Living in The Age of Irony

The irony of absurdity that is America

by Mike Meyer

We are definitely living In the Age of Irony. Everything seems to fluctuate between irony and absurdity. And at this stage of human history irony is becoming, itself, absurd.

Sadly this is closely related to the decades of refined propaganda used to generate chaos by the old USSR’s KGB and the American propaganda used to fool itself. The irony of that combination is obvious.

America never really cared what other people thought since, somewhere along the line, America became the land of the exceptional and chosen people. Having lived through much of this I have watched it appear and evolve into a pathological condition based primarily on the continuous need to fake the America people into thinking they were different than the USSR.

In order to do that the American government was turned into a version of Russian authoritarianism. The results of that are the stunning corruption of the US Republican Party operating as an agent of the new Russian government. What? How could that possibly happen?

There was, originally a difference between what America thought itself to be and what the fully authoritarian regimes of the 20th century proved to actually be. Between America and Russia the difference was never as great as imagined but there was a distinct difference. Anyone old enough to remember the 1950s has seen that difference disappear.

Lies made that difference disappear. America is the home of bullshit. Bullshitting is different than lying as we all should know. Bullshitters don’t care about truth or lies as they are not telling lies but making up things that aren’t true. Their interest is not in hiding the truth but simply making themselves look better than they are. That is a basic human characteristic.

Somewhere between the 1950s and 1980 America got lazy, my generation, and started believing their own bullshit. Before that there were always American bullshitters who made that mistake but they simply became liars and were no longer trusted. There was a remaining bit of humility that made it a point of pride to not be suckered and that included not really suckering other people.

Ronald Reagan, among many others, lost that distinction. The Great Generation had suffered the Depression and with World War II managed to save the world. In the American provincialism they had little idea what they had saved but they believed the endless anti-Nazi propaganda of the war years and were happy to have done a good dead.

There was some humility in the American culture that was an important theme. This humility had been what defined America as common people and produced the equally great move to a new and functional socialism under Roosevelt. It wasn’t called that because of the continued existence of the capitalist class that had been destroyed by the Great Depression having controlled America from the end of the Civil War to 1930s.

As long as you were white the shared success of a strongly socialist administration allowed the beginnings of recovery and then was blessed with a great war that was a challenge and then a reward for pulling together. It must of meant something because we were able to do what needed to be done.

The economic explosion of the 1950s in America was never questioned and must have been what we deserved. All of us Boomers grew up watching WWII propaganda films on TV after school each day. We knew the Germans were no longer Nazis and the movies were actually about communists if we thought about it at all.

The lies lived on and grew. It was the best of all possible worlds. It was the honest, small town shop keepers, farmers, and working people in the industrial, smoke filled cities with filthy and putrid rivers who were the inheritors of the Earth. As long as they were white or not white and knew their place. We knew our place.

It was such a good story and worked so well for the political system that was dedicated increasingly to wealth and greed. The tools for keeping the people fooled have continued to improve, expanded by the greatness of our advertising that was a another profitable derivative.

We all know that the correction of the 1960s was a far larger correction to the assumptions of the Western world that could not be questioned. Not everyone was happy knowing their place. Many of us woke up and tried a new way of seeing the world but we never forgot the story of being the chosen people and the exceptional nation. And most remained provincially enclosed in the remnants of the old successes.

Bullshit to Lies

The continuing explosion of wealth wore out the social rebellion. Discrimination was ended in America, wasn’t it? Just let the folks who knew the story of the great successes make things beautiful again. Ronnie Reagan, the Old Ranger from Death Valley and John Birch Society hater actually believed he had won World War II because he was the movie. The slide from bullshit to lies wasn’t even an issue. He showed us all how to do it and we all really wanted to. Greed is all that really matters and the police and security guards would be sure that people know their place.

That was the turn to evil. The difference between America and Russia disappeared. But no one noticed and the national propaganda became the truth and the USSR had ended. They became just like America. And we became just like them.

Lies are so important. The reality that people see is what we want them to see. The old lies hid the steady disintegration of life in America. Anyone questioning those lies must be . . . lying. If you are not lying you are part of the lie. Wait. How is that?

The lie must be maintained because without them we would see the truth but that truth is ugly and can only be a lie. We know our place. Bigotry is a lie. Science is a lie. What matters is maintaining control and we know how good the Russians were at that, until their lie fell apart. Just pretend it didn’t happen. It’s all still good. Putin made it real again.

Ah, but the planet Earth is a different place now and the planet is calling out lies. The majority in America are again impressed with a new generation that are trying to call it straight. Women are finished with the lie. People of Color are finished with the lie.

Only my generation and those fed enough lies are trying to keep the lies alive. It looks as if they are willing to kill to keep the lie. That is dangerous. Never trust a liar or liars who believe their lies.

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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