Wizard of Odds
Where Are My Slippers?
And so here we are, once again. Only worse.
tRump “won” the presidency.
His malevolent minions are making policy.
The “Actings” are running the agencies without oversight or approval.
Policy is being announced and semi-enforced by tweet.
The Russians (and others) are infiltrating and influencing all our social media.
Climate change is suddenly debatable.
The republicans are spineless sycophants.
The democrats are blindly ignorant of the 40+% of the country who hate them.
And the coming election will be fought and won via the Twittersphere, with the willing assistance of every news organization on the planet using the twisted logic that if he says it, they must cover it.
This is a classic: Wizard of Odds
We should, we must, but we might not, pay enough attention to the man behind the curtain. It may far too late if we ever do get woke; the damage is piling up like a Tule fog-enshrouded freeway massacre.
Do we even know if tRump is crafting the evil that he spews like a burst pipeline? Is it conceivable that the harpy KellyAnne and the rattlesnake Steven Miller are the most expert tRump whisperers of all; crafting their dystopian vision of Orwellian hell and simply nudging the Cheetoh into action with well-placed pointers to the things they know he loves to hate on? Let him do the rest and let him take the eventual fall?
We have a job ahead of us. We must breath, deeply, and try and smell the freedoms that we are losing before the stink of the looming future infects us all. Infects the world. There is no hot air balloon waiting to sweep us back to pre-tornado times.
There is only hot air.
Hot air we have in profusion; ask Alaska. Ask Greenland. Ask Antarctica. And simply tune into any of the fair and balanced news outlets, ANY of them, and hold your nose as the reek of their corporate breath oozes out of your screens and into your core and your soul. Facts are now defined by one simple truth; who was the last person to speak…..that is now the fact….until the next person says something different and then that is the fact. I would call us sheep but that is simply too much of a diss on ovines to be kind or even factual. Lambs to willing slaughter may be more apt. We as a population are being dragged along like steer with nose-rings and herded into pens of other people’s choosing and all we can do is bellow our misery and wait for the abattoir. Only this butcher is using a dull and rusty blade and the death that awaits us is painfully slow and ugly.
We have a job ahead of us.
Instead of letting our conscious and our core wheel out of control until all we can do is scream “FUCK!!” we have to begin to take some steps, baby steps, to try and isolate the noise that is only going to grow louder and more noxious in the very near days and months. Each of us has to pull up our big-boy pants and decide what we will….and will not….allow into our battered brains. What sets us off? What rings true? Who do we trust (precious few I will wager)? The media as a whole is now white-noise, filling up the empty space where our brains and our sense of right and wrong used to reside.
We have to turn off the noise.
Here’s a thought. What if the democrats all refused to tweet? What if collectively, as a party, they announced that their communications, policy ideas, opinions on anything, were only to be issued as well thought-through pieces of actual journalistic endeavor that could be parsed and dissected later but would not be used as quick-click-bait fodder for corporations that feed their gaping profit maws with our desperate need for the instant fix of the fake fuel that they feed us?
Novel and unrealistic but I am starting small.
I am starting with me; my world, my personal atmosphere, my space (pun intended). I can only control so much of the circus that is our life now, but I can and I must limit just how much crazy I consume.
I left Facebook some years back for many months. I needed to reassess my motivations and reasoning about why, as a sixty-something male with a reasonable education I felt this need to “connect” with people and places outside of my everyday experience. I stayed away long enough to realize the dangers and when I came back to Facebook it was for a specific reason; I had moved to a new place. I was meeting a lot of new faces and at this age making friends is not what it was at thirty-something. It seemed a practical and convenient way of making connections and fostering these new-found relationships……everybody does it. Even though I carefully culled the herd of my “Friend List”, eliminating folks I once knew but really have no connection to any longer, I now find I once again have too many hundreds of vague acquaintanceships. Too much noise.
And there is the problem; the social norm has shifted away from real, personal, interactions to a flat affect world of quick snippets of thoughts and flash-shot images of lives that, if we are truthful, are not really being lived in the here and now but staged (just a little bit) for the effect that they will have on our growing collections of “friends”. “Likes” are everything, “Hearts” are even better. The metrics are winning. They control our actions, our feelings, our image of ourselves and others as well. Mental death by icon denial. The inability to sense mood or expression on all of these socialized media platforms is a danger of such proportion as to alter the world, forever. You know, as I do, that you have had misunderstandings blow into town from nowhere because there was not enough real communication; no voice, no frown, no “what do you mean?” ever asked until BAM, someone gets offended and hurt and you reacted back and the cycle of recrimination and self-righteous indignation set in and…and…and.
But the thought of what is coming now is too much to handle. The dis-information that is even now being promulgated and readied for dispersal is too much to comprehend. The fact that our leaders have not even looked at this issue with any degree of urgency is even more frightening, and more of a threat to my own peace of mind and serenity of soul.
Algorithms are the New Army
In just the past few weeks I have noticed that Facebook (and I’m sure other platforms I don’t participate on) are rapidly beginning to pump out sewage posts and spam-a-lot that I have no idea where they came from, did not invite into my space, and cannot get rid of. I am not alone. Everyone I know is commenting on how we spend half of our time on Facebook unfollowing people we have never met. Some anonymous algorithm somewhere has begun to try and decide what I should be seeing, doing, thinking and feeling.
I am turning off the noise.
I am a writer. Why am I not writing? A friend recently asked for my mailing address because she has vowed to write actual notes and mail them this year. It may not be Amazon-ian in amount but we could help the Postal Service a bit.
I’m now approaching seventy. How many new friends do I need? How many can I do justice to on a human and humane level? How much energy do I have? What am I NOT doing because I’m so busy maintaining a data base of plasma-people that really don’t exist in MY world; the world I am living in right here, right now. I will be anxious to see just what I get into now; now that I have begun to turn down the noise and, like Dorothy, click my heels and head for home….the home that shelters me from the noise in this, my real world.