Reflections on our inner Bush: Corporate monkeys in our national House Of Mirrors.
By Phil Rockstroh
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Sep 27, 2006, 00:37
�On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the
land will reach their hearts� desire at last, and the White House will be
adorned by a downright moron.'' -- H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Sun, 1920
As Americans waddled into the new century, overweight, overworked, and
as self-aware as a cloister of sea slugs -- so too arrived, affecting his
bandy-legged, fake cowboy swagger, George W. Bush, to usher in this era of
unquenchable, consumer craving and perpetual, martial emergency.
Currently, we watch as Bush vacillates between chest-puffing
belligerence and jaw-gyrating fecklessness. Due to his hapless response to
overwhelming events, some commentators have made comparisons to Jimmy Carter.
Not true: Carter, as beset by tumult and contretemps as his administration was
during the late 1970s, never resembled, as Bush does, a tweaked-out methhead in
the throes of a full-blown methamphetamine-induced psychosis.
There is little mystery as to why Bush is now beating a war drum, in
time to that all-too-familiar election time, Rovian rag. Bush�s handlers are
desperate: Recent polls have revealed that suburban males, Republican women,
Southerners, and even Christian fundamentalists are starting to have misgivings
about Bush. Why? One would guess: Since Bush has proven himself incapable of
changing Iraqi blood into cheap, ever-available oil, this has caused, for a
portion of his base, the sheen of beatitude to come off Jesus' earthly
The aura of despair leveling upon the country is undeniable . . . Not
that there was a great deal of peace of mind previously here in The United
States of Distractions. The act of being in perpetual flight from reality
requires a great amount of energy; it's quite a workout pushing down dread.
We�ve been faking it for a while now. Over the years, our relentless selling of
ourselves to the world became about as genuine as Bush's forced smile when he's
in the presence of cameras or African Americans.
Baffled, mortified, by what we�ve witnessed during these Bush-afflicted
years, we ask ourselves: How did this come to be?
We may be unable to answer this question -- because we cannot lay all the
blame upon Bush. Our nation�s aura of insularity and hysteria was present long
before Bush. Bush is merely emblematic of the depth of our collective denial
regarding how cheaply we have sold ourselves to the exploitive corporate order
and the concomitant unease engendered by this Faustian bargain.
Although many of his former supporters may be growing weary of him, one
is cautioned not to mistake these developments for any sort of vast, societal
awakening. Bush�s steady decline in popular support is merely the result of
Americans, on a personal level, beginning to feel the effects of his
administration�s mixture of ruthlessness and incompetence.
But this fact alone will not effect change. One does not exactly have to
be graced with extraordinary powers of perception to notice that Bush is a
fraud. What is more difficult to apprehend is this: The emergence of Bush is
not an anomaly. Bush is merely a symptom of the pathologies of corporate
capitalism. He is not the disease.
Bush was packaged like any other corporate icon; accordingly, the war in
Iraq was sold in the manner of any other corporate PR campaign. Bush is simply
a product, designed by and marketed for the benefit of the elites of the
Bush�s manufactured image is a hack's construct of mythic American
manhood: He was sold as an uncomplicated man of action -- a Christian cowboy
redeemer -- a man who could kill evildoers at 50 paces . . . Just from a single
whiff of his manly phenomenal musk -- our enemies would flee back to their caves
and cower in abject terror . . . Although events have shown, to appropriate an
overheated metaphor from the Christian fundie, End Time lexicon, Bush is, in
fact, closer to an Angel of Idiocy come with a Sword of Stupidity to reveal the
rot of our corporate dystopia.
The sad and tragic circumstances of our time are much larger than Bush.
Bush's grandiosity mirrors us, a people who have lost all sense of proportion.
Look around: notice how huge and grotesque the objects and accoutrements of our
age have become: colossal motor vehicles; the portions of food we crave; gaudy,
land-devouring McMansions; American consumers' enormous, sea-to-shining-sea
asses. These things are manic compensations antecedent to the crash to come.
Apropos, our SUVs, oversized pickup trucks, and Hummers are no longer large
enough to compensate for our feelings of powerlessness; our epic servings of
food no longer serve to push down the sense of dread; we cannot find enough
room in our McMansions to hide away all of our anger, sorrow, and regret.
Mojo Nixon sang, �Everybody has a little Elvis in them.� Nowadays,
regrettably, we must sing: Everybody has far too much Bush in them. Internally,
to one degree or another, we�re all George W. Bush. Bush is the corporate
state's dancing monkey -- as, to one degree or another, we all are. The
corporate state necessitates that we become, like Bush, all puffed up phonies,
in order to face a daily life ruled by its mandates -- as well as -- to
compensate for our inner emptiness, borne of our internalization of it.
If we choose to face our inner Bush, our habitual verities and sacred
beliefs risk being shattered and scattered asunder. Because the situation is
larger than us and it�s larger than Bush, Bush is merely a reflection of it
all. Ergo: to listen to the mangled syntax of Bush�s speech patterns is to hear
the sound of the national infrastructure crack and buckle; his booze and
cocaine decimated brain cells mirror the earth's diminishing bio-diversity; his
snits of entitlement and his ruthlessness echo the entropic forces of global
capitalism that are driving the engines of extinction.
There is a feeling of flimsiness and haphazardness present in our daily
lives here in the empire. Even the landscape before us has been inflicted with
an ugly, ad hoc quality. The structures of our age evince a lack of substance.
The shoddy, quick buck-snatching stripmall/big box store/fast food outlet,
prefab nowhereland of the present day United States is reflective of our
shoddy, quick buck-snatching leaders, who are, in turn, a reflection of us. We
have come to dwell within this Architecture of Denial; we have come to call
this House of Distorted Mirrors, our way of life.
As, all the while, the parallel narratives of compulsive consumerism and
Christian End Time Mythology surround us.
Contemporary Christian fundamentalism is a religion of consumer instant
gratification. It is a religious cosmology resonating from a junk food
paradigm: a Gospel of The Drive Thru Jesus; when The Rapture comes, our
corporeal bodies will be cast aside like fast food wrappers.
But be warned, by your eating of all that high caloric food, all of you
Jesus-hungry Lard Asses of The Lord, if your clothes were to fall from you (as
your prophecies claim they will) as you rise skyward, the sight of all your
fat, sagging bodies, floating in the air, will resemble anything but the
dawning of eternal paradise -- instead the event will more likely resemble an
endless tape loop of a porno video for fat fetishists shot in a zero gravity
On the secular side of our sickness: Big Pharma factories and rural
crystal meth labs can't manufacture enough product to prevent this sinking
spell. Soon, even the ruling elites will begin to buckle beneath the weight of
their self-deception. We the laboring classes already know the feeling, due to
the fact, we�ve been carrying those bloated bastards, plus their delusions of
infinite entitlement, on our backs for quite some time now. We strain beneath
the load, because the plutocrats have grown very fat gorging themselves on the
nation's seed crop.
Bush is nothing more than the effluvia, rising from the landfills of the
Corporate State. He's the abiding stench of what we buried and tried to pretend
Corporate culture is based on mendacity made palatable for mass
consumption: Public relation and advertising firms exist to create cute,
cartoon animal icons to mask the realities of the slaughterhouse. In corporate
life, there is scant reward for depth and authenticity; conversely, an amicable
ruthlessness pays off well indeed.
Corporate �reality� is all about �perception management". Hence, a
corporate, utterly commodified, life usurps, exploits and diminishes not only
the outer environment -- but our internal ones as well. How could one not play
off the other and visa versa? How can one spend all day in a so-called
"work environment," spending a large percentage of one's life beneath
florescent lights, with sweatshop-cobbled shoes touching industrial carpeting,
and bodies supported by bland, utilitarian office furniture -- then return, by
way of a hideous, dangerous freeway, home to some ugly suburb or exurb -- all
the while having one's senses incessantly inundated with commercial imagery
calculated to manipulate -- hypnotize one, actually -- into a particular way of
viewing the world, and not become subject to the sort of psychic pathology that
is pandemic among the populace of the empire?
Living such criteria, day by day, how could we not have conjured Bush
and company? Bush is only a byproduct of the present corporate order; he is but
a reflection of the everyday hubris, denial, mendacity, and exploitation of
daily life in the corporatist state. He is emblematic of the House of Mirrors
that our nation�s collective psyche has become -- a mass of distorted
perceptions sustained by professional liars and ignorant killers.
Bush is our hidden intentions made manifest before us: We live in an
empire bent on murder/suicide; our nation has become a global-wide spree killer
. . . unrepentant . . . seemly devoid of conscience.
Then what hope remains for us, here, in this age, where self-serving
lies promulgated by public relations hacks have hijacked the verities of the
human mind, heart, and imagination, as all the while, so many genuine voices of
humanity have been lost amid this seemly endless bacchanal of bullshit and
That is up to us: Personally and collectively, our fate might well be
determined by how honest we�re willing to be with ourselves. After all, by way
of our passivity, we�re at least partially responsible for letting a million
Rovian Turd Blossoms bloom. We have summoned Bush by the incantation of our
hidden intentions; perhaps, if we were to awaken to the George W. Bush
concealed within, we might understand our own collaboration in creating him �
and then, at long last, we can begin the process of dismissing him and all he
Rockstroh, a self-described, auto-didactic, gasbag monologist, is a poet,
lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
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