Monday, August 23, 2010

my american experience (the susan years)

while this will be the first time i have physically left the u.s., it will not be the first time i've said good-bye. i've actually been saying good-bye for a while now - in fact, i've been saying it, on'n'off, for most of the time susan's been here. iow, for at least the last 30 years...

while it's difficult to say exactly when i began saying good-bye, i'd narrow it down to around 1980, & were i to name a specific 'something' that triggered it, i would say it was probably 2 'somethings': the election of ronald reagan, & the arrival of the ramones...

much of what's been said regarding the seventies is true - it was a period of national fatigue, hesitancy, & emptiness. the concept of 'limitless resources' that had up till then been the basic premise fueling the dream machine began coming into question, & the country was at a crossroads: it could either begin attempting to redefine/reconfigure itself in preparation for an approach to a future that differed from what'd come before, or it could deny the reality of what was there to be seen, undertake the wholesale fabrication of it's own alternate reality, & then stubbornly (some might say pathologically) proceed along a 'business as usual' road to (in reality) nowhere...

&, for me, it was the election of reagan that firmly placed the country on the latter path. & it was the ramones that, for me, clearly described just what it was, exactly, that going down that path truly meant...

"A conspiracy between a presidential candidate and a hostile foreign power against an incumbent president would seem to be without precedent in American history..."

- project censored 1987 (reagan's 1980 "october surprise" - arms for hostages)

the 1980 presidential election was itself a bold new experiment in reality fabrication, & going back & reading about the original 'october surprise' now is both bizarre & eerie. even in that 'pre-internet' era, with a mainstream media already somewhat co-opted, there was more than enough independent information available to make one seriously wonder what the hell was going on...

(never mind the strangeness of seeing some of the people involved. like lee hamilton, for example, the chairman of the investigative task force. this being the same lee hamilton who would later serve as both the chairman of the committee that investigated the iran-contra scandal, & the vice chair of the committee that investigated 9/11. needless to say, everyone involved in all 3 of these incidents were completely, officially exonnerated. just saying :) )...

anyway, when you combine this election with the august '81 firing of 11,000 air traffic controllers, you end up with a then 30 year old guy beginning to think that the country he'd lived in all his life was no longer quite the same place, in a very tangible, substantial way. call me naive, but things've just continued to feel distinctly different from that point on, & ominous in a way they'd never felt before (& it never fails to sadden me to appreciate that, for many americans, this's the only version of the country they've ever known)...

i began to think that the administration's 'new morning in america' slogan might not be quite as indicative of what the majority of us might be expecting down the road as was the phrase coined for it's economic program: 'trickle-down'. that there were gloves being removed, & plans being made by forces unknown, which existed above & beyond anything commonly or traditionally understood as 'government'. &, to top it all off, that the vapid cheerleader in the white house was being left out of the loop every bit as much as the rest of us...

"Sitting here in Queens
Eating refried beans
We're in all the magazines
Gulpin' down thorazines

We ain't got no friends
Our troubles never end
No Christmas cards to send
Daddy likes men

We're a happy family
We're a happy family
We're a happy family
Me, mom, and daddy
We're a happy family
We're a happy family
We're a happy family
Me, mom, and daddy..."

- ramones (we're a happy family)

meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, the ramones were proceeding to provide all the confirmation of these dark thoughts i could ever've asked for. their music was unlike any i'd ever heard, joyful & angry at the same time, & their message was basically 'look, you're waaay too young to die quite yet, so fasten your seat belts, kids, cuz we both know this's gonna be one helluva hard, crazy ride, & we might as well make the best of it'...

hard to describe how something as simplistic, bombastic, deranged, & blissfully nihilistic as the music these guys produced could at the same time be so comforting, but it most definitely was (& still is). it's not like they're interested in any way in giving anyone any hope for the future. rather, they're saying 'enjoy what there is, now - because, when there is no future, now becomes more precious, & wonderful, than ever. so be alive'...

well, that's what i hear, anyway, when i listen to the ramones. ymmv :) ...

whew!... so, yeah, i've sorta been saying good-bye, on'n'off, ever since back then. i'm sure when someone says good-bye to their country, they're also, in a way, saying good-bye to a part of themselves as well, & i'm okay with that...

it's not like i haven't had a tremendously good time for the most part, because i have. it's just that, as i've gotten older, & am no longer capable of doing what i once could, i'm also, i'm thinking, incapable of living where i once did...

& so, for the last time, good-bye (&, of course, rock on! :) )...


  1. Well said. I agree that once Reagan got in office everything just went downhill.

  2. I never did believe anything he said. What was so amazing was the worship that went on during and after his presidency. Well, we're gonna miss you...

  3. You know Numb, I don't think I've ever seen your "voice" here before. I know susan, and admire her so much, and Crow, well, that old bastard is right on most of the time and it really gets me that he's so damn smart!
    You have some good things to say too. I gotta tell ya, before Rayguns was elected, I vowed to move to Canada, yes, Canada, (So you want to be a Canadian, Please). Then, he got elected and like others have said, the country went downhill and started to change. I never did move.
    Unions busted and tariffs removed made way for the service economy we have now and no manufacturing going on in the USA. It's a shame. Susan said she'd vote for me for president because I'd rebuild the infrastructure and tariff everything from China! Too bad, I can't run. I inhaled, long, hard and deep, and I listened to the Ramones and the Talking Heads, Little Feat, Gil Scott Herron and Leonard Cohen.
    Anyway, I have always loved Canada, if not for anything else, their National anthem is good, and I love their flag.
    Tell susan to make sure she lets us know what's going on and that I am sending all the positive energy I can for a safe trip.


  4. My brain is hanging upside down, indeed!! Who is Numb? I thought the post was Susan speaking.

    Be back to listen. Have to attend to something.

  5. If you're not gonna turn that down, can you at least head to Canada, draft dodger? Sheesh.

  6. thanks to you all for taking the time to read my 'started out somewhere & ended up somewhere else' type post :) ...

  7. A frank and interesting expose of your observations and thoughts about your country and the changing patterns which have emerged as a super power following WW2. I tend to think those early somewhat idealistic ideas when many hoped a united nations would lead to world peace was also evident in the post war reconstruction help engineered by the USA to other nations. But inevitably that gave way to the allure of power and protection of powerful vested interests under questionable ideologies and a very fluid ever changing foreign policy.
    We have, for the most part in my view followed too closely USA foreign policy and ended up bogged down in many conflicts which have nothing to do with our region since our involvement is based purely upon security pacts.
    Best wishes