Did you know that November 19 was World Toilet Day? 2.5 billion people do not have toilets. Over one billion practice open-air defecation. It’s a really serious sanitation issue.
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate country western music? I’m sure I must have in one of my miscellaneous rants. Now I’m not talking about authentic stuff, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and such. I’m talking hip young country. Serious noise pollution like Garth Brooks and Toby Keith — rich, manicured Republican cowboys, poseurs. You can still see the Nordstroms tags dangling from their hats. Shit makes me wince. It makes my teeth ache and my hemorrhoids hurt. I used to love a women who listened to that crap. She was a conservative, too. Love is blind; the heart has its reasons and all, you know. Anyway, it didn’t work out. It usually doesn’t. People who see each other naked always become enemies.
I bring it up because some of that very noise is blaring most annoyingly in the other room. Coming up next, obligatory military hero worship. No holiday is complete without it these day. We must continuously, ceaselessly, eternally thank our troops, from whom all virtue emanates. The fact is, this is a form of soft core militarism. Not only does it undermine democracy, it also enables a foreign policy of permanent war. It subordinates civilian values to military ones, and it places the military above criticism. This is dangerous in any country. In America, where ignorance and mental passivity have become our most dominant traits, it virtually guarantees some form of fascism in our future (we nearly succumbed in 2003).
A child thirteen years or under has never lived in an America that hasn’t been at war, and all we have to show for it is Guantanamo Bay, NSA spying, and unseemly celebrations at the assassination of one man. We have hyper-nationalistic displays that, for all of their bravado, contain a palpable element of nervousness and insecurity. We know, deep down, that we are full of shit and our culture is all wrong. But America being what it is, we’ll choose the wrong path to change. We’ll look to some asshole conservative Chris Christie type to save us. Worse, someone downright sinister like Ted Cruz. We’ll double down on plutocracy, double down on consumerism, double down on tax cuts, double down on war. Churchill said the United States can always be trusted to make the right decision after its tried all the alternatives. We haven’t gone through the alternatives yet.
Here’s another good quote by Bismarck along similar lines: “God takes care of fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” Not anymore.
USA #1: We have more prisoners than anyone else. “More than Russia. More than Rwanda.” We have more prisoners in this county that construction workers or teachers! Is this a great country or what?
Not all Romans liked the games. This is a quote from the stoic philosopher Seneca:
“Do not, my Lucilius, attend the games, I pray you. Either you will be corrupted by the multitude, or, if you show disgust, be hated by them. So stay away… nothing is so damaging to good character as the habit of lounging at the games; for then it is that vice steals subtly upon one through the avenue of pleasure. What do you think I mean? I mean that I come home more greedy, more ambitious, more voluptuous, and even more cruel and inhuman, because I have been among human beings.