Wednesday, August 21, 2013

TBGO: No Choice (The Meme Bandit Rides Again)

 Caution: Poison

Yer Ol' Perfesser regardz this as one of the most insidious, odious, pernicious, and just-plasin dishonest 'memes' on the Netz. Period!

It's part of the discourse of 'victim-blaming'--and a central tenet of the enormously profitable business of "self-help." Think Dale Carneige or Norman Vincent Peale, or their latter-day avatars like Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Osho, and their ilk. It is difficult to name a "self-improvement guru who hasn't helped themselves to the life-savings of the poor, miserable, tormented sheep who flock to them for guidance. I've known a few gurus, and their tastes seem universally to run to really GOOD Scotch, fast/blingy cars, and "sweet, young thangs," that groupie-dom provides so profligately. They have "choices."

But the rest of us aren't so lucky. Humans of less than regal means or incomes are HUGELY regimented, limited, and restricted in their options. Indeed, as one of Woody'z 'dichos' has it: "The wealthy make choices: San Tropez or Grenoble, the Porsche or the Merc.
"The poor make decisions: Food or rent or meds."

We ALL may exercise a certain amount of limited, local 'autonomy': who our friends are, where we live (sometimes), what we consume (somewhat), with whom we establish intimacies. But that's about it. So to rag at folks who haven't a pot to piss in about their difficult, possibly even squalid conditions being their own, personal fault/responsibility is to recklessly, and dishonestly, ignore all the social, historical, political and economic forces arrayed against them. Quite purposely arrayed, at least in part, against them, by the machinations of those who DO control the destinies of the millions, and seek to keep them supine and suppressed.

Yes, some people are lucky enough to escape the traps set before them at their birth (by the Oligarchz & Plutocratz intent on preserving their own privilege). There are 300+ MILLION people in the USofA. Laws of probability would dictate that some few of them could be expected to escape their leaden lots and achieve their golden potential. Great skill, great beauty, recognized early and developed can be the key to escaping even the most toxic circumstances, if only temporarily...

But the rest of us?

Well, the biggest choice one can screw up, of course, is in your choice of parents. If you didn't at LEAST catch a tiny break in the birth lottery (a decent door prize, if not the pot-o-gold) then what Thoreau said of our common condition--that "All men lead lives of quiet desperation"--must surely be your lot. The best one can hope for in that situation is to make YOUR desperation as noisy as possible.

It won't CHANGE anything, of course (well, in Wisconsin, it could get you arrested for simply singing), but it adds to the variety and the volume of the chorus.

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