Culture in Decline: Neon Clothing

Neon, or fluorescent , clothing used to be worn only by highway construction workers, bicycle nerds with a fetish for lycra, and children under the age of ten.  But no more! Neon has made the leap into the mainstream with fashionable shirts, blouses, pants, skirts, shorts, socks, shoes and shoelaces all now available in a variety of colors, including the trendy favorites of neon yellow, pink, and orange. Have you caught ‘neon fever?’ Run, don’t walk, to your nearest fashion boutique and gather up some hip fluorescent clothing or risk getting left behind!

Many professional, major league sports teams are now adopting neon colors into their uniforms. Every year, I see a few more teams changing their colors to become more neon. In my former home town of Seattle, the soccer team and the football team are using neon green. The fans love it! It’s the hip thing. For me, it’s just one more reason to skip watching altogether.

 

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For the smartphone, selfie, facebook generation, wearing neon is a natural outgrowth of the narcissism that has been bred into them. Nothing screams “Look at me” quite like fluorescent green hot pants and neon orange shoes.

Cyclists and runners  make the argument that wearing these ‘colors’ makes one more visible to traffic and hence reduces the risk of collision and injury. In fact, I have not seen any independent studies documenting the proven effectiveness of wearing neon. Most of the so-called ‘evidence’ supporting the use of neon for preventing crashes is anecdotal and hyped by the clothing manufacturers themselves.

 

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Nevertheless, joggers, cyclists, and road workers will no doubt continue to wear this clothing, at least into the near future, either because of regulations or the peace of mind it brings that they are doing everything possible to protect themselves from unnecessary risk.

But how, where, when and why did neon make the leap into a fashion  choice for the rest of us?  I’m not sure, but I see it as one more manifestation of the overall infantilization of adults that we see occurring around the globe. We now have hundreds of millions of so-called adults walking around with adult bodies and adolescent  minds. These people, whether in their 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60s are stuck in the mental, intellectual, and psychological age of fifteen.

Furthermore, if there is a directing force behind this trend- and when we look at large social trends, we always find the hidden hand  of the social engineers- then surely they have an agenda. In addition to the infantilization of adults, another effect is the additional step away from nature herself. For where in nature do we see anything remotely like these hideous neon colors? Nowhere. Bit by bit, step by methodical step, the controllers will take humanity so far away from its roots in the natural world that the final triumph of transhumanism  will seem like a logical progression.

 

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All of this is not to say that I don’t like bright colors or clothing that expresses individuality, because I do. I respect a man who can wear a pink button down shirt with flair and style. Everyone should have at least one cool red shirt and even an orange one, if that’s your thing. But neon is something else. It is taking the idea of brightness one step too far. But in our current cultural  crisis, in which we are seemingly never able to distinguish what is too much of something,  it is not surprising that this trend is now becoming widespread.

In the book of Corinthians, there is a famous quotation which has always been one of my favorites: “When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

 

 

 

 

Growing up corporate in the 21st century

Twenty-five years ago, Ralph Nader gave an interview during which he stated that he was part of the last generation to know what it was like to grow up in a non-corporate world. The generations born after 1980 in particular will never know a world that is not completely run   by and for mega corporations. The corporate ethos is now so fully ingrained into the global capitalist  consumerist culture that we are like the fish swimming in the ocean who cannot imagine that there is  life above the surface of the water.

Recently, I organized a debate in one of my classes in which I instructed one half of the class to formulate arguments against advertising in public spaces such as billboards within the city. This group had quite a difficult time coming up with any anti-advertising material to use in the debate. Many of the students stated flatly, “Advertising is a good thing. It’s an efficient way to let us know about cool new products!”

When I attempted to introduce ideas such as the public commons and the inherently unequal status quo wherein corporations with billions of dollars of advertising money to throw around can buy up vast amounts of space to hawk their products while impoverished individuals and families can’t scrape together enough money to post even one public service message at a bus stop, my words fell on deaf ears. Today’s young consumer class, raised in a world where the most exciting announcement in a year is the arrival date of  the new Iphone , don’t see much wrong with advertising.

Indeed, the entire edifice of a corporately ruled world is nothing threatening to the younger generations. Big corporations give us cool gadgets like smartphones, tablets, phablets, laptop computers, and flat screen tvs, as well as cars, motorbikes, watches, jewelry, jerseys, sneakers, and all the rest. What’s bad about that?

amishIt requires a giant leap of imagination for the youth to comprehend  that in times not too long ago, in the age of their grandparents and great grandparents, the people of Earth obtained all the necessities of their daily lives without any input from corporations. They grew their own food, slaughtered their own animals for meat, foraged in the forest, sewed and mended their own clothes, entertained themselves in the evenings with storytelling, reading, and inventive games, and went about the business of life in a manner that was self-sufficient to a degree that is almost incomprehensible today. This is not to look at the past with rose-colored glasses or to deny that life was just as tough back then as it is today. We are simply acknowledging what has happened over the last century as corporations have grown to unimaginable proportions is the catastrophic loss of national sovereignty and human dignity.

tvAs John Perkins noted in his bestseller from a decade ago, “Tales of an Economic Hit Man,” trans-nationals now circle the globe like giant amorphous clouds, beholden to no nations and no laws. They control the economic and, by extension,  political landscape and through the use of their vast media empire and resources are able to brainwash and manipulate the youth from a very early age. By the time a child has reached the age of five, he has already viewed tens of thousands of commercials and advertisements.

In my youth, the penetration of the corporate state into every school, government and household had not yet occurred and I was able to enjoy a childhood free from the advertising blitzkrieg that most of the world’s youth now are forced to endure. There were still forests and fields to play in, and outdoor activities and book reading were not yet relics of the past.

With each passing day, it becomes more difficult to try to get across concepts such as the idea of public space, the commons, and even the ownership of your own body. Even though I’ve seen it a million times, and continue to see it every day, the sight of a grown man or woman walking around the city with Calvin Klein, Abercrombie and Fitch, the Gap, and Old Navy in giant letters emblazoned on their shirt still makes me inwardly cringe. Occasionally I will ask one of my students,  “Is the Gap paying you a flat or daily fee to do advertising for them?” They only laugh nervously, not quite sure what point I am trying to make. And this makes sense, for in their eyes  they are simply wearing clothing from a fashionable designer. Why not flaunt it?

 

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As football has made deeper and deeper inroads into American popular culture over the past twenty or so years, more and more kids are seen wearing jerseys from their favorite European leagues. I noticed this when I lived in Seattle for a couple of years. The major league team there is extremely popular and fans around the city wear the home jersey to games.  This jersey, similar to team jerseys from all the famous European leagues, has only the corporate sponsor logo in large letters on the front. The actual name of the team is almost hidden, in small letters in the bottom corner of the jersey. I worked with a young twenty something female who loved to wear football jerseys to work. I once asked her, “Who is this team ‘Fly Emirates?’ I have never heard of them.” She didn’t get the joke.

When I was a young boy, I remember my friends and I  used to laugh when we looked a photos of professional race car drivers. Their  cars and outfits were completely plastered with corporate logos and they looked ridiculous. Now, almost all major league sports teams have moved in that direction. Leagues used to have at least some boundaries when it came to advertising. In American football, the field itself was kept free of corporate logos, as was the court in basketball. Those days are long gone, as the corporate monster has battered down every last barrier. They must have free reign to be anywhere and everywhere.

Here is a famous scene from the classic movie ‘Network’, from 1976. It describes our world so perfectly that it still sends a chill down my spine when I watch it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKkRDMil0bw

 

The fact that the United States supreme court recently ruled that corporations are basically people, and therefore can contribute any amount of money they wish to a politician running for office is appalling, though not surprising to anyone who has been paying attention to historical trends over the past century. Even the supreme court has masters, and they are sitting right now in corporate boardrooms in skyscrapers around the world. 

 

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission 

 

The face of Empire U.S.A. – John Kerry

Being a secretary of state for a country is one thing. Being a secretary of state for a global empire is something else. With the United States of America now firmly entrenched as an empire with its tentacles reaching into every corner of the globe and with a reach far beyond anything Alexander the Great, Rome, Genghis Khan or the British ever dreamed, the small clique running the show from Washington D.C., New York and Tel Aviv needs a good attack dog to roam the seas keeping the colonies in line. The former Secretary of State, Hillary “We came, we saw, he died” Clinton has resigned so she can now focus on her ultimate goal: the presidency  of the United States. The post has now been taken over by, who else? ,  a Skull and Bonesman by the name of John Kerry.

 

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Kerry is highly suitable for this job. He grew up attending elite East Coast private schools where they groom young boys for the Ivy League and careers in high finance and politics. He later attended Yale and joined Skull and Bones, the breeding ground for psychopaths and sociopaths who want to attain positions of power. And by the way, don’t ever think of questioning Kerry about his association with S and B, or you will get treatment similar to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bVa6jn4rpE

After honing his debating skills at Yale, Kerry got into politics and eventually landed a job in the U.S. Senate. Along the way, he accumulated enormous wealth and then really hit pay dirt when he married Teresa Heinz, heir to the great Heinz fortune.

 

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During his tenure in the senate, Kerry voted for NAFTA, led the charge to invade Iraq post 9-11 (while parroting the weapons of mass destruction line like a good soldier), and voted for the TARP bailout in 2008 even while the overwhelming majority of Americans screamed ‘No, no , no!’  And most of all, like all politicians in Washington D.C. who want to keep their jobs, he has been a faithful and tireless worker for Israel and the Israeli lobby, AIPAC.

 

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After losing to George Bush in the 2004 presidential election, Kerry decided not to run again in 2008 and eventually endorsed Barack Obama, thereby keeping himself available for future political appointments. Always the opportunist.  He wasn’t offered the vice presidency, but now has been rewarded for his service with the job of secretary of state.

 

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Watching news clips of this guy jetting around the world and meeting ‘world leaders’ in various capitals is a sight to behold. Lacking Hillary’s in-your-face viciousness and demonic cackling, Kerry nevertheless possesses the requisite cold blooded and ruthless realpolitik attitude needed for this particular position. Interesting to notice that his handlers must have advised him that getting a face lift would make him look more handsome and young, but instead it has only accentuated his ghoulish demeanor.

 

John Kerry

 

 

John Kerry must be congratulating himself on the job that U.S. foreign policy has done on Ukraine. Granted, Ukraine wasn’t a very pretty place to begin with, being overrun with gangsters and such, but now has degenerated with a frightening rapidity into an organized oligarchical mobster state, with a fascist neo-nazi ideology to boot. Its assets are being sold off to Shell and other multi -national energy consortiums and pliant ‘leaders’ have been installed who will allow NATO a foothold on Russia’s doorstep. Well done John!

facebook caught ‘manipulating users emotions.’ ready to quit yet?

In the next century when historians sit down to examine our era and  give it a name, in contrast to The Age of Reason, The Enlightenment, The Renaissance, and The Dark Ages, it’s likely that one of the names proposed will be  ‘The Age of Narcissism.’ Many baby boomer Americans are familiar with Chrisopher Lasch’s best-seller  ‘The Culture of Narcissism’, published in 1979.  Although Lasch was discussing post-war America, his analysis of personality types consistent with pathological narcissism can be applied to our modern global internet addicted society. This pathology, he said, shows a very weak sense of self requiring constant external  validation.

 

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The word ‘selfie’ has now entered not only our lexicon, but the Oxford English dictionary itself. Is this not an indication of how accepted and mainstream the naricissistic personality type has become? Constantly shooting photos of yourself has become a routine and banal sight . Sit in any coffeeshop, restaurant, or bar long enough, and you will see young women (mostly) holding up their smartphones to take a dozen shots of themselves to upload to their various social media platforms. They ‘turn on’ the requisite fake plastic smile, the one they use to show the world what a great time they are having.

 

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This need for continuous validation is  a weakness that companies such as Facebook have preyed upon ruthlessly. Although FB paints itself as a friendly company and its service as a useful way to ‘keep in touch’ with friends and family, its true raison d’etre is probably something much more sinister. Whoever Mark Zuckerberg really is, and whoever is really behind FB, one thing we know for sure: FB has taken the already well-established culture of narcissism and magnified it a hundred-fold and spread it around the world.

During the last five  years, whenever I have tried to convince friends and family to give up FB,  and given them plenty of solid, fact-based reasons for doing so, I have always been met with some version of the following: ‘Brian, what you are saying may be true, but I’m not going to give it up. It’s those other people who have a big problem with it, not me. I’m not addicted. I just use it occasionally, to keep in touch with my friends from overseas. I don’t post personal details or photos yadayadayada….’

 

Facebook-addiction-You-log-off-your-computer-leave-the-house-get-in-your-car-and-log-back-on-using-your-phone.

 

While it may be true that some of those adults I implored to drop FB really don’t have a problem, their children and grandchildren certainly do have a problem. And really, how many scandals do we have to read about concerning FB before we say ‘enough is enough?’ The latest one to make headlines is bad enough that members of the British Parliament are demanding an investigation. FB decided to perform an ‘experiment’ on hundreds of thousands of unwitting customers by manipulating their feeds to see if they could make them happier or more depressed. Sounds more like an off-shoot of a CIA mind-control program, a la Monarch mind programming or MK ULTRA than a harmless corporate exercise.

Since the story broke, I haven’t heard from any of my friends or family telling me that they are cancelling their FB accounts. Nor do I expect to hear any such news. People will read the story and shrug it off. They might say, ‘tsk tsk, FB shouldn’t have done that. But after all, I wouldn’t be influenced by such tactics. My mind is strong, I’m not so easily influenced…..’

 

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Yet, the evidence proves otherwise, even according to FB’s accounts. People were in fact swayed by the company’s sick little game. The goons at FB must be laughing at us from their corporate towers, as they flip through their copies of Edward Bernay’s ‘Propaganda’ and their CIA manuals.

 

narcissism book