uchi or soto, clean or dirty, is a life or death matter. This primal need to prejudge from a distance isn’t just a relic from a bygone era, it is a survival mechanism that we are loathe to even acknowledge exists in human relations. Everyone wants “utopia,” but no one wants the truth to be told – making utopia impossible to achieve. Behind that fear of truth is the fear of extinction – a truth humanity has yet to make peace with in spite of its ubiquity. Each of us must still carry within our thoughts the psychic burden of watching plagues sweep through villages and towns, leaving corpses stacked waist high on the side of the road.
I do not know if utopia is possible for humanity, but I do know that if such a possibility exists for us, it would require a relaxed, completely welcome acceptance of the truth in any matter, including the eventual extinction of one’s most personal sacred cows. Perhaps this is why, in spite of every religion’s goal of establishing some form of utopia on Earth, the Scientologists find themselves engaged in a fever-pitched war of information against the rest of society. And why the rest of us can clearly see that war and utopia will be forever dissonant ideas.
A mere two weeks ago, we stared in dazed amazement as an agile young man demonstrated his aplomb at bouncing his body backward off of a moving pilates ball. This week, the human drive for notoriety at any cost twists the time and effort of two agile young men into firing a single pilates ball back and forth at each other using the method featured two weeks ago here at the ‘diaries. Only one cycle of back and forth is shown, perhaps because only one cycle is required to demonstrate the linear improvement necessary to captivate the attention of Digg’s founder, Kevin Rose. That and the use of a simple “repeat” playback function creates the illusion of an endless game of human “Pong” that likewise captured the imagination of an entire nation back in the 1970’s.
But whereas the novelty of the accomplishment of two weeks ago was reminiscent of those of Travis Pastrana, this week’s billing of “Physics Win to a Whole New Level,” is well overblown. Not only are these two young men not as polished as the original, their achievement hardly opens the door of imagination wide at all. But, then again, to those starving for notoriety, some attention is better than no attention whatsoever. I’m reminded by this curious behavior of the daredevilry and charisma of Evel Knievel who would prefer to jump his motorcycles over insanely huge distances and break nearly every bone in his body – twice – before finally sitting down with a professional to discuss his childhood and turgid drive toward self-destruction. Simple truths are about as welcome in a crowd, or in a single lifetime, as viruses or flatulence. A busy mind requires complexity to distract itself.
And a deadly quiet descends upon the Barbershop.
Some barbers fear the quiet that sometimes rolls in amidst the snips and whirs of a man focused on his work and of other men who watch in fascination or who might utilize the collective concentration to engage in newspaper reading or other silent distractions. Any amount of conversation or communication is better than this silence, they fear.
And so number three, this week, easily mistaken as a vacation photo shot by a family anxious to prove to their suburban neighbors that they had a good time while away, substitutes for a productive silence. A Tonka-sized scale model of a gargantuan mining dump truck strapped – seriously – to the flatbed trailer of an eighteen wheeler slowly wound its way to mid-presentation this week at the ‘diaries after five labor-intensive days of convincing the world that this photo was not just a waste of pixels. A little overkill, indeed.
Number four portends the aura of the Hollywood, or movie-buff, inside joke, as it depicts a screen shot of Samuel L. Jackson in character during the movie, “Pulp Fiction.” Jackson’s character, Jules Winnfield, fond of using expletive phrases like, “do I look like a bitch,” or, “you’re from what? Do they speak English in ‘What,’ motherfukah?” is depicted (viz. Photoshop) in front of the flip-picture board of the game, “Guess Who.” In the course of the two-player game, “Guess Who,” one side asks discriminating questions regarding the possible identity that the other player has chosen for the first player to determine. Across the top of the image, then, are the stylized words from the Pulp Fiction movie, “Does he look like a bitch?” Clever, in a post-modern kind of way, and certainly a mashup appreciated by movie buffs fond of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. Judging from the comments and the three days it took for this image to reach the fourth position on Digg, a lot of extant movie buffs appreciated this particular contribution. I like Samuel L. Jackson’s work, so it was worth my time to dig up the particulars of this artifact. Some people like digging up the “privys” (outhouses) of the Old West, I like staring into the bowels of a culture in decline. I think it’s important for posterity to recognize the signs of poverty just before they descend on a not-uninformed population.
Of course during the fall of Rome everyone was fond of picking on the bisexual and homosexual behavior of people, the scapegoating of minority groups being one of several ways a society in decline could distract and divide its population against itself, thus avoiding an organized rebellion against the in-group minority in power. Of course the opposition can harness this same technique causing even greater confusion and an even more factionalized response until utter confusion reigns supreme. A classic tactic used in counterinsurgency.
That the Mormon Church has been behind the most recent attack on the civil rights of the Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-and-Transgendered (GLBT) community has been a matter of public record. That so-called “Christian” and “Muslim” churches have engaged in anti-GLBT rhetoric and invective from the pulpit for decades is also a matter of public record. So a potentially powerful counterinsurgent tactic would be to splinter the GLBT community along religious lines. Awakening the anti-GLBT movement to the religious sensibilities of the GLBT community while, at the same time, splintering that insurgent community into its religious and the anti-religious constituencies would be a master stroke of counterinsurgency.
Looking at the pedigree of this photo occupying number five for the week reveals that it originates with the Wall Street Journal, now a property of the unflaggingly fascist purveyor of globalization nonsense, multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch. That Murdoch’s media properties have been at least apologists for, if not actively conspiring with, the western intelligence communities since the Clinton Impeachment has been documented by such luminaries as Mark Crispen Miller, Charles Lewis and Robert Kane Pappas. That one cannot determine the identity of the person holding up the poster is likewise suspicious, along with its prominent positioning in the photograph. The text, “Jesus had two Dads, why can’t I,” could only inflame opponents of GLBT civil rights while at the same time drawing into question the religious sensibilities of the GLBT community.
Even with the question of the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth held in abeyance, that the actual life of a child with gay parents could be used in a flimsy rhetorical argument against denying GLBT members their civil rights under the law seems excessively inflammatory to me and an awkwardly emotional appeal. Denying a gay parent their civil rights negatively impacts the life of their children, who will most often be heterosexual in orientation, and injects sexuality, sex and sexual orientation into matters of legal and medical status. In short, how many fathers or mothers a child has is as irrelevant as the day is long. Religion is likewise an irrelevant issue as it relates to the legal status of any person, regardless of their sexual orientation. In short, this poster is bullshit, its origins are suspicious and I suspect that it is an illegal use of the public media by domestic intelligence agents for counterinsurgent purposes.
Notoriety, according to this week at the ‘diaries, is just another form of propaganda designed to cloak from the person seeking the notoriety what the real issues surrounding their life actually are. Apparently the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requires its candidates to be homophobic as well as politically conservative, meaning that FBI agents are most likely sexually deviant, if not simply highly sexually preoccupied. How I get all that from a planted poster at a gay-rights march is part of what makes the privacy of my own mind an entertaining place to be.