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.

Thursday, August 18

MNZ: The Atlantic Monthly - September 2011


The cover of this here Atlantic monthly says in big bold letters CAN THE MIDDLE CLASS BE SAVED? with your stereotypical nuclear family floating on a lifeboat in the middle of rough waters. Okay.
Then you turn the page and it's a two-page ad for the all-new 2012 M-Class Mercedes-Benz, pushing the family vibe because every normal middle class family drives an overpriced German trophy vehicle that guzzles premium gas. Gotcha.
Flip two more pages and it's a two-page ad for Conrad Hotels, where some young douchebag white couple (meaning rich douchebags, not Jersey Shore douchebags) are sharing some food on a plate with chopsticks at some wacky Asian street market where some old lady is chopping fish on a wood block right beside them. The couple looks about 23. Seriously. But they are experiencing the world! And apparently Conrad Hotels and Resorts lets you do this, but while having "the luxury of being yourself". Which means this shit is demographically targeting something way further than what I think is middle class. Which means the fact I consider myself "middle class" is probably a mistake, which my yearly consultation with tax returns and poverty lines and the Earned Income Credit usually proves to be true. (I have lived in poverty, meaning below the governmental poverty line, most of my life, probably all but maybe three or four years. I will probably be above it this year, although I fear I may lose my job at any point to be honest, which will shoot that all to hell. But fuck it man, we survive.)
So automatically, before I even get to the table of contents, I'm all like, "Fuck you Atlantic Monthly, with your pretentious bullshit." And I was gonna make that be my review of this magazine, short and hateful and done. Audi 5000. See yall next time.
Except I read this one column in this thing by some dude named Rob Jackson called Replacement Therapy, where Mr. Jackson is hoping his Ipod dies so he can get a new one, because he wants all the new dope ass features. So this leads him into this long thing about how companies used to jive people by making products that broke quickly enough to need replacing without upsetting the customer, where they actually tested that theory out, or a simple tailfin change or something was supposed to make a car look completely different. Jackson lays all this out like it was this big scam corporations did to milk the most out of the consuming ass public, and it has sort of a negative feel to it, which it should. Corporations have failed America, and failed capitalism. We should all be slitting the throats of CEOs, not tweeting about reality television.
But then Rob Jackson goes on to explain how this new-fangled desire to have a new product even though the old one still works is the result of superior technology, and what great strides are being made. It's worth it, he's suggesting. You are getting something way better, because what may seem like a subtle new electronic tailfin is actually like the Best Shit Evar, or so he thinks.
The thing is, he's full of shit. It's just more junk, and I would imagine Apple has that shit charted out for years. Whatever you bought just now from them, they've already got the better version ready to launch in four seasons. To, you know, exploit your consumption predilections. Nothing's changed at all. Motherfuckers are still getting fleeced, and getting something that is the Best Shit Evar until the next Best Shit Evar comes out next marketing cycle.
Why this bothered me so much is I have noticed since the Osama "assassination" how much the alleged left-leaning media like NPR and magazines like the Atlantic have gone into propaganda mode like this, but it's propaganda geared for a more educated mind than like Fox News. It uses different triggers and trickeries, but it's still pretty obvious propaganda. I'm not sure what's going on behind the scenes, but for Obama to unleash the ace card of the fake Osama assassination like he did, then kick the fog of propaganda into overdrive, some serious shit must be going on. So we probably can't save the middle class, because people like me are finally realizing we are not middle class at all, because that assumes there's a lower class, a middle one, and an upper class. But the divide between upper and middle is huge, and middle and lower are a lot closer than anybody realizes - one layoff or surgical infection or blown headgasket from crossing that blurry line. Very few make the jump from that big clusterfuck of lowers and middles down the highway, over the gated walls into the Upper Class community. Very few. And yet we are pitted against each other constantly, to be afraid of dark-skinned kids using twitter to flash mob their ways into our homes and steal our flat screens, to be afraid of the future landscapers of America sneaking across a desert in the hopes they don't get dissolved by a drug cartel in a vat of acid, to be afraid of anything too Middle Easternly looking in our lives. What the fuck man? Fuck you Atlantic Monthly. I only paid $6 for your stupid one-year subscription through a discount website, but I still feel like a dumbass for paying to read your bourgeoisie propaganda drivel.

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