"WHEN FASCISM COMES TO AMERICA IT WILL BE WRAPPED IN THE FLAG
AND CARRYING A CROSS." -SINCLAIR LEWIS

Monday, October 18, 2010

Brain Fatigue And Rage Deficiency

My sincerest apologies to anyone and everyone who comes here to read this blog on a regular or even semi-regular basis and a special thank you to those who have emailed me to make sure that I've been OK over the past two weeks. I'd like to tell you that I've left the blog sitting idle because I've been too busy with various wacky adventures and sexy hi jinks but the truth is that I've recently realized that I'm extremely tired, so much so that I don't think that I can go on any longer. Don't worry, I'm not so tired of life yet that I'm going to eat a bullet or anything like that but rather I'm actually bewilderingly and completely tired of American politics.

I watch and read about the various races across the country lately and I struggle to give even a modicum of a fraction of a damn. Every campaign commercial I hear now sounds exactly the same to me: "I'm tired of career politicians and business as usual in politics. Our elected officials have forgotten who they work for. Help me send a message to Washington that we're not going to put up with partisan politics any longer. Together we can change the tone in D.C. and take our country back." Blah, blablabbity blah, blah, blah. You've heard it all before; I've heard it all before and you obviously don't believe it any more than I do. I consider this type of boilerplate populist tripe to be no more than insultingly simplistic rhetorical masturbation for the ignorant masses (and I hold the entirety of modern media and journalism specifically responsible for this phenomenon, but that's neither here nor there at this point).

"But James", I imagine you retorting to your computer screens, "I thought you were a big supporter of President Obama! He's all about change and ending the partisan divide in Washington. Have you given up on that message and his seemingly earnest attempts to make America a better place?" No I have not, but I have realized that political culture in this country is so disturbingly corrupt and hopelessly mired in a system of failure and inaction that I no longer possess the zeal to believe that it can be significantly changed within my lifetime, short of a national tragedy or a similarly significantly-sized event to shake the average asshole out of their chronic complacency. In short: I give up, and I just don't care anymore. I'm sorry but it's the truth.

I finally understand what so many of my friends and acquaintances have been telling me over the past several years about politics, about how it's just not that important to get so worked up over people and events that are largely and almost completely beyond the control of the average American. I get it now. It's all a game (as so much of life and society is but that's a topic for another time) to make you feel like what you have to say about how this country is run makes a difference and actually matters to those in power. Now I can imagine many of you similarly retorting to your computer screens, "But James, one man/woman can make a difference! The people still have the power of the voting booth!" I wish I could still believe that matters, but I just cannot.

That isn't to say that I'm going to stop voting or anything as ludicrous or ignorant as that. Hell, I've already registered and the county's going to try to nail me for jury duty as a result so I might as well flex my citizen rights every two years but I've realized that the amount of energy and stamina it takes to remain emotionally invested in American politics is hardly worth the meager reward, either emotional or electoral. I'm reminded of one of my favorite lines from the movie Blade: Trinity. Blade (who is a vampiric vampire hunter played by Wesley Snipes, for the woefully uninitiated) is in police custody and a government psychologist is questioning him to assess his connection to reality and concurrent level of sanity:

VANCE: What about the President? Do you know who's in the White House at the moment?

BLADE: Some asshole...
Now of course I don't think that Barack Obama is personally an asshole (the movie came out in 2004 so draw your own conclusions as to their nonspecific target...) but it does speak to a larger problem within our society: most people who decide to go into politics are either self-involved assholes or self-important assholes or both. Yes, there are some legitimately good men and women in Washington earnestly trying to make this country a better place but the vast majority of people who eventually gain any significant amount of power there, and thus have the ability to institute any significant amount of change within the system, find themselves so endlessly mired within it that they eventually become everything they ran against, if they even made any attempt to portray themselves as such in the first place. Again, in short (and with all due apologies to Orwell): power corrupts, and I'm finally sick of it.

So, the next obvious and obviously self-involved question here is: does this spell the end of Brain Rage? I would very much like to answer in the negative and say "Hell no! Are you fucking kidding me?!" but the more honest answer is "I just don't know". Continuing on the honesty kick, I have to say that it's been fairly liberating not worrying about what I'm going to write here day to day and it's been even more refreshing not paying much attention to the 24 hour news cycle as if it were my job to do so, despite the nagging voice in the back of my conscience urging me to do just that on a continuous basis. I'd be lying if I said that I don't enjoy writing about current events here but I'd be lying even more if I said that I find the entire enterprise of caring about most of those said events more fulfilling than I do taxing of late.

So again, where does this leave us? And again, I just don't know. I've always been one to follow my intellect over my instincts on most matters because I've realized over the years that my instincts amount to exactly jack shit when compared to my intellect (which definitely says more about my instincts than it does my intellect) and I'm not planning on abandoning that line of reasoning anytime soon but I have been known to change my mind on occasion. Regardless, I plan to spend the vast majority of my time in the immediate future concentrating on real world plans that've been fomenting for some time now outside of the blogging world, i.e. dressing up as a masked crime fighter by night and solving mysteries. So if these are indeed my last words here, many thanks to those who have taken the time to read the meager thoughts I've committed to cyberspace over the past few years and bon chance in your own future endeavours. I'll be around, somewhere.

I remain, as always, James B. Webb. Adieu.

P. S.: I would be remiss here if I didn't take a moment to address my conservative counterpart and constantly comedic foil Donald Douglas of American Power. Don, I've tried to find even an iota of entertainment within your posts or even from one of your sycophantic commenters over the past few weeks as I have in the past but I've woefully come up short on both counts. To say that you're a caricature of your side of the aisle, again as I have many times in the past, is still entirely accurate but unfortunately it's no longer nearly as entertaining. To happily quote one of my fellow nihilistic bloggers: "You're fucking clown shoes". I'll be around two years hence to collect my one hundred dollars when Barack Obama is successfully reelected as our president. Enjoy rhetorically beating off to your big victory this November: it will almost assuredly be short-lived. And good luck with that whole "leftists hate America and are trying to destroy it" schtick. I can think of no more suitable nor entertaining epithet for this blog. Please have someone explain the concepts of humor and irony to you at some point before you shuffle loose this mortal coil. And again, adieu.

[Update: There's no way I'm going out on a down note by addressing Don. Here's something a thousand times more kick-ass: Sgt. Adam Sniffen from the 101st Airborne Division delivering the game ball via parachute before the Michigan vs. MSU game at Michigan Stadium two weeks ago:


Too cool. Adios.]

24 comments:

Kevin Robbins said...

As someone who has burned a blog to the ground in a fit of pique and disillusionment, let me say "Don't!"

We'll see you when we see you, JBW. If this is your last post, let me say it's been an enjoyable ride. If there are continuing adventures we'll enjoy them as well.

Buena suerte to you in whatever you're doing. You're not joining our old friend Grace Explosion in a compound somewhere, are you?

AYATOLLAH TRUTHMENI 101 said...

Leave the blog up JBW. If we ever had a blogger convention you're one of the dudes everyone would seek out and want to sit at your table.
Other than that. Great ride Bro. Virgins aplenty are waiting for you.

tnlib said...

I think a lot of us are suffering from burnout for all the reasons you describe so eloquently. But you know something? We need you, probably now more than ever. Yep, the same ole shit is getting old and tedious, but we need people who are as intelligent, analytical and talented as you to keep the ball rolling.

If all of us stopped blogging, the only thing left would be people like Dummy Donny and institutions like Fox and the MSM. Somehow we have to keep at it as discouraging as it is.

I've been in the same rut and have grown weary of the same old rhetoric - from both sides. Hardly anyone says anything original these days, so visiting other blogs can get redundant very quickly - and boring. Even the usual name calling doesn't appeal to me. I've heard it all over and over again. Okay, so the Tea Partiers are stupid. We know that but I think we have to call them on their lies based on facts - not by name calling.

Remaining silent is not an option. Not only are these people ignorant and paranoid, I sincerely believe they are potentially dangerous for the country and for its future. By not speaking out, are we not contributing to the possibility of another 1930s Germany?

When I first started blogging, thanks to your patience and advice, I posted two or three times a day, and then once a day, and now only every few days or once a week. When I get depressed/bored/discouraged/frustrated I look for something non-political for awhile - history, art, literature. Sometimes it may be an oblique parallel to events of today.

I don't even bother visiting right-wing blogs. The nonsense just makes me too angry. And anymore I refuse to engage in chat sessions with people from the right. It goes nowhere.

But I totally disagree with people who say politics is not important. The real danger comes when people are not interested enough to pay attention and learn, to voice their opinions and to participate in the electoral process.

I hope like hell that you'll reconsider and stick around.

tnlib said...
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tnlib said...
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tnlib said...

I don't know what happened there - three times?

A little PS. Sparring with DD might have been a fun sport in the beginning, but he's so far down in the sewage system that you'd be better off not engaging him.

TAO said...

James,

I have started and stopped blogging a couple of times now, and when I stop blogging I go and delete my blog.

I do like reading your blog and I do visit regularly so I will miss you if you quit.

I have to admit that I am tired of fighting stupidity, which seems to be all you do with you attempt to converse with the right...

I hope you keep blogging...but you have to put blogging into perspective.

Good luck whatever you decide...remember that while some of us visited quietly it does not mean that you did not influence us!

tnlib said...

On a more personal note: It would break my heart if you quit blogging. You have been an inspiration with your superior writing skills, your keen insight, your humor and your integrity. It would be a tremendous loss for me - and for many others.

squatlo said...

I'm relatively new to the blog world and have to admit I've found more than one or two subject posts from having looked at your site and laughed myself shitless over your twisted take on a current event gone viral.
If you decide you want to take a break, by all means, take a break. Leave your site up, and like others that I dutifully check even though they tend to write on a schedule that would have made Salinger proud, I go with the hope that something new will have been posted.
You have much to offer, and I, for one, have learned much from touching base with Brain Rage.
We're all frustrated (trust me... I'd be out howling at the moon but for the meds that keep me pecking away at this keyboard) and have taken days off for personal and health reasons... but I've found that no matter how jaded and cynical I let myself become, and no matter how inane it seems to pound away at a rock of insanity and ignorance, there are those of us out there who benefit from what you bring to the table.
Bring it less often if that helps you find space for other ventures. Bring it not at all if that's where you have to go to be happy.
But understand, you don't write in the dark and leave your words under a stone no one picks up and turns over... there are a lot of us who care what you have to say, and good or bad, want to know what's happening in your world.
I highly recommend neck surgery, because that's provided me with an unlimited supply of pain meds and a great excuse to sit in front of the computer reading other people's blogs for entertainment. Other than the brace, it's nice to just chill and realize you're doing all you're supposed to be doing...
Best to you, man. I mean that. Hope we hear from you soon with something remarkable and refreshingly new. If not, we've all been better for having found your site.
Peace.

squatlo said...

I'm relatively new to the blog world and have to admit I've found more than one or two subject posts from having looked at your site and laughed myself shitless over your twisted take on a current event gone viral.
If you decide you want to take a break, by all means, take a break. Leave your site up, and like others that I dutifully check even though they tend to write on a schedule that would have made Salinger proud, I go with the hope that something new will have been posted.
You have much to offer, and I, for one, have learned much from touching base with Brain Rage.
We're all frustrated (trust me... I'd be out howling at the moon but for the meds that keep me pecking away at this keyboard) and have taken days off for personal and health reasons... but I've found that no matter how jaded and cynical I let myself become, and no matter how inane it seems to pound away at a rock of insanity and ignorance, there are those of us out there who benefit from what you bring to the table.
Bring it less often if that helps you find space for other ventures. Bring it not at all if that's where you have to go to be happy.
But understand, you don't write in the dark and leave your words under a stone no one picks up and turns over... there are a lot of us who care what you have to say, and good or bad, want to know what's happening in your world.
I highly recommend neck surgery, because that's provided me with an unlimited supply of pain meds and a great excuse to sit in front of the computer reading other people's blogs for entertainment. Other than the brace, it's nice to just chill and realize you're doing all you're supposed to be doing...
Best to you, man. I mean that. Hope we hear from you soon with something remarkable and refreshingly new. If not, we've all been better for having found your site.
Peace.

squatlo said...
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Suzan said...

You make a difference to me.

May I blogroll you?

If you decide to continue on?

Found you at Truth 101.

Suzan

AYATOLLAH TRUTHMENI 101 said...

On the other hand JBW, all my readers are giving your more love than me once they click your link and witness "Blogging As It Was Meant To be."

You're making the rest of us look bad. Retire now asshole...

one L said...

My regrets for not commenting sooner. I know there are many of you who come here to read what I have to say. For that, I apologize.

It's been a busy couple of months. I found out the wife is knocked up and it's not yet been genetically certified to be my child. I've also been thrown into a lions' den at work despite trying to make more time to study for my final Architect's exam. All this has added up to a commenting deficiency for which you, the reader, has paid the price.

JBW, I do think that it would be foolish to take this blog down. You didn't mention that as a consideration, but it's a comment that needs making. There is a lot of good writing here that could one day be used to land a coveted Editorial position with the Contra Costa Times.

I am also glad to see that you've have come to see the wisdom of my ways. I never quite understood how you were able to take in so much news - especially that which you deem to be negative - and feel like it's a wise use of your time. Don't get me wrong, I think it's good to be informed. However, I think politics should be treated like a retirement account. Take a peek on a somewhat regular basis, but otherwise just leave it alone and let it run its course. Obsessing over it will just make everything that much more painful.

That said, I don't see you little blog as being a political one. I know that a lot of your posts seem to be rooted there, but I come for the pop culture aspect. Not necessarily the YouTube videos - like "Look at what grandma's cat did!" - so much as the pop culture touch you add to your opinions and the funny little references, graphics and jokes you find elsewhere. If you only used your blog as a medium to share funny stuff that you see (proper use of the semicolon) or read (NFL players to get fined for concussions) then I would still find the joint to be immensely useful. You don't have to develop lengthy diatribes about contrived political differences to keep me interested.

Finally, I would like to say that you are a bag of douche and I hope you to fail. May God mercy you.

tnlib said...

OneL: I pray to God that this isn't your child. Another tea bagging ass-hole who can't write proper English is the last thing this world needs.

squatlo said...

To "one L" at the bottom of his post, where he seems to take great pleasure at tossing an insult at our man here at Brain Rage...
Dude, you're the reason people give the fuck up on life and decide to leave it to the troglodytes like yourself. You have no empathy for anyone else's pain, see no event as anything other than a source of amusement for yourself, and think we should all just keep our political rants to ourselves so as not to harm your delicate little libido.
The fact that you're not certain of your responsibilities concerning your wife's pregnancy (!JEEZ, WHAT AN ASSHOLE!) should come as no surprise to anyone who's read that post.
I've said it before... the gene pool needs chlorine. I hope to god your old lady finds someone worthy with whom to share a bed.
heavy sigh...

one L said...

Which god are you praying to, tnlib?

squatlo, you are making some hefty assumptions based on very little information. It is clear that you are a Republican.

Go Rangers.

squatlo said...

Hey, One L, re-read your post to Brain Rage, including the invective at the end, and tell me where I'm making "hefty assumptions".
It's clear I'm a Republican? I don't think that word means what you think it means... I wouldn't vote for a Republican to be in charge of cleaning up the droppings at the local Bark Park. They'd find a way to pile it up into a hazardous landfill in some quiet neighborhood far from the country club set and call it a "jobs program" for minorities.
While you're up, Fuck your Rangers, too.

one L said...

dude, I am just yanking your chain because you've let it hang so low. Go back and read the myriad of comments I've made on this blog and you'll see that I am actually related to our fair JBW and think quite highly of him. I called you a Republican because it was sure to get you more worked up. You shouldn't take yourself so seriously, buddy. It seems like you straight guys never do have very good senses of humor; so I shouldn't be surprised. It's always a contest to see whose is bigger and more masculine.

Beekeepers Apprentice said...

I totally get being burned out. I find myself struggling just to do my Sunday potluck. Fact, is, as someone just said in a movie I was just watching, humans are fundamentally insane.

I'll keep you on my blogroll and check back occasionally, just in case, as I've always enjoyed reading you. Go have some fun...life's too short to spend it doing something you don't enjoy any longer.

one L said...

BkA, you should look into Google Reader. The next time JBW posts something (if ever), it will go straight to the top of your list. Pretty handy tool...

In other news, I am considering starting my own blog here in the comment section of JBW's sleeping giant. Thoughts? Feedback? Would I have anyone's support?

Donald Douglas said...

Actually, it's the drugs. JBW got a hold of some bad shit and he's now totally FUBAR with some whacked arguments over at my place. See, 'Rally for Reefer'.

That's a track-back too, JBW, so don't pull one of those shitty hissy fits about spam, ya prick.

Philippe Öhlund said...

Good luck, JBW! :-)

I think you're funny and clever, but I understand you're becoming desillusioned and somewhat lost, because you're not very firmly rooted in the Bible, which is our roadmap.

Trust the Lord, He will take care of business.

Have a time! :-)

JBW said...

Thanks for the support and kind words (almost) everyone. I actually haven't been here for a while but per my usual policy I'd like to respond to your comments in turn:

ex DLB: I'm leaving the blog up and might even continue it at some point. I don't know where Grace's bunker is located but for the sake of her future grand new country I hope she's listening to the more reasonable voices in her head.

AT101: Thanks, buddy. I never tire of shameless compliments and while I appreciate the virgins, after a while you just want a girl who knows what she's doing, know what I'm saying?

Leslie: I agree with everything you say about politics still being relevant and the importance of fighting the good fight, I just think the system itself is the problem. I believe that it's going to get a lot worse before it gets any better and I just don't think I can remain adequately engaged until the latter happens.

You have great spirit and a good heart. You're the inspiration.

TAO: Thanks for confirming my suspicions that there have been massive hoards of silent readers secretly enjoying my blog whilst not commenting and yet somehow escaping detection by my Sitemeter. I knew it.

squatlo: Ditto as TAO. And thanks for the vigorous defense of yours truly against one L's stinging barbs (AT101 got his licks in as well) but he is indeed family and also indeed totally fucking with you. He's diabolical; don't take the bait.

Suzan: By all means, you may blog roll me if I decide to continue on and thanks for your kind words. In your face, AT101!

one L: I'm pulling for you to turn out to be the father. I hope the list of possible baby daddies isn't too long but if it is I'd assume that you're still somewhere in the top five, which bodes well for your chances I think.

If I do continue here I'll probably go more the pop culture route but only if I can prevent trading too much intellectualism for frivolity. A healthy mix of both is probably the key, and perhaps the same can be said for life. Say, that almost sounded profound...

BkA: Your point about humans being fundamentally insane is well taken. My neighbor's dog keeps telling me this but I always thought he was just fucking with me.

Clown Shoes: As always your intellectual rhetoric and debate abilities are only rivaled by your absolute mastery of sarcasm and what the kids call "slang". There's a dog that lives next to me that would make you an excellent sparring partner...

Philippe: I think you might be onto something with this whole God thing you keep pushing. With Clown Shoes consistently railing against my support for drug legalization it's nice to have someone come here and offer me some of their own. Plus that tax exempt status looks pretty sweet: how do I get in on that?

Oh, and I've never said anything about this before because you're a nice guy and I didn't want to make you look foolish but you have some funny looking little dots over part of your last name; might be something wrong with your keyboard settings. Thought you should know. Take care.