The Stifling Boredom of the Overblown

Monday, 2 February 2009

I suppose it's not surprising that most newspapers are heading to tabloid status. Not that I read them any more, unless I'm at my parents and I can pick up the Herald Sun for a bit of easy potshot criticism. At best I probably read a story or two online every day.

The weather was taking my interest last week and so I was doing a lot of online newspaper reading then. In my readings I noted a lot of use of overblown words like "chaos" to describe what went on last week. Really? Was it really chaos that people were stranded places and took hours to get home, etc? I would say it was extreme disruption and a very uncomfortable week indeed. It would have been chaos if an earthquake was going on, or if a crazed gunman had rampaged the city at the same time. To describe last week as "chaos" is just patently stupid when everywhere, I saw calm and in control people who were hot and irritated and a bit bothered by public transport "meltdowns". It was sad to note that quite a few people died. That was sad, and honestly, it was a yukky week, but it wasn't anything near chaotic. Chaotic would be if we were beginning to starve to death.

(Edit/aside: okay, so the title of my last post was Hell in Melbourne Town. So I'm a hypocrite. Tell me something I don't already know :)

Another overblown story was the one about Michael Phelps, the Olympic gold medallist in something or other, who I see has been caught with his mouth impaled on a bong. Here is how the Times Online described it:
A mixture of shock and disbelief swept the United States yesterday as the nation woke up to an abject apology from the man it had hailed as its greatest Olympic athlete. Michael Phelps was a hero and role model for millions but now his career will be stained forever by claims that he smoked drugs.
Really? Shock and disbelief? On what sort of a scale? A chaotic sort of a scale, as represented here, in another overblown article about the fall of a vaunted sports superstar? Were people taken to hospital because their illusions were dissed that someone who is rich and famous (the only economy we all worship) has done something unshiny? I hate the media. You suck, media. With plummeting sales, you could take a nobler route and aim for top-notch journalism to win readers back. God knows, there is a market for that. But naw, instead you just go for the descriptor equivalents of Samantha Fox's tits hanging out, not just on a page 3 article but on every page, every article. What are you gonna do when real chaos hits, huh? How do you cope with it then?

You call it a "global financial crisis" and you report on it ad nauseum but none of it is about possibilities, avenues, forward thrusts. All of it is reported on the back-end of your reportings about the plummetting economy and what we need to do to shore it up, interspersed with stories about the climate falling apart. All it seems to be about trying to sustain an unsustainable status quo because you, dear media, are an intrinsic part of that whole card toppling deal. You couldn't report something new that is a possibility to break free out of that system if it came up to you and bit you on the arse and screamed "amazing news story". 'Cause they're everywhere. It's just that you can't see them.

While we all drown in a sea of bottom line mediocrity, meanwhile, there are people out there doing stuff for free, or for not a whole stack of money, and doing wonderful things. People out there who can see beyond the stupidity of this failing system.

And it doesn't seem ever to be the Goliaths of the world that can see beyond. The Goliaths have too much of a stake in it to be able to see how it is dying and simultaneously strangling everything as it does. The bigger you grow, the more committees and boards and directors and partners and laws and rules and regulations you have to smother any sort of life and vision out of anything. It's the Church way of doing things. Take a stack of people full of life, and filter and file them through turnstiles of the mind, and then sit back and watch them deflate like giant Goodyear blimps.

It amazes me how many smoke and mirrors I see about me these days. Virtually everything in the system. Once you start seeing it, you can't stop. It's like the Michael Phelps story. What it comes down to is being seen to do the right thing, image, projections. Probably part of the reason why Michael Phelps sticks his head inside a bong is because he is drowning in the sad sea of being the same fucked-up dude he was before he got famous and desperate people started pedestalling him.

The financial system - nobody can dispute that smoke and mirrors sideshow anymore, if they were ignorant before this. A financial system built on expectations and "feelings" of consumer confidence. A system which, when doing the death walk last year, was subsequently bolstered up by governments who are unable to do more than reward the massive greed and stupidity of corporations than in helping the little people at the other end. What a stinking, sinking fucking ship this whole bag is.

My dear cuz and I were chatting last night about how becoming a Christian once seemed to us so horribly stifling, a giving up of your freedom. I remember how I used to view God, and living a life in him. Part of that abhorrence was fueled by the distasteful stench of late twentieth century Christianity. Part of it was fuelled by the stench of my own flesh that wouldn't know freedom if it bit it on the bum. And now we marvelled at how different everything looks on the other side of the door, where freedom is something that is growing up before us, and in us, miracles of miracles, that is planted in us and takes root and grows leaves that give us shade while opening our eyes. Terrifically beautiful.

I suppose that's why I can say that while nothing in the system could understand why any of its citizens rejoice at the dismantling that we suspect is going on, despite the pain and turmoil it causes people (because some people losing their jobs is a proper definition of chaos, in their own lives at least, if they are unable to find another and have a family to support, for example), many of us are rejoicing. Maybe even it's in deep ways we can't quite finger. Whispers more than anything. But something is resonating in my soul, almost as if the wiser parts of me recognise that this mess we live in, that has captured me so profoundly, is beginning its slow descent. And how do you rejoice that the world as you have always known it is changing? But I do, nevertheless. It feels like a close relative of the freedom that's begun taking root in my soul, expressed outwardly, taking root in the soil. But the system, the lurching fleshy stupidly spiritually dull-witted thing that it is, can't know about such things, and it never will. It feels wonderful to my soul, even while I quiver, that we are being set free. Even while sometimes I wonder if I would go mad of it, even while I think I will go sane of it. Or at least, such are the things that my soul speaks of today.

8 comments

  1. and here i thought i didn't have anything in common with michael phelps. turns out he's just a regular guy after all.

    so what we need, then, are ways of buoying people up through the storm. because if there are people out there who really are needing something to stay afloat after becoming victim of a dying system we ought to. how do we support one another? what does that look like?

    and it raises more questions. when i read through the book of acts 3 years ago in february (one chapter a day for all 28) a new vision of the story crept through.

    these guys have been given something deeper, an understanding that penetrates the very fabric of the physical world. and as i read it that time it seemed more that the "problem" they were creating was not so much a belief in jesus, but rather that they were nullifying the system at hand and starting their own system. their own economy and community and citizens and ethics and culture. they stopped recognizing the "authority at large" as being an important anything to be obeyed or placated. and they spread this view wherver they went.

    they understood it in light of jesus and the cross as being a tiny piece in a much greater puzzle. but the piece they had been waiting for. that much is true. but what it seemed to me that they were really trying to spread was the reality that this great event has now ushered us into. i as well feel the thread that is holding the two warring realities together is about to give and allow separation to finally occur.

    yet i do know that i am quite trained to think apocalytically about the world. in truth, egypt is no longer the great power it once was. neither are babylon or rome or any other historical cliche. the fact is that this could just be another human experiment gone wrong and the world will still move on from it as well.

    "the world plus plastic."
    -george carlin

    in truth there could still be another 10,000 years to this whole huge thing. or not. it could all go away tomorrow.

    but strangely, i think i've always felt that way. as if i've been conditioned a little to think that every situation has the "fate of the world" hanging in the balance. or that a "world ending" catastrophe is just around the corner.

    when perhaps the only "world ending" moment that we truly need to happen is our decision to stop playing this game anymore and just use the tools at hand to create something better for ourselves. where the little guy can live in peace with his family and friends and not be raped for his produtction capacity anymore.

    oh crap. was all of that just out loud?

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  2. Sheesh, jon, how to respond to all of this? :)

    I think we've been conditioned to respond as if everything we do is gonna end the world as well. And I think it's filled us all with fear and paralysis.

    HOw do we get to the point where we would be able to turn aside and do something else? And how would we know what to do? I just can't see it happening unless it is a really big God thing, you know?

    And yet, I look at all that has been going on in the last 10 years with the amount of people who are seeing and sensing something different, who have broke away from the Christian system.

    I can't help feeling we are being prepared for things we can't even envisage yet. Is it something we can envisage, do you think? Or is it more a case of blindly fumbling towards where we think God is leading us?

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  3. Ok so it annoys the hell out of me how the media sensationalizes everything. It's not even just the news, it's EVERYTHING. I said on my blog the other day how my 12 year old was convinced he needed a "Snuggie". Not because when he actually stopped to think about it he really needed one, but because the commercial was sooo convincing.

    It's like we are numb to actual truth, in the news or whatever...we wouldn't even care about anything if they just told the truth, it wouldn't be interesting enough. We are spoiled and numbed to reality...we want SUPERreality. Millions of people play Second Life because it's superreality, and not only that but because they can control it.

    When the weather is extreme, if the news simply told it like it is...saying it's hot but it will only last a few days, so deal with it...or like here, just saying we're going to get more snow than normal, but it will be ok in a week or two, instead of naming the damn storm and running news coverage 24 hours a day...sheesh. People actually started writing complaint letters to the news stations here, saying they really just want their soap operas back. But nooooo they had to have people on all day long "look at the snow".

    My point is this...as a human race, at least in the "western" world, we aren't ok with just reality.

    Like christianity for instance. We aren't ok with just meeting together with a few people and calling that community, like the disciples did. We have to attend a church of 10K pepople with not one but FOUR jumbotron TV's so we can see up the Pastor's nose. We have to have rock-n-roll music, we have to have lights and fancy shows....because real life community is dull to us.

    That really is why there is so much protest against those of us who are out of the "fold"...because those who are still inside think our kind of community is boring, and they don't want to give up their Sunday AM theater tickets.

    Ok that's all for now. I really shouldn't comment before 8AM.

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  4. Damn, my comment is almost as long as Jon's. Sorry Susie.

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  5. If you're gonna make comments like that when you comment before 8am, then please continue doing so.

    You are so right. SUPERreality. And what frustrates me is that sometimes people are unhappy with just normal everyday reality because it's like a tree, and they haven't gone DOWN enough instead of trying to get UP all the time, and so there's this weird disconnected sitting in the middle. Does that make sense? It's like we don't want to own and experience our shit, we want to run away from it instead.

    We are really really fucked up.

    If I was going to talk about an antichrist, we are primed for one. Not that I know what I think about that, but the Church as a whole would buy it hook, line and sinker cos we don't know what the hell we think and feel about anything, but anything that can medicate us so we don't have to live real life, we'll do it. What a pathetic scenario :(

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  6. Wow when I reread my comment I laughed out loud. I'm usually a bit irritable first thing in the AM, can you tell? (Well, I am usually up at 6 but it takes until 8 for me to get my brain screwed on straight.)

    Anyhoo...thing is, we want MEGA. We aren't ok with mundane, middle of the road, moderate. Everything has to be extreme to suit us...well, here in the states for sure, but I imagine it's like that there too.

    Something else about church that drives me nuts...people are afraid to be alone in their heads with God. Church has to be constant entertainment...something happening or someone talking...sometimes I'm tempted to go to a Friends meeting just because they know how to be quiet and listen to God.

    I tire of the racket.

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  7. You're not apologising for your opinion now are you, Word dude?

    :)

    I'd love to go to a Quaker meeting too. I have thought that several times over the past few months, actually. I thougth how beautiful it would be to just sit with a group of believers, how God just enjoy that too.

    Actually, my cousin and I are going to a Messianic congregation on Saturday! I'm sorta kinda nervous but I have been wanting to go and check these people out for ages. We have an escape plan and everything, LOL. I'm really really nervous about it and I'm not sure why.

    I want to learn more about the OT feasts. They fascinate me. are so full of significance and symbolism, I would love to take part in them.

    I'm at work. This is much more fun talking to you than it is transcribing an interview where a couple have intervention orders against each other and still are managing to bash each other up. It creeps me out. I hate violent couples, they scare the poo out of me :)

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  8. No I'm not apologizing...just laughing.

    I think that's quite exciting that you are going to a Messianic service. That would be fascinating. There is something royally cool about judaism...God felt so special about these people that it's kinda like a window into his heart.

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