Sunday, January 29, 2017

Generations: the Fifth Turning

Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, like many of its peeraging peers, is neither a history of the people of the North American landmass, nor of the people of the United States. It is, rather, a history of selected elite relationships with selected non-elite persons. Which is to say, a history of selected banking representatives and the relationships they represented themselves as having with selected living externalities. Christopher Columbus self-reporting the killing or enslaving of a local subset of a regional subset of the massively widespread Mongo-Siberian groups dwelling in the Americas in the fifteenth century after Christ is, for example, not a history of either those groups, those regions, or those limited tribes, but merely torture porn. It does permit Columbus to expose himself as a suitably Hollywoodian cinematic villain, lusting for power and wealth and Mongoloid pussy, and to show that his "Sephardic" financiers knew and approved of what he was doing--and that they had wanted and expected him to do it--but it says nothing about "the 99%" or "the majority." Telling the story as Zinn does is like telling the story of Occupy Wall Street by publishing some e-mails between NYC cops chuckling about who they got to pepper spray that day; it marginalizes and tokenizes the experiences of the "people" whom Zinn was theoretically exalting, even as it reveals Columbus to be a simple dunce released on the natives, little different than Tyrone the rapist being shut into a cell with an unlucky white-collar criminal.

The Mongo-Siberian-Americans, having been unable to develop written language or a resulting history, provide Zinn little help in this regard, such that he could legitimately claim the only history available to tell was Bank history. This he could not do, of course, for it would mean admitting the thousands-year dearth of record-keeping and cultural preservation caused by the Mongoloids' initial invasion. Yet there it is, the A People's History, seminal folly of "peoplehood." Like older court histories, Zinn's was no more than a peerage, albeit one which presented the peers in a negative, rather than a positive, light. Nonetheless, it was still the same old tale: historical actors acting upon historical subjects, the former viewed as either benevolent or malevolent, the latter viewed, in affirmative-action style, as innocent babes of whom no agency or capability is expected, other than their ability to suffer or prosper as a reflection of their overlords.

This type of perspective is, necessarily, limited. Perhaps it must be so; in a future time during which historians have access to a person's lifetime communications--all their text messages, e-mails, Facebook posts, et cetera--they are unlikely to do any better work than they do now. Most people, like the Mongo-Siberian-Americans, are not able to craft their own history, but instead express various forms of agreement and/or disagreement with what was already "happening" anyway, e.g., what the media-decreed primary historical actors said was happening. Ten million contemporaneous Facebook arguments about Columbus' humane mission and/or brutal exploitation, were they accessible to Zinn, would make his hypothesis no more or less accessible or true. Columbus would still be a dick, the Mongoloids would still suffer, most people would receive a consolation prize of strip malls and smartphones, and most people would be superficially happy with the exchange, though feeling they deserved some kind of payout for either vicariously winning or losing.

The historical perspective, nonetheless, would be unchanged. What Ferdinand and Isabella actually felt and believed, and the true depth of the plans held by their semi-shadowy court Sephardim--the backers of European colonialism--and the cheap motivations of Columbus, and the brutal glee of the internally feuding natives who helped the colonists against their kind for petty personal revenge: all these things are as visible and risible now as they would have been with greater documentary technology and/or access. What concerns us here is the lack of "a people's history," even in A People's History. It is some level of arrogance, some of sadness, and some of callow obfuscation to claim such through primary sources, which exist through preservation of "the victors," who are always in truth the Bank. Ergo Columbus can be alternately lionized and reviled, then lionized again, justifiably in each case, while the Bank remains untouched.

Strauss-Howe generational theory is a similar example of this atrocious stupidity, being something of a Zinnish bible to the western "right," whereas Zinn, Chomsky, and their co-ethnic's Guns, Germs, and Steel, serve that purpose on the western "left." As Zinn uses selected interactions between bank agents and irrelevant people ("elites" and "commoners," perhaps) to claim a narrative theory, so do Strauss and Howe use an even less sound version of the same to make their point, versions of which have become increasingly popular as people seek to conceptualize a deterministic free-will (sic) in the form of ascribing generational characteristics.

Finding parallels between people assigned to any given "generation" is similar to finding instances where a fortune-teller is correct. Any person can be connected to the "generation" in any way, including as "the exception that proves the rule." It's popular right now to say that "Boomers" suck, and of course they do suck, but so does everyone else, including those who made and raised the "Boomers," and those who made and raised anyone of such low quality they would themselves make and raise those called Boomers, ad infinitum.

For our purposes here, and for the comparison to Zinn's People's History, we should view the concept of human "generations" as one of a simplistic, false narrative, which ascribes to preselected groups of commoners the inherent qualities promulgated by the Bank during a given time period. The Boomers are often accused of liking "rock and roll" and "racial desegregation." Those ideas, though, came from somewhere--although it has been detailed in many places how the greatest systematic components of the supposedly-Boomer cultural changes could only have been caused by Silent-Generation parents (because the Boomers weren't yet old enough to vote by the time the most important changes had already been passed), this new homeopathicism/horoscopism that is our highbrow discussion of "generations" ascribes characteristics to consumers based upon products created by corporations. Ergo the Boomers are deemed responsible for rock and roll and desegregation merely because some of them happened to be alive during the times those things happened. They were not the driving force for those things, although the Bank would like it to appear so; not only did "the Silent generation" buy and vote appropriately before the Boomers were even 18, the story of what the Boomers did is only available to us in the form of Bank history.

Ergo "the Boomers," like all other illusory conceptions tautologically foisted through popular media's massive sphincter, are a hypothetical set of downstream variables; the result, rather than the cause, of their supposed boomer-ness. The things which define "the Boomers" are the products released during the time period ascribed to that group; the process of naming a generation of people is in fact a manner of Bank/elites/corporations externalizing social responsibility for their creations onto a certain subset of people. If Epstein created the Beatles, and if a massive feat of IRS-esque payola/media hype established many young Beatles fans as a result, the Beatles are the voice, product, choice, et cetera, of a generation only inasmuch as the most popular restaurant in any given location or among any given group of target consumers--according to net reported revenue and/or media reviews--is actually the most beloved, evocative, emblematic, or in any other way preferred choice of such group. Calling the banking media's reporting of exit polls in a two-party election, where roughly half the theoretically reported eligible voters voted for someone on the pre-printed sheet, would be a more accurate assessment of a national or generational will.

Generational concepts are useful simplifications for people who believe they make their own choices irrespective of any form of advertising. If Epstein had assembled a different group of actors or musicians playing jingly little rock shorts; had schoolmarms in the western world followed overt and subtle federal pedagogy describing the disgustingness of parents and nations, and the necessity of young people challenging and then fundamentally changing them; had the international media ceaselessly promoted the said different group as amazingly popular, good, and subversive; had unlikable church ladies worldwide warned their students to avoid the said group; had concert promoters and magazines and radio stations and record stores worked in near-unison to summon enthusiasm for the said group's product and appearance; had paid and/or hapless pretty girls exhibited their eagerness for group participation in this culture; had all these things happened, what are the chances that most Beatles fans would have stayed home, upset, feeling that something about today's popular music wasn't quite right, and feeling an indecipherable void in their life that could only have been filled by the actual Beatles (located in the hypothetical alternate reality in which you yourself live)? If, by some cosmic impossibility, the original Beatles had actually formed themselves and pressed homemade records for limited distribution in Liverpool, and you showed them to your friends (who in said alternate reality were already huge fans of ___________), what are the chances they'd suddenly realize they loved the unknown "Beatles" (who'd have a different name, and just look like some ugly dudes) equally or more?

In western politics quite recently, we've seen similar trends to what Epstein used with the Beatles, wherein an evil rebel was so thoroughly discredited in unison by Bank media as to become a Paradise-Lostian hero, and his amazing popularity (and the violent and vulgar establishment supposed-counterreaction against his phenomenon) described in ceaseless detail. Yes, the Beatles were a massive phenomenon, and yes, it was actively participated in and well-remembered and thoroughly rationalized by many consumer-subjects as an act of free will, but to what extent can most of these subjects accurately describe themselves or their motivations? Were Michael Bay a lone quack with a computer who made a movie about his old robot toys, and were it to receive press only in the local coffee shop, how many Transformers fans would skip other weekend activities, defy Hollywood, and go see Transformers in the local independent theater, then buy equal amounts of related merchandise, and demand (and attend) sequels?

Without the media, the vast majority of Boomers wouldn't have cared to reach out to British musicians, and, more importantly, wouldn't have known to call themselves "boomers." The new tradition of fastidiously tracking and naming generations is, like incessant war, a creature of the Bank. Strauss and Howe, and their legions of analytical successors, have based an entire science upon the notion that what corporations report about their customers' preferences in product choice are reliable sources. Not that they have any choice; indeed, in a self-defined democracy, the notion that the Boomers were not "the Boomers" because they chose to be the Boomers is fundamentally disquieting, not only to the true democrat, but to the person who wishes to see renewed hope in any new generation, or to take vindication in being a lone (or among the lone) voice(s) defying a "generational trend." Ergo even strident monarchists decry the generations that others laud, wishing to believe that their own choices in ascribing characteristics to such dissimilar and unwieldy groups are themselves acts of independent thought. Sport Utility Vehicles, like the Beatles or Transformers, got suddenly popular and profitable, not because of an intrinsic or internally-generated consumer desire which professional journalists dutifully commented upon, nor because of a marketplace need or technological/artistic breakthrough, but rather in the manner via which banks create movements.

In Zinn's old People's History, we see a mostly-successful attempt to embarrass or shame European-Americans based on implications of their knowing, willing, excited participation in a large number of banking and corporate policies that exacted from them, as from others, a terrible price. Despite its profession of being a new style, this is identical in method to almost all mainstream older histories, in which the actions of banks and royal lines were ascribed to the desire of entire peoples. Like Zinn's work, it is idiotic to assume that an illiterate peasant in old Painswick endorsed or understood Cromwell, anymore than a similar peasant in old Huesca would have appreciated Ferdinand blowing a wad on "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here." Bank offshoots, be they secular lineages or churches, have a vested interest in crafting histories in which "the people" are remembered as having supported one or more of the ideologies or personas later presented as mainstream or competing. Then as now, the real trendsetters do not want to be known as trendsetters, while those who analyze the trends as evidence of mass will or organic character prove themselves under the same delusion as kings who believe they rule.

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