Just Like a Heatwave, Burning In My Heart (If My Heart Were My Electric Bill)

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Oh, Martha–  I’m guessing neither you nor one of your lovely Vandellas were prepared for the irony of ironies: as gas prices rise, people stay home instead of hitting the road this summer, and while home, they find themselves cranking up the air-conditioner to offset the heatwave (ie, summer) we’re in, and they ultimately find out that they’re probably spending more on electricity and staying home than they would on that road trip to the shore.

And no, I’m not looking to go on some diatribe about global warming, because, much like other hot button issue, like God, politics, and the frivolous use of the word “Stars” for television programming that features former C-list actors/singers/athletes, I prefer to keep myself far-removed from anything that contentious.  However, I am looking to get into a heated (pun 100% intended) deconstruction on how we, as a society, are plagued by oversights, and I have a few interesting/current examples that highlight this ever-growing (and dangerous) trend.

(Ed.  I’m not stating whether the circumstances mentioned below align with my personal ideologies, just making note of arguments and opinions that may or may not have already been expressed by others. 

Not Driving Will Solve the Energy Crisis

When I was in elementary school, I partook in a school program for “advanced” students called IPI (I do not know for certain what it stood for, but I think it was “Individually Prescribed Instruction”).   In 5th grade, they introduced a physics program where a select group of students would get to go to the HIGH SCHOOL to do physics experiments with a professor, accompanied by our science teacher, Mrs. Volpe.

Anyway, I bring this up because it was during this 5th grade physics program that I learned a number of fundamentals that I’ve retained all my life, the first of which being this simple truth: energy is always conserved; it can neither be created nor destroyed.  It’s the first law of thermodynamics, people…

So, with the (fossil fuel) energy crisis in full-swing, I can understand how people are looking to cut down their costs by not using crude oil, and that intention is great.  However, are we too short-sighted to see that whatever we’re not spending at the pump is merely being displaced and reallocated to other ventures?

How much has your home energy costs risen since you canceled that summer road trip?  Air-conditioning, television, refrigeration…they all require electricity to run.  And as much as we’d like to believe that electricity flows into our homes from an unending resource somewhere, it has to be harvested, purified, and shipped.  That process, in and of itself, is harmful.  So you haven’t directly used crude oil, it’s a start, but how might you have indirectly compensated for it?

Obama As President Means Racism in Our Country is Vanquished

I read a very interesting article on CNN.com today that had a very interesting and inflammatory headline: Could an Obama Presidency Hurt Black Americans?

Apparently, we’re ever-inching towards a “post-racial” society, with respect to the fact that our nation used to be dominated by race (as some may say that it’s now dominated by religion… cough cough).  A black president would certainly be a step in the right direction, but it seems that people believe a black president may work against equality.

And I’ve heard this argument before, that “affirmative action” is a form of “reverse racism,” but the CNN piece dives more deeply in depth, noting that Obama offers people “White Guilt Repellent.”  Which, superficially, kind of makes sense.  “I’m not racist, I voted for Obama” may become a battle cry (though, there is no certainty to say it will).  Would we remove resources from minority-targeted programs simply because “If a black man can be president, he can be anything, and therefore it is your own responsibility to do what you have to to succeed?”  The notion of individual racism may be fading, but it can be argued that systematic racism is far from over, and an Obama presidency may wind up enabling it to thrive.

Another side of the argument is that Obama has actively tried to remain race neutral.  He isn’t looking to be a black candidate, just a candidate, and (it can be perceived by some) that he has to shrink away from his heritage in an effort to be more appealing to the majority of voters.  His efforts to be a “candidate” and not a “black candidate” may have been so successful that, should Obama win, his presidency wouldn’t be a representation of a racially equal nation, but one that wasn’t ready for a “black president.”

There Are Only 15 Minutes of Fame

One definition of fame is to be “known or talked about by many people.”  If that were the case, then 15 minutes would be a blessing for both people in the spotlight and the people placing the spotlight on them.  In a day and age where you can be famous for being famous, fame and infamy are one in the same, and only you can decide if you’re famous.

The reason this comes to light is that we’re constantly bombarded with people who, as media whores, detract attention from other matters or people who deserve it more.

Example 1:  Tricia Walsh-Smith, the crazy lady that ranted on YouTube about her husband during their divorce, had absolutely no reason to go beyond her 15 minutes of fame (if she even deserved that), but now the trial is over and she’s still being talked about.  The New York Post will most likely have some headline three weeks from now:, “Crazed Divorcee’s Life Down the YouTube.”  And why?  Because she chose to put herself out there, and we chose to pay attention.  Now infamous, Walsh-Smith is better well-known by face and name than Jean Baudrillard (here is his Wikipedia link; don’t be shy, I knew you wouldn’t know who he was…).

Why mention Baudrillard?  Because millions more have seen “The Matrix” (upon which Baudrillard’s influence was immeasurable) than have seen that silly YouTube Rant.  That, and in one of the opening scenes, where Neo is selling a disk to his acquaintance, the book from which he removes the disk is  Simulacra and Simulation (by Baudrillard), and the chapter is, appropriately, “On Nihilism.”

Example 2: Take your pick of any cast member from “The Hills,” MTV’s “scriptless”
“reality” show.  Our unprecedented fascination with these characters—and that’s what they are, characters—has been growing over the last 5 years when they made their debut as spoiled teenagers we could feel good about disliking.

But since then, the antics (and acting) have gotten worse, the rating’s have gotten better, and most of the show’s “stars” are finding themselves with lucrative contracts, either with products, promotions, or print media.

This very “chicken-or-the-egg” matter resonates, as we prolong their tenure on TV.  And the longer they’re on, the more likely we are to watch.

Another notion is that, as characters, these people will live forever (and not just in syndication).  It may be another flitting twenty-something designer with a dream, and the location may change, but “the villain,” “the tramp,” “the dim one,” “the victim,” and “the shy one” will never die or go away.  15 minutes of this tripe would be an absolute blessing.

With all that, I’m sure there are more examples I could provide, but I think my point was made.

With our chronically short attention spans, our ability to ignore what’s looming beyond the horizon is startling.  It seems that if we ignore what’s obvious, we can happily continue down the path of blissful ignorance.

That is, until there’s a rolling blackout, and we wonder why our ConEd bill was upwards of $300 for the month.

Jackie for AMP3pr.com


Updated by Danielle Oct 30 2017

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