Still finding myself obsessed with a quiet secret subtle and almost constant gnawing at my insides about the unbearable sadness of how impermanent everything is. It creeps up on me throughout the day and I have to fight back the feeling of hopelessness when I start to think about how temporary everything in our lives is. Our lifetimes are short here. Our day to day experiences are memories before we even have the chance of taking each of them in. one minute we are having a good time and in the next moment it is a new day and we barely remember the events of the day before. It is a horrible and haunting understanding that sits in the back of my mind at all times.
I remind myself that it is up to me to find meaning while I am here. I try to live my life to its fullest and even then I cannot shake the deep underlying knowing that they are all just moments lived and then soon forgotten. Where is the meaning in that? Where is there meaning in anything if it is all just going to become a memory, never to exist again? Or worse even, soon not even a memory, because we tend to forget things so easily. I cannot shake the horror of it. why live at all? that’s what always comes up for me. Why are we living in the first place if each day is just going to drift on into the non-existent past?
There is absolutely no way to retrieve the past. Each day of our lives is lost to the next, and if that weren’t horrible enough, that day is also lost to the one that follows it. we are just floating inside of this thing called life. just riding in it like passengers in a stranger’s car; with very little control and even less control of how we process it or how much of it we are able to remember.
Now this does remind me of a few things. Beav’s wife and sister Lollie, two of the most mainstream good old American girls you’d ever want to meet have been scrapbooking all their lives. So they can pull out a book from just about any time in their lives and show you pictures of their former selves and their friends and family members. This is a nice attempt at salvaging our ever fleeting lives and memories. But a futile exercise. If there is ever a fire in their home or a flood or a war or any other disaster their scrapbooks will be destroyed in a heartbeat.
And worse even, in time the scrapbooks will be close to meaningless anyway. As they pass on and their children get older and then their children become older these scrapbooks will become less and less useful or important or meaningful. eventually they will be forgotten or tossed into a box or thrown away. and their lives, the lives of my two beautiful sisters in law will be entirely forgotten, like myself and my brother Beav and my mom and everyone else I know now. that’s just life. and it suffers me greatly.
I have found myself less and less interested in day to day conversations because I have come to understand how utterly pointless they are. In less than a few hours they will be forgotten. When the family gathers around the table to bs and have fun and hang out and talk and all that, I find myself obsessing on how futile and pointless it is to be there talking shit and hanging out. after all, in a few years someone will get divorced and we won’t be hanging out anymore, or someone else will die or even if that doesn’t happen, eventually we all will be dead and won’t even be a memory to anyone at all. so instead I sit and stare at everyone laughing and listen to their ultimately meaningless diatribes and wonder why we all even bother to talk to each other at all.
I remember rummaging through some boxes at the goodwill and finding these boxes of all these families belongings. Baby clothes and framed pictures of people and photo albums and trinkets. And I felt so devastated by the experience. I sat there staring at the photo albums wondering who these people were and how all of their personal belongings ended up at a goodwill store. Were they all dead now? was there a divorce and one of the parents gave away all their stuff? were the people in the framed pictures still alive? Did they know that their stuff was being rummaged through by strangers everyday and was for sale? Where are these poor souls now who framed these meaningless photographs?
I have begun to feel the same way about learning. I think about how much information and knowledge I don’t have in my brain compared to how much I have studied through the years. I would guess that I have retained about one/one-hundredth of the amount of information that I have put into my brain in the last twenty years. call it getting older or whatever, but you just reach this point where you realize that you really have studied an enormous amount. About a whole host of subjects, everything from Egyptology to physics to art history to the great religions to philosophy to literature to sail boating, and you still can’t remember most of it. the information goes in, and you then it seems to go back out. I will swear to God right now, (o.k. I know that may not hold much water, since I have already professed to not really believing in that kind of God anyway, the kind of God who would care about that type of thing,) but still, I will swear to God that I have read at least five books over the years on say Beethoven for instance, and Chopin, and Bach, and Mozart, and I wouldn’t be able to answer five questions correctly about the lives of any of these men, nor their famous works. so why fucking read and study and learn anything at all?
Lately I have been starting to realize that just about the only thing that does seem to matter is making enough money to live a great lifestyle, and finding peace inside of yourself. That’s about all I can make out of any of this so far. I am starting to think that all of my crazy and insane and voracious reading has been kind of worthless. I mean, you can’t take any of this knowledge to the grave with you. I don’t think we can take anything to the grave with us. so what is all this learning about then? why know anything about anything? Why not just work hard to make money? Just work hard to make enough money to just stay stoned or drunk all the time and be pampered like a king and then die when it’s your time to die. I think that might make a bit more sense than all of this crazy reading and learning that I have been obsessed with since I can remember. Where does it really get us in the long run or even the short run? I guess it just comes down to the moment. if you’re happy in the moment then that’s all that matters.
These horrific realizations I have written about above are made even more agonizing and unbearable by certain encounters with the inane and mundane of living in mainstream America (unless of course you are a mainstream American; then life here may entertain and console rather than depress and suffer you. I have a profound admiration for these people, for their faith, for their simple life, for their innocence.) Yesterday at the hotel I flipped through a TV Guide that they had in our room while I was using the bathroom. On the back of the cover was this rather offensive looking picture of a dolled-up air-brushed pseudo-anchorman trying his best to look smart and cool, kind of like he secretly thinks he is a movie star rather than a newsman; the headline next to his cheesy half-grin read “THIS NEW YEARS EVE ANDERSON COOPER LIVE FROM TIMES SQUARE. LIVE COVERAGE BEGINS AT 11:00 PM.” As if that were news. New years eve at times square where thousands of people stand in the freezing cold for hours just to watch some man-made ball of lights drop from the top of a building for a few seconds is now news to this supposed news channel. And worse yet, this guy has two last names as his whole name. This is just a totally unlikable situation.
The idea alone is nauseating enough if you are someone who likes a little more meaning and authenticity to your holidays, but hey this is America and it’s a free country and we should be allowed to do whatever we want to. that’s a groovy thing. But to send one of your top anchormen out there to report on it like its news…. my fucking God… dig what I’m saying here.
I just recently learned that a lot of our food now in America is being sprayed/dosed/shot with a few dozen poisonous radioactive chemicals in a process they call “irradiation” and that a lot of other food in American grocery stores is being genetically altered for various reasons – they call the process GM food, genetically modified. I had heard about both of these processes years ago but I didn’t know that we actually started doing it. did you? here’s the fucking clincher: the food that is sprayed with radiation AND the food that is being genetically modified is NOT LABELED for us. This isn’t just happening to fruits and vegetables and meats. Its happening to all foods in the grocery stores all over America. In boxes and cans and frozen foods and no one knows it because they don’t have to label the foods.
Now I trust that most people who are crazy and cool and smart enough to read me know about this shit already but in a nutshell this means that they can take genes from a chicken and mix them in with the genes of a tomato if they think it may make the tomato bigger or last longer and then when someone goes to eat a tomato, even if they are a vegetarian, they are now eating some genetic material from a chicken. Its fucking insane and heinous and evil and you cannot get away from it no matter what here in America. Only if you buy all organic food. That’s they only way to avoid it… this is fucking horrible.
And if that weren’t bad enough, that same tomato may have also been sprayed with radiation! And we the people who are buying the food – that means you and me – don’t know about it. in America there are no laws or guidelines that say that the manufacturers of food nor the grocery stores that sell us our food have to label the food that has been treated in these scary dangerous poisonous manners. the implications to how badly this could affect our health are enormous but no one says a fucking word and the people don’t even know about it. we never voted on it. its just something that our congressmen slipped by us because they actually get paid by the food manufacturers to do so. I’m not making this up and I’m not trying to be an alarmist. This is just how it works in America. They do whatever they want to at the expense of the people in order to get money for their campaigns and then if all hell breaks loose later and people start getting sick and having babies with three legs and all that, then they claim ignorance and say that they didn’t know and chances are they will blame the food makers and the grocery stores and make them pay a shitload of money to the poor families, as if that is going to make them feel any better.
It’s a twisted system we have set up here still in America with our elected officials. Most of them I will add. There are some congressmen who have been vehemently opposed to genetically modified and irradiated food not being labeled, but they have been unsuccessful in trying to help us because the payoffs (they call it LOBBYING in our government, not payoffs, but by all accounts, it is legal bribes they take in order to help themselves while fucking all of us up the ass. this equals “payoffs.”) Now of course in Europe they do have laws that protect them from this kind of insanity and if you’re buying genetically modified oranges or peanuts sprayed with cancer causing radiation you will know it because it will be marked right on the label. I would guess that’s because the Europeans have countries that are much older that ours is. They have already learned their lessons a few hundred times over. They’ve learned their lessons. They know their governments are greedy fuckhead bastards out to get as much as they can for themselves and could care less about serving the people. that’s why we sit in history class here in the states and learn about all of their various revolutions that they’ve had over the centuries.
In Europe they could never get away with allowing an entire population to eat food sprayed with radiation and not even know it. the people would go fucking nuts and storm the government buildings and cut off the fucking heads of their prime ministers or other government officials, as they have done in times past. Here in America we’ve been eating this shit for like five years now I just found out and we haven’t even known about it. And everyone is walking around wondering why diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and diabetes are on the rise in our country even though we are supposedly the most advanced country in the world. everyday on the news we see the puppet heads talk about these new diseases being on the rise in our country and all the new drugs that scientists are coming up with, but no one is talking about all this new shit they are secretly doing to the food behind our backs.
O.k. so what does this have to do with Anderson cooper and CNN spending a few hours in front of thousands of people watching some stupid man-made ball of lights sit on top of a building and trying to pretend that that’s news? well I’m glad you asked. Not that I have to make the connection for you, for I’m sure that I don’t by now, but shouldn’t the news fucks be spending that hour reporting news? like real news? Like reporting on the fact that our government has allowed our food manufactures to start spraying our food with radiation? And shouldn’t they be doing that everyday until a real change is made so we don’t have to eat fucked up food and not even know it? I mean, what the fuck is this idiot doing getting paid to stand in the freezing cold watching a bunch of people get drunk and stare at a ball when he should be on TV telling us about what’s happening to our food? When he should be in a lab interviewing scientists and doctors about the dangers of irradiated food? When he should be at the capital trying to get our congressmen to explain how the fuck they let this shit slide behind our backs and without us even being allowed to vote on it. that’s what he should be reporting on… now that’s news. and its kind of fucking obvious unless you are a fucking moron.
But instead we get three hours of fake news reports on new years eve in New York. As if that is news? as if that is newsworthy? Isn’t there anything else they cold be reporting on? Is there nothing left of our lives than the flashiest and the glitziest? Is there nothing left to our lives than the event or the product that pays the most for advertising time? Being in the business you learn over the years what makes news. you learn that what we see in the media is not necessarily the most newsworthy but the most paid for. it is called publicity. The entities that often make the news are called publicists. [for the record, our band has a publicist by the way. we just can’t pay the big dollars for the big publicists yet so that is why we are not front page news. give me a few hundred thousand dollars and I’ll be the fucking poster boy for genetically modified food. People can watch me degenerate and die right in front of their eyes on live TV from eating too many irradiated avocados and I’ll be a happy camper if they’re paying me enough.]
The products and the companies and the people who are willing and able to pay the most to these publicists acquire the most space and time in the media and therefore the most attention from the masses. that means you and me. the reason we are bombarded and besieged everyday by pictures and irrelevant babble underneath their smarmy photos about Britney and Paris and the Donald is not because they are newsworthy but because they are paying millions of dollars to their publicists every month to be newsworthy. The media doesn’t seem to notice the overwhelming amount of non-news they shove down the throats of the innocents. They are just doing their job. When we open up our msn messenger and read “Is Britney pregnant?” it is not because anyone cares. We didn’t ask to be informed of this. It is because the media is doing their job of being paid to report whatever the publicists tell them to run that day. the public then thinks that they should care. And then in the grocery store or in the line at Starbucks, Britney’s name might come up and someone might say, ‘I heard she is pregnant.’ And someone else might say, ‘oh yeah. I heard that too.’ and that is news. and in the meantime no one even knows her music or owns any of her albums. But they know her face and her name and they think that is newsworthy because the media tells them that it is.
All around us there is real news happening. Each of us throughout our days hears about real news happening right in our own backyards. And yet we see very little of it in the national media. I have always found it fascinating that the likes of a George w bush or any other elected official can get away with all the horrible things they do at the expense of the people they serve and no one knows anything about it. But everyone knows that Justin is dating Cameron. We all hear about the dangers and the threat to personal liberty and freedom that the ‘patriot act’ is to all of us here in America, and yet none of us knows what those dangers are because the media never talks about it. I admit that I don’t even know. I just hear the whisperings here and there. But we all know what ‘bootylicious’ means. And we all know that Paris Hilton started her own jewelry line. and we all know that brad and Jen might be on the rocks. Even I know that. and that is sad. Do I care? Does anyone care? Should we care? Do we have a choice at this point? It certainly isn’t important to anyone except brad and Jen God love them but we hear about it anyway.
Don’t know if I already penned this thought in a prior entry but CNN has started to use the catchphrase ‘the most trusted name in news.’ if they were the most trusted name in news wouldn’t they be using the catchphrase ‘we want to be the most trusted name in news?’ I mean, there’s no way to qualify such a statement is there? so if you do want to be trusted you wouldn’t ever say it would you? I wouldn’t trust anyone who claimed that they could be trusted. Your actions would speak much louder than your self aggrandizing declarations. Same thing with fox news whose catchphrase is ‘fair and balanced.’ Even an alien coming from another planet could catch a few minutes of their non-news and see that there is nothing fair and balanced about it. and just by the nature of them having to declare it is a red flag to anyone except a few gullible middle-state Americans. What gets me is how the hell we ended up in this mess in the first place. how the hell did we allow supposed ‘news’ shows to report the supposed news so one sided and opinionated and self serving that it isn’t even news anymore? When did this tragic betrayal ever start? And why do we continue to allow it?
Reminds me of Michael Jackson proclaiming himself the king of pop. You don’t have to tell the world you are the ‘anything of anything.’ We’ll let you know. Bruce isn’t the boss because he declared himself so. He just is. the purple one isn’t the baddest mofo in show business because he declared it. He just is. Because of his singing and dancing and songwriting and performing. But maybe we’re missing the point. I mean, kings aren’t elected are they? They are self proclaimed. For better or worse. They show up one day and declare I am king. And the people just try to keep going on with their lives. I’ve never liked the idea of kings and I thank God for the day that we started ousting them out of power. I think its high time that we started doing the same thing with our news. we need to take it back. our souls are thirsting for things real and substantial and meaningful. I hear it everyday from everyone around me. and if you are reading this, then chances are you are one of the many who have felt the same thing and probably said it to one of your friends or coworkers.
There is meaning to our lives. There is no doubt about it. regardless of what the media tries to tell us. There is meaning and substance in the world. We can feel it. We experience it everyday. But we need to start demanding that we are told about it. it isn’t going to come from a Barbara Walters special or a fox news flash or from a CNN special report that’s for sure. We are going to have to start looking for it ourselves I’m afraid. Going deeper on our own and sharing what we learn with one another on a grass-roots level. Because the mainstream news is just not doing it here in America anymore. My brother’s wife asked me once why I was so cynical. And I just looked at her with this understanding look on my face. I had noticed in the bathtub the day before that she uses this product to wash her new baby called “babysoft babywash” by Johnson’s. and inside of this bottle of poison are seventeen different manmade chemicals. Preservatives, artificial colors, alcohol and a bunch of other shit I would never put on my own body. chemicals known to be poisonous to the human body. I’m thinking why the fuck isn’t she just using a good homemade Vermont soap? Something pure and natural? Why all these chemicals? And the reason is that she doesn’t know any better. She thinks that because this product is available in her local grocery store and advertised in her favorite women’s magazines that it must be safe. And why shouldn’t she? When the news media is not saying shit about it because they are receiving millions of dollars a year from letting these companies advertise their products. so instead my poor sister in law knows all about the new Jude law movie, but she doesn’t know shit about what to wash her baby with or that she’s feeding her whole family poison food sprayed with radiation. So is there a reason why certain people are cynical? Hell yeah. And the truth be told I’m waiting for a lot more people to become cynical. And angry. And pissed off. And I’m hoping that one day we are going to do something about it.