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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Skyscraper Delusion

Finding the perfect graphic... Priceless!

ZUT ALORS. To be honest, I started out today looking for some graphic, hopefully an old painting, of Napoleon sitting on his famous log at Waterloo, paralyzed and nearly catatonic while the battle slipped from his grasp. Sometimes it's all too much to deal with, even for us know-it-alls.

There's no shortage of news and all of it is of a piece, frightening outrages being reconfigured on the fly by an utterly corrupt mass media establishment in hopes that none of the rest of us, the real 99 percent, will notice how much is at stake and how thoroughly amoral the 24/7 media game has become.

The current health care debate before the Supreme Court is literally about whether the constitution lives or dies. If the federal government can require us to enter into a business contract because we are alive, there are no more limitations on what the federal government can do to rule our lives. It's that simple. Yet the reporting on it isn't about the critical philosophical conflict but more like ESPN coverage of, say, an NCAA basketball tournament -- who's up, who's down, whose bracket is still looking good. Judge Anthony Kennedy is suddenly the SCOTUS version of Brittney Griner, the mysterious hybrid who will single-handedly decide the whole outcome without any larger questions being asked. Because that would be impolite or incorrect. All that matters is the question, "What will he do in the big game?"

The president whispers of a deal hinting at concessions on a vital matter of U.S. national security to the figurehead president of a hostile foreign power, and there's nothing to see here according to the MSM. Move along. Soaring gas prices? Which were used to tattoo George W. Bush as part of the oilman conspiracy theory of righty politics? Forget all that. The new truth: there's nothing a president can do about gas prices. Move along.

Just a couple weeks after the entire liberal establishment assaulted Rush Limbaugh for using the word slut and embarked on attempts to dismantle the first amendment for so-called "hate" speech from the right, that same liberal establishment blithely becomes a lynch mob inciting vigilante violence against a private citizen -- an Hispanic, no less, suddenly deemed "white" by selfsame media -- who has not yet been convicted let alone charged with any crime. But all sides praise the president for interjecting his private emotional affiliation into what could become a legal case requiring a trial by unbiased (?) jury? Go figure. A Hollywood star publishes the home address of what he believes (erroneously) to be the killer's house, just as some years ago tolerant liberals published satellite photos of Michelle Malkin's house, wanting their working class factotums to pay her a rapacious visit. In between hysterical imprecations about white hate, we are also treated to the usual disgusting responses to news of a conservative with a health problem. This time it's Dick Cheney who should die rather than receive a heart transplant, just as it was once Laura Ingraham who should die from her cancer, and Tony Snow who was delightfully dead of his cancer. But hate is purely the province of the right. Right.

The unifying thread here is that the news is only supposed to be what we are told it is. What's stupefyingly impossible to comprehend is why people who are supposed to be so smart think they can get away with such leviathan hypocrisies, cover-ups, and flat-out lies.

Where does such arrogant complacency originate and how is it sustained even in the face of what to any intelligent person has to be interpreted as a sense of superiority totally at odds with the national tradition of equality they claim to represent?

I'm thinking the answer isn't strictly intellectual, social, or philosophical. It's physical. A deeply engrained sense impression so powerful it underlies the conscious mind like Freud's concept of the id. And is therefore invulnerable to self examination. It's just the basal topology of the soul, the unknown source of all metaphor and the physics of personal reality.

Overwhelmingly, the media in all its forms -- books, magazines, newspapers of national scope, television networks and their news organizations, advertising, sports journalism, the theater, radio, and even a significant chunk of the business end of Hollywood -- is headquartered in New York City.

New York City. Land of skyscrapers. I've spent a fair amount of time in New York on business. It's easy to see why simplistic notions such as Jon Edwards's Two Americas are so easily accepted there. There's the world of the street, with its small retail establishments, restaurants there to serve, loutish cabdrivers, foul-mouthed beat cops, and the constant horde of jostling others one encounters as soon as one departs the sanctums of office buildings, grand hotels, and luxurious apartment complexes.

The cognoscenti speak of "the herd" as if it were a rural reference. But there is no more evocative sense of the term to be experienced than in New York City at lunchtime. Everyone in Manhattan has exactly the same lunch hour, from noon to one pm. Suddenly everyone is on the sidewalk hurrying toward satisfying the most basic of appetites.

The escape from this herd is return to the skyscraper, through its doormen, brass revolving doors and marble launching pads for the elevators that climb to the sky. From the office, from the penthouse, from the carpeted realms of the affluent, the herd in the street is reduced to ants, inconsequential, muffled, as conceptually insignificant as they are tiny to the naked eye.

The superiority of such elites is about physical altitude. They are literally above the fray, in domains where the commoners are either barred or know their place. This isn't a function of capitalism; it's a function of relative location and perspective.

What matters is what happens in the sky. Everything else is smell, vulgarity, noise, ugliness, and a kind of roiling futility not unlike human hamsters endlessly running in their wheels, all headed nowhere unless the sky people deign to bestow their doublethink compassion.

The worst part of the delusion is that because they daily encounter the lunchtime herd, they think they know everything important about the herd. They think they are plugged in to the great human reality of New York and the country at large. Which is a lie and a joke. They think there is some kind of divorcement between their own meaningful lives and the hamsters in the herd. At some primeval level, they have forgotten or never learned that they need the herd more than the herd needs them. And that their own self-proclaimed wisdom, whatever intrinsic merits it might possess, would be helpless and doomed without the hamsters who build the skyscrapers, keep them running, fix the elevators, carpet their palatial digs, answer their phones, make them coffee, fix the toilets, and buy (or don't) the mostly sky-minded products they sell.

Which brings me to the graphic above. A perfect illustration of the hubris and vulnerability of the skyscraper people. Note the date: October 26, 1929. Two days after Black Tuesday, the day of the great crash. The New Yorker had already been put to bed before the stock market fell. Thus, we have a snapshot of how the elites regarded themselves in relation to their city on the very brink of disaster.

How easy it is to understand that they would regard themselves as the answer to the calamity that had occurred. That they would see it as an opportunity to grab more power for themselves through the New Deal and its many naked assaults on the constitution, because the herd was stampeding and only the sky people could see, from their lofty pinnacles, what needed to be done, regardless of any archaic promises that had been made by the founders to "we the people." Exactly where we are today. "Sure, the economy sucks. But the president cares. Listen to his fireside chats. He's on our side against the evil others."

The laughable irony of the phony Occupy Wall Street shenanigans. It's all misdirection, carefully orchestrated by the elites in another part of town. And that's their 2012 campaign strategy by the way. Convince the herd that there's a skyscraper problem here and not anywhere else.

Maybe the tea parties should steal a page from this carefully written script, rename themselves "Occupy the Skyscrapers" (and the Ivory Towers, and the Federal Palaces, and the PC Police Fortresses... all pretty much the same thing, a matter of distance, ID cards, and well trained gatekeepers). Bring the sky people back down to earth and separate them, once and for all, from their delusions of grandeur.







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