30 June 2009

From the Death Pedestal to Philosophical Fear

In case you were out, the so-called king of pop died last Thursday. And, every day since we have been reminded that, indeed, he is still dead. No more dead than he was Thursday, certainly no less dead, but nevertheless, still dead enough. Then, I had the misfortune of tuning in CNN to get a brief of current events for work on Sunday morning only to be reminded by four, count them, four separate analysts that Jackson was dead. And (get this!), there was an autopsy. Someone died (died I tell you!) and those doctors had the audacity to try and figure out why. Finally, and I hope I read the news reports accurately, it seems that people are planning a funeral for the dead Michael Jackson.

Even this very morning it seems the only thing worthy of public consideration is that Jackson is still dead. Both CNN and MSNBC (The place for politics) are reporting this. If such thorough and reputable media organizations are reporting this, it must be true.

It seems my fears of the zombie apocalypse, at least in the case of Jackson, were, thankfully, unfounded.

In a close second and third recently, two more celebrity deaths. And fourth? That Farrah Fawcett's death was overshadowed by Jackson's.

I'm simply sick of this shit. Let's have a run down of things that actually are happening (other than the recapitulation of Jackson's death): The political situation in Iran dropped off the map as the state approached revolution. We are at war in two countries; though today marks the begining of the pull out in Iraq. The University of Illinois is under investigation for not only admitting unqualified (but well connected) students, but trading admission decisions for job placements (for underqualified candidates). As if two wars weren't enough, there is more war mongering begining to be directed at North Korea. Nevermind all the death and human suffering that never makes the news because we have become accustomed to it; that is, destitution, hunger and exploitation of the "low" classes in the US and around the world.

I think that this is becoming more than a short-sighted, anecdotal and momentary demonstration of priorities. This is an infectious and expanding attitude that will be detrimental to the social and physical state of the world. The continous expansion of celebrity obsession is more than a distraction, it is a deliberate state of ignorance. It is a conscious shrugging of the shoulders to those problems that are too depressing to be profitable. I will go as far as to say that the media storm surrounding the 2008 election, ironically, was a similar calculated means to set aside the mortal, sadistic, corrupt and depressing side of the human condition. I say that because the hoopla that peaked at the inauguration dropped off almost instantly as soon as Obama began facing the problems he campaigned about.

There are few things that I'm truly afraid of (in a philosohpical sense). One is my untimely death at the chaotic hands of an evangelical Christian children's army. Another, a new one, is the long-term effect that this new profit-hungry, mainstream, normative, omnipresent media machine is having. There will a come a point where profit will not be a strong enough forced to demand all our attention. I can only hope that the competing force, at that point, will not be self-preservation.

23 June 2009


The Reinventor

Intellectual sucubus. Chew on that one for a while if you will.

The fallout, as it were, from the completion of my B.A. in anthropology has consisted largely of an intellectual vaccuum. Indeed, I've gone from waging a subversive media war on the Butler University president and administration, completing a thesis (all while expanding my photographic portfolio) to naught more than landscape maintainance and playing a punching bag for pent up suburban angst and self-righteousness.

When I first returned home from my four year forray in academia I longed to be Jon Irons once again, that oddly memorable guy-with-bandana/guy-with-camera/anthropology-cult-figure. For, you see, at home I am instead Jonathan, loafing academic, argumentative and jobless (though far from a failure in the eyes of my parents I must admit).

Next, I experienced a brief reprieve, becoming a Jon Irons of a different sort. A relic of pool seasons past, wisened by years of rescues and guard staffs coming and going, noted explorer (apparently staff members will, from time to time, "pull a Jon Irons" and dissappear for 6 weeks or so). In my seventh year at the pool I claimed a new position, supervising supervisors. But, in a few weeks I began to bear the weight of long sunny days, angry entitled suburbanites and stepping up to be the bad guy. Not to mention that the humanihilsocialist perspective is far from customer service friendly.

Thus we arrive at my forced attempt to claw my way out of this inspirational hiatus. I've spent what little cognitive surplus I've had on contemplation of my future, my rapid rate of disenchantment and Vonnegutian perception of the world.

I suppose at this time I am attempting to figure out exactly what a world without enchantment looks like. The highs and lows are fleeting and intense. This inevitably translates into erratic and raw imaging and opining.

So here ends this hiatus with the realization that I must learn to flex my intellect without the immediate stimulation of academic workloads for the time being. Here ends this hiatus with the creation of new perception. Here ends my hiatus with an intellectual spring fillings newfound voids and topping off trusted resevoirs.

Listen: Poo-tee-weet.