You are currently browsing the daily archive for June 15, 2016.

consumerism     Our society is being influenced negatively by the consumerist culture that we, collectively, have taken our hands off the tiller and have let the market decide what is best for us and our cultures.

The idea that we can consume our way to happiness, well-being, or even a more just society would not compute without people being constantly conditioned to believe that individuality is end-goal of life.  The power of community and people working together has been the dynamo that has pushed our societies forward for the benefit of everyone (well except for the status-quo) and it is this power that has been waning since corporate capitalism has kicked into high gear under the guise of neo-liberalism.  Neo-liberalism undermines community, collective action, and critical thought it is a stupefying tonic – that when served to the masses – creates a calm disquiet that grinds societies away, but in return keeps people isolated, fixated on themselves, and most importantly: manageable.

This piece by Nick Turse is a preface for a America’s disconnect between its citizenry and the army said citizenry supports.  The dissonance is palatable as one reads the article.  What should concern you is that the disconnect described has been carefully and intentionally cultivated.  A feature of our current system, and most certainly not a bug .

“I can’t tell you exactly why I clicked on the article, but it was probably the title: “The Double-Tap Couple.” To me, a “double tap” is the technique of firing two gunshots in quick succession or employing two strikes in a row, as when U.S. drones or Hamas carry out attacks and then follow-up strikes to kill first-responders arriving at the scene. But this piece was about something very different. The headline referred to the popular app Instagram where you double-tap to “like” a photo.

The article turned out to be a profile of two twenty-somethings, a married couple who go by the noms de social media, FuckJerry and Beige Cardigan. They are, says author David Yi, “micro-celebrities” of the modern age. He is “tall, with a chiseled face, handsome”; she “has big doe eyes with cherub-like cheeks.” They dropped out of college and — first he and then she — became Instagram meme curators; that is, they find photos with wry or funny captions elsewhere on the internet and post them for their millions of followers. “Though both are social media sensations, neither is quite content with what they’ve accomplished,” Yi tells us. She “wants to pursue her first love, fashion, but isn’t quite sure what she’d want to do.” He’s currently cashing in with FuckJerry merchandise — hats, t-shirts, even “Vape juice.”

I read the article to the point at which FuckJerry (née Elliot Tebele) told Yi about his long slog up the Instagram follower food-chain: “It took a shit ton of time to get to, and it took a long time with a lot of work.”  I stared at my phone in abject confusion.  Something wasn’t right, so I scrolled to the beginning of the article and started again.  But it was just the same.  Justin Bieber is a fan.  Followers include the “Kardashian-Jenner family.”  He wears “skinny jeans and vintage Nikes.”  She sports a “statement coat and a pair of sparkling Chloe boots.”  Then I hit that quote: “shit ton of time… a lot of work.” I still couldn’t make sense of it and began studying the article as if it were a riddle. I read it maybe five times and again and again when I hit those phrases about time and work my brain would buckle. 

At that moment, I was nearing the end of a month-long reporting stint in South Sudan and waiting to find out if I’d be able to talk to a teenage girl, a late millennial with more than memes on her mind.  She had rebuffed the 60-something man her family had arranged for her to marry and her relatives had displayed their displeasure by beating her to the point of unconsciousness.  That conversation never happened, but I’d already logged several weeks’ worth of interviews with shooting survivors, rape victims,  mothers of murdered sons, wives of dead husbands.  All this in a country where, for firewood and water — that is, the means of life — women walk desperately far distances in areas where they know that men with AK-47s may be lurking, where many are assaulted and violated by one, two, or even five men.  In other words, a land where few would consider meme curation to be “a lot of work.”

I’d obviously hit that unsettling juncture where voices from home become dulled and distorted, where you feel like you’re hearing them from deep underwater.  I’m talking about the vanishing point at which your first-world life collides with your crisis-zone reality — the point of disconnect.  Mark Wilkerson knows it well.  He found himself in just such a state, serving with the U.S. Army in civil-war-torn Somalia during the 1990s.  That’s where he begins his inaugural TomDispatch piece, a rumination on his journey from soldier to veteran to chronicler of the all-too-brief life of another veteran, in his recent and moving book, Tomas Young’s War.

I eventually gave up on Yi’s article, unsure why I couldn’t understand the life and times of FuckJerry.  After I got back to the U.S., however, I signed up for Instagram and took a look at his account and Yi’s story began to make more sense to me, if only in a tragi-comic way.  Later in the piece, he writes of his subjects being “caught in the maelstrom” when a competitor is criticized for “stealing” memes.  It’s a strange society that produces both meme maelstroms and, in distant lands, lethal ones that leave millions dead, maimed, desperate, or displaced.  So before you become FuckJerry’s 9,200,001st follower, let Wilkerson guide you through slivers of two American conflicts, their aftermaths, and the points of disconnect along the way.” 

Nick Turse’s Preface to Batman in a Hospital Bed by Mark Wilkerson @Tom’s Dispatch

     The disconnection that Turse illustrates resonates with me enough though to make it the focus of my article, however Wilkerson’s article is also very good, so I recommend following the link.

This Blog best viewed with Ad-Block and Firefox!

What is ad block? It is an application that, at your discretion blocks out advertising so you can browse the internet for content as opposed to ads. If you do not have it, get it here so you can enjoy my blog without the insidious advertising.

Like Privacy?

Change your Browser to Duck Duck Go.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,025 other followers

Progressive Bloggers

Categories

Archives

Blogs I Follow

The DWR Community

silverapplequeen

herstory. poetry. recipes. rants.

Paul S. Graham

Communications, politics, peace and justice

Debbie Hayton

Transgender Teacher and Journalist

Whirlwind of Scrap Paper - A Blog

Wittering about books and current affairs. Posting Wednesday and Friday.

shakemyheadhollow

Conceptual spaces: politics, philosophy, art, literature, religion, cultural history

Our Better Natures

Loving, Growing, Being

Thesseli

A topnotch WordPress.com site

I Won't Take It

Life After an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

VictimFocus Blog

Exploring best practice and research in sexual violence. A loud voice in the fight against victim blaming. Written and Managed by Psychologist and Best Selling Author Dr Jessica Taylor

Unpolished XX

No product, no face paint. I am enough.

Volunteer petunia

Observations and analysis on survival, love and struggle

femlab

the feminist exhibition space at the university of alberta

Raising Orlando

About gender, identity, parenting and containing multitudes

REAL for women

Reflecting Equality in Australian Legislation for women

The Feminist Kitanu

Spreading the dangerous disease of radical feminism

Double Plus Good

The Evolution Will Not BeTelevised

la scapigliata

writer, doctor, wearer of many hats

Teach The Change

Teaching Artist/ Progressive Educator

Female Personhood

Identifying as female since the dawn of time.

Radfem Resources | Radical Feminist Literature

A virtual library for those interested in radical feminist literature and resources.

Not The News in Briefs

A blog by Helen Saxby

SOLIDARITY WITH HELEN STEEL

A blog in support of Helen Steel

thenationalsentinel.wordpress.com/

Where media credibility has been reborn.

BigBooButch

Memoirs of a Butch Lesbian

RadFemSpiraling

Radical Feminism Discourse

a sledge and crowbar

deconstructing identity and culture

The Radical Pen

Fighting For Female Liberation from Patriarchy

Emma

Politics, things that make you think, and recreational breaks

Easilyriled's Blog

cranky. joyful. radical. funny. feminist.

Nordic Model Now!

Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution

The WordPress C(h)ronicle

These are the best links shared by people working with WordPress

HANDS ACROSS THE AISLE

Gender is the Problem, Not the Solution

fmnst

Peak Trans and other feminist topics

There Are So Many Things Wrong With This

if you don't like the news, make some of your own

Gentle Curiosity

Musing over important things. More questions than answers.

violetwisp

short commentaries, pretty pictures and strong opinions

Revive the Second Wave

gender-critical sex-negative intersectional radical feminism

Trans Animal Farm

The Trans Trend is Orwellian

%d bloggers like this: