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September 21, 2011

Trouble believing in anything? Join the club

People are expected to believe in things.

If you believe in something popular enough, you may be granted membership into a club. Sometimes they throw parties. Socially, it’s helpful to let people know what clubs you’re a member of to avoid embarrassing conversational missteps, so you might want to wear a T-shirt or plaster your car with slogans. There are lots of clubs to keep up with; make sure you know who you’re dealing with.

The Catholicism Club, for instance, is convinced the Eucharist is the flesh of God, which is meant to be eaten once a week even though God’s flesh tastes like an un-used vacuum cleaner bag. The Vegan Club is convinced eggs are not meant to be eaten at all even though eggs are delicious in every meaningful way. The Tea Party Club is convinced they understand American history and the authorial intent of the Founding Fathers. The Republican Club believes they might have shit the bed by letting the tea partiers on TV, and the Democrat Club is finally starting to understand what everybody else has believed for a while — that they left their spine and libido on a shag carpet somewhere in 1968.

I belonged to Columbia Record Club for a while when I was a kid, but I started to believe it was a rip-off.

Recently I joined a new club called Indecisive Geminis Revising Opinions Anonymous and, man, is I-GROANon great! There’s free black-and-white cookies and half-decaf coffee at every meeting. Basically, you just show up, introduce yourself, and then when people ask you questions about stuff, you either hold your head in your hands and say “I don’t even fucking know anymore” or proceed to athletically argue both sides of an issue until total intellectual and moral fatigue leads you back to indecision or everyone leaves. Here’s the transcript from our last meeting.

“Hi, I’m Virgil, I’m an indecisive Gemini, and I don’t know what’s going on except for the times when I’ve just about got it figured out.”

“Hi Virgil.”

“So the other day, I was watching that Republican debate where all those people cheered when Ron Paul was asked if a person without insurance should be allowed to die. It was so weird and gross, and I was like, ‘Who’s talking about death panels now, you damn hypocrites?’ Then Ron Paul said some stuff about the freedom of individuals to decide their own fate, and it reminded me of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘Self Reliance,’ so I thought, ‘OK, I can sort of understand that perspective, and I’m pretty spooked by the centralization of power in the federal government, too,’ but then I was like, ‘No wait, that’s bullshit, Emerson wasn’t a corporate pimp, and those people cheering in the audience about somebody being left to die, that’s disgusting, so screw these jokers.’

“I mean, yeah, people should take responsibility for themselves, self-determination is the foundation of actual freedom. But the corporate fascism that guides these Tea Party goons is inherently oppositional to that type of freedom and actively seeks to establish and maintain a feudal system that subjugates whole classes of Americans. So some provisions should be made by us, the electorate, to level the playing field so that all Americans can have a shot at self-determination, right?

“But then I thought, ‘Wait, legislative welfare is a total disaster that breeds sycophantic infantile dependence on the state … except for programs that actually do help people out and allow them to segue out of tough spots into dignified self-determined productivity. I mean, we are the richest, most powerful nation in the history of the human race. Seems like we could help each other out.’

“Then Ron Paul said something about how churches used to take care of their communities, and how people should learn to help each other and not rely on the government, and I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s true. Community is awesome. But wait, I don’t go to church. And wasn’t that the whole point of American Socialism anyway? Unions are just clubs where workers get together to exert some efficacy against their industrialist pimps, and organized labor is being systematically wiped out,’ you know what I mean?”

“Umm, Virgil … the half-decaf is gone and some of us wanted to catch ‘Madmen.’ Is there anything else you want to add?”

“I don’t even know anymore.” 

Tagged: Raised Relief |