The other day I went to cancel my gym membership.
By “went” of course I mean “logged on,” since my state governor, though not one of the high priestesses of the Church of COVID like Gavin Newsom, is still angling for a slot in Tha PrezzyDizzle’s third term. I’m sure online yoga and whatnot work great for some people, but there’s no such thing as “Zoom curls” or “virtual bench press” and I’m not gearing up in a goddamn hazmat suit just to hit the weight rack.
It was an eye-opening experience. I’ve had an easier time assembling IKEA kits using the Swahili instructions. This went way beyond incompetent website design; this was active malice.
Which makes sense given the “villain decay” we talked about yesterday, I guess. Just as Spotify, Pandora, etc., seem to have decided that they can annoy you into subscribing to their premium service, Globo Gym evidently believes that if they just make cancelling your membership enough of a chore, you’ll give up and keep paying them $100 a month for the privilege of not working out there.
And I hate to say it, but they’re probably right, at least in the short term, if for no other reason than every other institution in this pathetic excuse for a “nation” has bet the farm on the same business model. They’ve worked very hard to set up a world in which “not doing anything” is far, far easier than “doing something.”
It starts in grade school. In his very interesting memoir The Molding of Communists — get yours before it’s banned — Frank Meyer discusses his time as a “cadre,” one of the hardcore infiltrators. Being a smart guy eager to flex his intellectual muscles, very early on he tried doing some “theoretical” work and got his ass kicked by the higher-ups. Never do that, the bosses told him. You can’t write a single page without committing some kind of deviation; leave the “theorizing” to the experts…
…by which was meant: the guys more wired into Moscow, the keepers of the official Party Line. Since the Party Line changed unpredictably, without warning (except to the very, very clued-in), “deviations” were inevitable for anyone aiming above his station. Some of these Party Line changes were just politics — e.g. the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact — but lots of them weren’t. Stalin was an evil genius, and one of his best tricks was to suddenly flip the Party Line every now and again, seemingly just for shits and giggles. This induced learned helplessness in his slaves. Note that Wiki finds a way to quote the CIA — as if Commie torturers, especially the Chinese, didn’t write the book on this stuff (get it before it’s banned!) — but whatever, please note:
learned helplessness is characterized as “apathy” which may result from prolonged use of coercive techniques which result in a “debility-dependency-dread” state in the subject, “If the debility-dependency-dread state is unduly prolonged, however, the arrestee may sink into a defensive apathy from which it is hard to arouse him.”
“A defensive apathy from which it is hard to arouse him” is a perfect description for life in the USSR, 1917-1991, and if you know anyone who grew up behind the Iron Curtain, you can still see the scars. You don’t have to torture a guy to induce learned helplessness, though. Indeed, the best “defensive apathy” is the kind where the “arrestee” thinks he’s neither defensive nor apathetic. So what you do is, you change the catechism without warning, Stalin-style, between iterations of the same standardized test.
Since it’s an issue I’ve had a lot of experience with (anecdotal experience, you goofs, get your minds out of the gutter), let’s talk homosexuality as an example. If you remember the 1990s, the One True Way to be Gay back then was to have as much anonymous unprotected sex as possible. The merest suggestion that settling down into a committed relationship might have some benefits was a hate crime. And then… suddenly…. just like that…. “gay marriage” was all the rage, and it was now a hate crime to suggest that all gay men everywhere might not want to settle down in the suburbs to raise lhasa apsos together. See what I mean? If you don’t want to get in trouble with the Lavender Mob, the best thing to do is just avoid the subject entirely.
Take that down the line, for every item of the SJW catechism, and you’ve got No Child Left Behind. The good students are the ones who can parrot today’s catechism flawlessly. The best students, the ones who get the scholarships to the Ivy Leagues, are the ones who can not only parrot it flawlessly, but who can, Khrushchev-style, anticipate the changes and get out in front of them. In their minds, they’re neither defensive nor apathetic — no no, they’re good little boys and girls (or whatever they identify as today). Be sure to post your gold stars on all your social media accounts!!
Alas for the world, they actually are defensive and apathetic, as you can prove to your heart’s content by merely suggesting that they turn the fucking phone off. Even older folks, who should damn well know better, will start giving you every excuse in the book. What if an important client calls? What if one of my grandkids is attacked by a bear?
“Well, ok then,” should be your reply. “Then just uninstall Facebook and Twitter.”
Go ahead. Watch what happens.
And that’s grownups. Try that with a kid — meaning, these days, anyone under the age of 35 — and they’ll look at you the way your dog would if you asked it to factor quadratics. Arf? Woof? It just doesn’t compute.
Which suits the Powers That Be just fine, but the problem with betting the farm on this state of affairs continuing indefinitely should be obvious. Consider Nuke1776’s analysis of what happened to that cargo ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal. Nothing seems simpler than sailing a giant-ass ship in a straight line, but it’s actually a very complex endeavor that requires a lot of systems working in perfect sync… or it requires a lot of quick-thinking people with real knowledge making correct decisions on the fly. The crew of the SS Clown World decided to roll the dice and just assume that everything was hunky-dory, because hey, why not? When has a complicated electronic doohickey that requires constant maintenance by highly trained technicians ever failed in a critical spot before?
Some systems have a lot of “give” in them — a lot of redundancy, wide margins of error. Some have very little. Some are so huge and complex that we can’t even guess as to how much “give” they might have. I’d say that “society” falls into that latter category, but we seem determined to find out. There’s nothing like installing an obvious dementia patient as our totally legitimate, not at all fraudulent “president” to signal to the world that you’ve decided to say fuck it and just roll the dice, assuming everything’s hunky dory because as some Dead White Guy once said, objects in motion tend to stay in motion….
…unless something something something, oh who remembers, I’m sure it’s fine, and anyway physics be rayciss, yo. Inertia for the win. What could possibly go wrong?Loading Likes...