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Get Off the Net!

My iphone usually does a good job reminding me of important things, like holidays, birthdays and such, but I’m not sure how come it didn’t alert me of Cognitive Dissonance  Week, exhibited, if not exactly celebrated during the last 7 days.

We saw the passing of Steve Jobs last week, which by all accounts from the media, was a really big deal. This story trumped many other worthy items, even pushing out talk of the continuing dignified inertia of the Wall Street protests. We were met with photos of real candles, as well as virtual, lit in memory of the man’s passing. With his great wealth, the death of Jobs was deemed to be somehow more significant than that of the average bipedal expiration.

One of the only departures from the loving coverage, but sadly in the “I have no self awareness” category- was that of one of the wacky Phelps clan twittering on her iphone about Jobs’ eventual space in hell and their (of course) need to protest his funeral. I’m not really sure of the connection to Jobs and the homophobic agenda of the Phelps’ group. Maybe they just think homo porn looks more stylish on Apple products (better graphic sensibility, general aesthetics  and such), hence they must voice dismay. I really don’t know; they tend to gravitate towards any high profile death and are always ready with the tenuous and clownish connections. They’ll be at Wilford Brimley’s funeral because somebody gay participated in oatmeal wrestling. Not that Brimley’s dead yet, or sanctions oatmeal wrestling (I don’t think, on both counts).

In general, Phelps and crew can still protest pretty much wherever they want, a few restrictions here and there, but overall, they are able to display their fluorescent stick figure Sodomites signs with wild abandon (truly, the only way you can display stick figure Sodomites). And they often do in front of funerals. Our Occupy Wall Street protesters can’t get near the actual New York Stock Exchange, however. I guess free speech and protest is fine if it is patently crazy looking, and threatens nobody except grieving family members. There’s a profound strangeness in it all. Those who would join to peacefully bring attention to the concerns of 99% of us must be placed in a park, far away from those who might be offended. They reside at the Noblesse oblige of Mayor Bloomberg’s girlfriend (I wonder how that landlord-tenant situation is going to turn out?).

It’s all as crazy as tweeting about Jobs being another bound for hell on the iphone. Is it any wonder so many of us feel a little unhinged by it all?

Deeper in the forest of cognitive dissonance, most of us haven’t actually thrown out Apple products despite hearing about their supplier in China who installed “suicide netting” due to a rash of…… well, suicides, at a soulless factory there. The conditions were brutal and seemed pretty much geared to bring about a wish for a rapid death. But that’s not really the image Apple has, though, despite those news stories. In fairness, the pc suppliers probably have similar factories, but without the soft, caressing nets. Just a more hardened landscape clean-up crew.

I haven’t tossed the technology, even knowing these things, so I’m steeped in the wishy-washy guilt of a rudderless noodle. I can go to a Farmer’s Market in my area, and strike up a talk with a local producer of eggs-then actually go to the farm if I want. I can see the decent conditions that the animals live under. I know of no Techno Market for electronic purchases with the same available conscience salve. Do we need to scream for a “Cruelty Free PC?”-maybe with Intel Inside type stickers?  Probably so. It’s the production method that the 1% decided on, not most of us. Once again, the unevenness of our hearts with our actions is possibly making us the craziest batch of humans ever.

We will probably pay for our ability to outsource morality. We should take great notice of the working conditions that the globalists create, because without a doubt, each call for “ Jobs, Jobs, any Jobs” (not the dead guy, come on, you now what I mean) here in the US, we get closer to welcoming hell holes of the same kind. Workplace safety and environmental contamination would rule; the kind of place that could cause many to succumb to ailments like cancer in their 50’s. But they probably won’t get the virtual candles. We will be globally united in our misery if the trend continues, however. One should be wary when the latest consultant in regard to changes at the workplace is Temple Grandin. The animals must stay calm.

But cheer up, one day the collective angst from all our cognitive dissonance may finally hit a point of such consolidated crazy that actual sanity comes out the other end. Darkest before the dawn and all that. But until then, smile as they put up the nets, and join me in a confused toast to the passing of Steve Jobs.

Kathleen Peine can be reached at kathypeine@gmail.com