A friend had posted a link to some op-ed bullshit in the NYT, which, she claimed, was a "must" read for Independence Day. "The Downside of Liberty," it was called, by some novelist named Kurt Andersen. A dozen "friends," including three who I actually knew, had already "liked" it. I'm a stupid fish sometimes, so I bit. The essay didn't look too long, so I skimmed the whole thing.
Talk about stepping on my high. (Which, true, was thanks to THC as well as the G and T.) Dude's complaining about how "shamelessly selfish" we all are. He blamed the "Do your own thing" creed of the 1960s for setting the tone. This was "not so different than 'every man for himself,'” he said. Sex and drugs were cool—but, in the end, capitalism got a pass, too. A "tacit grand bargain was forged between the counterculture and the establishment," he said. "The youthful masses of every age would be permitted as never before to indulge their self-expressive and hedonistic impulses. But capitalists in return would be unshackled as well, free to indulge their own animal spirits" with less regulation and fewer taxes.
And the pendulum had yet to swing back, he said. The "self-absorbed 'Me' Decade" of the 60s "will soon be the 'Me' Half-Century," he wrote.
Must-read my ass, was my first reaction. It's the kind of essay people post in part to say, "This is about some other shitheads, not me."
Feel me on this: I'm no fan of capitalism—or the poverty and inequality it produces. But what the fuck am I supposed to do about it? I got a chance against Wall Street? I'm one fucking person.
Should I get off my ass and do something political? Make some calls for Obama? Seems like we have as much poverty and inequality as four years ago—so fuck that noise.
It's gonna take more than electoral politics to change things, I said to myself. I was down with Occupy last year—not out there with them, 'cause I had shit to do, but down with them in theory.
As much as I fought it, the op-ed bullshit was making me feel guilty about my own "hedonistic impulses." I needed to do something for the greater good, not just my own, or this shit was gonna keep nagging at me.
So I "liked" the link. Then I took two hits off my one-hitter, had a little more G and T, popped Ben Stiller into my laptop, and all was right with the world again.