Democratic Underground

The Land of the Bubble People

June 29, 2005
By Phil Rockstroh

In the early 1970s, when George W. Bush was shirking his National Guard duties in Alabama, state Republican Party insiders tagged him with the moniker, "The Texas Soufflé," due to his habitual arrogance, ceaseless indulgence in braggadocio, and preening sense of privilege and entitlement.

At present, after nearly half a decade of Bush's soufflé presidency and the rise of what could be termed soufflé economics, soufflé energy policies, and soufflé jingoism, I think those Alabama party hacks were being charitable in their characterization of Bush - because the composition of any given soufflé is too subtle and far too much care must be taken in its preparation to be an apt analogy for his obtuse, crude persona.

More accurately, Duyba should be compared with a bubble blown from a wad of trust fund bubble gum.

This might explain the reason he sees threats everywhere: the earth bristles with those who would pierce his bubble of privilege and ignorance, would topple him from his throne of grandiosity, would knock the tin crown of entitlement from his ego-tumescent head.

Bush, insulated from reality and in the thrall of obsessive self-regard and overweening pride, has never been tempered by the consequences of his actions.

In this, Bush is merely a reflection of an era dominated by the virtually unfettered power of the military/corporate security state: he is a byproduct of Viagra militarism and jack-shack economics - whereby limp-dick, aging men conflate their pharmaceutically-induced hard-ons into delusions of unflagging power and potency - if not the mandates of heaven. They believe they have become the earthly embodiment of the Phallus of God - the Cosmic Johnson of Jehovah. They are delusional, yet their flaccid, military/corporatist fantasies have risen to become the Dick (Cheney) of Death.

Bastard child of this hegemonic cluster-fuck, his majesty the baby, George W. Bush, throws global-wide tantrums of thwarted entitlement.

Indulged and protected by wealth and privilege, Bush has lived a life devoid of the depth and compassion gained by the interplay of experience and introspection. In his world, informed by infantile omnipotence and macho narcissism, superficial symbols become paramount.

As Bush exemplifies, the childish minds of totalitarian personalities are particularly enamored with symbols of military power. This is why dictators swoon over their own reflection, when they don over-the-top military uniforms, and, accordingly, why little Dubya lives to play dress-up. The vestments of martial power serve as compensation for the despot's inner sense of weakness and vulnerability.

But, because power is addictive, the relief is only palliative and comes at a terrible price. Soon, more and more blandishments of macho-narcissistic armor are required to keep at bay feelings of internal weakness – feelings that are only exacerbated when the world beyond takes up a defensive stance against his belligerence.

However, the world is far too large and intricate - and the human heart too complicated - to be controlled by even the most ruthless tyrants. Throughout history, even the most cunning and powerful despots, those who constructed the murderous mechanisms of absolute power around themselves, faltered and fell. Reduced to a joke, a historical sight gag with their silly uniforms and shiny boots; inevitably, every last strutting, preening one of them (including George W. Bush) will matriculate through the university of higher humiliation known as the vastness of life.

How long did the Thousand Year Reich of the Nazis last - twelve years?

If you put your ear to the ground, you can hear the dynamo hum of tyrants rotating in their graves. This is the closest thing we will ever have to a perpetual motion machine. Deep down totalitarian personality types such as Dubya realize the truth: they know, in the end, they too will join the subterranean machinery of rotisserie tyrants. If we could power hybrid cars with the rage generated when Bush's sense of endless entitlement is thwarted by the larger realities of the world, we could drive Humvee/Prius hybrids to Mars.

Living - or a pale facsimile thereof - within the confines of his self-inflated bubble is the tyrant's defense against the threats he perceives from the realities of the outer world to his grandiose, and therefore fragile, sense of self. The Bubble Prone Personality (BPP) must maintain absolute control over his environment at all costs. (Watch how Bush goes into meltdown during those rare events when he is not protected by the cordon sanitaire of staged and scripted events.)

Accordingly, for control to be maintained, a closed system must be rigorously established and maintained. Secrecy and ideological rigidity are essential. Openness creates feelings of vulnerability; feelings of vulnerability engender paranoia; paranoia creates the urge to purge; purging creates even more feelings of paranoia; these generate even more feelings of vulnerability – and that, in turn, causes those enclosed within the bubble to grow more fearful and to strive for even greater secrecy, conformity, security, and control... In short, a day in the life within the proto-fascistic Bush administration.

Yet closed systems contain the seeds of their own destruction: to preserve the illusion of absolute order, the apparatus needed to maintain the protective bubble must grow larger and more complex, and, as a consequence, it becomes increasingly chaotic and unstable. Reacting to the perceived lack of control, the rulers of Bubble Land, now plangent with paranoia, institute even more rigid codes of secrecy and conformity. All of this necessitates the establishment of still larger and more elaborate systems of control, which, in turn, create even more complexity, and more disorder, thereby, continually expanding the cycle of instability that, instead of preserving the system, ends up accelerating it's demise.

Worse, the obsessive striving to maintain the closed system is not only suicidal, it can become homicidal as well. Because as the absolutist system continues to grow more insular, inflexible and chaotic, the world outside of it appears increasingly hostile, dangerous, and threatening... an attack seems imminent.

This is how an isolated terrorist attack is viewed as a prelude to permanent war. Hence, the paranoid fantasy of the "clash of civilizations" is born.

In the United States, even before 9/11/2001, before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, corporatism, suburbanization, and class isolation had already created an insular, bubble culture.

Daily, bubble-butt consumers sit isolated inside their bubble-butt cars, trucks and SUVs. Bubble-circumscribed suburbs and exurbs float farther and farther away from civic life and communal engagement. The corporatist classes, including elected officials and media elites, most of whom seem to harbor a thinly-veiled contempt toward the public they self-righteously profess to serve, continue to separate themselves from the rest of us by fostering increasing gaps of wealth and privilege. Today, the gap has widened to such an extent that they have come to inhabit a self-serving, self-referential universe informed predominantly by careerism and cynical opportunism.

The Bush administration is a mere reflection of the bubble-wrapped people of the U.S. and their outright disregard of anything on earth that does not serve their selfish, short-term needs and cravings. Bubble Boy Bush merely mirrors our hidden aspirations and agendas – which can be summed up thus: of paramount importance - the end all, be all of all things - is my comfort level. All things in creation exist solely to serve this end.

Yet a dreadful knowledge gnaws beneath the surface of our awareness: at a deeper level, we Americans realize that in order to live in the manner we have become accustomed we must continue to plunder the resources of the world at a rapacious rate - and we know that our actions are not only unethical, but unsustainable as well. But the implications of acknowledging these realities are too overwhelming. The knowledge - that we maintain "our way of life" on the bartered blood of the innocent - is too unnerving and damning.

We banish such thoughts from our minds, yet they arise as a host of diffuse anxieties and distorted fears. In addition, the dilemma is steeped in bitter irony: for the more anxious we grow, the more desperate we become for reassurance. And what do we find reassuring? Well, of course, the bubble-enclosed life we have always known. It must be maintained at all costs.

Therefore, we crave even greater levels of comfort: our gas-guzzling motor vehicles must be made larger; our food portions bigger; anti-depression and anti-anxiety medications must be made even more widely available. Meanwhile, the bubble swells to the bursting point.

Of course, for us to remain in denial the world's resources must be plundered at an even faster rate and by even more ruthless means, which, in turn, causes us to suffer yet more underlying unease. This creates a feedback loop, whereby we crave even more of what has been destroying our peace of mind in the first place. The skin of the bubble stretches to its limits.

Against this canvas of mutually-reinforcing cultural madness, our delusions of absolute power are punctured by the realities on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, while on the domestic front, rising oil prices plus the looming consequences of oil depletion, ever-expanding personal and governmental debt, and an inflated housing market (to cite only a few examples) threaten to burst our comfort zone bubble.

All around us, here, in The Land of the Bubble People, the sharpened tips of reality bristle as we Americans, borne upon a tailwind of governmental/corporate lies and the airhead currents of our complicity, drift ever closer to our moment of reckoning with the pointed edge of penetrating truth.

Phil Rockstroh, a self-described, auto-didactic, gasbag monologist, is a poet, lyricist, and philosopher bard, living in New York City. He may be contacted at philangie2000@yahoo.com.

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