Thursday, December 30, 2010

Barcode Of Life

I endured. Tolerated, really, the advent and passing of another Christmas. Yes, there is bitterness in those opening words, but I'm claiming entitlement to that sour emotion, at least for this screed. As I've mentioned previously, I'm in retail. That should speak a couple of chapters, if not volumes.

I am living and working in a society that has become nothing more than a cradle to grave barcode of life.

Don't give me the canned comeback about how we all make our choices, or how we create our own realities, like so many pop psychology gurus spew. Don't tell me how I could have fought for what I should have done this year to be with my family on Christmas day; how I should have made every effort to be with my newly widowed mother during this first of her coming solitary holidays without my dad. Screw any and all of you who even think that I could have changed events.

I've already screwed myself mentally and emotionally over all that. And screw the retail businesses with all their profits, dividends, and manic cultures of haf2betherecauseit'sthemostimportanttimeofthebusinessyear mantra. And to hell with the Madison Avenue brainwashed iWad infected consumers who should have enough sense to know when they've been taken for the fools they apparently are.

The last time I spent Christmas with my family was 1987. Therein lies much of my holiday bitterness. Partially by design, partially by circumstances, I landed in a part of the country a couple of thousand miles from any family. In 1987 I wasn't yet in the "management" level at work. I had just returned two years prior to the US to complete academic work, and was just beginning a renewed life back in the land of the free after a decade out of the country.

But from that year onward, I HAD to be at work. We HAD to serve the customers. The after Christmas sales HAD to be set prior to opening on December 26th. It was CRITICAL that we had all hands on deck. Comp sales! Record profits! Selling "seasonal time bombs"! Inventory prep! Inventory! Winter clearance set up! Spring merchandise arriving!

Such horsecrap. The corprotocracy, as I've called it for years, has created a monster that is said to determine the health of our nation's economy, thus the economic health of us all. We've been brainwashed into believing that keeping our own pockets free of finance is the strength of our nation and national economy. We've had over 40 years of "educational downsizing", if you will, that has produced an economic population that happily complies with the consumeristic enslavement of the masses to make corporate conglomerates filthy rich.

This is an economic population that continues to "educate" it's young so that they can barely sign their names legibly, have NO real grasp of history, or the historicity of this country's heritage, and have little interest beyond the electronic keyboard they are frantically thumbing as they drive, walk, or sleep.

This is an economic population that produced a president who thinks nothing of calling a multi-gazillionaire sports team owner, and thanking him for giving a convicted animal-killer, a second chance at a "job" playing a child's game for millions of dollars a year while thousands of citizens are job searching and struggling to keep afloat economically.

This is an economic population that continues to crave the latest dumbing-down gadgets that the corprotocracy creates to keep control of not only our finances, but of our minds. Even many of those job searching citizens still buy into the mind-numbing drivel that keeps them holding onto "hope and change."Yes, the masses will buy this week's latest pad, tablet, e-reader, whatever you want to call it, and think they're really smart to have another gizmo to finger and paw at. These are the very people who NEVER consider the wider implications of having such gadgets that can be programmed, uploaded, and downloaded, with anything the cyber mavericks decide to provide. They never consider that those same mavericks can switch off the content of those shiny gizmos and decide what the masses will be allowed to see, read, or hear, further advancing the chilling thought that citizens will continue to relinquish the ideals of freedom that they believe are granted to them for free.

This is an economic population that will call me crazy. Crazy for not embracing these marvelous inventions, crazy for not moving towards the future. Crazy for not going with the flow.

Well, I'm crazy, all right. Crazy for allowing myself to be part of the machine that drives this insanity forward. My excuses are the same as everyone else who find themselves rejecting this seasonal and ongoing madness: Have to pay the bills. I have a mortgage. I have a job that thousands are lined up to interview for. It's a job where, if I dropped dead tomorrow afternoon, I'd be replaced within a week or less. So, I meekly nod and mumble how I understand the "situation" when they tell me I simply cannot take off four or five days to travel cross country and be with my family during Christmas.

Yes, I am compliant. I have been brainwashed to some extent, to play into the sales, profits, and dividends of the corprotocracy. I have allowed myself to hand over my backbone, and bend with the needs of economic dependency.

The citizens of this country must open their minds to this decades old problem, and stop bemoaning, in passing, how Christmas, and the

nation have become "so commercialized." In the next instant these same people are dashing over to the next shiny thingy in the store window.

We need to mean it when we bemoan rabid commercialization of every aspect of our lives. We need to talk about it to others. We need to take action (or inaction in the case of buying things we don't need with money we don't have) to regain our economic power. We need to reclaim our numerous holidays for their actual meanings, NOT for how they can be cashed in for their economic value.

We should vocally, and actively renounce the absolute take over of our values, institutions, and traditions by totally selfish profit mongers. No more "I-Hop Stadium". No more "Kodak Theatre". I can imagine even sports teams quickly becoming, say, the "Coca-Cola Colts, the "Pepsi Patriots", or the "Texaco Texans". We should all tell corporations, and our various governments to stop destroying our traditions. Stop usurping our individual and collective identities.

And we need to ensure that the government and corporate entities stop telling us what is right, good, valuable, or moral.

We…NO…I need to take back my backbone and reclaim my priorities before there are no priorities left to claim. That's why I'm speaking out.

Take back your holidays. Take back your wealth. Take back the traditions that are falling away in the name of politically correct economics. Take back your sense of being. Let's restore true quality to our lives. Let's tear off the barcodes on our faces and ponder the images beneath.

What will we see?

Rick Baker

December 30, 2010.

Rochester, NY

© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker

Baby graphic © 2009-2010 by

Barcode head graphic © 2007- 2010 by Bulhakov.

New holiday tradition graphic ©

Shopping cart graphic titled "Post Consumerism Society", by Dutch Uncle Agency/London.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fighting The Cancer Of Celebrity

Who hasn't fantasized at one time or another about being rich and famous, about meeting stars, or about hobnobbing with celebrities?

When I was a young man in my 20's, I worked for a nationally known singer/songwriter from Houston. I traveled with his band as a roadie for a couple of years and met a number of famous people. Now that I'm older, I've stopped watching TV, I don't keep up much with the latest music/entertainment trends, and really don't give two hoots about famous people. Truth is, most of the really famous people my age group would like to meet are either dead or dying. They just don't make them like they used to.

I'll admit I do read the National Enquirer. It's my entertainment while I eat my ice cream with Hershey's syrup. But honestly, I probably don't know about 80% of the "stars" in the Enquirer. I mean, who ARE these people? Hell, there are so many shows, and about a billion TV channels now, that it seems everyone is a "star".

Except me.

But I don't care. There are more important issues in the world. Take, for example, the issue of cancer.

It was reported online today that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, attending a recent fundraiser for children's cancer research in St. Petersburg, Russia, took to the stage and sang, in English, "Blueberry Hill". You can watch that fascinating performance on You Tube.
But that's not the point of this rant. Also in attendance at the Russian charity event were many Hollywood celebrities including Goldie Hawn, Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone, and Mickey Rourke, to name a few.

Now let me clarify something: Those five celebrities are NOT part of what I'd consider "really famous people" as I mentioned above. They aren't included in the group of old-time "dead or dying" famous people. Although I think that Mickey Rourke is actually dead and being manipulated by remote control.

But they represent the class of celebrities these days who appear to be only interested in self promotion for self's sake. Furthermore, why would these self serving lettuce heads be jetting off to Russia, of all places, to attend a charity event? Do Russians know who Goldie, Kevin, Sharon and Mickey are? Puleeze.... The average Russian couldn't care less.

But there they are, hobnobbing with the likes of Putin who likewise hobnobs with some real winners himself, such as North Korea's Kim "I'm Ill", and Iran's Mahmoud "Imanutjob".

What I'd like to read someday is a story about how Goldie, Kevin, Sharon, and Mickey donated several million dollars to cancer research centers in their OWN cities. How they followed-up with the researchers to promote true independent cancer research in the United States. And how they spent quality time with cancer victims and survivors in their own communities.

And how they shunned the spotlight with world "leaders" who kiss the asses of other murderers.

Then someday maybe, just maybe, fans will think of them as "really famous people" who really made a difference.

In the meantime, I'll eat my ice cream and read the National Enquirer. That's all those celebrities' efforts are worth.

Rick B. Baker
December 12, 2010
Rochester, NY

© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker