BoDark Seeks Enlightenment


One of my major goals on the SHACK is to challenge your thought processes regarding Usenet and the Intellectual Property debate. To provide some resources to gather data, then decide your own truth. If you visit frequently, you know I preach loudly that this is no time to be apathetic about Usenet censorship, or any assault on your rights to online freedom and privacy. My next goal is to analyze anything that might block our little inner journey. Today that topic is Apathy.

The decades-long struggle against Corporate initiatives and Governmental legislation, seemingly bent on forfeiting our freedom for guarantees of protection, has made breaking the bonds of Apathy a #1 cultural theme in modern television and film. Fight Club [1999] was a shocking example of what it looks like to take a stand, and birthed the idea that overcoming Apathy's grip can get more than a little crazy. More to my topic, how quickly one's cherished Moral high-ground can fade into the rear-view, if we don't apply some sane introspection.

I am impressed how well so many recent TV series have delivered twisted peeks into our shared modern-day apathy. Even more poignant, what can happen to those who embrace a (self)righteous solution. Some are so brilliantly portrayed, that the storytelling transcends our staunch preconceptions, visually delivering on believable probabilities of consequences we ourselves might face if forced to make the same tough decisions in the face of impossible odds. Blending that message with vanity and ego, and the Law of Unintended Circumstances and Murphy's Law, has made for some compelling TV and movies over the last five years.

How to Give a F&*# About Apathy

The fact that many of us are totally fed up with something, makes these Moral Tales fertile ground for deeply personal, spiritual rumination. Just found out you have cancer? Breaking Bad. Had enough Government? Sons of Anarchy. Had enough Consumerism? Revolution. Had enough of the Apathetic? The Walking Dead. Apologies, I did not mean to call Revolution brilliant, nor transcendent. It is cute and too safe for my tastes, but the fact Revolution is on Network TV proves my original point of this topic's traction in popular culture.

A recent documentary referenced a story of how the household dogs left behind in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina went feral after a couple weeks of going unfed. The story alleged all the small dogs were quickly eaten by the bigger dogs, which had formed packs that even threatened humans. Apparently the Veil of Gentile Society is fragile for humans and dogs. That frailty is the secret sauce behind one of my favs The Walking Dead. {Walking Dead Spoiler Alert!} Translation; concepts formerly held rigidly solid as Morality, blur when your family is hiding from undead Walkers in the abandoned prison, and you run into some dubious former inmates also fighting for the last bits of food and safety.

Laura? Call Me...

I was starstruck Fall 2011 watching Season 1 of HBO's cringeTV Enlighted, starring (and co-created by) Laura Dern. Just as Showtime's Dexter illuminates poignant points of our humanity using the foil of his guiltless sociopathy, Laura Dern's character Amy Jellicoe spotlights our cultural apathy through the lens of her post-rehab goody-two-shoeness. Episode1 lays the foundation with Amy's very public workplace mental breakdown, and subsequent court-enforced Recovery Center enlightenment. Upon her return to work she keeps her job on threat of lawsuit, but gets demoted from an Executive position to an entry-level one. The story takes off as Amy's new sun-shiney awareness drives her to make the world a better place for all ...whether they like it or not.

Being old enough myself to have suffered multiple enlightenments (not rehab), I can testify the Wiki definition should be illustrated with a picture of boot being applied to ass. The cringe factor of this show is the uncomfortable tension created when Laura Dern's character Amy attempts to lovingly apply some of that righteous boot to the asses of the fallen ...for their own good of course. The show is heavily focused on her place of employment, representing our collectively-cliched scorn for socially irresponsible and remorseless global Corporations. The list also includes her Ex(s), co-workers, and her mother (Diane Ladd of course), with whom she now lives.

There's Something About Amy

Amy's enlightenment is simply the heartfelt faith she must now follow her rediscovered inner Truthy moral compass. It's not how Amy spreads that Love, but the manner in which other characters respond, which illuminates truth on the hows-and-whys people have jumped en masse on the Apathy Train. Showing us that the pain of Apathy is born from the self-loathing of life spent in gilded cages of our own making. HBO's Enlightened, perhaps more than my other examples above, details the true nature of this darkly secret, cultural self-hate we call Apapthy.

The truth revealed is painful. Being apathetic means you already traded Freedom for safety. How can you take a stand when afraid of losing your job, or risk standing against your Peers? Or worse, getting cut out of the societal puzzle like Amy? Well her real enlightenment is to ignore those fears and make life-choices based on a newly discovered self-love ...or is it just Ego driven revenge? Of course, this duality comes across as uncomfortably nuts, yet still, somehow, charmingly brave. Ms Dern's portrayal won her the 2012 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy. Bravo.

On the Season 1 Finale, the audience is pained to wonder whether Amy is indeed enlightened or clueless, and begs the question, where is the line between "Do the right thing", and "STFU!"? ...and we are left to ask ourselves, whether clueless or necessary, could the mayhem happen any other way? Would Evil bottom-line Corporate greed otherwise continue to dominate our (a)pathetic lives without the questionable emotional stability that drives Amy? You won't get any spoilers from me as Season 2 Episode 1 just played on Jan 13, 2013. The slogan for Season Two is "Peace had it's chance".

Evading the Truth

Does that make it sound like I believe Laura Dern's character has catalyzed an escape from Apathy's grip, to deliver some righteous moral solution we can all adopt? I am not so sure, maybe we'll find out this season. Without giving any spoilers for that Season 1 finale, I would have to say Amy's "Final Solution" would be frowned upon by the likes of Gandhi and Dr. ML King ...but definitely would get a high-five from Tyler Durden [Fight Club].

Unlike Amy, I do not believe I am in the position to tell you the Real Deal, worrying my commentary might read like an episode of Enlightened. The real deal is that our Technology-driven society is evolving so fast that it demands we seek wider/balanced agreement and fresh negotiations to all new Social contracts. Knowledge is Power, that is why Free people demand real Justice ...especially when it relates to our free access to knowledge. I am not opposed to Intellectual Property law, but Fair Use and the free flow of information should have a full ranking on the other scalepan. Justice implying balance.

While my commentary intends to entertain and inform, I am honestly aware my behind is not exactly planted on the steps of Government, chanting "We will not be moved!" I am not sure Apathy is the proper pigeon-hole for Bo. Perhaps it's something more insidious, like the evil and dreaded Contentment ...which would be the name of my HBO series. Have I settled for the pursuit of happy-enough-ness, and my wee soap box here on the SHACK? One thing I do know, there is no simple answer to making a meaningful Social commitment.

Selfish=Good? Apathy=Normal?

The show also makes it clear that prior to Amy's meltdown, her amoral self-interest had driven some degree of corporate and financial success. Pre-Enlightened Amy was considered "normal", albeit high-strung. The thesis of the show is that her well-deserved meltdown proved that old belief system was not sustainable. Amy's radical roundabout at the Recovery Center was clearly a quest for new skills and a more honest path to make her life work, emotionally and spiritually ...but is a 180 degree turn from 100% conformity a good thing? Well flipping something on it's head is surely the best way to get a fresh look.

Enlightened flips us over and shines a dark light on our collective self-entitlement. Showing us its not that we don't care about global issues, but perhaps we only have enough time to dedicate to ourselves. That being apathetic never includes uncomfortable introspection. For the character Amy, we discover what happens when someone dares jump off the Apathy Express and does what she feels in her heart is right ... or maybe she's just a little angry, and is heading back to treatment. Enlightened has you asking the question "how wicked are you willing to be, to stop Wickedness?" ...and is that Morally flawed?

Viva La Revelation!

Enough about Amy Jellicoe, what happened to us? Are we so pacified catching up on some latest On Demand series? Just one more level on that video game? One thing for sure, my grandfather would have me cutting my own switch ...but our punishment is already being previewed. History repeating. Usenet has a couple red hot welts on it's backside, and we stand by like brothers and sisters thinking "Glad it's not me!" Well we are next. Me? I am not apathetic. My guilt is dilute. Somebody needs to take one for the Team, I got bills to pay. What's that Team Building exercise where you fall and trust someone will catch you? Most of us feel trapped by a societal fabric where we unfortunately know those around us are frighteningly ...just like us. We know in real life there are a rare few willing to catch us.

So, what would some Usenet activism look like? My opinion is already out there. Not to confuse opinion with activism. Boiled down I don't believe the punishment fits the crime. I'm not sure the line is properly drawn, but it clearly is drawn. Surely the Judiciary understands there are degrees to any offense, but Corporate-hired Intellectual Property lawyers and Government influence is like a ham-handed fist on one side of Justice's scale ...and we are too scared to make a fist.

That is the secondary point of Ms. Dern's Enlightened, it takes a special kind of mental (in)stability to squat on the steps of Government. History however, is written by these folks ...when they win, but there is a Plan B. It's called EDUCATION. There are a proud few who have earned the credentials to represent a more open view of Intellectual Property at the big table, and be a real part of the discussion. My point of this article is that the creative writing we enjoy electronically is actually visual proof that many of the things we believe to be written in stone, are in fact more fluid in nature, and therefore up for discussion. They change with circumstance and require agreement.

Back at the SHACK, my only attempt at wisdom here is to say that if you think Revolution is the only way to make a change, you haven't been paying attention. If you wait until the only way to make a change is revolt, you may find yourself living a life portrayed in these dramatized television and film examples ...a life beyond the Societal veil, where you have a gun in one hand and a rusted salad fork in the other. That is why I am asking you to think about it today. Comments below...

Of course,be sure to sign up for our TWITTER so as to not miss out...until then,



BoDark posted by BoDark
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