Zinn and the Art of Moral Masturbation


At nearly 30, I’m *mostly* over the first decade of profound cynicism and frankly suicidal despair that came with entering the real world and learning about it, but I do sometimes feel that if I could draw, I would draw satirical cartoons about the idiotic death circus that is America (particularly the self-righteous and distracting illusions of “the left” and “the right,” whatever they may be or have once been long ago).

FOR MY FIRST, I’d sketch a big, shiny, high-tech Death Machine that spits out beautiful electronics and smartphones with a well-known corporate logo, a picture so vivid (hell) I’ll SLIP INSIDE IT.

Of course, the machine is fed by a giant hopper into which thousands of people (the poor from at home and abroad, but emphasis on ABROAD) tumble. As they are ground into bloody quarterly profits, a few try desperately to crawl over the side – you can see their outstretched arms, fingers splayed desperately in their death throes, or could see them if you weren’t off-put by the alarming proportion of brown skin in the Death Machine, but of course I’m one of the pale, educated, progressive folks (I MEAN FOLX) and we “Don’t See Color” (TM), dontchaknow, so it’s easy after all to turn my gaze from that plexiglass window.

THANK GOD their screams are deadened by bulletproof polycarbonate, along with the cheerful words of the beaming sales rep (with an array of appropriate, socially conscious buttons on their lapel), who hands over shiny electronics while happily burbling about how TECH-CORP has “signed the CLIMATE PLEDGE” and how “we have committed to hiring more LGBT employees” and how “we have reworded all our newsletters to say Latinx.”

This last fills my heart with particular joy, though (of course) research shows that practically no ACTUAL Latinos use this term, and less than 25% have even heard of it; but using it at every opportunity DEFINITELY makes college-educated white middle class people like me feel better about ignoring the fact that TECH-CORP happily supplies electronics and logistics to the CIA and its backed South American dictatorships that torture, rape, and murder dissidents throughout an entire continent. (Hell, not just dissidents – the indiscriminate slaughter by the kind of psychopaths that Langley enjoys hiring would make Toecutter blush).

To be fair, a minor TECH-CORP blogger wrote a piece about the mass graves behind that Ecuadorian middle school (before being cancelled by a 17 year old Twitter Activist for the crime of using gendered pronouns to describe the dead victims while exposing the crime), so that’s alright in the end. And LET ME BE CLEAR, my egregiously overpriced gadgets might have funded the death squad that removed their organs with rusty pincers (whilst recording on a TECH-CORP smartphone, of course), but I’ll be DAMNED if I repeat that blogger’s crime and misgender some poor dead Salvadorian bastarx.

AS THE CONSUMER, of course, I do a little dance upon hearing this spiel, and I thank the beaming sales rep, so glad that I’m making a “conscious” purchase from a “clean” company and forgetting the Congolese child slaves whipped to death to mine the rare-earth metals in the circuitry of my new phone, also pushing away memories of that slave factory in China where the device was assembled. This last is a dingy fortress where TECH-CORP’s contractor had to install suicide nets because rampant “worker” suicides began to impact production quotas. The imprisoned people (including children) are still jumping, of course, but now they can be safely hooked back in for another 22 hour shift (though their bloody nubs sometimes do harm production numbers, and investors are annoyed).

I also suppress the knowledge that TECH-CORP just this year won the billion-dollar contract to build and run the U.S. drones that murder thousands of innocents worldwide every year (piloted by pimple-faced teens in air-conditioned US military complexes who trained on TECH-CORP video games throughout childhood and who now make four times my annual salary before they can even buy a beer).

STOP, THAT’S UNFAIR! The TECH-CORP January Letter to Investors was one of the first corporate docs to prominently contain the term “nonbinary,” showing that they really are decent and heartily woke chapx underneath it all, and even though they proudly donated to a famous white supremacist presidential administration (whose superfans have slaughtered minority members from coast to coast before launching the first coup attempt since the civil war), and even though this might explain why TECH-CORP continue their amazing streak of paying NO DOMESTIC TAXES, they claim that their American HQ is going to be carbon-neutral by 2050 (word is still out on the sweatshops in Eurasia and Africa). The company in fact received a GLAAD award for featuring a genderfluid, half-Argentinian Martian in the new TECH-CORP TV superhero film (though test audiences and AI projections convinced them to lighten the Martian’s skin tone ever so slightly, which caused such a backlash that CEO Tim Baker now insists it was “an accident” that is “being investigated.”)

Anyway, the film incidentally helped rejuvenate the career of convicted murderer, neo-Nazi organizer, and child pornographer [but actually a Really Nice Guy When You Get To Know Him (TM)] Mel Lipson, because (let’s face it), we still want the dollar from certain more… “traditional” demographics and consumers. We’ll keep the script socially conscious, of course, but Marketing does insist that we need to get their butts into seats (albeit while being quiet about it.) Plus, Mel was on Joe Rogaine’s megahit podcast, so audiences feel that he can’t really be THAT bad a guy, right?

In fact, as I drive away and activate my shiny new TECH-CORP device, I may get in some good, old-fashioned social justice warfare by tweeting about the inherent Cisgender, Heterosexual Patriarchy and Classism of traffic lights; thus doing the Lord’s work and putting terror into (say) actual murdering neo-Nazis who beat Capitol policemen’s heads in with fire extinguishers, and making the world a generally better place not only through my Conscious Consumerism, but by Speaking My Truth. (I feel oddly brave “speaking out” on the Internet to the sorts of skinhead bruisers that beat and murder people with an unsettling casualness and whom I would never face in person; I’m sure they will tremble and be transformed at my digital [albeit carefully anonymized] word.)

Now, it comes to my attention that some accuse me of inconsistency, for instance because I voted for the “liberal” politician who proceeded to cut all social program funding, and then ironically I almost tased a Black transgender homeless teen who asked me for a dollar for bus fare that one time [(I’m scared of muggers, dontchaknow, but I also “Don’t See Color” (TM)].

GODDAMN IT, I AM DOING MY PART and FIGHTING FOR THE CAUSE and MAKING A DIFFERENCE (TM). Can’t people see that?! I even streamed that TECH-CORP Notflicks show after the lead came out as trans. I AM A WARRIOR, FOR GOD’S SAKE.

Granted, the recent TECH-CORP US-Army (TM) invasion of Canada and the TECH-CORP murder squad selfies might make it harder for my righteous message to penetrate the Twittersphere this week, but I will sleep well, knowing that I have done my part in consciousness raising (though a little attention would help, not that I’m making any of these issues all about me.) And hey, if I get drafted into the corporate death squads under that new Consumer Impressment Act, my new comrades will KNOW exactly what I stand for as we’re crushing some pretentious hockey-loving village and their outdated notions of Democracy, equality, and universal human rights.

I am a PROUD LIBERAL, and they’d better not forget it.

May God bless America, and may God bless the Death Machine (Now Green)*.

AMEN, and lest we forget, AWOMEN.





**Legally speaking, Green refers to a “feeling of general green-ness in terms of being generally – well, not PRO-PLANT, as TECH-CORP does not wish to take sides, but decidedly not ANTI-PLANT either. TECH-CORP is a proud recipient of the SOCIAL CHANGE award from ChangeTek (a TECH-CORP subsidiary) and a Congressional Commendation for Green Innovation***.

***Congress is a subsidiary of TECH-CORP. All rights reserved. Hail Satan and abandon hope all ye who enter here.

****Yes, I’ve largely accepted living here and now, and I expend less energy fighting the Absurdist milieu of modern America (and its geopolitical hegemony) — I am trying to channel more of that energy into building a small, good bubble in the swamp, as it were. But to stay sane, I sometimes have to vent the CPU with extreme prejudice and self-aware hypocrisy and absurdity. And yes, I buy things.

Image Credit: Shutterstock (Used under license)

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