Friday, October 30, 2009

Sweden, Ho

This morning, we found Boyd sleeping on my scanner. He seems to prefer black and red furniture, as he only sleeps on my red computer chair, Brook's black desk, and our black couch. He was so cute, all fat and sprawled out with his orange fur gleaming in the sunlight. And the way cats look at you after they wake up from a nap, turning their heads lazily with eyes half-open to gaze at you that says "sleep is bliss." I meant to take a photo, but my camera battery died. He's such a beautiful, languorous darling. I really have begun to prefer Boyd more in relation to Snorri, who is the cause of my disturbed sleep these past weeks. He likes to walk all over us starting as early at 7 AM, doing his signature mew-croak and pushing his face into our faces. To get close to us, he won't hesitate to step on a peaceful head or walk on an unsuspecting belly. The problem is, he'll never get comfortable and will keep doing this for a long time, trying to wake us up. And experience shows that angrily throwing him off the bed 10 times in a row just keeps him coming back for more. This behavior pisses me off because I am super cranky when I get rudely awakened, I dislike cat hair on the bed, and I'm trying to keep the cats away from my face since I might be allergic. The only reason we don't close the door at night is because B secretly longs for Boyd to sleep next to him like in the old days. We'll see how this turns out, as I cannot wait for Snorri to grow up and be a lazy, unintrusive cat. It's really the way I like animals to be.

Writer Rob Horning has a column on Popmatters called Marginal Utility. I used to devour his articles and somewhat freak out about all his warnings of our capitalistic and consumeristic society, but I've since calmed down. His recent post, "How Friendship Became Friending," caught my eye because of the comical title. I won't even pretend to be able to have an intelligent conversation about this topic, because it's difficult (or impossible) to examine the present and what it really means. I'm glad that other people take it upon themselves to do it, and I can only listen and consider. Personally, I am no longer on Facebook because of B. He strongly encouraged me to get off of it shortly after he did the same. I was a little reluctant, but now I'm glad that we're off that bandwagon. It was in my nature to check it way too often, update my profile too often, and care too much about the conversations and interacts I had on there. In a way, it not only supplemented by replaced some of my social interactions, since I am not always comfortable in (physical) social situations. For me, it has been good to be off. I am not sure just how much the article applies to the users of Facebook, but it's definitely the dark side of the social networking coin. I would like to think that mature users intentionally keep up a real social life and relationships in addition to their social networks if they so choose. Perhaps it's just the adolescents, older people, bored housewives, and lonely people who are more liable to succumb to the system.

Last night, B and I hopped over to the Drafthouse to watch Michael Moore's new documentary (or "doc-op"), Capitalism: A Love Story. Realizing that many people denounce him and his work, I tried to watch it with a grain of salt, knowing how one-sided arguments can be. B had never seen any of his films, so I was a little apprehensive that he might hate it. It was, in a word, exhausting. More than two hours of Debbie Downer material that capitalism is evil, immoral, unfair, and bulking up the rich and (figuratively) raping the poor. It focused mostly on the failure of the giant financial institutions, which has been all over the news, but for someone like me who stops paying attention to the news after a while, it was a refresher.

The movie's basic points: Capitalism in America has gone awry and is making the rich richer and the poor poorer. The poor are not rebelling against the system because of the American Dream, that they will somehow succeed and be just as rich later on in life. We know that rags-to-riches stories are widely popularized by few and far between. The rich (corporations) basically own the government, as they fund politicians and then get elected as staff. The banks and government used fear (just as Bush did after 9/11) to get the bailout and $700 billion worth of taxpayer money. American labor is in a sad state because so many of the brightest college graduates, instead of entering the fields of science or math, have entered Wall Street for profit. Greed, profit > people, consumption, backhanded dealings, lies..

Yes this is happening all the time in America. People getting screwed over is what bothers me the most. My family is middle class. I am probably lower middle class, considering my entry-level salary. But still, I can pay rent, eat good food, travel a bit, buy the stuff I want, and have some left over for savings. That is what everyone wants for themselves as a baseline, right? But in living that way, am I complicit in keeping this awful system going? Yes. I don't know how to change it. I most definitely don't want to be destitute. I am fortunate to have parents who taught me how to handle money, and also the resources and knowledge to avoid getting screwed over by the system. I know not to accumulate credit card debt, not to take out loans at crazy rates, read the fine print, etc. B noted that it is so hard to stay afloat when companies are really out to get you like this. It is just so sad that many people aren't aware to watch out for these tactics, and they suffer unnecessarily for their mistakes. But like I said, I can't change this. I am not sure that Obama can change it so much, since change takes forever to happen with a slow-moving government like ours. Right now, I am leaning towards trying to get out. To a smaller place where the people are represented in the government and economy. Where awful, unfair things don't systematically happen to so many people, and where people are not allowed to get disgustingly rich and stay that way. If that makes me a "socialist," then so be it.

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