Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A House Divided

This segment is a bit more negative. Here, the camera focuses squarely on Halliwell and his insecurities. More to come, natch.

A Coffee shop:

“Where’s that guy? That Kevin fellow?”

“Dunno. Is that his name?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Well, anyway, so I had a great Idea. Every state should be its own state.”

“The country is way ahead of ya.”

“No, I mean state in the nation sense. The entire country should divide into 50 separate countries. Each could collect its own taxes and make its own legislative decisions.”

“But they already can.”

“No, not at all, states aren’t allowed to do a whole mess of things that the federal government can. Like make treaties with other countries. Like California. They couldn’t sign the Kyoto treaty, though they governor really wanted. It was a news thing awhile ago. I think around the same time the governator’s presidential aspirations were crushed based on his Austrian heritage.”

“You know, Hitler was an Austrian.”

“And a vegetarian, but how is that in any way relevant to my fantastic Idea?”

“Absurd idea, you mean.”

“And how so, mister big shot?”

“Well, for one, having states that size would never work. It would lead to disparities in less populous states, like Montana. Or New Mexico.”

“But that already exists!”

“Not to the extent it would, the government helps make up for lack of income and support. Beyond that, there’s the problem of defense. How would a collection of tiny nations defend itself?”

“The same way the colonies did. Through a collective army.”

“But it would be a nightmare to co-ordinate. And speak nothing of potential conflicts between states. What if Texas decided it didn’t feel like supporting Florida in the defense of the gulf? We would have a disaster.”

“What kind of line of thought is that? When was the last time a foreign nation attacked mainland U.S. unprovoked? Hawaii doesn’t count, as it wasn’t even a state during Pearl Harbor.”

“We have to think towards the potential future. What if there was another Cuban missile crisis? What would the collective nations of America do then?”

“Beyond the ridiculousness of that idea, the opposing power wouldn’t necessarily be at war with all of America. Remember, we’d have the nations of Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and so forth. I doubt that the entirety of the continent would ever be at war with anyone else.”

“Now that’s just crazy talk. You know, after World War One, people said that would be no more war ever again. It was to be the ‘war to end all wars.’ It didn’t last long, now did it?”

“But nearly every conflict since world war one have been American provoked. Even the entry into both of those wars was somewhat contentious.”

“Bah, conspiracy nonsense”

“Even discounting the two world wars, we still have the Korean war, Vietnam, the gulf war—“

“Which was initiated by Iraq

“When a figurehead we installed to ensure constant supplies of oil got somewhat uppity. It was still none of our business, and clearly an attempt to justify flexing our military muscle just after the cold war. Anyway, the current Iraq conflict, where we basically solidified our position of declaring that it’s perfectly okay for a bunch of crazy Zionist Jews to have nukes, but god forbid any Muslims even cough the word ‘nuclear.’”

“Now you’re just getting silly. Iraq was a potential threat. As is any nation with nukes. They all make me uncomfortable. I hear France has nukes. It keeps me awake at night to think that those cheese eating surrender monkeys have their finger on the button.”

“Ridiculous. No one has the guts to use a nuke in this day and age. The global sanctions and political climate would decimate whatever part of the nation left after the retaliatory strikes. Quit interrupting me, though. Before the world wars, we had the Indian “wars” where we slaughtered a continent of people for having an incompatible way of life. After that we have a number of smaller wars, mostly with Spain over various countries that the Monroe doctrine and Roosevelt corollary insisted that we should control. Really, the vast majority of military conflicts in this country are for fairly petty reasons. The reason we focus so much as a society on both world war two and the holocaust is because frankly, that was the only really justifiable war we’ve been in in the history of our nation. Even that we didn’t enter until millions had already died. And yet, for showing up late and letting things go as far as we did, we still earned the admiration and respect of the world, which we proceeded to ruin with a pithy war with Russia over a different political system. Honestly, Americans are some of the worst people in the world. We’ve been holding it hostage and propping up our economy against that of others for years. You know we use a quarter of the world’s resources, while having some five percent the world’s population? It’s a ridiculous empire we’ve set up here.”

“Wow. You really are insane. Weren’t the other day you complaining about the ‘hippie group think’ that I was espousing? And now you’re spouting a long line of vitriol against your home country. Don’t you appreciate it living here? Most anywhere else you’d be condemned for saying that.”

“In this country I’m condemned for saying it. Just because it’s a social condemnation as opposed to a legal one makes little difference to me. GOD! Why is this country so fucked up?”

“In the vein of JFK, why are you so fucked up?”

“A man, living in adverse conditions can do little to stop himself from becoming adverse.”

“Where’s that from?”

“Dunno, just made it up.”

“Ah, it must be bullshit then.”

“Oh, absolutely. Because only people who are dead and buried or famous can say profound things.”

“Now you’re catching on!”

“Obscure quotes and snappy comebacks are the realm of comedy writers, and the only thing funny about you is your face. Good day, sir.”

“Doth mine ears deceive me? Hath the great Halliwell J, esquire, made a comeback? This is rarer than the rose picked at midnight!”

“That’s not a real quote.”

“See, I can do it too.”

“Kevin’s still not here, what happened?”

“Why do you assume I know? I never work wherever it is he lives. I only see him here and not that often, at that. Why do you care, anyhow? He’s just some weirdo who sits by us for some reason. “

“You know, it’s nice to care about other people. It helps win you friends. Perhaps if you had some, you wouldn’t be so negative about this country. Sure, things aren’t as good as they were in Roosevelt’s time, but they certainly aren’t as bad as you go on about. Think of all the great social programs and freedoms that the people enjoy!”

“Un example, por favor.”

“Americorps! Bill Clinton’s legacy of a volunteer program that helps people and communities nationwide.”

“Temporarily. No lasting impact. Some future administration will write it off, citing budget inefficiency or some such.”

“I doubt even a republican would commit political suicide by refusing to help people.”

“You’re talking about a party that recently railed against a “stimulus” package because it included a portion supporting birth control. Earmarks and condoms, they said. They should have said apportions and abortions. It would have rhymed better.”

“I’m perfectly aware of the general heinousness of the republican party. Back to my point, Social security has saved hundreds of thousands of retirees from complete poverty or death.”

“With whatever money they have left after all the borrowing against it the government does. The recent crisis has nothing to do with baby boomers. It has to do with a bunch of ill advised reallocations of funds from the social security pool to cover the ridiculously massive budget we’ve been wrestling with since the Reagan administration.”

“Can anything break through your bitter shell of cynicism?”

“Puppies, kittens, warm woolen mittens. That’s about it.”

“What of the education system? Millions of kids are educated for free, every year.”

“Go on.”

“I was waiting for another biting response. “

“I’m interested in what you have to say about yet another corrupt aging institution in society.”

“Oh, there it is. In other countries, kids aren’t educated nearly as much as ours. In most countries, people have to pay to get their kids educated past primary school. Here in America we teach every kid, regardless of income or race or any other consideration, all the way up to college preparation level. No other nation before us has instituted such a widespread effort to disseminate knowledge.”

“That’s a very positive view of it.”

“Well, let’s hear your contradiction. By all means, let your ridiculous American antipathy free.”

“I’d rather not. I’m not a show dog, to be herded about and mocked. ‘Oooh, look at the adorable unpatriotic sentiment.’ I’ll have none of that, mind you. I’ll not be used to engage in others self reflection for them.”

“Self reflection? Is that what you call it? I think you’re simply trying to eke out an edgy space for yourself by fostering a pointless stance of purest cynicism. It’s more like ‘Oooh, I’m so impressed, he doesn’t follow social norms!’ It’s okay! You can let down your guard with me! You can be sentimental without trading in your balls! Manhood’s definition is no longer measured by the level of apathy you can display!”

“You presume to understand me? You, who hardly knows me? What about your silly crusades? You want people to support you in a grand unification of the human spirit, and join together in harmony and peace and understanding. Don’t you get it, Mike? That’s not what people are! People are many things, but kind and amiable aren’t on that list! There will always be hatred, always be segregation!”

“It’s you who doesn’t get it! These things are part of our base natures, sure, but with a conscious effort, we can overcome our brutal animalistic desires to surpass ourselves! Sure, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in my lifetime, but it’s a process! People can overcome! Can’t you see our progress? Can’t you see how far we’ve come! We have a black president! No more than fifty years ago the very Idea was unmentionable! The people in this country have achieved so much, and you would dash it all to the floor by simply saying ‘it’s not enough.’ When will it be enough, Hal, when?”

“Why do you persist in such unrealistic dreams? You’re just creating illusions for yourself to stem the acknowledgement of reality. Life isn’t sunshine and roses. All of these things you mention are just examples of the popular climate moving away from legal enforcement of social rules. Blacks are still treated like ghetto trash because they literally are ghetto trash. They’re being confined to the ghettos by social stratification. The real estate companies, god bless their souls, are simply supporting the views of the public. The only reason a black man became president is through a bunch of political maneuvering by the democrats. They needed an ace in the hole to guarantee their win, so they put forth both a woman and a black to see which the public would bite. They picked a black guy, and all of a sudden, racism is gone. That line of thinking is just so shallow, I can’t even begin to describe… When people begin to believe the rhetoric they hear, nothing good ever comes of it. Look at the McCarthy period! Look at the Comstockian laws! You really want people to think the problem is solved just by putting a band-aid over it! Schools are no better! Institutions of western propaganda! Even what is taught in schools ends up under controversy! And why shouldn’t it? Schools were designed to instill good catholic morals in the children of the working class years ago! Rather than encouraging free thought, it simply emphasizes a certain way of thinking! Why do you think colleges spend so much time deconstructing assumptions in freshmen? Because the public school system spent so much time building up a set of prejudices! Why are you so blind to this?”

“Blind? Blind? I can’t believe I’m hearing this! Why can’t you take any joy in life? Why are you so obsessed with motivations and judgments? Can’t you relax? Are the means really that bad? With the ridiculously high standard of living in this country, why does it matter so much how we got here or what we’re doing to support it? People are people, no matter where you go, sure they’re fallible, but there are wonderful things about them! Not everything in life is bad! Every day, people make miracles happen for other people! Huge amounts of money are donated to charity each year! Bill Gates, one of the richest men in America Has donated massive portions of his wealth, and plans to donate almost all of it to helping kids everywhere! Never before in history has the whole of humanity cared so much about each other! We make and buy free trade coffees to help the poor of other nations lift themselves out of poverty, we have massive organizations that move food and supplies to the needy all around the world! Millions of people volunteer around the world, using their time to help those less fortunate! There are so many good things in the world, and you only want to see the bad! With this horrible view of the world, why haven’t you killed yourself yet? If things are so bad and never going to get better, why are you still bothering to be alive?”



“So, how bout that weather?”

“Better than last week’s, I suppose.”

“Yeah, it’s nice.”

“Listen, I’ve got to get going.”

“Yeah, same here. See you later, I suppose.”

“See ya.”

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