Saturday, December 17, 2011
If the people are buying dreams . . .
This morning, on the heels of writing about Oprah last night, I am remembering a song I loved, by Melanie. This kind of protest music was what was so good about the seventies. Note the line "If the people are buying dreams, I'll be rich someday."
We do buy dreams. God knows I like the controlled dreams we call fictions; I like them on the page and all my screens - Kindle, TV, Droid. I like to play the dreams like Spirit in which you try to beat back those forces of death - very realistic, because you can never win. But you get your adrenalin up trying. And it diverts you from your pain.
I don't like the dreams that are sold to us constantly on these screens. Just watch commercial TV for an hour, or make note of the ads that come to you in an hour online, in your inbox, on Facebook, on YouTube, almost everywhere you go except here and Wikipedia (that's why I contribute to it). For men, poor guys, the dream of a car or truck that is so masculine it can do anything, speed, drag out stumps. For women, the feminine dream of youth, beauty, desirability. For kids, the dream of winning. Gender-free, the dream of Something for Nothing. Damn.
You can't stop this sludgy flow like a river through your life unless you live off the grid in Montana. Even there I suppose a blimp could fly over, or a plane towing a banner. What you have to do is distinguish dream from your reality. The news is telling me a lot of people are doing that right now, returning Christmas gifts they bought in the fever of Black Friday, and apparently got home and realized they'd been out of their minds, and couldn't afford these things they bought on credit, and are now returning them. (That's why paying actual cash dollars is so helpful - you know when you run out of cash.)
So, this Christmas, also be careful of the dreams of perfect family, of drastically re-forming yourself with resolutions, of gaining eternal life through exercise or herbs, of giving or receiving the perfect gift. Just take it as it comes, good old reality. In a way, it never lets you down.