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Purity Tests, Loyalty Oaths and Pledges of Allegiance

A weatherman in Illinois recently apologized to his viewers, for the corporate mandate insisting that he and his co-workers ascribe to severe weather patterns an alarmist “code red” branding. Especially when no actual threats lay in wait for the public. This man took note of how nauseatingly destructive such over-hyping, fear-mongering and red-baiting were for his community, and he wanted those viewers to know that, essentially, the alarmism was thrust upon him by men in pricier suits who believe sensationalism to be a cornerstone to news reporting. And, should the general public alter its daily routines to avoid threats which will never materialize, like missing school or work because a projected 5 inches of snow is presented as a nuclear winter promising unfathomable numbers of unfortunate casualties, such disruptions are minor setbacks serving the apparently far greater need of ratings. For saying such things on the air, this man has likely jeopardized whatever promises of job security his contract with the station purports. He will be fired for being honest, for not acting on behalf of the desires of his financial superiors, but instead for better informing the masses about situations affecting them all.

Obviously, his bosses do not themselves believe that every storm is the apocalypse. But they want the panic that comes from the misinformation being circulated, partially for laughs, but more so to keep the masses focused on imaginary concerns rather than legitimate. And the madness created is great for the economy, whether buying out bottled water, canned foods and zombie-slaying assault rifles, or over-priced and ineffective Eco-friendly products, because while climate change is real, so too is the lucrative opportunity taking advantage of the circumstance. In this regard, how dare that weatherman not live for the fantasy of all others, that his perspective not encompass the perspectives of all strangers, specifically ones with platforms and resources at their disposal to condemn the man for selfishly…not obliging the self-interest of others with everything he has to offer, and not doing his duty to perpetuate the distinctly personal whims which are not representative of and have little to no bearing on his life, his experiences or his own personal whims.

Meanwhile in a seedy factory across town, in keeping with the wishes of its pharmaceutical advertisers, corporate media of the English-speaking world persists with the mythology that marijuana can be by any measure harmful to wellness. Even when decriminalized here and there around the USA, the plant remains illegal under federal law, despite the unflattering fact of claiming not one life in all its millennia of harvesting. Contrary to the majority of legal pharmaceuticals. Socially, when millionaires such as Kamala Harris or billionaires such as Elon Musk ever fess up to experience with imbibing some pot, they are treated like quaint rascals, their surely momentary act of naughtiness permissible because everyone is trained to crave the approval of con-artist wholesalers of fantasy. Whereas if a working class adult is caught by law enforcement in possession of the drug, they generally tend to be hit with exponentially harder sentencing than rapists. Millennial yuppy hipsters can selfy themselves tagged with pictures of THC-infused gummy worms, but the musicians of society are given a different libretto entirely. For example, the King Henry VIII-manufactured so that he could get a divorce Church of England is announcing its business plan to use a portion of its wealth to invest in suppliers of medical marijuana. Which includes such colorfully quaint rascals as the man who beds with former prime minister Theresa May. And this, while medical marijuana remains unavailable to anyone of the UK who is not obscenely wealthy enough to get what they want.

The thing about the ancient adage that one should ‘do as I say, not as I do’ is that ‘monkey see, monkey do’ is always the result from limited intellects, and the pathos depends entirely on the masses not seeing duty for what it truly is, subservience. Political parties and religious sects like clockwork lose their shit when the competition does a bad thing, yet will reach as far up their own nethers as physically possible to produce rationalizations for when their own side does the one and same bad thing. Not always, but quite often this is done under whichever flag of Capitalism waving those particular 15 minutes over religious dogmatics or political contentions, although self-centeredness is the real heart of the experience. So much of what can be read across the news today, from big-pants headlines to throwaway social media comments from verified nobodies, boils down to “How dare my private fantasy or the marketing I am most susceptible to not be regarded as canonical status quo by persons with their own fantasies, or persons not so fucking susceptible to taglines or anybody else who can muster whatever reasons to not be me.”

We see it grand-scale, such as how the New York Times is now claiming to be protecting free speech through unironic self-censor. Because a single cartoon is by any stretch of the imagination of NYT shareholders, somehow magically more troubling than full, verbose and unapologetic support granted *freely* for each and every war the governmental forces of the USA mysteriously find themselves in.

But this reversed logic occurs individually with even more frequency and rancor. One perfect example of this involves comic book writer Chelsea Cain. She came to renown over her previous work, which had a super-heroine character unheroically and uncharacteristically accusing a man of rape, and then murdering him so that the truth of his innocence might never come out, all of which was conveyed and accepted as some kind of feminist victory. Her current work has upset a large portion of her fandom however, for apparently not concerning trans-gendered people, with so many concerned readers attacking her that she deleted her Twitter account over lack of time to apologize to so many people so offended by her not indulging their fantasies with her own. One actual trans writer summed up the moral high ground quite well, although her words evidently went unread by large sums of twittering people unwilling to wear the moccasins of others, including comic editor Val D’Orazio. Val’s ongoing thing is that she feels vilified for her experiences and her stories failing to pass the purity tests of self-centered strangers, just as Chelsea is now experiencing a vilification for her own experiences and stories not passing the purity tests of strangers, strangers who cannot live with experiences or stories other than their own fantasies. While Val publicly enjoyed Chelsea’s prior work, she seems completely incapable of seeing the commonality she shares with Chelsea’s plight now, instead opting to attack her, apparently for not being a trans or gender-fluid writer, and for indulging a fantasy which might pertain to matters other than trans and gender-fluid subsets of the LBGT community at large. Perspectives being different are not automatically opposition. Val has inserted herself into the debate, taking Chelsea’s work as a personal affront, as though the legitimacy she yearns for might only come from finding something to be offended by. Much of Chelsea’s critique on the web comes from her choice to screen-grab twitter criticisms of the comic and re-posting it into the comic itself, although without context. To take offense at a thing with no context is ultimately just looking for excuses to be offended. When there is no reason to be on the defensive, as Chelsea’s comic was not actively attacking trans or gender fluids, merely not including them to her narrative. Her sole selling point is being feminist-friendly, but that has grown into a highly subjective concept unto itself, with even Paglia writing things now she’d never have written 20 years ago. People who love their plastic surgery never seem to voice any concern over the bible omitting them from its plot lines. Chelsea making the grievous error of having other things to talk about is taken as a form of oppression, with her for-profit efforts not passing Val’s purity tests somehow being totally different from Val’s for-profit efforts not passing the purity tests of others. Being a comic book editor, she cannot help but to lack depth to see how self-focused is her own personal hypocrisy, to the extent that, while I am no fan of Chelsea’s work or politics, frankly I feel ashamed to have ever defended Val in years past, to have ever reached out to her. Being bullied is no license to bully others, across multiple channels or not. Nobody is obligated to anybody for the catering of private whims or indulging of personal fantasies but how dare pop culture not adequately entertain nonetheless.

Everybody gets embarrassed over having the cracks in their foundation addressed, especially while the thrill of fantastic panic both groundless and false generously provides such entrancing distraction from those actual problems in need of resolution. But if you’re dumb enough to not see pop culture as the antonym of esotericism in every conceivable manner, there’s no hope of logic or reason ever reaching you, or the millions of other people just as happy to give more weight to fantasy than any reality, shared or otherwise.

I am not defending Chelsea’s comics. I think all artificial cultures are awful, but anyone who can find the means to be personally offended by any of it is clearly living a very sheltered lifestyle with more comforts than most of the world’s population will ever be able to experience for themselves. I am positive the millions of starving and homeless around the world pray the issues in their life could be traded for facing improper pronoun usage or not being included in a fucking cartoon. In Val’s defense however, because I respected her in the past, rationalizing so much time and money granted over years to feed the bottomless oblivion of artificial culture is probably the leading cause for alcoholism in the western world, even if no paid pundit would ever dream of saying such a thing out loud in a zillion years. And to be fair, the more we earnestly try to understand our fellow denizens of this modern world, the less reasons we are met with to side with any of them. The actions of those people who’ve attacked Val and who are attacking Chelsea are no better than one another, because when the argument is all about competing fantasy, there is nothing solid to stand firm on. Wish fulfillment is not problem-solving. For all their love of entertainment, there ever coming to pass a time when no purity tests from anyone are demanded of anybody, actual inclusiveness, would result in a royal fuck-ton more options to choose from. But none want options, for themselves or for everyone else, only for their own experiences and stories to be universally regarded as canonical status quo. They want to stay selfish, and everybody failing to meet their standards are lesser than, with all claims of equality as hollow as said entertainment, be it art or politics or religion. Relying on inconsistency and embracing privileged exemption is not helping matters for anybody who cannot be easily counted among those con-artist wholesalers of fantasy. This is an era where not being the star of another person’s firmament is popularly equated with experiencing hate-crimes, but that’s not what ‘think globally, act locally‘ means in the slightest.

The good Frankie Boyle once wrote a column which inadvertently shines tremendous light on this sad little melodrama, including the powerful line, “We have started to attribute to our personal tastes and preferences a kind of moral force.”

His closing statement especially bangs heads on nails: “We don’t live in a shared reality, we each live in a reality of our own, and causing upset is often the price of trying to reach each other. It’s always easier to dismiss other people than to go through the awkward and time consuming process of understanding them. We have given taking offense a social status it doesn’t deserve: it’s not much more than a way of avoiding difficult conversations.”

Even, in continuance of Frankie’s remark there, when that conversation is simply a matter of looking in the mirror, as god forbid anybody be confronted with the possibility that perhaps the Golden Rule has lingered for so long for a damn fine reason, a reason carrying more logic than the ideological masturbation all players to this modern age thrive upon. The world will never be ideal so long as its combatants collectively refuse to put their individual fantasies or preferred brandings last. It truly is that uncomplicated a thing.