If anyone is familiar with them at all, most people probably consider the band MGMT a one-hit-wonder with their 2008 song Electric Feel (and that’s okay, because it’s a really fucking good song).
They also have lots of other good fucking songs and have a cult following among stoners, 21st century hippies, hipsters, and people with a good taste in music. But what I think many people miss is that the duo’s songs often contain a critique of their generation (also my generation and that of the bulk of PerC’s users) concealed in a cloak of trippy psychedelic imagery.
In one of their songs they modified Timothy Leary’s 60’s counterculture phrase “Turn on, tune in, and drop out” to fit the American mainstream youth of today with “Turn it on, tune it in, and stay inert.”
Their inclusion of the “it” is really an interesting and understatedly clever bit of writing. There’s very little doubt in my mind this refers to my generation’s obsession with technology. And by Leary’s own prediction, technology is the LSD of the 2000s We are electronic Lotus-Eaters, numbed out and insulated from reality and the state of the world.
Americans have essentially become lazy. As a whole we fear being inconvenienced. We like our TV. We like our smarthphone. We like our infrastructure. We like all the meaningless bullshit we use to bury our heads in the sand (aka turn it on, tune it in, and stay inert.)
Laziness breeds complacency, and complacency makes one vulnerable to the slow, silent, dagger of creeping normalcy. For the past few days I’ve been talking to my friend about the direction that the US is moving in, the creation of an Orwellian state ruled by martial law, and conspiracy theories related to UN Agenda 21. This future is descending upon us largely via creeping normalcy, and few but the most perceptive are privy to it due to complacency being the norm.
The question becomes “What are the American people going to do about it?” Well, the answer is not much. Not for awhile anyway. The solutions to problems arising from a broken/corrupt government are protest and revolution. Americans haven’t very big on either of those lately.
Remember Americans have become lazy, and don’t want to become inconvenienced. This is reflected in their attitudes towards protest and revolution.
The latest rounds of American protest have centered around the concept of “creating awareness.” “Creating awareness” can be better described as an excuse for half-assed activism. These movements, like Occupy Wallstreet, consist of loosely affiliated cells, under a very loose (essentially non-existent) mission statement/list of demands, with no solid leadership. This way, their opposition will find it difficult to disband them (it also makes it difficult for the protest movement to actually do anything) Basically, the effect they’re trying to create is an IRL version of Anonymous. But, Anonymous manages to get shit done because it still has teeth. They fuck shit up (although Anonymous’ effectiveness is certainly debatable as well).
Occupy and movements like it, have no teeth. This is because a protest movement’s teeth are its leadership, mission statement, and organization. Occupy was 0 for 3. And they avoided them because those things are difficult, boring, and require someone with a vision. They wanted to jump right into the glamourous and sexy aspects of it, like showdowns with riot squads and being on tv. Although, they will claim, as they always have, their goal was to “create awareness” *air jerk motion*.
Contrast this with the American Civil Rights Movement. It was an effective protest movement. It brought forth the change it set out to. It had a list of demands. It had an internal bureaucracy. It made organized use of people and resources through careful logistical planning. And perhaps most importantly, it had a definitive leader with a strong sense of vision. And we all know what happened to him. But he knew the risk and rose to occasion anyway. Presently, we don’t have this sort of person (people) in America to lead a movement like that. Remember, Americans have become lazy, they don’t want to be inconvenienced, and becoming a target is as inconvenient as it gets.
To backtrack a little, I mentioned that revolution was the other, equally unpopular, solution. This is the sort of scenario in which an IRL-Anonymous-like organization could possibly prove effective. Loosely affiliated cells only have teeth when they’re paramilitary/violent in nature. Basically, Occupy’s organizational structure is better suited for a sort of rebel insurgency than a protest movement.
But why won’t Americans go for something like this in order to prevent or rise against a Police State? It’s inconvenient. An armed revolution would constitute a major disruption in infrastructure and quality of life. You can’t watch The Big Bang Theory and microwave a hotpocket if you have no power, are huddled in a burnt-out building, clutching an AK-47 waiting to ambush a National Guard patrol.
This does not mean that Americans don’t want see the direction of their nation change. Many do. However, most of them still naively hold onto the idea that they can alter that direction through their voting habits. But it’s becoming more apparent all the time that we cannot.
The way we elect leaders is like picking apples from one big barrel. We keep getting a bad one each time, but we never consider that the whole barrel is rotten and we should take a chance and pick one from the tree. Picking one from the tree is a dangerous, scary, difficult task, and we’re lazy, so that’s a no-go on that one.
The “barrel” is the highly insular world of American politics. And shockingly, this world produces politicians, not leaders. This insular world has a very specific set of parameters for who “makes it” within itself. As a result, the people that “make it” or all pretty much the fucking same. Regardless of the party, they all push one side or the other of these false dichotomies that mostly serve to distract from deeper issues while they cater to the special interests that support them.
“Going to the tree” would mean voting for someone far outside the aforementioned system. This is scary. This person is unfamiliar. They say weird shit. They don’t have a “proven track record’, the standard for which we’ve accepted from that flawed mainstream system. So we don’t vote for them. And even if we do come close to “going to the tree” the media will be damn sure to force-feed us two of the bad apples from that ancient barrel.
Early in this rant I said that Americans won’t do anything, not for awhile anyway to stave off an Orwellian fate. Because they will eventually. I know they will. They cannot not. This is going to get into my own, warped, self-contradictory view on humanity.
I hate people (the collective) I despise them with a passion. I hate looking at them. I hate smelling them. I hate being around them. They’re loud. They’re moronic. They make -no sense- nonesofuckingever. They’re hideous in every single conceivable way and if I never dealt with them again, that would be just peachy fucking keen.
But at the same time I love persons (the singular/individuals). Individuals one-on-one are different entities than that monster People. But I know, much to my own frustration, that they’re two sides of the same thing. Individuals and People have a push-pull effect on one another. Individuals spur on the development of People, and People provide solidarity for the Individual.
These specific individuals are the generators of ideas. Most people aren’t these people, most make-up what I call “the tide of humanity” a big mass that just sloshes from one prevailing notion to the other.
These rare people are world’s artists, scientists, philosophers, poets, authors, and musicians. Ideas are powerful and therefore so too are those who craft them. They have the ability to alter that malleable, Matrix-like, complex system known as culture. Those in the seat of power have always known this. This is why throughout history they have either recruited the generators of ideas to their cause, or eliminated them.
But the other special part about the Individual-People relationship, is that the Individual will not allow People to be oppressed forever. Basically, someone always comes along who has the clarity of vision and the tenacity to push on the status quo. Someone who’s going to turn it off, tune it out, and get their shit in gear. These individuals have yet to step forth from the tide of humanity on these issues, but I am confident that they’re out there.