from our readers
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS!
The following is an open letter from a 15 year old high school student in Lexington, KY. to her fellow students. Its public distribution was her last school activity. We thought it heartening if somewhat paranoid; it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
"Do you know what the fascists are doing to our brain cells?"
If you read the tabloids, you are probably aware that the CIA is one of our leading drug importers, and that the government has been known to implant narcotics in major areas. It may come as a surprise, however, to learn that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Many more insidious menaces, seemingly harmless, have been placed in our society by high-ranking Republican officials, including government leaders and even the president of the United States!
One of these menaces in modern Top 40. Such music has proven to destroy brain cells and deaden emotions. Children of Republican leaders pressure their friends into buying recordings of mindless dance music and synthesized pop. The Republicans and their children popularize the music, thus affecting millions of unsuspecting people.
Television is another way to destroy brain cells. The government promotes TV programs that discourage thinking. Sometimes subliminal messages are put in advertisements. Because of the fascists, television has become extremely prevalent and influential.
The most subtle danger is compulsory public education. Although it seemingly is used to teach people and encourage thinking, it in fact does the opposite. It forces students to conform rather than think for themselves and live unconventionally. Public education also emphasizes memorizing and regurgitating information. The atmosphere in schools is not conducive to free thinking.
The fascists are doing this because they want to destroy people's thinking ability while the people are young. They intend to reinforce their own views and spread conservatism. Once this is accomplished, they will be able to slowly implement controls on people, who will not realize what is happening until we have a totalitarian nation.
This plot has been remarkably successful in the '70s, '80s, and early '90s. Although TV and compulsory education existed previously, the conservatives have recently intensified their efforts. George Bush has already begun the second stage of subtle restrictions of freedom!
To counteract this situation, we must first be aware of it. We must not succumb to the brain-numbing effects of this evil conspiracy. We must resist restrictions of freedom and infringements upon rights, as well as the dangers that have been implanted in our society. It is necessary to encourage alternative lifestyles. The only way to stop this abomination is to think, feel, and rebel. It is up to us.
I was absolutely delighted with the choice and good taste of your presentation of Bert Meyers' poetry [in issue 24]. I realized that if my husband had seen such a magazine in his life-time, he would have chosen to submit poems to it and would have been proud to be published in it. Although he was a marvelous teacher of poetry and a number of his students have since distinguished themselves as poets, he found academia to be an unreal and uncomfortable milieu and would have much preferred remaining a craftsman in wood -- a picture-framer and gilder -- if new materials and sprays had not been too hazardous to his health. He respected the experience of work but bemoaned the straight jacket in which society kept the worker, snuffing out all his joy spontaneity and creativity. In his work as a poet: ""...he still dreamed of a style / so clear it could wash a face, / or make a dry mouth sing.''Â Not an ideal shared by most of his peers in the world of poetry: ""But they laughed, having found / themselves more astonishing. / They would drive their minds, / prismatic, strange, each wrapped / in his own ecstatic wires, / over a cliff for language, / while he remained to raise / a few birds from a blank page.''
—Odette Meyers, Berkeley, CA.
Dear Processed World:
I started a new job, night shift word processing at a law firm, and to my surprise found an excerpt from Processed World up on the company refrigerator after I had been there a few days. It was the short article on credit card scamming that had been reproduced in the Utne Reader [from PW 23]. A handwritten note was attached to it: "This person has intelligence but no honesty, courage but no honor.'' Obviously the work of a lawyer.
Well, they say even fleas have fleas. This law firm is in the honorable and honest (if not courageous) occupation of representing insurance companies.
Many people don't realize that insurance companies have in many ways replaced banks as the ultimate parasites in our system. They sell fear, though they try to make it appear they are selling safety. They have accumulated immense amounts of capital over the ages, capital with which they now own a controlling interest in most major banks and industries. They would be highly profitable even if they did not make a profit on selling insurance policies, simply by their return on investments. They produce absolutely nothing of value.
In many cases we are compelled to buy their products. For instance, in California automobile owners must buy insurance according to state law, and banks require homeowners or anyone else who takes out a loan to but various forms of insurance. To add further injury to slavery, insurance companies do not like to pay off on their policies. They have two ways to do this:Â the most common one is to raise rates if they have to make a payoff, for instance when you have an auto accident. The second is to simply refuse to pay, which then often results in a court battle. That is the kind of carrion this law firm lives off. Instead of simply paying a worker or other victim compensation for an injury, State Farm, Aetna, Prudential or whoever pays lawyers $150 - $200 an hour to try to prove that the victim is faking pain or caused the accident on purpose in order to collect on the insurance.
It's amazing how much time the lawyers can waste on the cases, but then working at $200 per hour is hard to resist. even if the victim wins, there is the additional taxation of having to pay the victim's lawyer about 1/3 of the winnings.
Of course, from the lawyer's point of view they are hard working, honest, intelligent, productive people. Not like the person who is living on credit.
—B.M., San Diego, CA.
This is great! I never knew there was magazine for pissed-off workers until I saw your listing in the Whole Earth Signals Catalogue.
Urine tests, company propaganda, and overall degradation are only the tip of the iceberg of frozen concentrated corporate stupidity. It's rotten for everybody below the executive level (Well, stop the presses!). Let's look at the choices. White collar? Forget it. A tie ain't nothin' but a leash. Anybody can pick up the other end. Blue collar? It's worse. Suck up to the manager AND the union boss. Pink collar? Lucky you! Every customer is your boss, including the one without a receipt, who wants a refund NOW, godammit!
Top be honest, I've pretty much lucked out in the job market. Even the shitty restaurant jobs have been entertaining or mercifully brief. But like a middle-class revolutionary who's got no qualms about leading uprisings in the name of the proletariat, I'll go on writing about corporate scams even though they don't affect me.
Speaking of corporate scams, here is my version of an employee counseling brochure. The Employee Assistance Program promotes ""gatekeeper'' (Who is the Keymaster? Who ya gonna call?) plans (glorified babysitting) to monitor employee recovery from drug addiction, alcoholism, and "emotional trauma." Sure, it's better than being fired, but now you're gonna help the company milk the insurance company for treatment of a "disease" (Pause for a moment to weep copiously). It's written in a corporate ""voice,'' that of a Dutch uncle who ""really knows the lingo.'' The pictures and questions are genuine; the answers are mine.
Anyway, here's my $10 for the next 4 issues. If you want, you can print the brochure.
—Rev. Carl X (The Black Humor Man)
People's Free Democratic World Ministries, Inc.
Enclosed is my check for $24.00 to renew my two year subscription to Processed World. I am a long time reader, years, and have with interest and amazement watched the magazine's content stay at a high level of achievement. OK? Your writing is "spotty eclectic'' but your values come through clearly.
I read PW when it arrives, it stays on the table with other current ""to read'' stuff for a couple of weeks before it goes into storage. I read and look over PW cover to cover.
I read many magazines and publications. This is the order I remembered them: Connoisseur,Horticulture, Resist, Weekly Morbidity & Mortality Report, Art & Auction, Croquet, Heavy Metal, Croquet Calendar, Inner Voice, Harvard Medical School Letter, Smithsonian, Manchester Guardian Weekly, Sun-Enterprise, Art & Antiques, Capitol Press, Whole Earth Review, Hortideas, The Progressive, In These Times, Vanity Fair, New England Journal of Medicine, Z Magazine, Oregon Farmer-Stockman. I don't own a television.
I don't own a microwave oven.
I don't own a dish washing machine.
I don't own a clothes washer.
I don't own a clothes dryer.
I don't own a garbage dispenser.
I don't own a VCR.
I don't own a doorbell.
I don't have electric heat.
I don't have gas heat.
I don't have a garage.
I don't owe for a car.
I don't have life insurance.
I own the farm.
I live in the past.
The processed world is where and what most of us choose to be. Out of desperation. Out of choice. We choose to do what we do. We do what we are told to do. We stay caught in the web of employment, are hirelings. We have vacant jobs and are watching our lives become more vacant. We don't want to have vacant lives. We buy and feed the things we use. We feed upon ourselves and feed those around us. We feed upon each other. A rather severe image; primordial, decayed fungi rotting, deliquescing, oozing smarmy melodies of contentment and disdain. The fulsome blues.
Extreme fixes come to the forefront: A platform of objectivity; 1) legalize all drugs 2) outlaw television.
When you are in the midst of a national problem, the closeness of it covers and clouds the way in which we can look at it. Looking back we see the way in which the selling and controlling of the television technology dominated us; the manner, style and ways in which we lived. We became dependent upon it. We learned from it. We set our standards against it. The creation of a national consensus. We understood conceptsÂ via the national information source, were sold the way in which it is. What everyone else is thinking. We waited for and received the results. Holding in sway many people, day after day. Daily thousands pulled away, while thousands more joined.
Your magazine still makes me think, laugh, I never get outraged. You have yet to offend me, you can't. I can't [be offended] by what I've read. Now, what you write about, in other words, the facts of life, that is what offends me.
Your graphics, cartoons, visual statements, imagery, and all the photos, captions, and drawings is a real collective, a visually stimulating mish mash. My favorite part of the magazine. You know it! I mean how much better can you say it than in the cartoon "Mixed Emotions?" I would love to see the graphics that you would not print. You must have some doozies. Funny.
Billboard Liberation Front. If we only knew how. Some messages advocate doing damage to people. Good drugs. The organizations already set up to siphon off the money. Get people dependent upon what the sell. The pusher, the guy on the street saying, want a cigarette? Can I get you a drink? What would you like? How about another? Want some more? Can I light that for you? Here, have one of mine. How about another? What can I pour you? Another of the same? Two more? Another round? What can I fix you up with? On ice? What would you like? I can't think of much more to tell you. I cannot stand a reader pre-coded response survey because I never know how to condense and rationalize a canned response. I want to say more.