Being laid up with some flu-like virus and with eyes too blurred to read gives one the chance to reflect on the real world -- that being the world we see on television. Normally we're not expected or encouraged to reflect on it at all, but to fall into its clutches by having our minds numbed by throbbing beats, bouncing bodies, empty excitements, stupid scandals and steered toward desire for products and services that we associate with that throbbing, sobbing, semiotics-laden landscape of aspirations.
But when your head isn't quite up to it, when you just don't have the energy or enthusiasm, perhaps you start to make unintended observations, as I did this morning hearing about special services offered to special customers of the major airlines, including expedited check-in at private and secret facilities with disguised entrances: special trips from one gate to another in Porsches and Mercedes SUV's. Anyone having recently experienced the Kafkaesque hamster habitat and third world refugee center of LaGuardia, (where I caught this damned bug ) must needs reflect on the fact that despite being what most people would call affluent, he's farther from being treated like that than from being on the next flight from Cape Canaveral to Mars. The stratification of our society is extreme and getting quickly more so, but its not always apparent. Not always apparent even though, like the downstairs people of a couple of centuries ago, we spend much time gaping at the aristocracy in awe and dreaming of living like that. Sorry, if ever we get to climb those stairs, we'll be carrying a tray.
Of course that aristocracy is different: from Kanye and the Kardashian, looking like those silicone love dolls, posing plasticly as the get into their Porsche SUV while cameras flash, to the ten million a year CEO being coddled up front while a 5'6" mere millionaire doesn't quite fit into that center seat (aisle and window extra) and sweats and hungers and feels like a sardine in a can. Even Mister ten million is on the low end of course, the Princes have their own jets.
But it's the advertising you get during the day -- endless ads from personal injury lawyers dedicated to making you rich, to trade schools dedicated to getting even you a job, to insurance companies dedicated to get even your car insured and getting you a 400% APR loan -- to miracle berries and pills and books and videos dedicated to getting rid of that weight you put on sitting around all day on the couch watching this crap and eating all that wonderful slop from McWendy King.
Dating services that use GOD to get you laid must hope you won't ask how GOD got into the machine or why he needs it. Chances to get in on the latest class-action suit gravy train. Pills to cure diseases you never heard of like non-37, or restless pinky or low Z or other ad agency names you wish you had so you could get some of that new, hip and exclusive $300 a pill medicine with names like Sumerian princes: Adulamadu, Boogalumadab, Ziusudra. Drugs with a list of side effects that ought to scare hell out of you. And of course nothing cures what actually ails me!
But you've got the whole day ahead of you, lying on the couch and you can watch Jerry and Maury to see people so hopelessly trapped in ignorance, stupidity and lust that their lives serve to make you feel better about your own misery. You have Fox to make you so riled up about TFN Obama you will forget about why things used to be better for people like you. We have entertainment - we have virtual worlds - we have endless hamster tunnels to explore without leaving our couches, our hovels, our trailers, and unlike previous generations of hopeless troglodytes we can dream our sad dreams of getting to a better place without having to die.