Tuesday, May 10, 2011

who was osama bin laden anyway?

Kunstler | This is a nervous country. I'm not sure that hanging Osama Bin Laden on the White House wall like a coonskin really helps that much. Already, a familiar darkness sets back in, a loss of purpose of the kind that Lindsay Lohan must feel when she gets out of rehab. This is exactly the situation that empty rhetoric was designed for, so we got a week of talk about "bringing our nation together" when the truth is that Fox News would like to send Team Six into the oval office with guns blazing and helmet cams on "record."

We have no idea what we're going to do as a people and absolutely no credible thought on this emanates from the upper echelons. Leadership is more than telling people what they want to hear. In the middle ranks of society, a sullen docility rules, no matter how many affronts to reality we witness. You ride this wreck until the wheels come off and think of what to do next when you're sitting in the drainage ditch by the side of the road. There's no period in US history that matches this for lassitude.

I saw teenagers here and there along the way, wherever a convenience store exerted its magnetic pull of sweet and salty snacks, the boys all wearing black outfits, those dumb-looking calf-length baby pants, and death-metal T-shirts. This must be the longest period of history for a particular teen fashion - going on two decades now? When even teenagers lack the enterprise to think up a new look (that is, to make a fresh statement about who they are), you know you're in a moribund society. I saw some young adults, too. You could tell more or less because they had young women and babies with them, and they were stopping for gas or groceries (if you call a sack full of Froot Loops, jerky, Mountain Dew, and Pringles "groceries"). Their costume innovation du jour is the cholo hat, a super-deluxe edition of a baseball cap with special embroidered emblems and a completely flat brim -presenting a look of equal parts idiocy and homicidal danger. The day was warm enough for "wife-beater" shirts, all the better for displaying tattoos, which are now universal among a working class that has no work and no expectation of work, ever. I tried to think of them as the descendants of men who had marched off to Cold Harbor, Virginia, and those who built the great engine that the American economy once was - but it was no go.