by: Heather Fawn
The new American Dream, and the fallacy of “choice”…
The year is 2016, and there is a new American Dream. While we still hold out hope that something is gonna save us from ourselves, we no longer strive only for the house, the kids, the car, and the spouse. No longer can we pursue our dreams simply through hard work and sacrifice. The Puritan standards for hard work equating moral strength are absurd when three jobs still don’t pay the bills. Is it strong and wise to run full-speed to nowhere? The media own your opinions. There is a trademark on most of the words that come out of your mouth. Most workers are a brand. Starbucks, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s – everything you say or do has already been accounted for. Meticulously, with every staff meeting and sales pitch, you have been baptized in the polluted waters of corporate consumerism. Almost nothing escapes its deft hand.You will do what you will do, and they will have known you would do it before it was done. It’s all here, in the manual.
Privilege – it’s a curious thing. Every country has its own standards. But don’t worry – our American fallacy clearly states that poor people are morally corrupt. As are rich people. God save the middle class. Though everyone thinks they’re middle class. You look like you might be.
The glorification of ignorance won us a grand prize. Thanks to a surge in junk food advertising, convenience over quality, a maniacal car culture, and a dearth of knowledge on nutrition – we’re so fat we can’t see our feet. It’s easier to convince ourselves that people are bullies, that doctors are wrong, or that we look better in Spanx rather than admit to ourselves that we are fat. It’s not everyone else’s problem, though. It’s personal. And it should be. You get one body. Barring illness, injury, or medication, you are accountable for maintenance. If every pork rind and stuffed crust you eat manifests itself as another fat roll, that is the cross you bear. There are worse things to go through than a diet devoid of pizza rolls though. Remember that multiple industries are happy to watch you drown in your own chin fat. Do you really think that the bacon fad is just ‘cool’ or ‘man food’? Don’t be naive. If a diamond company could get every Joe, Sam, and Robert to hand over his savings for a shiny, clear rock that’s purported to impress a woman into lifetime commitment, there are other evil’s afoot. The other day I ate an entire bag of cheese curls without much conscious thought. This shit is pre-programed. Every time I’ve ever watched an infomercial on weight loss, it’s made me want to rebel and eat more. No matter how unique or special you think you are, some company, somewhere, has your goddamn number. And you’re an easy target.
How do you know that you like what you like, before someone suggested you’d like it? If you stopped reading magazines, watching TV, consuming news, or even dining out, how would you make decisions about what to buy, what to wear, what to eat, what to name your kid, what to do on the weekend, who to vote for, which group to hate, or where to put your money to keep it safe?
We seem to not know what to do with our emotions. We put them into things they might not belong. Food. Drugs. Overly coddled pets. Porn. Bank accounts. Jobs. Then we have a deficit when we need a surplus. No wonder you didn’t feel anything when Grandma died – you bought a pass at the slot machines on your trip to Las Vegas.
But, who am I kidding? You’re just trying to live your life, right? Doing what they ask. Buying what they sell. It’s not a problem you can solve with self-help books or a lifetime subscription to financial planning magazines. People these days are even trying to live off the grid but their instincts are shot to hell. Who the fuck knows how to walk this goddamn tightrope between a yearning for simpler times and unlimited access to technology? Fuck if I’ve got any idea. Might as well hold me down and shove a wire into my arm cause I’m always fucking online, baby. What the fuck? This cute little rabbit in spectacles is getting five thousand views a minute on some corner of the Internet? I gotta’ fuckin see this! Did someone say something slightly profound while they were drunk? Send me the link. Did someone on their cell phone cause a fifty-car pileup during rush hour? Settle in and let the judgmental comments cascade down the screen.
Speak of the fuckin’ devil. I just got an email. The notification tone I use is Skipper’s famous call. You know – the dolphin. That’s how I know it’s an email.
Anyway, wanna know something? The new American Dream now resides in every damn minute of the day because we all fell asleep at the wheel and now someone else is driving. No barrel-aged bourbon, pint of ice cream, or Netflix binge is going to help you get out of the ropes that bind you. The drive is long and the fossil fuels are trading well so you’d better enjoy the desert sunrise while you figure out your escape. Hey. Hey! Don’t you go nodding off on me. God it’s hot in here! Any chance you could slip me the key to these cuffs? Just try to kick it with your foot. Don’t fall out the back though. We’re fuckin’ careening down the highway in the middle of the night to God knows where. Christ. Yeah, yeah, buddy, yeah, don’t worry. I’ll help you out too, I just can’t think so good with this metal digging into my skin.