From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/05/17-6
Where does one find succor and seeds of renewal in times such as these?
“Everything that everyone is afraid of has already happened: The fragility of capitalism, which we don’t want to admit; the loss of the empire of the United States; and American exceptionalism. In fact, American exceptionalism is that we are exceptionally backward in about fifteen different categories, from education to infrastructure. But we’re in a stage of denial: we want to re-establish things as they used to be, to put the country back where it was.” — James Hillman
Most of the men I grew up with in Alabama and Georgia deny the veracity of climate change. They are unwilling to make the connection between their ownership (actually the bank’s) of SUVs and oversized pickup trucks and the super storms and massive floods that, now with alarming regularity, ravish the region.
Because their besieged sense of self is intermeshed with their motor vehicles, they hold fast to these symbols of the fading world they know. In their imaginings, these gruesome, noxious (and obnoxious) machines represent power and mobility — exactly the aspects of their lives that have been diminished by the demands and degradations of oligarchic capitalism.
By their self-imprisonment in these sorts of compensatory fantasies, they choose to risk their children’s future, rather than, as one victim of his own curdling testosterone expressed to me recently on FaceBook, “[give up his over-sized pick-up] and drive a 4-wheel vagina, algore-mobile.”
A deep-rooted, malignant anger regarding their diminished sense of manhood seethes at the core of pronouncements such as that, and the following, shared on my FaceBook scroll, this past Earth Day: “Happy Earhart day!!! How did you celebrate? I clubbed an adorable baby harp seal, dumped a barrel of waste oil down the storm drain, and started a giant tire fire!!! Good times….”
The sentiment expressed above is an imprecatory prayer, borne of uneasy submission i.e., the callow voice of deep denial, a manifestation of a culturally re-enforced, self-protective cynicism — a reflexive negation of novel ideas that masks a besieged psyche; it is the nihilistic rage appropriated by the powerless serving as a bulwark against the anxiety created by shifting circumstances and buffeted verities.
In the U.S., life keeps changing for the working class — and not for the better. Hence, an inner voice of doubt and despair falsely informs these men that the agents and effects of change will be of no help to them personally…that no one (especially smug, know-it-all liberals) can be of service to you, and, worse, what little you have amassed will be lost.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/05/17-6