--And away they go
(Jackie Gleason as Ralph Cramden)
(Jackie Gleason as Ralph Cramden)
A dirty white boy
I've been in trouble since I don't know when
I'm in trouble now and I know somehow
I'll find trouble again
--Dirty White Boy,
Twenty five years ago they spoke out and they broke out
Of recession and oppression and together they toked
And they folked out with guitars around a bonfire
Just singin' and clappin' man what the hell happened
--Walking on the Sun,
The only thing that's left to fear is too late to ever start again
They rape us over and over and over and over
But I'm still alive, but I'm still alive in this dead space
--Dead Space, Sick Puppies
The academie has been calling for their heads for decades. De-center the white male -- eject his works from the canon! And while it is true that society has historically failed to recognize and include females and minorities, the white male artist should not be the whipping boy for society's failures.
Especially white males of the lower and middle strata today, who largely have no power to oppress anyone in society. Yet among the liberal crowd, it is with glee and snarkiness that they -- largely young to middle-aged white males -- express their schadenfreude against the meth-heads and Oxy fiends in Kentucky, largely young to middle-aged white males.
Scapegoats needed, and the bedraggled Khalid Sheikh Mohammed-looking guy in Appalachia in the wife-beater, gaze affixed to the rabbit-eared t.v. will do nicely, thanks.
Well, we now have the result of this denigration and disdain: the white male young to middle-aged cohort is the only demographic losing in the longevity race in the United States. In addition to alcohol, drug abuse and liver cirrhosis is cited depression, as though the latter were a discrete phenomenon from the former.
After the previous gains had plateaued for several years, they have now begun to dip. Every other cohort continues to gain annually.
This trend should be very concerning to anyone who cares about a well populace. One group need not lose in order for others to gain. There is no penance that need be paid. This is not the bible, and offspring do not pay for the sins of the fathers.
But these dead and dying they are no one's pet project, they are simply lost like so much detritus along the highway that used to be paved with hope. Their jobs have been outsourced and off-shored, their towns, dying due to the outflux of industry. Good union jobs are scarce, once the route into the middle class for the vocational track student. There are few apprentices or journeymen anymore.
Clothes and socks and appliances are bought cheaply from abroad, and disposed of as befits their value. Human's valuation and a sense of pride also landed on that trash heap. These are the designated losers in the sweepstakes of modernity, not educated enough to innovate or escape the dead ends into which they were born, not qualifying for any particular charitable cause.
The last time an administration took note of their plight was back in the 1930's when FDR's administration began improvements like the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Works Project Administration (WPA). President Obama's Promise Zones plans to bring federal dollars to regions with persistent poverty, like those in Kentucky (the first rural pilot), but it will probably be as successful as Johnson’s War on Poverty and Clinton’s Empowerment Zones. Not.
The causes du jour, gay marriage and LGBTQ rights, have no space for the floundering straight white male. As in The Dark Tower, time has moved on. The People Who Mean Well will bring places like rural Kentucky online, but sans leadership, they will play video games and grow more unfit to do anything but get to the end of the driveway for their monthly check to keep the Mountain Dew flowing.
The too-young dying white males should be seen as a bellwether for the future of any hopeless cohort in our country. Simply as a matter of expediency, we should be utilizing all of our manpower into building a more robust society; forget morals and ethics.
We amuse ourselves with programs like "Justified and "The Walking Dead", but the reality which props up the artifice is anything but amusing. Witnessing large swathes of desolation throughout the land which used to be centers of production -- now become rat holes -- we should all be concerned if for naught else than the corrosive effect upon on our own piece of the puzzle. The contagion spreads from the epicenters of the disease.
Epitaph of the dead white male: I can't go on, I'll go on.