As a teacher of history, I have to take some of my far out views of reality and pack them deep in my personal luggage, underneath the official clothes of my “professionalism.” I’m not real professional, but I try to give the appearance of normalcy to my charges on the off chance that one of them is some sort of psychotic punk who might report my leftist leanings to the wrong authorities. Such are the candy-assed fears of the “successful” American citizen.
One benefit of taking on the appearance of one beholding to the great civilizing banality that rules the consumer-citizen’s mentality, is that I can slip dissident thoughts into the minds of my charges within a well-camouflaged persona, one that does not raise “red flags” if you will. I still remember the words of a professor of public health I knew at San Diego State who when queried as to why he appeared so conservatively normal and unthreatening while promulgating rather radical shit to his students replied, “guerilla warfare. If you want to change the system from within, you have to blend in.”
I blend in. But there is always the risk that the wool pulled over the pelt of the wolf will begin to alter the creature inside. You know we’ve all seen dogs eat grass and frankly there’s a fair amount of cereal in commercial dog food. I stopped eating red meat years ago. Things are at a stasis and I know it.
Reading Alexander Cockburn’s book “Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs, and the Press” reminded me that history training itself has its own heuristic dangers. We who get paid for telling plausible stories censor ourselves down to easier and easier levels of proof. But reality follows no such path. And the larger lesson probably should simply be that paranoia and suspicion has its place in all healthy minds. Go ahead, read the paper, watch the news, and enjoy you various states of consciousness. But keep your credulous powder dry. The fucks who run the world are playing by dirty rules. And few if not none of the things they tell you they care about that you should care about are right. War on Drugs? War on Terror? How about a war on billionaires, that one would get my vote. Because they have the biggest responsibilities for the shit that we step in.