Customer Man, Engine of the Economy!

“Provocation for provocation’s sake will never win you any converts, to say it another way, if you are owning the libs just to own the libs, your victory will be short-lived and your audience will remain small.” Orin Hatch

“I know that it’s fun and that it can feel good, but step back and think about what you’re accomplishing when you do this — are you persuading anyone? Who are you persuading?” Haley asked. “We’ve all been guilty of it at some point or another, but this kind of speech isn’t leadership — it’s the exact opposite.” Nikki Haley

“Hey, you, Zombie! I’m the only wrinkly, old, gray monster who can terrorize my family, OK?” – Stan Pines

“The neo-Marxist analysis of society, in which we are all mere appendages of various groups of oppressors and oppressed, and in which the oppressed definitionally cannot be at fault, is now the governing philosophy of almost all liberal media. That’s how … the New York Times can hire and defend someone who expresses racial hatred.” Andrew Sullivan

THE AUTOPSY OF THE STRIKE: The Renault strike of March-April 1973 constituted a general repetition of this crisis. Apparently confused, uncoordinated, manipulated, and in the final analysis, a failure (except for the extraordinary terminological victory that consisted in the once taboo term ‘semi-skilled worker’ being replaced with the term, ‘agent of production)… This strike was the beautiful swan song for the unions caught between the rank-and-file and the bosses. From the outset it was unleashed by semi-skilled foreign workers.” Jean Baudrillard c. 1976

“We’ve got fundamentalist Muslims, we’ve got fundamentalist Jews, we’ve got fundamentalist Christians and they’ll blow the whole thing up for you. But as I travel around this big old world there’s one thing that I most fear – it’s a white man in a golf shirt with a cell phone in his ear.” Tom Russell (c. 2007)

“My dear friend, clear your mind of can’t. You may talk as other people do. You may say to a man, ‘Sir, I am your most humble servant.’ You are not his most humble servant. You may say, ‘These are sad times; it is a melancholy thing to be reserved to such times.’ You don’t mind the times. You tell a man, ‘I am sorry you had such bad weather the last day of your journey, and were so much wet.’ You don’t care six-pence whether he was wet or dry. You may talk in this manner; it is a mode of talking in Society: but don’t think foolishly.” Dr. Johnson

This was one of those weeks packed with riveting excitement. Alaska Wolf Joe and I both had UPS deliveries coming on the same day which normally wouldn’t be a big deal except for the small fact that neither one of us would be around and his package had to be signed for. Luckily the UPS guy was coming up the walk as I was leaving so I was able to accept AWJ’s big-ass box. I texted him to say I got it and he texted back, “Delivery confirmation says, ‘Gave to Customer Man.'”

Yes, Customer Man, Engine of the economy!

In our last episode you’ll remember Customer Man’s arch-nemesis, The Recession, stripped our hero of his wallet and turned him loose inside WalMart on Customer Appreciation Day. Finding an old unused Discover Card in his sock Customer Man reaches for a nearby shopping cart and says, “This calls for The Invisible Hand!”

Some days this stuff just writes itself.

Other days?

Not so much.

Case in point – I got an email saying somebody somewhere said something nice about me on the Internet(s).The people on the sending side of the note are of the belief that failure to make nice-nice is a federal crime ergo they were expecting a quick response on my part. I reminded them that they used to go to some trouble to tell me, “We would have invited you to (function) but everyone was afraid you’d say something.”

Darn tootin’ I would and it would have been a good one too. It would have been one of those things that a normal person would truly and sincerely regret say, but – if you’ve read this page for any length of time – you’d know that I would not only be good with it, I might just have to write it down for future use. That always lead to the people who sent the note coming back with, “Why do you always think you can get away with that?”

Because I am Customer Man, Engine of the Economy! (QED)

Moving along –

Got another email saying that this page is all about how we’re screwed (which is obvious) but at least it try to convey some context as to why we’re screwed.

Along those lines –

Clap back at the Wolfman cuz he diss’d you record, Dude!

As some of you have heard, Andrew Sullivan called the NY Times a Neo-Marxist publication a couple of days ago. Upon hearing this our house filled up with waves of convulsive laughter. Sully’s little bon mot was just the pick me up we needed at the end of a long and difficult week.

So what was it all about?

Outrage.

Earlier in the week one of the shameless wags in one of my Tweety groups said someone needs to categorize different types of outrages as it was the Tweetist’s opinion that some outrage is strictly for show. Put another way – some outrage is strictly theatrical virtue signaling.

With that – here’s a stab at it in no particular order:

– Genuine Outrage. Someone steals your car, drives it around for a few days then sets fire to it leaving nothing behind but a burnt frame.

– Targeted Outrage – information used to keep a for-profit media outlet on track with its branding. (e.g. programming found on any of the cable news channels after 6pm local time)

– Addictive Outrage – info which keeps the questionably angry, well … questionably angry. Recent Internet slang calls such folks “Outrage Whores.”

– Theatrical Outrage – any outrage which can be described as Gamergate-like in form and execution.

Please note that these are not absolutes but merely arbitrary boundaries. In any given case there will most likely be some combination of all of the above brought to any given situation as we cannot get past the simple fact that expressed human emotion is much like giving cotton candy to a 5 year-old on a hot day. Some will be consumed, some will miss the mark, but after a certain amount of time everybody’s going to need a washcloth.

The most interesting thing to rise up out of Sarah Jeong vs. Quinn Norton is the associated collapse of a major conservative trope. Outrage did not take down Sarah Jeong nor Dan Harmon. As we speak – every passing minute brings us closer to James Gunn being reinstated as the director of Guardians 3.

Another collapsing trope is the use of the word ‘pedophile’ in casual conversation. It was once used to be the final word on all matters regarding the concept of relativism, but it eventually grew to be an all purpose invective. With the rise of Q-anon we find that the word has become something like a call to wage a holy war, free from all legal and psychological definition.

You can be as mad as you want about all that, but trope collapse is at the heart of what Senator Hatch and Ambassador Hailey were talking about. A series of tropes will let you “own the libs” but it is not a cohesive body of political thought.

And as a quick aside – “ownership” doesn’t really exist as those mostly like to play that game have no communication with the other side so the acting of “owning” is either never seen nor in context to those who would be owned. Think of it as taking great pride at how well you shouted into an empty room.

In other news –

“BECAUSE THE FUTURE IS WHERE WE WILL SPEND THE REST … OF … OUR …LIVES!” Criswell

After we caught our breath from Sully’s remarks about what is and is not Neo-Marxist culture I asked Alaska Wolf Joe if he thought Neo-Marxism would have more followers if the NM’s would quit using the term “late stage capitalism” and instead take something out of the Nation Enquirer’s playbook and call it, “Capitalism’s Sad Last Days?”

He sent me to my room with this book.

Symbolic Exchange was largely composed in the early 1970s and eventually published in 1976. Several critics have said it accurately predicted our present Neo-liberal system. Baudrillard strives to proves that Marx no longer applies to our times. His underpinning is that he suggests that labor is merely a commodity. He tries to take it out of its 19th Century moorings and comes close to calling it a romantic notion. Eventually the worker becomes not so much a living being caught in the system, but one more item thrown on top of that pile of stuff which constitutes cost equalling the price of the last item produced.

You’ll note from the above quote that the 1973 French auto strike revolved around foreign workers. At roughly the same time Germany struggled with accommodating foreigner workers as they did not fit well into the German scheme of guilds. Therefore we have to conclude that fitting the outside worker into the flow of any national economy is a problem that comes up now and then and no one has any idea what to do. Perhaps, we should look at the practice of politics like the ancient Greeks and see it all as a series of great circles as it does not fit in with the more popular Western view of history being a linear beast.

What little I have to offer of proof of all that comes from this little country ditty from 2008.