Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Panacea, but for what?

"Lies, negative indoctrination about themselves
Promote feelings of such hopelessness and powerlessness
That suicide or the slower death of addiction
Seem to be the only way to stop the pain."

from Revolution by Tool / Rage Against the Machine

I can only assume from the snippets I've seen that the entirety of western or at least American mass-media has been tripping over itself over the past week and more to associate itself with the free publicity of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death. I'm not particularly interested in the death itself - Hoffman was an excellent actor, and nothing more, to me - but the media treatment of the affair brings up once again the issue of scapegoating.

In times of crisis, humans pull together. This is much more sinister than it sounds, because societies pull together by re-affirming their normalized internal identity in ritualized opposition to a fringe or external element. Victimization of the nominal other keeps the nominal "us" glued together. When faced with stress and especially morbidity, human societies prune away their deviance.
Thus even while decrying a pop-culture figure's death as a "tragedy" the public zeroes in on the juicy, scandalous otherness of the man himself, both as a means of exculpating themselves and, to make assurance double sure, declaring a villain outside themselves. He was, the moral majority gloats, one of those decadent artsy effeminates, not a real person. He was a mental patient. He had "substance abuse problems" the yokels belch in between bottles of beer. He did heroin, Heroin, didja hear, not Prozac, Ritalin and Oxycodone like us quiet, normal, productive folks. Guy must've been a freak, he must've been abnormal, and that, that is of course the most lethal drug of all. Abnormality kills.

Well yes, he was abnormal. He was superior. And what you must ask yourselves is why so many of those even you, the average schlub, is forced to tacitly concede are your intellectual superiors, would rather lose themselves in final solutions than keep living in your world. Yes, your world, that unevolved hive of apes, that world still drumming the timeless beat of competition for reproductive potential, of masculinity and femininity, glorification of the elders and endless backbiting for a shred of power over each other, your endless braying of your cultural "values" of sheepish, aimless complacency mixed with bloodthirsty, zero-sum competition, your sheer stupidity.

You hound your betters into the grave. You know what this reminds me of? Fifteen years ago, two teenagers from Colorado who had been beaten and pissed on their entire lives decided to end their miserable existences in one last act of defiance, to give you back some of your vicious petty vandalism. Some thousand miles away, I began to be pulled out of my high-school classes to be harrassed by the school's counselor for being a loner. The problem was not that the school was the playground of overentitled brainless jocks, but that I, a nerd who used to give teachers lessons, was not "integrating" myself, not accepting my role as victim and sycophant to the endless mental midgets around me. I wonder how many kids will be getting pulled out of class now because they're too expressive or too articulate, how many will be expelled for getting caught smoking a joint to ease the pain in their joints from having had some brainless hockey star sit on them and slap them around while the gym teacher cheered. How many future actors will be getting punished for easing the pain of a punishing world while the basketball team knocks back a few beers behind the local bar?

The truth is that your world, the human world, is not worth living in. Your reality is painful and boring. Losing oneself in a high, in a low, in escapism, even at the risk of the end of all things, is preferable to you. I don't care why exactly Hoffman died. I barely watched a handful of the guy's movies. I am however forced to point out that your reaction, the reaction which solves nothing and is meant to solve nothing because you yourselves are the problem, is always the same. Ostracize those diseased fringe elements, medicate them into submission, lock them in padded rooms. Burn the witch.

Let's get this straight. If I get depressed, it's because yours is a depressing world. I don't need Prozac. I need an ivory tower or a gun with a single bullet.

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