Lots of times when I look at a group of people, I don’t really know what to think, so I simply don’t think anything. It’s just something to do other than sitting alone in my room, which I also do a lot of. Maybe I feel inertia from the overwhelming amount of information and images to which I’m privy via the internet, compounded with my ostensible lack of power to do anything about the goings on.
Sometimes I feel like it’s impossible to truly, irreversibly claim anything, at all, and by this I mean that our society is incredibly streamlined. As Americans we make use every day of facilities rendered by some sort of brutality or exploitation. So in trying to fight the good fight, the average person is bound to end up looking like a hypocrite.
American people are “immersed,” more so than we are “free,” and if we are “free” it’s for the reason that our society basically doesn’t have morals, at least we don’t actively regulate such things. Pop music is filled with lewdness and sexual conquest, and bookshelves are stuffed with covers depicting financial “heroes” who meld anger and wealth into one propagated model, and flaunt it shamelessly. Nowhere is importance placed on patience or courtesy, much less spirituality, or meaning.
And as we all know, the licentious practices of our government, when they’re at their most imperial, make it easier for us to live our lives, whether it’s in bringing us affordable gas and heating or generally providing cheaper products on shelves, products that may have come from another country. For this reason it’s hard even to satirize, a technique obviously employed to great notoriety prospectively by George Orwell, in 1984 and Animal Farm. Bukowski for one made derogatory mention of all the “revolutionaries” he was prone to encountering, who for him would likely end up regretting the change they initiated in the first place.
As Americans, in other words, we live within an overarching paradox. On the one hand, our nation is the bully of the world. On the other, we’re very empowered, toward both gaining information and distributing it, we have one of the most sophisticated constitutions, complete with the Bill of Rights’ free speech, and the checks and balances system of our Democratic government prevents one house from usurping too much control and going on a veritable political tirade. Plus, redneck right-wingers who vote in war mongers give us liberal intellectual blowhards something to complain about. Sadly, this usually becomes our religion.
It’s been a while since the war now, and our nation’s values, for lack of military directness, have caricatured themselves all over again. Laden with a deluge of “self-help” books focused on getting rich, and succeeding on the very terms of this bullying country, rather than terms more psychosomatically aligned with our true selves, our “model” for living has become the very antithesis of living — it makes the peers the adversaries, and it denounces free time and relaxation as lazy, or worse, the fare of “losers.”
Regardless, no matter the level of esteem or disillusionment one holds to our current paradigm of American success, a nation as fast-paced as ours can’t help but call for some spoofing, some autodidactic, comedic recalibration. And this, in a nutshell, is the mission, executed with brilliant sharpness, of The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today, a book by the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The entire anatomy of this book is devoted to making fun of people, and making fun of America, one part I particularly liked being their explanation of the “Four-Hour” duration, which is that, as they put it, “Everybody’s got four hours, but no one wants to do something that will take their whole lifetime,” or something like that. I think this is perfectly telling of the phenomenon of giving oneself over to TV shows, for which there are now I think close to 1,000 channels, and letting a void of focus or objective be filled with any pulp of message, any talking head, preferably not a serious one.
And serious this book isn’t, though angry it is, for which reason the average American should have no problem emotionally identifying with it, and I think this is because kindness can be construed as weakness in our country in innumerable ways, the book’s crux of genius lying in its ability to avoid even ever manifesting any claim whatsoever.