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Alienation Nation
Defining Cultural Free Fall
© 2012 James LaFond
This is an amplification of a point I made in the Harm City article Why You’re Food earlier this year. I also intend this as a companion piece to my next blog The God of Things: the Native American End-time Prediction that Came True. I am just defining conditions, not offering solutions. I don’t believe in solutions. I do believe in survival though. Towards that end I will be writing another Harm City piece early next year titled Surviving Cultural Free Fall.
Alienation, the Condition Necessary for Predation
Military establishments and slave societies have devoted a great deal of wordage and action throughout history into inculcating various beliefs in the inferiority and subhuman status of others. In traditional societies the biggest penalty—often equated with a death sentence or in fact a death sentence—was ostracism or alienation. Being an outcast put you at the mercy of a cruel world outside of the protection of your community.
Across America we have many types of communities, including some old style traditional ones as well as new age efforts at community, and gated suburban enclaves. In between are sprawling suburban non-communities and urban centers where alienation is the norm, the way you head to work and head home, alone in a crowd.
What kind of place do you live in?
Do you live in a state of alienation; just some consumer sucking down other peoples’ oxygen—another tic on the body politic?
Since our society in general has embraced ritualized alienation—in the form of reality TV programs like Survivor—as the standard in pubic entertainment, some of us might say that we are already back to behaving like the ancient Roman mob when a gladiator went down in the dust. But let us put opinion aside. How can you tell if you and yours live in a state of alienation?
Below is an exercise in the form of a series of descriptive incidents from my violence study. I have already polled a wide variety of Harm City dwellers, who do live in an unequivocal state of alienation, about their opinions.
The Cultural Free Fall Exercise
I give you the story.
I give you the response of the victim’s fellow Baltimoreans.
If most of the people in your community would agree with the unanimous Baltimorean response, than you live in a problem community that cultivates a state of alienation.
If you agree with the unanimous Baltimorean response, then you are part of the problem, a mover and shaker in this Alienation Nation.
Mary the Hooker
Mary charged Jervis and Will $20 each to perform oral sex on them in Will’s car, at 10:30 PM, in front of the supermarket where I worked with both gentlemen. She did as contracted. They paid her. They also repeatedly banged her head against the dashboard and forced her to swallow.
Baltimorean Responses
“That’s what she gets for being a whore [or stupid, or not having a pimp].”
“We [us women] enjoy getting roughed up. She probably got off.”
I found no one in Baltimore that blamed the two pigs that did this to Mary. It is a good illustration of how laws push those of us operating outside of said laws into a savage shadow world.
Chuck left his coat in the lunchroom. When it was stolen all of our coworkers blamed him for not locking it in his locker, and even indicted him for being too eager to head out on the floor to help with the order—labeling him an ass-kisser, having gotten what he deserved.
Jeremy was mugged while walking home. All of our coworkers and both employers blamed him for walking alone, wearing a headset, having hands in pocket, etc.
Jim Bob
Jim Bob was robbed at gunpoint while walking home from work. Everyone that I told about this blamed him for “Being a loser” and not having a car, or for choosing a poorly lit route.
Reggie is an older musician who supported his sons well into adulthood. When he became aged and ill they abandoned him to go flop with some stoner buddies, leaving him to walk back and forth to the hospital with a severe lung ailment in the August heat.
While everyone agreed that the sons were worthless, all Baltimoreans who I told of this blamed Reggie for having supported his worthless sons and not forcing a stern work ethic on his slacker progeny.
In what sick society, does a father providing for his sons naturally equate to them neglecting him in his old age?
As a reader of thousands of history books I would like to remind you that no ancient or traditional society sanctioned such behavior toward elders, particularly self-sacrificing elders. Even the baby-killing Spartans stood at Olympia so that their elders could sit in the August heat.
Dino was an older dude who had taken care of his young girlfriend for decades. When he became ill and lay in the ICU she cleaned out his bank account and left him, without a word of warning.
Everyone I spoke to about this blamed him for either “going with a younger woman” or “not making the bitch pay her way from the start” or for being “stupid enough to trust a woman with his bank card”.
The message is clear from the Harm City audience, ‘Love at your peril fool…’
This lady raised her daughter alone and gave her all the things she had never had. She also cooked for her entire extended family and took care of her brother when he was in the nursing home. She was the sister that took care of you when you were sick, the mother that ironed your dress for work, and paid all the bills so you could save for the down payment on your own house…
…..This lady got sick, missed time at work, then lost her car, and ultimately lost her job. Then, miffed that she would have to pay half the rent, her well-cared for daughter found a better deal in a nicer neighborhood, and left mom on the street. Joneekwa was sitting outside of her apartment with all of her furniture, collected over a lifetime to hand down to her daughter, in tears, when two men who were not even related to her, moved her things into storage. She is presently working three jobs, one as a maid/cook, so she can sleep in an attic room/closet and pay the storage fees for what she had hoped would be a grateful daughter’s dowry.
When I told Joneekwa’s story recently [Part of her harrowing tale is in Harm City.] people were not immediately judgmental. What they all did was start quizzing me about her flaws: was she ugly; did she drink; did she do drugs; did she spoil her child; did she go to church; has she asked the Lord Jesus for salvation; does she have nice tits [yes, a real question, believed to be pertinent by he who sought to judge her]; what about her family—what did she do to them for them not to be there for her?
Of course you see where this is leading. We feel guilty that we were not there for her, that our superior culture does not make provisions for the unlucky. So we seek out a reason to vilify her, to feel like her misfortune was deserved, hopefully ‘self-inflicted’.
I don’t know, nor would I divulge, all of this woman’s flaws, mistakes and sorrows. But I can tell you this. I was one of those guys that moved her furniture—me and a big black jock in a white pickup truck; and that woman had a broken heart if I ever saw one. And the best we, as a people, can do, is say it is her fault, for whatever reason we can dredge up out of or collective bowel.
The Most Coveted Stuff
Cleanse the Land
on combat
crag mouth
logic of force
when you're food
fiction anthology one
within leviathan’s craw
the lesser angels of our nature
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