Sick Dreams

Does anyone dream of becoming a conformist, of following the rules and defending America’s awful capitalist system?

9 thoughts on “Sick Dreams

  1. To answer your question, Ted, when I was younger I had the ambition of becoming an alcoholic with a disability pension- But unfortunately I wasn’t much for drinking, so I ended up working my arse off instead. Some people just don’t have what it takes….

    Henri

  2. P.S. Love the Thomas Friedman poster on the wall.

    But let’s be fair. With the exception of Krugman, the columnists at the Times pretty much ALL read like college newspaper columnists (just with a larger budget). What was the line someone had about Friedman’s use of “turning a corner” in Iraq: We’ve turned more corners that a whore at an origami convention according to Friedman.

    Dowd writes a muddled, idiotic piece about marijuana, complete with the reefer madness scare tactics, and no one (apparently) takes her into the Big Office, sits her down, and explains to her that she needs to learn how to write a column. There’s plenty of better columnists who could use a New York Times gig, if Dowd doesn’t have the chops — and she doesn’t. Maybe she did once, but every time I force myself to read one of her columns to see if she’s improved, it’s the same painful blend of inane patter and soft, unfocused nothingness. Go on. Read her stuff. How often to you hear a rimshot as you do? It’s like she thinks she’s in a bar in Vegas doing a warm-up act. She should step aside or be carried off to one side. Either will do. Same with Kristof.

    Just terrible writers.

  3. Note that the sign of a successful society is that everyone WANTS to be a conformist. We all conform when we take a car on the road (or at least try to). “Hey man, not me! That red light is the man keeping me down. I’m just gonna blow right through it.”

    The problem here is that the current state of the society is defective. Overall, the point of society is to make existence — the basic food/shelter goals — easier. Can you imagine how much time we’d all be spending trying to raise crops and weave clothing and so forth if we were in tiny little bands of people? Good like starting a public library in a town with 50 people.

    Society’s major benefit is that it multiplies force and investment. I can’t watch my sheep all day. But 10 of us can put all the sheep in one flock, take turns watching, and lo and behold, pretty soon, we’re pretty well fed up with mutton because there’s just so much of it now that predators can’t grab the sheep. And we’ve all got some spare time, too. Take up knitting, because we’ve also got a couple assloads of wool.

    But that’s not the case in our civilization (especially in the U.S.) is it? We’re working (at least those of us with jobs are) harder than ever. And we have, overall, LESS job security. Look it up: pensions were safer investments, overall, than 401(k)s. Why? Because you didn’t get a say in the pension. The 401(k), you can opt out. It’s easy. “Oh, I need to pay down a credit card. I need that money in my pocket right now for that. Once I pay it off, I’m gonna cut up all my cards except one for emergencies.” I know people who’ve been saying that for, at least, 15 years. Still not paying in to the 401(k), but they sure do have nice big televisions.

    And unions. Those horrible unions that made sure workers got paid enough and got benefits enough that someone with a high school diploma could own a house. Those are drying up too. Society is backing away from it’s original beneficial purpose. Capitalism used to generate conformists: I want to be a doctor, a teacher, an airline pilot, a fireman, etc. I want to be part of the system because it’s a really good system.

    So Ted’s right. No one grows up wanting to be a cog in what the system currently is, but some of us know that there’s a baby still in there somewhere under all that bath water. (Granted, the baby has almost drowned, held under by the Grover Norquist mindset …)

  4. I see the kid’s holding a book entitled “Zareed Zakaria” – but what’s the title of the one on the bed? (I can’t make it out.)

    • The one on the bed is “Chas Krauthammer” – the desk one is “Richard Cohen” – brilliant writers all!! (I kid…). I spend way too much time looking at the details in Ted’s stuff…..

      • Thanks! The only one I couldn’t make out was “Chas Krauthammer” – so I appreciate your input. 🙂

  5. > Does anyone dream of becoming a conformist, of following the rules and defending America’s awful capitalist system?

    The Young Republicans comes to mind. That organization is almost as weird as the Log Cabin Republicans.

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