My latest posting on Clusterfuck Nation:
"I would like to know the precise date when the citizens of the western nations (particularly the US and Canada) suddenly became okay with the moniker 'consumers' and the concept of deserved entitlement and something for nothing became our belief systems. Everything is really screwed up, folks.
I just came back from a spending a week with my Winter Texan parents in in the Rio Grande Valley. To my dismay, I had never seen a region of the continent more tuned to the easy-driving lifestyle and the Wal-Martification of our institutions moreso than here. I had to walk everyday from my parent's trailer park to the gym (only about a 10 minute walk) and do my daily runs against throngs of traffic on main thoroughfares since there are no sidewalks. I don't even think there was a transit system to speak of. Since so many people are poor in that region (other than the retirees there), Wal-Mart and flea markets are booming. It's like bpert said - it's almost like people have to go to the Wal-Mart Super Center DAILY to buy something simply for the sake of buying. It doesn't really matter what it is. This is testament to the fact that the flea markets there attract thousands of people to junk and more junk simply because it's available and cheap. Oh, and of course, it doesn't matter how poor you are there, as long as you have a pimped up car to drive around, you're doing okay and living the dream, right?
Even the streets of small cities like McAllen and Harlingen are choked with traffic throughout the day and the main thoroughfares are lined with endless car dealerships and used car lots. And don't forget the Burger Kings and Whattaburgers. They're everywhere. The cities all morph from one into the next, and there is absolutely nothing unique to distinguish one from the other. But apparently this is all normal and everyone is okay with that.
While I was there, lazing by the pool in the trailer park compound, I worked through two books, "Twilight in the Desert" by Matthew Simmons, and "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris. Not light poolside reading, but my outrage is now at the boiling point to the obviousness of our predicaments and the utter blind-eye our entire society has towards all of these problems. The issues would outrage any sentient citizen (I'm not a freakin' consumer, dammit!). It almost seems as if a perfect storm of dozens of society-altering issues is brewing, all to rear their ugly heads all at the same time.
At any rate, I highly recommend reading those two books for a wakeup call (although I suspect most of the people here already have read them). I'm really getting freaked out, folks. Things are getting stinky and brown and getting ever closer to the fan blades.
More and more books are coming out foreseeing more and more problems. The environmentalists are saying it's far too late to save anything anyways (ie. species diversity, ice caps, water supplies, etc.), including James Lovelock. The demographers are saying the baby boomer retirement sweep is going to knock us on our collective asses economically anyways. Yeesh.
Well, I'm off to cast my vote in the Canadian national election. Looks like we're going to have a change in power and move to the right again. I'm voting Green nevertheless. Goodbye Kyoto, goodbye social freedoms. The Conservatives are going to knock everything progressive and enlightening here back a few(!) decades or more. Might as well have our politics lined up with American ideologies while we witness the death throes of the easy-driving, consuming credit-madness lifestyle.
Jeez, it was a great party, wasn't it? Too bad this hangover hurts like hell."