The Journal


Serving the Metropolitan Area


Since 1872


September 28th




By Jack Parnell - retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate


Syndicated by Acme Features



"I didn't want to be treated like a common criminal... or an entertainer..."


          - Mort Sahl


Used to be: things got bought and sold on their reputations as being right, more or less. Steak dinner with the fries, wool overcoat, '57 Chevy with all the detailing... qualities as some hippie Japanissie motorcycle fellow called “the quality".  Night out with the little lady at the supper club or Johnny Mathis show, suit and tie for Don Jones; hat, shoes, gloves for Dawn (remember them olden days when no decent woman would go out in public without a hat and gloves?).  Quality still sells, on the upper floors, at least, but... for most... that virtue we worship above all others is fast! Fast food.  Fast travel – and damn the destinations.  Speedy sex, its sublimations or its simulation. Fast service.

          Fast money.  Fast politics!

          Look at any biznessman with the go-getter grin, and them as jerk his strings ‘round will be pleased to tell you that he's on the fast track. Devil knows what station, what line, but he'll get there quick!  The digitalis and everything turning e-this, i-that, bio-such, lite little dialectics... brewed up mostly by e-lites, truth be told, obsessed with taking out of the quality and substituting its Obamian antithesis, e-quality, the way blood in corpses on the undertaker's slab's get replenished with formaldehyde.

          Bela Lugosi quaffed formaldehyde during the Eisenhower years, when liquor and heroin no longer supplied the kicks as quickly they did in his good old days; getting ahead of that curve as goes back, like Freeman Dyson said, to championing economies of speed over those of scale: "Innovations that take years to implement are likely to be obsolete when they kick in."

          "Remove the excitation and manipulation of consumer demand," Herbert Schiller cut to the chase, four decades back, "and industrial slowdown threatens." An economy "favoring impulse and immediacy" became the consequence of such "instruction" as JFK and LBJ liberals practiced, "bordering often on psychic chaos and material indigestion, presented to the average citizen as a reasonable and unmanipulated system."

          These are the people now castigating President Trump for impulsiveness and recklessness?

          Our jobs age faster, now, otherwise them as might stick in the same slots all their lives get to hop like toads from dead end to dead end, or get swept off'n the road. Over the last twenty years, till they stopped writing paper mortages in oh-eight, we'd gone from twice the moving-round per year as Euros do to three times... five times that as out in Japan. Careers tend to last shorter, even, than the time it takes to educate a body for them lengthens, so companies don't even bother with training anymore. S'cheaper to raid each other, or call India, or China, for the take-out people.

          Employees as win Darwin's race can expect to move round so often, doin' eighty, ninety-hour Amazonian weeks that most of their kids... near as I can see... grow up TV and ZT-nannied psychopaths, glued to their devices like flies to flypaper. The obscenely rich contract “affluenza” – which syndrome can excuse crimes all the way up to raping or killing people.  As for the merely common rich… well, conservative media doctor John Rosemond suggests media may actually be a cause of juvenile attention-deficit-disorder (JADD), though " is the case with a disease-causing microbe, some children are probably more resistant to the negative effects of TV-watching than others."

          Infected kids as whose brains don't blow out from the stimulation are growing up amongst us now, jaded as young Eurofops as read Goethe, then blew out their brains, back in the day (as having not yet plumbed the pleasures of shooting others). "Images, sense, impression are what count," says one big cheese at the MTV, "not words. You sell through emotional bonding, through images." So we send 'em up to college to learn to talk Squeamish and, if their student loan checks clear, we give them degrees four or fourteen years later as testimony, one old Perfessor in old New Orleans 'afore the flood told me, "to an education that never occurred."

          "K.U. knows that being a Jayhawk fan is a lot more fun than going to classes," a Kansas student (too oblivious… or drunk… to comprehend the wretchedness of both its Big Ten… or is it thirteen, now, with the addition of South Dakota… football teams) is quoted in Murray Sperber's "Beer and Circuses". "It doesn't care what we do as long as we pay our money for season tickets, tuition and everything else..."

          On credit.

          When the working day's done, the overtaxed and underemployed alike (as have been able to somehow get or retain access to MHDTV since the great cutoff) chill out on news programming as elevates crashing metal, spurting blood and isolated, anomalous tragedies (conveniently crowding out coverage as might offend increasingly petulant advertisers). We have no end of cute or heroic pets, bodies covered with tarps with the coincidental continental insurance company pop-ups, footage of burning buildings from somewhere, anywhere, little girl celebrities dressed like streetwalkers and... especially, of late... appeals from parents of dying children trying to raise funds for medical attention.

          That's usually by night, so's to influence our dreams. On morning commutes we have radio programming narrowcasted by race or ideology. Jerry Falwell warn't far off on the evil intent of Tinky Winky and them other creepy Teletubbies as kept crying "fidit... fidit!" (Korean for "faster... faster"!)... the Rev just accidentally-on-purpose assumed it was a homosexual solicitation when it's really a solicitation into a deathstyle of whir and blur and nonsense-marketing.

          Fast... or "fidit"... in politics... strangely enough... tends to exert an inhibitory effect on genuine solutions to genuine problems. Take Hoover Dam, completed over four years in 1935 when Vegas was a dusty little cowtown, population seven thousand, and Los Angeles wasn't much better, except for their tasty oranges. "Consider what we have lost that the country had when it had a will for such great works," George Will lamented. Today, if we absolutely had to have a Hoover Dam, we'd squander years niggling over snail darters or the size of nails driven into the railing, then rig something up with pressboard and run by obsoleted microchips like that prefabricated Jewish Temple in Tim LaHaye's Armageddon books, or contract the job out to Indonesia, then look for scapegoats when it busted and drowned all those high rollers waitin' on line to get into the Trent Reznor/Wayne Newton matinees in Henderson.

          Were I a liberal, I'd contemplate the former light-heavyweight boxer Jose Torres' suggestion to tax violence on the media... were I to go over to the Republican side, standard version of course, I'd just knock speed limits down to 40 or so, and as for our jobs problem, go beyond dragnetting the illegal immigrant leafblowers to the full Sharia: banning women working outside of the home… Hillary and Sarah, the both!… and watch all those unemployed homies on the corner suddenly become chased after by all kinds of employers! Fidit that!

          But that wouldn't be Catfish, since even conservatives like James Kilpatrick have begun magnanimously suggesting "government should leave citizens alone to live their potty little lives." What might work would be to start leaning on corporations to begin lowering hours and taking more responsibility for training employees to do the sort of jobs they're always whining about not being able to find people qualified to do for reason that the tuition charged for their advanced educations doesn’t even half-cover the premiums that their obsolescing jobs provide during the two or three years before something newer and better… something faster… comes along. Makin' quality pay.  After all, when the bottom twenty percent of Americans are shut out of television owing to the digital scams that began in February, 2009 and escalate annually, and the twenty percent above them tuned out over price increases due to cable mergers, student reading and test scores of our lowest demographic quintile soared… briefly, until the gumment and the nerds agreed to shower the ghettoes and hollows from down around Pakistan up to the lofty neighborhoods of Algeria, Bolivia, the French, Belgian and Swedish banlieus and the Comoros with free tablets preprogrammed with games as might teach poor kids how to shoot better… and faster

          Nurse... I'm ready for that shot of the formaldehyde! Now!