Sunday, September 29, 2013

The View from Suburbia

There is light rain over Metro Atlanta but the view from suburbia is White. 



Rain weathered Aryan bungalows with sloping roofs and mahogany doors, White stately pillars (ionic), White picket fences, white "Sports Utility Vehicles" and lots and lots of angel food cake White folks.  This is Midtown Atlanta, Virginia-Highland to be precise, what else did I expect? This is Whitey's place, so fall with the dice!


"You're a long way from Liverpool, buddy."

I have not lived in a community this Whitehole since I was a kid on Menlove Avenue in Liverpool. There are no Black families on Wisteria Lane (my road) but there is one Black family in the sleepy village of Stepford. I can't really call them African-American because they might well be Africans real or West Indians who hate Africans (Atlanta is international, you see). 


Class and racial divisions are alive and kicking. You see a lot of African-American men down and out in Metro Atlanta. They are like refugees in their own country, hunter-gatherers living off garbage, men with faces full of hardship and misery, with nowhere to go and no one to love. But in the marketplace of modern American society the walking dead are throwaways, and surplus to requirements.


And madness is reality for homeless African-American men caught in the poverty trap.  I saw one chap today, wrapped up in a blue plastic sheet, stumbling up and down the Atlanta Beltline mumbling to himself, "The world is a brothel and we are all prostitutes. You're a prostitute, I'm a prostitute, we're all prostitutes!"  


I almost clapped him on the back.


Aaron Alexis runs Amok

America is a society informed and entertained by violence. Even if you were to avoid all of the violent films, TV shows and computer games, you cannot escape violence on the news.  High profile shootings and armed nutters have dominated the headlines, on and off, ever since we arrived in the USA.  



CIA "mind control." Probably invented by a Mother in Law


The Aurora theater shooting, the Wisconsin Sikh temple rampage, the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre; rogue LAPD officer Christopher Dorner on the loose in California, George Zimmerman standing his ground against Trayvon Martin; and now Aaron Alexis, programmed to kill - like a Manchurian Candidate - by an electronic voice in his head. The fools on the TV try to deconstruct the madness of the latest "active shooter" but the coverage is always hysterical and they quickly go back to nice news and non-durable celebrities until the next shooting spree 


The AR-15 also comes in Hello Kitty pink

I switch off Piers Morgan on CNN talking bullshit about an "AR-15 shotgun" to check my emails.  There is one from informing me about an old fashioned raffle for two brand new AR-15 assault rifles. I am living in a culture trapped in a paradoxical cycle of fear, violence and insecurity. Great. 


And the forecast for suburbia remains bleak. After 5 years of Obama's economic policies, Americans are still gloomy about tomorrow. In a recent Bloomberg poll fewer people are optimistic about the job market, the housing market or "anticipate improvement in the economy's strength over the next year". Only 38% of those polled think Obama is doing enough "to make people feel economically secure" and to cap it off 68% of interviewees thought the country "was headed in the wrong direction."

Is the American Dream dead, or has America turned into a nation of crybabies? I am alien, new to these shores, and cannot possibly judge.  I remain content to ignore the big issues of our times with an English stiff upper lip; the growing poverty rate, the destruction of the American middle class, the crisis in the public school system, youth unemployment; mass incarceration, growing militarization and authoritarianism, the surveillance state, the dangers of "neoliberalism" and rampant monetarism, yawn, etc, ad infinitum.  


Alas, the Male Trailing Spouse has more pressing concerns. There is the rotting, yellow limb of an oak dangling over the backyard porch, what to do with the dormant gas BBQ, unused since arrival, the squirrels have knocked over the basil (again), and the ferns are looking haggard and split. The red velvet sky is gone and gritty clouds now hover above the collard-greens of Piedmont Park. The sun just about shines through the blowing trees, I smell decay as the season makes a sigh, Goodbye Summer and Hello Autumn, the view from suburbia is mine.