RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Sunday, August 28

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown - June '11 #3: "Too Early" by Son Volt


I've been drinking herbal smoothies lately, sporadically, and going into a store like Whole Foods really just is a completely painful process. In Charlottesville, they had a Whole Foods over in an old strip mall with a budget shoe place and auto parts store and Chinese buffet, so even though it was a Whole Foods, the fact there was a McDonalds like right beside it sort of made it feel like a part of a larger world. However, they just finished building a new shiny one in its own location where you have to backwards down a side road to enter the parking lot from the back end because they jumble the building up against the road on the back end in that pseudo-urban fashion a lot of high end sprawly developments do now, to pretend they are sustainable and geared towards controlled growth of humanity's alleged civilization.
I already hated going into the Whole Foods, but the new one is complete molecular pain for me. The people and the consumer psychologist layout and the exorbitant prices, it really pains me on a spiritual level, as spiritual as I get. The costs are not justified either because the type of shit you get there that is available at other grocery stores - exact same brand and item and packaging size - is usually almost double the price at Whole Foods. So you are paying a tax on overhead and feeling good about yourself and just straight up exclusion of the lower classes. And I think when I see that, that's what gets me.
I am always struggling with money, from the day I was born, and job-wise I'm clocking a better grip now than I have most of the adult times in my life, but it's still a goddamned weekly struggle to even try and pay half our bills. Seriously. And we try to eat better and not poison ourselves with conventional food poisons, but when it comes down to real butter quarters regular is like $3 and real butter quarters organic is $5.50, and you multiply that by everything across the board, or even just the basics you want to make a change with, it equals unsustainable financially. Seriously. Not just difficult but it would mean I can't fucking live in a house anymore. But other people do it, including people who are our friends who seem to be on financially equal footing (or lack thereof), and they pump up the pantry with the Whole Foods items (meaning from the store, not actual minimum ingredients style "whole" foods). I have a line in a song I did a couple years back that says "how'd y'all get all them damn things, I don't understand the math." Because I don't. It doesn't make sense with a limited income to keep up those paces. Only thing I can think is most people are operating on something more than the limited income and have access to additional sources that me and my ol' lady don't. There's only so much sacrificing and simplifying we can do and it still won't free up enough money to do this or that. But when you walk through the new Whole Foods, you can definitely see a lot of folks there who are at a different class of dollar bills than I am or probably ever will be. It is not only in their clothes but the lines of their face - they were born in a position I will probably be lucky to scratch and claw my way up to.
All this is in my mind as this economic downturn continues to trifle with us all, and the Republicrats kick this whole, "No more taxes on the wealthy" because it would stifle business development, falling back to that "trickle down economics" fallacy, that the wealthy, when allowed to use their money, are smart and forward thinking and great and magnanimous and they develop new business ventures and then create totally awesome jobs for the rest of us to do and benefit from. Ultimately, the thinking is instead of the wealthy being taxed by government and being a benefactor for the rest of society, they will build businesses and become a benefactor for the rest of society that also furthers their own wealth and makes America a more vibrant economy, instead of a socialist state. The problem with this is the wealthy have never exactly followed through on that end of this myth's bargain, and usually just horde shit, or when they create something new, they are not exactly magnanimous in hiring up the rest of us, instead going for the cheapest, crudest labor possible that does not empower the rest of society at all but instead treats them as a cogwheel in the entire process to be considered overhead, constantly adjusted and replaced when a more cost effective source comes along. But the wealthy, during this slow demise of the American Empire, can't just straight up be like, "Yo, we're not going to bankroll our society with higher taxes because we'd like to hold onto our shit so that we can be set for the next go-round, whatever that may be," and they can invest in China or Africa or whatever the fuck.
A lot of liberal types get pretty upset by this, and do the whole "Republicans are evil devils but I don't believe in God" schtick, especially now that Rick Perry has jumped in the 2012 campaign. But I have no problem with the wealthy deciding to not fund the rest of us maintaining basic standards of shelter, food, and health. I mean, I can't make someone do right, and ultimately neither can government (although government is rarely an enforcer of right & wrong so much as an engineer of its own self-fulfilling end goals).
Here's the thing though, shit is real right now, and getting more real, and will get far more real by the end of this slow decline. And a lot of people - not the Whole Foods shopping type or those who would pay higher taxes if taxes did get raised - are going to be hit pretty damn hard. And even a lot of those barely sheltered by middle class status are going to feel some hunger pangs and uncomfortability they've not felt before. And all these "entitlements" are going to be dropped because of whatever tax refusals and bad spending habits by our engineered leaders over the past couple decades, and shit is going to be ugly when a lot of folks look in the mirror in the morning.
Which brings me to my warning with this whole line of thinking - calling providing basic human support to all members of a society an "entitlement", as if they shouldn't necessarily feel privileged enough to have food and shelter, that's not as true to the dictionary definition of that word "entitlement" as is hording your wealth to yourself, your neighbors be damned. And I'm not denying these wealthy people may have made that money themselves, although the way our laws and systems are set up certainly help enable them to do so, which makes sense since it is that level of financial American who gets in the position to make the laws. But the true false sense of "entitlement" is that part of a country's human make-up should be allowed to keep everything to themselves while a large number of others outside the gated communities struggle, suffer, wither, and die. If you enter into a social contract where everyone says, even if only by birth, "We are all part of this place and will work mutually to make this place The Best Fucking Place Ever," then you are tied to that, and should ultimately either support or mindfuck everybody involved to be down with it. But when you straight up just say, "We're not paying more to help fund this entire operation anymore," you are breaking that social contract, in an obvious manner. And although there's massive brainwashing operations under way to keep all the lower castes thinking this is the red, white, and blue thing to do, there's plenty of us who see through the bullshit. And once you break that social contract from above, there's absolutely no need to expect those from below to follow it as well. Which means if you the upper doesn't want to support the lower through financial taxes or economic benevolence - which they're failing on both right now and only promise worse input - then the lower shouldn't support the upper by obeying and behaving and using their washed brains to override the hunger pangs in their soul to keep them from slitting the throats of those at the top. It's a basic two-party transaction being broken, and a very basic response system to be expected. And I'm good with that, if that's the way those at the top want to go. I can live with this new deal bargain being established.
STEAL "Too Early"
NEXT
: modern soul music by a Bernie Mac looking-ass dude!

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