FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Glamorous Servitude and Sexy Debt

by KATHLEEN PEINE

When Earl Butz said “get big or get out”- well, they got out.

It was nearing the appropriate time anyway, they were getting old enough to merit a retirement. But truly, the world of “big” requires the working class to borrow enormous amounts to achieve such largeness. My grandparents would never survive in such a world, so they left the farm and slid into a gentle slope of retirement, an insulated existence of tidying the house. Well, until Parkinson’s brought them to our home. A nightmare realm that only emerged at night accompanied my grandfather, and it was full of things like deep sea divers with knives, all there to threaten and kill. My grandfather, in his terror, even thought my grandmother was a villain, but again, only during the night. I wondered if he would see me the same way, but I was too scared to emerge from my room to find out- 3rd grader, after all. I couldn’t fathom that this was the same gentle soul who would let me sit by him and watch footage of the Mars Missions of the 70’s- some of my best memories from childhood. It was an early instruction in the fleeting nature of reality and even sanity itself. If the sun can go down and cause a sweet man to go crazy, what other horror and spells exist in this world? Things are not what they seem. After an especially ragged night, my grandfather was sent to the local nursing home, a shadow sadly irrelevant to the churning of the modern world just like the philosophy from which he came.

Those of his generation often feared debt above all things; I suppose it was due to Depression era memories- that a palatial estate on verdant land could be reduced to nothing with the power of a piece of paper. As those like my grandfather passed away, an opening was found since all Americans love the shortcut- suddenly a new spritz of respectability was placed on debt. It was a means to becoming large, getting big. Never mind that the fallacy of this worldview has more than ample evidence. Suddenly the person living in a paid for shack was the failure, and the McMansion mortgage holder became the hero.

Projecting a new normalcy-that it is the only way to live- this stifling debt, be it student loan penury or the cost of your living space that you “own”….when this became a norm that was rarely questioned, the populace certainly became even more vulnerable and controlled without a shot even being fired. They successfully got citizens to internalize values of expected debt.

Incremental steps brought this on. First the appearance of items like credit cards for “convenience”…then later status. Look at the color of my card. It’s how much debt I can get into. But it eventually worked, and the handcuffs became more firmly attached by the day. The weapon of debt is powerful when the victim believes.

Refusing to play the game is difficult. There are some success stories out there–contrast the living standards at this moment of Iceland (who essentially said who gives a fuck about our debt to the powers of the world) and that of Greece (who evidently wants to stick with that austerity debacle as evidenced by their last elections).

As these dramas play out worldwide, we consider matters of celebrity and nonsense. But our servitude is to be made more marvelous. Why you can even by a pair of shoes from Adidas with a shackle attached. I am not making that up.

Our “literature” involves young women who sign contracts or some such shit to be a billionaire’s sex slave. (I admit I haven’t read that one, life is too short, but like an ass, I’m going to comment anyway). How romantic and glamorous! And I’m not railing about that dorky book due to prudery. If you want a diatribe of that kind, I think Hobby Lobby might have a new library section next to the cross stitch “no Adam and Steve” kits (50% off this week). It’s not that kind of a gripe, it’s that I’m just stunned that people can’t even get their perv fix on without consigning it to submission to the wealthy- once again putting a shine on an indebtedness to someone or something. Why can’t there be free weirdness? Are we really turned on my contracts? Will a visit to the lawyer become an aphrodisiac in this new world? I’ll show you a legally binding agreement, baby.

And I just know somehow the kink of “50 Shades of Grey” has something to do with those Adidas sneakers. Give me time, I’ll figure it out.

But every single day, what is real is becoming veiled just a little bit more. Substance is gone, the winners are those able to avoid Ponzi’s pinnacle. Glory in the servitude and find ego in your shiny things.

There are no pat answers, we all struggle and straddle this world of fantastic illusion. Like someone sane in the morning, insane at night- trying so hard to hold this all together. But in the end, you can’t coexist with crazy, and your shackles are not glamorous, no matter what cultural conditioning rains from the sky. But like a cheesy movie’s voodoo, it mainly has power over you- only if you believe in it.

I don’t believe. What about you?

Kathleen Peine writes out of the US Midwest and can be contacted at kathypeine@gmail.com or at the website paintedfire.org

May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s China-Bashing
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
Dean Baker
Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve
Ted Rall
Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry
Dave Welsh
Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”
John Eskow
The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack
May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail