Monday, November 06, 2017


This morning I overslept until 10AM again, because of being up for a while in the middle of the night.  But this morning it was only 9AM because the delusion of saving daylight has ended for the season.  The only consequence was for the indoor cats because I was sleeping so hard that I didn’t hear them knocking on the cat flap to come in, but the weather — post blizzard — has also changed to bright sun and they enjoyed the dazzling snow.

Having punched my way out of the middle class from the inside and lying flat for a long time like an exhausted chick, I’m upright now and fluffy feathered but already the hawk of age is bearing down on me.  My original cohort: classmates, former students, cousins and playmates are all in their seventies now.  They have stayed in chicken house of the middle class after a lifetime of preparing for old age, some of them in jobs they have hated for decades, and not always ending with as much income as they had expected.  Their children have turned out every-which-way.

My old bosses, my Sixties bosses and husband on the rez, and even the animal control realm and my half-in/half-out denomination are mostly dead.  I’ll talk about the context of the American West separately.  I want to reflect on how all these categories are Middle Class and why I didn’t stick in any of them, partly because of them pretending to be what they weren’t.  (Not all deception is innocent hypocrisy.)  Partly because of roosters who are all flash.  Partly because of blood-sucking weasels. (And that’s enough of THAT metaphor, said the big red hen.)

I am NOT of the generation that stigmatizes the Middle Class.  Rather, I’m Class X (much education, little money) and point out that there are plural middle classes that we pretend are one thing, admirable, mostly for marketing purposes if you admit that politics is really the same as marketing.  It’s not just Putin who knows how to use a data shadow and every attempt to warn the chickens I know (“The sky is falling!”) has been ignored.  (“Try not to think of a white chicken,” said Lakoff.)

There have been casualties and shortfalls in my plan.  I’m happily located in a house I truly enjoy in spite of complaints, but the neighbors are changing, the nearest doctors and hospitals are failing, and I’m dependent on the unreliable pickup.  But UPS is thriving, the Internet is my city, and once again I feel as though I’ve arrived at a theory of everything.  

it’s disconcerting that there are as many tribal people struggling incoming through the shell so they can be middle class as there are “white” (some of them Indio) people hoping to avoid the white middle class by moving to the rez.  Both demographics thought that education was the same as money and tried to use class credits to buy everything, which ended with the commodification of the nation, the rez, the land itself.  Meaning was strangled.  

“Look over there!”  African-Americans and Asian-Americans are struggling into the middle class in their various ways: religious affiliation, technical expertise, and high academic theory.  The “underclass” was a lot more interesting, maybe because they are a service-based industry, not afraid of physical contact.  Or weaponization:  (What?  You didn't think beauty pageants were part of the underclass?  Trump knew.)

Winter came abruptly here, which it often does, and it plunged waaaaay down because it is an Arctic air bubble moving across the continent.  You can’t see it, but you can see the effects.  Culture is something like that.  In the big window of the house Bob Scriver built (now fallen into ruin) we could stand in the window and see the edge of storms coming from the West over the mountains.  In the big window of my kitchen I look East and can see the sun coming up.  I can’t see the chinook above the mountains.  Light goes by different rules than air movement.  (These atmospheric metaphors may be more useful.  I have so much trouble trying to get people to look at process instead of subject matter.)

The pretence that got us into this mess was leaving the imagined assertion of nations and — for the sake of commodification — accepting the imagined nature of businesses to be “persons,” corporations.  (Corpus means: “the body of a human or animal especially when dead. “)  Corporations are dead, no more real than daylight savings.  But they control nations and can be disembodied as money, sent through the internet (no need for those old pirate chests of gold).  They thought. (What idiot kept a WRITTEN codex version of Manafort’s finances?)  No doubt someone taught to submit invoices and receipts for their job.  But pirates didn’t leave paper trails.  (Most of the maps were imaginary or useless.  Suited to politics but not Rule of Law.)

Don’t think a person can escape all this by moving to Montana.  The reason Gianforte and Zinke can swim the swamp is because that’s the way Montana works, particularly on the west side of the Rockies.  This state didn’t form around ranching (wheat or cattle) so much as resource exploitation.  And consider that the Blackfeet just voted AGAINST a new tribal constitution that would have included checks and balances.  Even after Eloise Cobell made real the claims of the Rule of Law.  Even "chiefs" were taken aback when Trump urged them to ignore the law on resources.

Even if you didn’t prefer “the devil you know” to some freefall that’s confusing, and takes effort and time to sort, you’re not safe.  Moving back here meant accepting danger and possible death. (Carbon mono, icy highways)  Valier is dying as much because of failure of citizen participation as because of infrastructure restrictions and commercial failure.  (The Lighthouse, our very fine restaurant, will close on New Year’s day.  Its loss breaks many valuable ties of family and region.)  People quit jobs because they’re “too hard,” and elected officials who mean well turn out not to know how to do their jobs, didn’t realize it was more than a title.  School never taught them anything different than going along to get along.

That’s a middle class value.  Like dressing nicely, not stinking, limiting cussing, eating popular junk food, playing sports, reciting pledges but not going to church unless you belong to their clique.  Making intoxication ceremonial.  High School Rules, totally.  I watch with horror “Riverdale,” the series that brings to life the comic book characters of my childhood (Archie, Jughead, Veronica, Betty).  I think the writers mean it to be that way.  David Simon calls his blog “The Audacity of Despair.”  Attitude.  You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your response.

If you like paradox (I do) you’ll appreciate that the leaching of value out of writing has set a lot of authors free to write what they really think.  And publish it.

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