Monday, February 20, 2023

Presidents' Day Polemic.

As someone who since 1980 has made a living at the typewriter and further was born into the advertising industry, I think I might have attained, through all those years, a bit of perspective. Whatever perspective I've gained is further enhanced by my current distance from the industry.

Since I was booted out by Mark Read's sized-four children's feet for harkening back to the 80s--a dog whistle for ageism and for being too expensive--I've stayed in the industry, but have migrated from it. 

I don't know if this makes sense from the point-of-view of astrophysics. I've escaped the orbital path I was on, circling the fat-assed profiteers of the holding company Ponzitocracy, but I am still obeisant to the gravitational pull of the industry. I float out there above the industry, but my spacewalk into career freedom, or what passes for freedom in a country where healthcare is not a right, is not an untethered one.

In short, I am out of the industry, but still somehow into it. I'm like the rare drug-pusher who operates outside of the razor's edge of a street gang. I can still be shivved at any moment and lay dead in a gutter the next.

For about six months now, since the specter of inflation started scaring the Depends off of so many billions of people around the world, that giant sucking sound we've all heard is clients cutting back on spending, jobs becoming scarce and the treacherous livelihoods of thousands of freelancers becoming even more nerve-wracking.

We are living, to coin a phrase, in a time of panic. If I were a historian or an economic historian or a public intellectual, as I wish I were, I would likely call our past decade The Panic Years.

The autocratic and reality-denying right is panicked because they perceive the "Old Order," as being mere seconds away from its ultimate demise. The hysteria of the left and the elites sees new technologies as an irreversible destruction of humanity and human worth. No matter where you sit on the ideological continuum, virtually everyone is scared shitless.

This is not unnatural if you look at world history. Pandemics, global economic meltdown, global wars and climate change have, throughout history, left virtually the entire planet feeling like ants on a picnic blanket that someone decides to shake out to get rid of the crumbs. Like Martin Heidegger philosophized so many decades ago, we are all thrown through life, and as the Doors continued, "like a dog without a bone."

Well, fuck-a-duck.

So here's the conclusion, or better, the contusion, or still better, the confusion.

Whether you're a freelancer, as most of my friends seem to be nowadays, or you're running or working in an agency, don't succumb to the prevailing panic. The aggregate of all the panic in the world will not miss your small additional soupcon of terror.

In other words, when they say 'be quiet,' be noisy. When they say 'sit down,' stand up. When they say, 'you can't,' can your ass off. Be like a sea turtle laying eggs on an ancestral beach. Don't let time or tide or humankind slow your inexorable movement. As the great American philosopher Curtis Mayfield rocked: Keep on keeping on.

And maybe take ten minutes to memorize and write on an index card the words of one of America's greatest and most-prolific writers, Langston Hughes in his poem "Motto":

I play it cool
I dig all jive.
That's the reason
I stay alive.

My motto
As I live and learn,

Dig And Be Dug
In Return.


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