Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hypocrisy, the new American "kool-aid" obstructing the pursuit of truth

In what way is dog fighting any different from football on a certain level, right? I mean you take a young, vulnerable dog who was made vulnerable because of his allegiance to the owner and you ask him to engage in serious sustained physical combat with another dog under the control of another owner, right?
Well, what's football? We take young boys, essentially, and we have them repeatedly, over the course of the season, smash each other in the head, with known neurological consequences.
And why do they do that? Out of an allegiance to their owners and their coaches and a feeling they're participating in some grand American spectacle. (From Fareed Zakaia's interview with Malcolm Gladwell, CNN's GPS website, July 20, 2013exerpted below)
Gladwell compares dogs fighting with boys playing football while noting the profound hypocrisy in getting upset with Michael Vick for engaging in dog-fighting, yet promoting football as a national sport.
Let's push the envelope a little further.
How many miners are slaves to their employers, while digging coal from the mines, in order to fuel industry that, through the coal is suffocating all of us, at a pace that no one really wants to acknowledge?
Yet, words of "our employees are our best asset" flow like honey from the mouths of the executives of those mines, everytime someone in their employ retires, gets sick and has to stop work, or actually succumbs to the ravages of a mine collapse.
How many corporate workers, if pressed would not see themselves as perhaps even "high-priced" slaves to the corporation, singing national anthems, marching in national parades, and even celebrating at corporate picnics and benchmark achievements, while the corporation squirrels billions in profits in offshore accounts where there is no tax to be paid, thereby robbing the national treasure of its legitimate return?
How many lawyers have been gagged in their client submissions by a court committed to the removal of "race" for example from the arguments in a case, when everyone in the country knows that race is the central cultural and contextual element in that case? Is that not a sure sign of the depth of our hypocritical addiction to our own denial of reality, proving conclusively that our denial has overtaken our pursuit of the truth, the very thing that our courts were created to pursue?
How many civic workers have 'slaved' for their two or three decades in the service of their local city hall, only to find that at the end of their careers, when they expected to recoup their contributions (along with those matching funds from their employers) in the form of a pension, only to find those pension funds depleted, and their life-savings disappeared, as those towns and cities either declare bankruptcy (as Detroit did this week, only to have a judge declare the measure "unconstitutional")? And throughout those careers, those workers celebrated their town or city contributing willingly and eagerly to the broader life of the community, without ever giving a thought to the 'final verdict' on their social contract.
How many politicians have sold their souls to their cheque-writing "Edgar Bergen's" while mouthing the platitudes and the policies programmed by their masters, and morphed, some eagerly, others a little more resistantly, into the Charlie McCarthy's we watch and listen to on television, while throughout their mini-dramas, championing and trumpeting their "commitment to the betterment of the American people? We all know it is to their cash-cows that they have become attached, not only at the hip, but at the brain, leaving Washington wondering what happened to all those degrees the GI Bill paid for following the Second War.
And then there are the millions of soldiers, airforce recruits, naval recruits and marines who slave their careers in service of masters of their fate, their superior officers, in the service of their "country's national interests"  all the while knowing that such services means that they lives will be on the line and that they will be required to kill others in the line of duty, as part of their "proud and honourable commitment to their country"....when, especially from the last decade plus, we know that such service is prompted by the largest and most vaccuous paranoia of any state in history.
No, Mr. Gladwell, it is not merely American celebration of and unbridled enthusiasm for football and its "glory" that is a sign of hypocrisy in America. It is rather a culture that could not survive without a surfit of hypocrisy, submission to the "powers that be" at any given time in any given hierarchy, and the violence that such an organizing principle wreaks on both those engaged in the business and on the rest of the population, either through overt damage to the health and well-being of the people engaged, or through the negligent failures to even care about the impact their "work" is having on the planet's ecosystems, including the human ecosystem.
Hypocrisy is so rampant in the culture that even those espousing a form of religious faith are enmeshed with the corporatism that requires vigilant and scrupulous monitoring and challenging, but which does not get that challenge because those who might bring it are themselves slaves to the collection plate, the trust fund and the corporate success of growing numbers, in the pews and in the investment accounts.
Reporters, too, drink from the same water fountain containing the same "koolaid" that has morphed their combative and scrupulous "watchdog" efforts into a melodious and harmonious dance with the paymasters of their lives, the Rupert Murdochs of the world, whose only real purpose is to line their pockets with more cash, through the abuse of their once-honourable profession, while all the time seeking fewer and fewer regulations to their personal and corporate greed as they sing the "line" those paymasters tell them to sing.
There is no music left to sing, and no song worth singing in a world sold-out, bought-out, and drugged-out, not to mention gunned-out and both figuratively and literally bankrupt....not only in the account books, but in the heart and the soul.
Hypocrisy is the new "ostrich" with its head in the sand, with a few brave and courageous, and somewhat quixotic individuals discussing the explicit and the implicit biases of racism, sexism, ageism and the deep and growing divide between those who have, and continue to "get" from those who have not and continue to "lose"...not only in material terms but in terms of human dignity, respect, equality and even justice.
And the slide will only grow, fed by the diet of sugar, salt and hypocrisy on which it depends.

Fom the CNN, GPS webite, July 20, 2013
Fared Zakaria interviews Malcolm Gladwell, on CNN's Global Public Square.
Zakaria: You compare football to dog fighting. Why?

Gladwell: Yes, I did a piece for The New Yorker a couple of years ago where I said it. This was at the time when, remember, Michael Vick, was convicted of dog fighting. And to me, that was such a kind of, and the whole world got up in arms about this. How could he use dogs in a violent manner, in a way that compromised their health and integrity?
And I was just struck at the time by the unbelievable hypocrisy of people in football, for goodness sake, getting up in arms about someone who chose to fight dogs, to pit one dog against each other.
In what way is dog fighting any different from football on a certain level, right? I mean you take a young, vulnerable dog who was made vulnerable because of his allegiance to the owner and you ask him to engage in serious sustained physical combat with another dog under the control of another owner, right?
Well, what's football? We take young boys, essentially, and we have them repeatedly, over the course of the season, smash each other in the head, with known neurological consequences.
And why do they do that? Out of an allegiance to their owners and their coaches and a feeling they're participating in some grand American spectacle.
They're the same thing. And the idea that as a culture we would be absolutely quick and sure about coming to the moral boiling point over the notion that you would do this to dogs and yet completely blind to the notion you would do this to young men is, to my mind, astonishing.
I mean there's a certain point where I just said, you know, we have to say enough is enough.


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