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February 19, 2006


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The only two communities I've found, post-www, are my local blogging (and drink-drink-drinking) group and my church. I wonder if religion is the best site available for this kind of crucial, desparate community building...

Chutney, thank you, and thank you for having sent the link. Yes, a "covented community," as with MLK, might be the closest contemporary equivalent to the communities that Bageant remembers. Private schools and small liberal arts colleges offer something of the same sense of belonging, but unlike a church, you "graduate," and find yourself alone. The need for community, and communal stories and identity seems to fuel the fundamentalists too, in their dance with the market. The more alienating the market, the more godless, the more we need church, and yet the evangelical church is so closely aligned with market capitalism. That dynamism seems desperate and unstable, but seems to lurch forward with great unbalanced energy, more church, more capitalism!

...you "graduate," and find yourself alone.

Up it stays. Roger that.

Verstanden, Juke, zusätzlich Wiki sagt:
...in the late 1990's the word 'roger'... came back into more frequent use, chiefly amongst the young, male, upper class intellectual elite.
(Jeez, the things you learn around here once mole hijax a topic.)

If only we all read more widely ... there are so very many useful words, terms and phrases available to all of us that can be useful in the ongoing satiric rogering on offer or being administered in the culture known as USian.

I relate deeply, mightily, to what Bageant has to say, having wrestled for several years with the central issue of how best to buy my way out of lockdown.

It ain't easy, and the process has left me viewing life using some lens and filters which, once thought through, can't be unthunk through

Had a good talk with a friend about some of the topics in the Bageant essay, and how pressures combine to keep people in Wealth Bondage. He managed to get out of the worst of it, so it's not impossible.

There are many people who work hard to make a bearable asceticism possible; advice on frugal living, moral support for it and so forth. That's just part of it, however. The lenses and filters J.J. mentioned are important too. Here, in this Dumpster, there's what T.V. called a pre-political critique designed to invigorate liberalism.

Yes, that would be a satisfying response (as if anybody asks) to the question "Are you political?"

"No, I am pre-political."

Though I suspect trying to explain it would cock it up. Better to print a link on some biz card stock and press it into the hand of the questioner as you embrace.

new wirearchical practice, I see ... using the power of the alphabet, the printed word, literacy embodied in the link, passed surreptiously hand to hand .. a grope in the dark.

oops .. I do know how to spell "surreptitiously"

JJ et al, assuming you can "live simply" without much money and so get your days back from Wealth Bondage, what about community? Where do the positive links and acts come from, now that you are not working, but broke? I can imagine some limited travel on a small budget, living off the land. But that that amount to a richer sense of community, or just more time to get depressed? Do you feel more connected outside WB or just more isolated?

Yes and taking the diagram of wealth-binding and applying it to the more truthy aspects of being - nice vegetable gardens as opposed to his'n'hers Cadillac Escalades for instance - can we see much the same devil-take-the-hindmost activity, only with a gloss of "Now we got it dialed right!"?
Sometimes I think the reason they won't give me back the Howard Hughes money is it would be too hard to reconnect from inside that grandly-scaled bubble, the already tenuous fraternity wouldn't hold, I'm too weak and cynical as it is. In other words it's for my own good.
The devil offers Jesus Jerusalem in exchange for his signature on an independent sub-contractor's agreement.
Jerusalem in this instance standing in just as adequately for a cabana by the beach as a 3br 1-acre in a gated-and-patrolled community.
What about all those unfortunate bastards who can't get out? Or in?
Would be the question I suppose.

People make choices, Rollo, and choices have consequences. That is freedom in the land of ordered liberty ruled by fear and greed.

People make choices, Rollo, and choices have consequences.

Bow howdy! Do they ever, or what? Back at the tank, we think of people as rational actors in a multiple choice theatre. Different people get different choices, of course, but they all choose. We provide the rationales -- or rational choice option activity justifications, if you prefer -- and the choices. It sounds like Rollo could have been an alpha consumer or a team choice leader, but chickened out when they handed him the knife. You don't have to literally stick it in people Rollo!! Not more than once, anyway, and then only to prove your mettle. You can delegate :-)

But that that amount to a richer sense of community, or just more time to get depressed? Do you feel more connected outside WB or just more isolated?

Can't speak for anyone else .. the isolation, and loneliness, I deal with in two ways ..

1) forced to get much more philosophical, and face-to-face with aloneness. It has been an useful therapy

2) I have developed a rich *social life* via blogging and using the Web. Definitely more interesting people than I ever met in my past career-oriented networks (interesting phenomenon .. I trust the web-based virtual friends much more .. maybe because who they are and who I am seems to be more present in the toing-and-froing), and my life is the richer for these new *friends* and *colleagues*.

What would happen in real-life meatspace human emergencies, physical or existential .. don't know. What i have seen as response online (in other peoples' lives) looks at least as promising as that which I have observed in meatspace.

I think, incidentally, that we will see "blogging" become much more local, and blending of the off-line, in the next decade.

Consumer Choices incude food, shelter, clothing, healthcare. Producer choices include reducing or eliminating pension, outsourcing jobs, increasing health insurance deductible, coinsurance and employee share of premium. Consumer choices are free. Proucer's hands are tied because they have to stay competitive in global markets and on Wall St. By the time someone is 50 the choices left are often a winning lottery ticket or deathy by starvation, exposure, or lack of medical care. That is where "compassionate conservativism kicks in," with charity from family and friends. Finally, when the chooser is all out of choices, sucking air through a trachea tube in a coma, the "Culture of Life" kicks in, solely the President's personal discretion, and intensive care at $2000 a day is provided forever at taxpayer expense.

Wow. What a load of middle class whining that was! I really detest the voluntary simplicity movement. It's nothing more and nothing less than good old Calvinist individualism in 12-step drag.

Yes, it is middle class whining. I will sweep everyone in with me as I own up. Then, with luck, the conversation can turn to who is less bourgeois in outlook than others. Let the the Yorkshiremen be the model for that phase.

you won't get off the hook that easy.

“American cultural traditions define personality, achievement, and the purpose of human life in ways that leave the individual suspended in glorious, but terrifying isolation. These are limitations of our culture, of the categories and ways of thinking we have inherited, not limitations of individuals. … Whether chiefly concerned with private or public life, Americans are often deeply involved in caring for others. … Yet, when we use the moral discourse we share, what we call the first language of
individualism, we have difficulty articulating the richness of our commitments. In the language we use, our lives sound more isolated and arbitrary than they actually are.”


Bageant is great for finding those rigid class lines of disgust, isn't he? They pop out like a jack in the box. Boing!

The sweeping generalizations and non-specific accusations of flamebait make it hard to tell if Bageant was the object of your scorn or if it refers to the commenters here -- and if so, is it all or just some. Let the Yorkshiremen take over instead. When you take it personal, it's better if it's ludicrous.

I would prefer to be the one who moralizes against the moralizing ascetics, but I'm happy to defend bourgeois privilege if that's available.

Information passing through a system shapes the system.
A system passing through itself is what we are now.
We are the information that shapes the system we pass through.
And the system. And the information.
River and mountain.
And there's a sub-microscopic version of that that's probabaly the only real accessible way out of here.
Meanwhile, back in the charabanc:

I was writing out of some complex sympathy for Bageant's point, which is hardly yuppie "voluntary simplicity" posturing and hardly anticommunitarian individualism, either. B.L.'s jackinthebox sneer sounds like Candida's: fit in or fuck off, country boy. No whining. Urbanite class hatred. Boing!

You're right though: there's nowhere this can go except a Yorkshiremen sketch.

Oh goodie, a row! (Careful not to bump the columns...)

Just to make it clear, T.V., I wasn't referring to your comment.


One Scotch-Irish mongrel can get the collective blood pressure of the whole faculty lounge soaring within seconds. Just by sitting there! I could tell you tales.

I've accepted my destiny.

T.V.  &nbspIt's no gift to be simple. Trust me.  ; )

A friend and I used to play tennis (at a public court, at an elementary school, and the children used us as bike racks.) We played there because it was quiet, near the ocean, and uncrowded. Two courts, you could hear the ball, and smell the sea. Nice.

It became our habit to stop for coffee on the way home. We were more thirsty than anything else, so we looked for a shop that kept a pitcher of water out to dilute the caffeine. We started with Warbucks, I think. They had the water and cups right out there on a side bar with the fixins. Nice.

After we had removed our little helmets beyond description our heads started to decompress and we asked ourselves, virtually in unison, "Shouldn't we try to patronize a local business, instead?"

"Yes," we decided, also in chorus, and so the deed was done.

The following week we searched for a coffee house in the vicinity with the water on the side bar and, if possible, cups (we brought our own.) No luck. The little shops were selling water at two dollars a pop (including the bottle) and they couldn't be persuaded to pull a cup from the tap.

So what did we do? We flagellated ourselves. We jittered and moaned. We {{shudder}} whined. For about thirty seconds. Then we shrugged and went back across the street to Warbucks.

Moral of the story? Hospitality is important. Sharing water is a universal sign of decency and good intent. Budding capitalists, take heed: Do not meter the tap. Not nice.

I'm going to break character if I can for at least one more paragraph after this one, to see if there isn't some common ground being eroded out from under this discussion.
My apologies to anyone who felt slighted by any disdainful mentions of protective gear generally.
At the same time there is that outlay, that expenditure, which means the po' folk get more concussions or they don't get to ride.
An extension ad absurdum almost from the "driving is a privilege, not a right" horseshit the yuppies were barking on and on about when the CA car insurance thing was first implemented.
Substitute "breathing" for "driving" and welcome to the here and now.
Bageant's dilemma isn't universal. A lot of people's lives are already too simple, and that may be the source of B-L's disgust, I don't know - she wasn't real clear on the source/cause.
Rather than the implied attack on consumerist triumphalism other more "conservative" and less forgivable readers will find in it.
Bageant threatening the McMansion Family.
There's that buddhist guy out there though, with his one mug of tea in the morning, his spotless bare room and folded everything, and just enough calories to get through the laboring day without brain damage.
Strict discipline self-induced, rather than something that smells maybe too much of expensive Sri Lankan sandalwood incense or tropical escapist lime-in-your-beer solidarity with the tourist-dependent 3rd world.

Mr. rollo, I actually like the helmet line. Just trying to mix it up a little. It seems like mixed conditions to me. Mixed persons. Mixed lives. And now, many changes in the wind. More mixing. Dust rising darkly. Subsiding. Dust rising resplendent. Subsiding. Every day dust rises, makes its way to work. Every night dust falls, hoping not to settle finally, inert. Mix me lord. Mix me one more day.

(Um, not to step on a prayer, but can you see mole-hole with a tennis racket? Chased with a tennis racket, maybe. What a maroon.)

Good to see you, fish. Well, maybe "good" overstates it a bit, but "hi."

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