1. The Vagabond does not advocate, defend, or go out of his way to practice littering.
2. The Vagabond doesn't care if you liked Jack Nicholson's Joker better.
3. The Vagabond acknowledges that the test scores of American highschool students (which represent the highest education attained by most Americans)
actually rank much lower than we'd like to admit, and that California's system in particular is pretty much all the BS that money can buy, but he
has a link to back up his "best educated" claim, which, by internet law, makes it true no matter what you say.
4. If you experience depression or thoughts of suicide, stop reading and consult you doctor immediately.
5. Don't hurt people. Don't hurt them if I make you distrust them, don't hurt them if I make you think it's morally OK, don't hurt them even if I
offer you money and drugs and hookers for doing it (which I won't, unless it's one person in particular). DO NOT HURT PEOPLE.
Now without further ado...
Earlier today (while still sober) I was driving home, just getting back into range of my favorite radio station, and that cute (and annoying) "Don't
Trash California" radio commercial came on.
For those of you who don't listen to the same station as me, either because you don't like Rise Against or because you are far away, I'll explain
the commercial: It's an audio skit wherein two People's Republic of California bureaucrats invade the home of a private citizen with no consent or
mention of a warrant, and dump cigarette butts on his carpet because they have apparently been spying on him all day for no particular reason, and
noticed that he threw the contents of his ashtray out the car window on the freeway. They observe that he doesn't like garbage in his home, suggest
that the entire state of California is just as much his home as the 450 square foot section thereof [supposedly thereof I should say- as explained
next paragraph] where he actually lives, and point out the contradiction (of their specious logic) created by his actions.
Thus the litterbug is brought to realize that he has obligations to far away people he has never heard because he and they both happen to be standing
in the same imaginary box that somebody drew over an inaccurate map. (Think about it- they didn't use GPS to draw California's borders, and
cartography STILL isn't an exact science, so if you lived just this side of the California-Nevada border, it would be conceivable that shaky hands or
bad math could have caused you to get an IOU for your state income tax return this year when you shouldn't have even been paying state income
Anyway, after hearing the commerical, which was sponsored by the CALTRANS (God, how I loathe them [as do all operators and carpenters [i'm both, plus
the son of one, and brother to two of the other]]) storm water program. I was immediately (well, after a brief parenthetical anyway) reminded of The
Joker (Heath Ledger, not Jack Nicholson- I never thought I'd say this, but Jack Nicholson is the diet coke of evil) saying "You have all these rules
and you think they'll save you". The commerical is a waste of money. It should be cheap. It's just a quick electronic signal to let the people know
what to do- it couldn't possibly have taken more than a few barrels of oil worth of power, and they weren't paying celebrities to do the reading.
Compared to the alternative (paying two bureaucrats to spy on and dump ashes in the living room of every smoker in California) that's a doggone
bargain and then some. But it's a waste of money, because nobody's listening. Not even me, and I'm the guy ranting about it!
So that summed it up pretty well for me. You've got all these rules and you think they'll save you. But they won't, because nobody will listen.
If all you've got to do to save the world is convince some of the most comfortable and
best educated people in the world to accept a few minimal
restrictions on their wonton excess, in the name of a good cause which is also in their best interest, then you're obviously and hopelessly
Because "they're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these 'civilized people'-
they'll eat eachother". And what I gather from Maslow's heirarchy of needs is that the chips are always down, 'cause unless you've already got
all the food, water, sex, sleep, shelter, friends, love, status, self esteem, and self actualization that you want, you're gonna be distracted from
the priorities which transcend yourself (hell, maslow didn't even think about those the first time around- he had to add them later and they still
haven't made it into most psych and sociology texts that I've seen[not that I've been to all the best schools or even all that many different
libraries really, but still]).
I took a little time off thinking then and watched The Dark Knight (I decided to the minute that first Joker quote hit me) and started getting drunk
(if you're surpised that the above was sober, remember it's being related by a drunk guy).
But afterwards I got back around to thinking about people who won't do what they're supposed to do- which really is all of us at one point or
another. Specifically I was considering how far removed we really are from animals. If you dropped a group of average humans into the wild without
supplies, equipment, or instructions, what would happen? Would they calmly figure out what they needed to do to survive and to establish some form of
civilization for themselves, and work together to accomplish it? Or would they live as animals (captive-born animals no less), and in the end quite
possibly end up eating eachother in the absence of some other, equally vulnerable prey? I suspect the later, and I don't think that's a recent
development. I don't think there's ever been a time when the average human really understood civilization, much less could be much help in creating
it from scratch.
And yet civilization has grown and endured in a world where most people are not civilized. If you'll bear with my pop-culture illustrations, it
appears that the movie 10,000 B.C. might have it right on both the origins and the continued practice of civilization: a nano-minority possessing
great knowledge and vision, and a few muscular men who will obey them, makes civilization happen by capturing and coercing everyone around them to
serve an unimportant and arbitrary end- whether it be the stacking of large blocks in a tapered manner to memorialize dead men or the circulation of
green paper rectangles bearing portraits of dead men (but whatever civilization does, rest assured it will end in dead men- probably women and
That's where destroying civlization comes in. Let's empathize with PETA for a moment. Consider the possibility that the vast majority of mankind
(actually all of mandkind, excepting the very first Civilized Person, whom if questioned, threatens this entire post with the prospect of dying a
homunculus fallacy's death) is comprised of sentient but unenlightened beasts of burden, who's entire collection of learned behavior and entire
direction of thought is merely the product of thorough discipline.
Consider further that any anti-social or uncivilized behavior represents a failure of discipline to overcome animal will- either by want of discipline
or glut of will.
While this would not make protagonists of criminals, it would, at least in many cases, render them innocent, and place the guilt upon those who
claimed the authority to make laws. If we entertain the idea that civilization is achieved through the manipulation of less knowledgeable or less able
(though not less intelligent or less worthy) masses by a coordinated few who place them under duress, then virtually any defiance thereof can be
appreciated as a triumph of nature over design.
But if we did appreciate rebellion through this paradigm, it would be bittersweet. The "animal" faction, by nature, cannot form a coherent
resistance and cannot triumph. They were in fact overtaken in evolution and so by all evidence are materially (though not morally) inferior.
Which brings us back to the Joker. I hate to throw stones at one of my own favorite movies, by you can't be 3 steps ahead and then cancel all that
out by saying, "do I really look like a guy who has a plan?". He obviously does have a plan, and yet he's an agent of chaos. A plan for chaos.
That's what it would take to bring down civlization, which, as you may have noticed, I am suggesting might not be a completely immoral idea. (or if
you prefer 10,000 BC, you could say we're looking for a diplomat and general who's only end is to become a hunter again).
And that's where I'm going basically. From a certain point of view, a supervillain could be a protagonist. One could argue that a Tyler Durden style
terrorist who succeeded in hitting the reset button (which in fact would prove to be the "OFF" button, I believe) would essentially be ending
roughly 12,000 years of slavery (I got that number from Gobleki Tepe, not 10,000 BC [no Gobleki Tepe is not a movie].
But you know, I've got to admit: I'm a schemer. I'd never destroy civilization. I'd try to take it over, because for someone who thinks he's an
animal, I'm unusually arrogant and perhaps uniquely ambitious. If you think the guys oppressing us now are bad, you have no clue how good I would
probably be at it.