Saturday, December 19, 2015

Grups v. Snowflakes

I've always wondered who it was that thought up the idea of getting an advertiser to pay a given radio station to regularly state something like: This broadcast is coming to you live from the studios of The Flyoverland Crank. The Flyoverland Crank -- bringing you enlightened infotainment since July! Pure genius. A business pays the given radio station, that they and their competitors already pay to run commercials, a premium, so that they will be mentioned briefly, but regularly, throughout the day.

If the radio station wasn't effectively competitive, wasn't attracting enough listeners to justify the premium, the money would go to a station that was. Competition.

If the advertiser wasn't effectively competitive, wasn't attracting enough customers to generate the money needed to pay the radio station a premium, one of their rivals might. Competition.

When cut-throat capitalism is working the way it should, the consumers win, the consumer has the power -- no customers, no money -- bankruptcy. We Earthlings fortunate enough to live in a country that has a sorta/kinda free market economy are the beneficiaries of cut-throat capitalism, and we love it. We love living in the most prosperous society the world has ever seen. We love the myriad choices. We love the competitive prices. We love the jobs generated...

...Until the alarm clock goes off, or the payment's due, or we lose our job, or fail as an entrepreneur. Or if the philistines/the 1%/the dean/the boss/or dad just don't/doesn't appreciate our delicate sensibilities, and the fact that snowflakes need to be nurtured (and subsidised) lest they melt in the heat generated by the daily struggle for three all natural, organic hots and an adjustable Tempur-Pedic cot.

Well then, then capitalism/the market/the system/the rat race -- sucks sweaty socks.

This is when the grups (grownups) are separated from the snowflakes.

We're the grups! We know that every coin has a head and a tail. We've been around those often cited proverbial blocks and came in last at more damn rodeos than we care to admit. We deal with it. We take care of business, it's in the job description. We do the work, raise the kids, pay the bills, fight the wars (or, lucky us, more likely just support the ones that do), we care for the aging parents.

I'm a grup, but I've no interest in demonizing snowflakes. I do enjoy making fun of them though, I hope they will do me the honor of returning the favor. Humor trumps demonizing. Just thinking about an aging, mostly bald, chubby guy with a ponytail that's been espousing socialism for decades makes me smile. Gazillionaire actors with left wing politics, of any age or appearance, who haven't had to work at a real job since they were part-time food service workers while attending drama school make me laugh out loud.

On a vaguely related note: For the record, I've no idea where William Devane stands on anything, or if he's a gazillionaire, or what he's like in real life, but I think it should be illegal for actors to encourage people to buy gold and silver. "What's in your safe?" Unfulfilled dreams and empty promises, but thanks for asking Bill!

Some good news for snowflakes still involved with the 1% movement. If you happen to live on the planet Earth, work full time, and make at least $9.09/hr., congrats, your yearly income is greater than 99% of your fellow Earthlings. That is, assuming you define full time the traditional way, 40 hours per week, and not the Obamacare way, which is only 30 hours. But prosperity, and even living in a country that has a nationwide obesity epidemic (and you thought there was nothing new under the sun), doesn't seem to do much to help us to all get along.

You've no doubt noticed we seem to be a country devolving into warring factions. The national consensus was always a fragile structure (involving much duct tape) because we're a nation of all sorts of people from everywhere and anywhere. For that to work without employing the traditional methods, murder and subjugation, a system is needed that grants the "other guy" the same freedom and liberty we want for ourselves. Live and let live.

This was the point of the American experiment, an experiment that many others have since attempted, with mixed results. All things considered, it's amazing it's worked out for us as well as it has. We nearly exterminated the folks that we expropriated a continent from. We enslaved Africans. We had to fight a civil war because of that one. Learning nothing much, we devised another obscenity, Jim Crow. We're still trying to fix that to everyone's satisfaction. In spite of these and no shortage of other screwups, we somehow managed to become the most prosperous country the world has ever seen, so far. And we're relatively free. And we twice elected an African-American to the most powerful job on Earth, which would not have been possible without Mr. Obama capturing approximately the same average percentage of white voters as any democratic presidential candidate in modern times.

We can take comfort in the fact we've done some good. That we may have moved a few rungs up the ladder in the direction of being truly civilized -- history will tell. That we're still trying.

I've read that scholars say that various cultures in the ancient Mideast thought that as we move forward in time we're facing the past, that the future is behind us. In other words, that we walk through life backward. This was because they valued the past, as I read somewhere recently, a little too much. This meme would seem to stand in start contrast to the way the modern world in general, America in particular, views life. We believe we're facing forward and racing forward. Who has time to worry about history? We're constantly running behind while simultaneously trying to stay one step ahead of the information tsunami.

I think most of us have more in common with the citizens of the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia and Eygpt than we realize. They walked backward through life, we run backward through life. The cult of victimhood encourages us to run backward while never taking our eyes off of what happened to us -- or whatever groups we've decided we're part of -- last week, last month, last year, etc. This process doesn't even stop at the womb. Look what happened to my parents, my grandparents, my ancestors, my country, my _____. Please feel free to fill in the blank with the grievance(s) of your choice.

Learn (from) history. As you may have heard, it will save you from having to relearn lessons someone else already learned the hard way. But the past is gone, the future is a maybe. Turn around, now, before something or someone smacks you in the back of the head.

Have an OK day.                                                                                      

©Mark Mehlmauer 2015

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