This is Chuck Hamilton, a Yank from Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, a poet, writer, historian, activist in various causes, and a Scottish nationalist for as long as I can remember.
Remember what Jean Shepherd said about creeping meatballism being the passive acquiescence of people who surrender to the demands of the consumer culture and collaborate in their own manipulation? In the Great Satan back in the 1960s, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and three of their friends founded the counterculture-oriented Youth International Party whose slogan was “Rise up and abandon the creeping meatball”. It’s in the yippie spirit, in fact, that I’m now referring to America as the Great Satan, certainly not out of any respect for that chicken-fucker Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who coined the term. Uncle Sam may be the more common nickname, but in that guise America is the uncle comes to your bedroom at your parents’ house at night with its trousers unzipped.
I remember a story I heard on the radio (remember those), on National Public Radio, I think, about a couple who had this pet chimpanzee, a female they’d named Jane. There came a point when they couldn’t care for her anymore, and thinking she should be with her own kind, they gave her over to the local zoo. The first time they came to visit her, she became extremely excited, especially when they gave her a bunch of treats. They came again and did the same, failing to notice the agitation from the other chimps. When they returned the third time, Jane wouldn’t come near them, and had clearly been beaten. Asking the zookeeper what happened, he explained that they should have brought enough for all of the group.
There’s a quote going around falsely attributed to Jody Foster that was actually a computer-generated meme. Maybe machines are not as stupid as we thought. The quote goes, “Attacking the rich is not envy; it is self-defense. The hoarding of wealth is the cause of poverty. The rich aren’t just indifferent to poverty: they create it and maintain it.” That’s the end of the so-called quote, but if it had continued, the computer would’ve added that they maintain it through the power of the political state and informal means of social control such as the creation of patriotism and making the poor ashamed of the poverty inflicted upon them in order to maintain the wealth of the few, as if it is somehow their fault rather than the wankers and cunts who have thrust it upon them.
Another meme I’ve seen in relation to the suffering visited upon Greece by the European Union which should make one have second thoughts about that body, that just because Brexiters were so obnoxiously bigoted does not mean the EU is a good thing anymore than Donald Trump makes Hillary Clinton a good thing or Donald Cameron and Theresa May make Tony Blair a good thing. This meme, describing the chain of events leading to the crash of 2007 and the ongoing Great Recession, quite accurately describes austerity.
It goes like this: Rich people cause economic crisis. Rich people demand bail out from state for causing the crisis. Rich people do better than ever before. Rich people demand austerity, which is a fancy word for cutting services for the non-rich, to pay for bailing out rich people. Rich people blame poor people for the crisis they themselves have created, and become angry that poor people think they deserve better, calling for more sacrifice…sacrifice from the poor, that is.
So, the answer to the age-old question of why is there so much poverty in the world, as answered by a computer no less, is that there is poverty because there is wealth. Wealth is, in fact, is the sole cause of poverty. Without a greedy few amassing hoards of resources out of the reach of the rest of humanity, there would be more than enough for all. The needs of the many should outweigh the greed of the avaricious few.
Much is made of the divide between the basement dwellers who supported Bernie Sanders and the deplorables who support Donald Trump. The truth is that both sets of us are driven by the same underlying motivation; less and less available for the many as the few, the 1%, hoard more and more to themselves. Like the grassroots of the Occupy movement vis-à-vis the rank-and-file of the Tea Party movement in its early days. The differences are superficial and ephemeral, just like the illusory divide between grassroots supporters of Brexit and grassroots opposers of Brexit. The more we buy into this division which is as artificial as any national border, the more we collaborate in our own manipulation and allow the meatball to creep on until it rolls over us like a boulder. We can’t abandon the creeping meatball unless we first rise up and demand what all of us deserve, a cooperative commonwealth of the many, by the many, and for the many, even the then formerly wealthy whose hoards have been more fairly distributed.
I’d like to close out with a poem I wrote back in 1997 during the dark years of the Clinton machine’s first ascension to the throne of the Empire, which has a liberation theme of sorts. It was one of my most popular on the local open mike circuit back then. It’s about emancipation of the mind and the spirit. It’s called,
Random Thoughts, the day after a really weird night that I spent at Kilroy's Coffeehouse, and no, I'm not on acid
I don't really care whether I go to heaven
Or whether I go to hell
Or whether I go to hell
I don't believe in that version of reality
Somehow I think the Otherside
If there is one, that is
Would blow the fucking minds
Of the purveyors of guilt and fear
But even if -- and that's a big IF
The truth does conform
To their mythological paranoid psychosexual fantasies
I'd rather burn with the righteous sinners
Than sing with the sanctimonious saints
At least the sinners are honest
About who they are
They're a whole lot more real
Than the ones who sit in judgment
Over the rest of us outside
Worrying about gossip
And what's "appropriate" and "polite"
Serving the capitalist Leviathan
And the conformist Behemoth
With the labor of their hearts and minds
Buying whatever the creeping meatball
Tells them they need
Eating vanilla food and having vanilla sex
Walking the line in the middle of the road
And getting their spirits squashed like a grape
Give me spice, give me pepper
Give me the odd, the strange, the wonderful
Give me the outrageous and offensive
Give me the culturally blasphemous
Give me the really weird
Give me cookies and cunnilingus
—oh wait....for me that's fellatio—
Give me true freedom and liberty
In all their anarchic, iconoclastic, orgiastic splendor
And speaking of hell
Since James Dobson is on such good terms
With the Almighty
Maybe he can tell me the answer
To a question that's just come to mind...
(And here, existing for a moment
We have to pretend
That heaven and hell are real)
This is my question:
Where does God send sinners who are masochists?
Certainly not to hell
Where await fire and brimstone
Assorted tortures and all manner of pain
The ultimate experience of S&M
An eternal orgasm stretching to infinity
And speaking of torture and pain
Brings to my mind the scourging,
The crowning with thorns,
And the crucifixion
Certainly Christians must all be sadists
Since seeing the crucified victim's agony
Brings them such orgasmic joy
As they torture themselves with
Autoerotic shame and mental emotional pain
Wouldn't it have been tacky
If the Big Boy himself had been a masochist
Bottom to Pilate's top?
And another thing…
If Jesus Christ really DID take all humanity's sins
Upon himself that day
(And good GOD....where would he fit THAT load)
Why do Christians these days
Give Satan such a bum rap
Laying all their sins
At his feet and at his door
How would you like to be the Devil
Hearing what they say?
A story in the Talmud teaches
That Satan is God's most loyal servant
Testing the faith of his children
By tempting them to sin
Courting ridicule, scorn, and outright hatred
And by offering them a choice
Making real their gift of free will
Courting ridicule, scorn, and outright hatred
Like the prostitute hired by the king
To test his heir and find out his worth
No, it's not false witness that they fear
Coming from the "Father of Lies"
But rather that he'll tell the truth
So they would condemn the Accuser
Who holds up the mirror
Showing them their true selves
Come on, people, grow up
Take some fucking responsibility
Don't scapegoat another, even Auld Hornie
After all, the serpent in the Garden
Was the only one who told the truth
I remember a quote from Isaiah's Song
"He was despised and rejected by men
Wounded for our transgressions
And bruised for our iniquities"
And I get a way far out idea
About an intriguing possibility:
If good and evil are really the same thing
Created by God when he formed light and darkness
Since that quote could apply with equal truth
Though perhaps for different reasons
To Lucifer, son of the morning
Or to Jesus, bright morning star
Maybe, just maybe
They're the same person