I think everybody (and by everybody I mean me and my assistant, Veronica) would agree that large corporations and the governments they elect are the primary source of squirrels in our society. One of the things that they demand is a bland conformity. It serves two purposes: It makes the sheep easier to control, and it makes it easier to sell them large volumes of crap. There’s a tremendous cost, an eradication of creativity, when you’re surrounded by identical details all day long and it has two long term societal effects. One I call the Great Homogenization, and I’ll look at that in a later post. The second is the Fake Authentic Experience or FAE.
As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts the squirrels use fear to accomplish their busybody agendas. They use the media to keep everybody nervous about all sorts of things. One of their constant messages is that different is dangerous. There is a ‘Real America’ that’s made up of white heterosexual christian families with two kids that shop at Walmart, vacation at Disneyland, and work for Megamicrocorp in some capacity. Anybody that doesn’t fit into this narrow definition is suspect and might be dangerous. Artists, minorities, immigrants, bikers, the homeless, hippies, punks. I could continue this list for hours but you get the idea. Any member of these groups might beat you up or steal your wife or question your assumptions. And they’re certainly bad for the children! Needless to say, this is a load of bullshit but it works, and it works well.
There’s a problem, however, that the squirrels face with this agenda. It’s that all these weirdoes are infinitely more interesting. They hold a siren like appeal to even the narrowest mind. Oh, the conflict. Everything is dangerous and bad for the children, but it also seems like some of those people are living fuller lives, having a lot more fun, and eating much better food. Corporate squirrels certainly don’t want their sheep to actually try real life and don’t want their constant message of anxiety exposed as fraudulent. They do want to make a few bucks and control and mitigate that interest. So they invented the FAE! The FAE is a corporate attempt to take interesting experiences and sanitize them for ‘Real Americans’ so that they can pretend to be different without any risk. Let me give you some examples…
Most cities have coffee houses where artists and writers hang out and drink exotic blends of coffee or tea. Most ‘Real Americans’ would be terrified to actually go sit next to the kid scribbling madly in a notebook between sips of espresso but it is certainly more intriguing than Mcdonalds. Here comes Starbucks to the rescue. In Starbucks you have Bob Marley on the soundtrack. You have a cartoon on the wall that isn’t quite Jean-Michel Basquiat. You have a photo montage that isn’t quite Robert Rauschenberg. You’re given high levels of better tasting caffeine and you believe you’re about to have an avant-garde moment. But you’re actually in a strip mall outside Akron, and if an unwashed kid starts loudly reading his poetry he’ll be quietly whisked away. You’re having a FAE.
Chinese food is tasty and frequently spicy. Chinese people are foreign and who knows what might be in those dishes, and who can read that huge menu anyway. PF Changs Chinese Bistro to the rescue! Right down at the mall you can go in to the psuedo-urban bistro and have bland fried rice and egg rolls. See how sophisticated we are! Hurray FAE. Can you imagine the reaction if PF Changs brought out the Dim Sum tray with chicken feet on it? That wouldn’t be safe at all. Outside a lot of suburban malls are rows of these places. Mexican, but no taquerias or menudo. Japanese, but no fried shrimp heads. You get the idea.
Bikers are cool. Just ask any kid. So now every mall store has biker t-shirts and chain wallets and heavy boots. Everything you need to live the biker lifestyle without the dangerous motorcycle. Tattoos are cool. Now there are Ed Hardy t-shirts everywhere, but not too many Ed Hardy full body art pieces. Martial Arts are cool, but there are a lot more people wearing Affliction clothes than there are people working out on a mat somewhere. All these are FAE.
I live in SF. Along with New York we are the very symbol of all that is un-American. (Never mind that we live here too and probably live up to its ideals more fully.) Tourists come here and sometimes have difficulty because they don’t understand that we aren’t sanitized for their protection. They treat SF like some version of Disneyland. There’s Chinese Land, Mexican Land, Hippie Land, Homosexual Land, Overpriced Tourist Wharf, etc. I recently saw a family standing and gawking at the gay couples in the Castro. Two wonderfully aware men saw them, embraced each other enthusiastically, and then blew them a kiss. They literally ran away down Market St. dragging their little brats behind them. The reality of the situation was just too much for them.
I’m sure you see what I mean by now. Look around. They’re everywhere. Beware. Your lifestyle might be next. Living a real, vibrant, and slightly dangerous life is the best revenge! Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion my weird friends.
– Archbishop Angus