File under "never at the alt-weekly in Nashville": Every Tuesday morning, the SF Weekly news blog The Snitch profiles one of the Bay's many cool blogs in a segment we call -- BetterKnowanSFBlog.
If you can get your hands on a copy of this month's Harper's I readily recommend "Hot Air Gods" by Curtis White. It's a fantastic piece about our belief systems in a capitalistic society. They don't offer articles online, but I wanted to pull a short excerpt for my blog anyway. It's a really good read.
Ultimately, our beliefs become just another form of what the media calls "content." A book is a sales unit. What's in the book is content, which is a matter of utter indifference to the people who are responsible for moving a product. Our religious content soon becomes indistinguishable from our financial content and our entertainment content and our sports content, just as the sections of your local paper can attest. In short, belief becomes a culture-commodity. We shop among competing options for belief.
Once reduced to the status of a commodity, our anything-goes, do-it-yourself spirituality cannot have very much to say about the more direct nihilistic conviction that we should all be free to do whatever we like as well, each of us pursuing our right to isolated happiness. Worse yet: for that form of legal individual known as the corporation, the pursuit of happiness can mean fishing with the factory trawlers, clear-cutting forests, and spreading toxins across the country-side with all the zeal of a child sprinkling candies on a cupcake.
In short, the best spiritual environment for free-market corporate malfeasance is one that is anarchic as its own form of economic reason. After all, we are not accustomed to saying "no" to anyone who proceeds in sincerity, and oh boy, is corporate capitalism ever sincere. So we are called upon to respect the business man's right to pursue his company's "happiness" just as we are called upon to respect all forms of personal belief. ...
Capitalism as an ethical system has succeeded in convincing people living under it that it is not a system at all but a state of nature. In this way, it has managed to remain above the fray of culture war, and restricted those value systems that might compete with it to competing with each other. In short, culture war is a great comfort to capitalism.
Capitalism has been so successful in this orchestration of reality that it has even created the illusion that, in spite of every fact, the Market works for all of us, or will eventually. In spite of the fact that the poor are even greater in number, and that education, health care, and retirement are ever more inaccessible, the majority of Americans persist in believing (with all the obliviousness of Voltaire's Dr. Pangloss) that our economic system is "the best of all possible worlds." This is a form of wishful and magical thinking no stranger than the belief that a statue of the Madonna can cry.
(I changed the title of this post because it was not good.)
"Protests, it strikes me, are not the essence of
I walked down to the Ferry Buildings for lunch today. It was my first time inside the food pier -- wow, such options. Artisan breads, fancy cheese and infused honeys sat perfect and pricey alongside jarred olive tapinade and imported Italian olive oil. I opted for a slice of cheese and potato quiche from Lulu Petite because it was cheap ($4.75). I should have gotten the $7 egg sandwich, because the quiche was a bust. The egg part was almost liquid-y, and the crust was a soggy disappointment. I hate that my first meal from the Ferry Building bombed. Oh well, I ate just a few bites of what would have been an overly caloric lunch. I've been saved from stretch pants by a coagulated quiche.
Thanks for allowing me the newly opened seat on BART this morning. I'd never been on the train with it being that crowded before. I am not quite tall enough to hold on to the bar overhead, but without support I lurch forward and backward with each stop. The vertical rails are nice, but the one nearest me was unavailable thanks to a chatty Cathy who was oblivious to those around her.
You could have taken that seat. I am not disabled or elderly. But, instead you held out your hand toward the empty spot, insinuating I should have it for myself. So, I sat down. It was a nice ride.
I appreciate it,