“A Pleasant Lull”
by Jim Kunstler
"A pleasant lull lies over the land where today fewer people labor honestly- and some labor gruelingly for too little- while a matrix of rackets sustains the illusion that our living arrangements have a future. Is Quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the minds of the millions moiling around their backyard barbeques? I applaud his refusal to stand for the national anthem, though not for the reasons he stated. Rather, because I’m sick of vulgar symbolism in a dark moment of a fraying culture that demands more than cheap talk and lame gestures.
In case you’re wondering, the reason we’re subject to all these repetitions of “The Star Spangled Banner” is not for love-of-country but something quite the opposite: the fear that its promises are empty. Ever wonder why every public official in the land has to wear a flag lapel pin? Should it be necessary for the president of the US to signal his devotion to duty? Wouldn’t we normally just assume this to be the case? No, it signals the widespread and generalized anxiety that the national condition is dire and that we don’t have the confidence or the clarity to face the challenges of the time. President Obama might as well wear a crucifix or a bulb of garlic in his lapel.
In this presidential election year especially, Labor Day serves as a sort of collective deep breath before the plunge into a season of political anguish. The number of potential voters disgusted with the choice between two clueless monsters of egotism must be epic. If WalMart held a sale on bullshit filters, they might stand a chance of turning a Q3 profit. Otherwise, expect economic performance to be increasingly frightening even if The New York Times and CNN continue to spin out tales of unicorns jumping rainbows.
Events, not personalities, are going to demonstrate where things are at in the late-stage techno-industrial crack-up at hand. The shamans at the Federal Reserve have exhausted their repertoire of incantations for levitating the financial markets and, more ominously, the value of the US dollar. The prankish god they serve has arranged things so that the very faith needed to sustain their illusory influence will run down the drain as November 8 creeps closer. They must be getting awfully nervous down at the Eccles Building.
The sudden bankruptcy of South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Company ought to send shivers down the scaly spines of globalism’s cheerleaders. Fragility is everywhere in this unraveling network of gigantic, far-flung promises and obligations. The former middle class of America has lost its ability to absorb anymore smart phones or Kardashian brand Pure Glitz hairspray©. They’re pacing grooves in the faux hardwood floors of their McHomes through reams of unpayable bills trying to stave off the re-po squad while Grandma slips into a diabetic coma. These are the good folks who supposedly comprise 70 percent of the so-called economy, a.k.a. “consumers.” You can stick a fork in them- and maybe we’ll hear a few reports of that on Tuesday when the holiday barbeques smolder their last.
More concerning, though, are the conditions of the banks. When their true insolvency is revealed- which may coincide with the height of the election season- look out below. The bankruptcy of one measly shipping company will look like a zit on the ass of a diving blue whale as countless trade operations seize up for lack of confidence that they will ever be paid. Then what?
Then we are forced to pay attention to the actual dynamics now at work in the world. Or be driven crazy by our refusal to get with the program. I tend to think we’ll opt for the latter. We’re too unused to reality. We’d rather crash and burn than change anything about our behavior, or even our perception. Both Trump and Hillary are perfect avatars for this date with a hard landing. The disorder both of them are capable of inducing will be a spectacle for the ages.”