“On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land
will reach their hearts’ desire at last, and the White House will be
adorned by a downright moron.'' --
H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Sun, 1920
As Americans waddled into the new century, overweight, overworked,
and as self aware as a cloister of sea slugs -- so too arrived, affecting his
bandy-legged, fake cowboy swagger, George W. Bush, to usher in this era of unquenchable,
consumer craving and perpetual, martial emergency.
Currently, we watch as Bush vacillates between chest-puffing belligerence and
jaw-gyrating fecklessness. Due to his hapless response to overwhelming events,
some commentators have made comparisons to Jimmy Carter. Not true: Carter, as
beset by tumult and contretemps as his administration was during the late 1970s,
never resembled, as Bush does, a tweaked-out methhead in the throes of a full-blown
There is little mystery as to why Bush is now beating a war drum, in time to
that all-too-familiar election time, Rovian rag. Bush’s handlers are desperate:
Recent polls have revealed that suburban males, Republican women, southerners,
and even Christian fundamentalists are starting to have misgivings about Bush.
Why? One would guess: Since Bush has proven himself incapable of changing Iraqi
blood into cheap, ever-available oil, this has caused, for a portion of his
base, the sheen of beatitude to come off Jesus' earthly emissary.
The aura of despair leveling upon the country is undeniable ... Not that there
was a great deal of peace of mind previously here in The United States of Distractions.
The act of being in perpetual flight from reality requires a great amount of
energy; it's quite a workout pushing down dread. We’ve been faking it
for a while now. Over the years, our relentless selling of ourselves to the
world became about as genuine as Bush's forced smile when he's in the presence
of cameras or African Americans.
Baffled, mortified, by what we’ve witnessed during these Bush-afflicted
years, we ask ourselves: How did this come to be?
We may be unable to answer this question -- because we cannot lay all the blame
upon Bush. Our nation’s aura of insularity and hysteria was present long
before Bush. Bush is merely emblematic of the depth of our collective denial
regarding how cheaply we have sold ourselves to the exploitive corporate order
and the concomitant unease engendered by this Faustian bargain.
Although many of his former supporters may be growing weary of him, one is
cautioned not to mistake these developments for any sort of vast, societal awakening.
Bush’s steady decline in popular support is merely the result of Americans,
on a personal level, beginning to feel the effects of his administration’s
mixture of ruthlessness and incompetence.
But this fact alone will not effect change. One does not exactly have to be
graced with extraordinary powers of perception to notice that Bush is a fraud.
What is more difficult to apprehend is this: The emergence of Bush is not an
anomaly. Bush is merely a symptom of the pathologies of corporate capitalism.
He is not the disease.
Bush was packaged like any other corporate icon; accordingly, the war
in Iraq was sold in the manner of any other corporate PR campaign. Bush is simply
a product, designed by and marketed for the benefit of the elites of the corporate
Bush’s manufactured image is a hack's construct of mythic American manhood:
He was sold as an uncomplicated man of action -- a Christian cowboy redeemer
-- a man who could kill evil-doers at fifty paces … Just from a single
whiff of his manly phenomenal musk -- our enemies would flee back to their caves
and cower in abject terror ... Although events have shown, to appropriate an
overheated metaphor from the Christian fundie, End Time lexicon, Bush is, in
fact, closer to an Angel of Idiocy come with a Sword of Stupidity to reveal
the rot of our corporate dystopia.
The sad and tragic circumstances of our time are much larger than Bush. Bush's
grandiosity mirrors us, a people who have lost all sense of proportion. Look
around: notice how huge and grotesque the objects and accoutrements of our age
have become: colossal motor vehicles; the portions of food we crave; gaudy,
land-devouring mcmansions; American consumer's enormous, sea-to-shining-sea
asses. These things are manic compensations antecedent to the crash to come.
Apropos, our SUVs, oversized pickup trucks, and hummers are no longer large
enough to compensate for our feelings of powerlessness; our epic servings of
food no longer serve to push down the sense of dread; we cannot find enough
room in our mcmansions to hide away all of our anger, sorrow, and regret.
Mojo Nixon sang, “Everybody has a little Elvis in them.” Nowadays,
regrettably, we must sing: Everybody has far too much Bush in them. Internally,
to one degree or another, we’re all George W. Bush. Bush is the corporate
state's dancing monkey -- as, to one degree or another, we all are. The corporate
state necessitates that we become, like Bush, all puffed up phonies, in order
to face a daily life ruled by its mandates -- as well as -- to compensate for
our inner emptiness, borne of our internalization of it.
If we choose to face our inner Bush, our habitual verities and sacred beliefs
risk being shattered and scattered asunder. Because the situation is larger
than us and it’s larger than Bush: Bush is merely a reflection of it all.
Ergo: to listen to the mangled syntax of Bush’s speech patterns is to
hear the sound of the national infrastructure crack and buckle; his booze and
cocaine decimated brain cells mirror the earth's diminishing bio-diversity;
his snits of entitlement and his ruthlessness echo the entropic forces of global
capitalism that are driving the engines of extinction.
There is a feeling of flimsiness and haphazardness present in our daily lives
here in the empire. Even the landscape before us has been inflicted with an
ugly, ad hoc quality. The structures of our age evince a lack of substance.
The shoddy, quick buck-snatching stripmall/big box store/fast food outlet, prefab
nowhereland of the present day United States is reflective of our shoddy, quick
buck-snatching leaders, who are, in turn, a reflection of us. We have come to
dwell within this Architecture of Denial; we have come to call this House of
Distorted Mirrors, our way of life.
As, all the while, the parallel narratives of compulsive consumerism and Christian
End Time Mythology surround us.
Contemporary Christian fundamentalism is a religion of consumer instant gratification.
It is a religious cosmology resonating from a junk food paradigm: a Gospel of
The Drive Thru Jesus; when The Rapture comes, our corporeal bodies will be cast
aside like fast food wrappers.
But be warned, by your eating of all that high caloric food, all of you Jesus-hungry
Lard Asses of The Lord: If your clothes were to fall from you (as your prophecies
claim they will) as you rise skyward, the sight of all your fat, sagging bodies,
floating in the air, will resemble anything but the dawning of eternal paradise
-- instead the event will more likely resemble an endless tape loop of a porno
video for fat fetishists shot in a zero gravity chamber.
On the secular side of our sickness: Big Pharma factories and rural crystal
meth labs can't manufacture enough product to prevent this sinking spell. Soon,
even the ruling elites will begin to buckle beneath the weight of their self-deception.
We the laboring classes already know the feeling, due to the fact, we’ve
been carrying those bloated bastards, plus their delusions of infinite entitlement,
on our backs for quite some time now. We strain beneath the load, because the
plutocrats have grown very fat gorging themselves on the nation's seed crop.
Bush is nothing more than the effluvia, rising from the landfills of the Corporate
State. He's the abiding stench of what we buried and tried to pretend never
Corporate culture is based on mendacity made palatable for mass consumption:
Public relation and advertising firms exist to create cute, cartoon animal icons
to mask the realities of the slaughterhouse. In corporate life, there is scant
reward for depth and authenticity; conversely, an amicable ruthlessness pays
off well indeed.
Corporate “reality” is all about “perception management".
Hence, a corporate, utterly commodified, life usurps, exploits and diminishes
not only the outer environment -- but our internal ones as well. How could one
not play off the other and visa versa? How can one spend all day in a so-called
"work environment," spending a large percentage of one's life beneath
florescent lights, with sweatshop-cobbled shoes touching industrial carpeting,
and bodies supported by bland, utilitarian office furniture -- then return,
by way of a hideous, dangerous freeway, home to some ugly suburb or exurb --
all the while having one's senses incessantly inundated with commercial imagery
calculated to manipulate -- hypnotize one, actually -- into a particular way
of viewing the world, and not become subject to the sort of psychic pathology
that is pandemic among the populace of the empire.
Living such criteria, day by day, how could we not have conjured Bush and company?
Bush is only a byproduct of the present corporate order; he is but a reflection
of the everyday hubris, denial, mendacity, and exploitation of daily life in
the corporatist state. He is emblematic of the House of Mirrors that our nation’s
collective psyche has become -- a mass of distorted perceptions sustained by
professional liars and ignorant killers.
Bush is our hidden intentions made manifest before us: We live in an
empire bent on murder/suicide; our nation has become a global-wide spree killer
... unrepentant ... seemly devoid of conscience.
Then what hope remains for us, here, in this age, where self-serving lies promulgated
by public relations hacks have hijacked the verities of the human mind, heart,
and imagination, as all the while, so many genuine voices of humanity have been
lost amid this seemly endless bacchanal of bullshit and blown blood?
That is up to us: Personally and collectively, our fate might well be determined
by how honest we’re willing to be with ourselves. After all, by way of
our passivity, we’re at least partially responsible for letting a million
Rovian Turd Blossoms bloom. We have summoned Bush by the incantation of our
hidden intentions; perhaps, if we were to awaken to the George W. Bush concealed
within, we might understand our own collaboration in creating him – and
then, at long last, we can begin the process of dismissing him and all he represents.
Phil Rockstroh, a self-described, auto-didactic,
gasbag monologist, is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York
City. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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