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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Economy, Michael Vick & Americans' apathy



For this blog post, I want to focus on the psychological phenomenon of apathy.   People who are affected by this recession/depression seem to want to escape and by any means possible- TV & movies, food, drugs, alcohol... whatever it takes to block out the reality of their situation and that of the nation as a whole. To those unaffected, it is quite effortless for them to tune out the problems and believe all is fine with the world.  Certainly the government and media want you to forget.  As I wrote in an earlier posting, it is in their self-interests that you believe we're in 'recovery' and go back to thinking happy thoughts so you continue being docile, consumption minded citizens.

So both the affected and unaffected consciously choose to block out anything negative or real in the world in place of the continuing illusion that everything will magically work itself out - We block out the corruption in the banks, financials, and government.. we fall prey to the naive notion that a strong stock market means a strong economy and accept that our unemployment rate is just 9.7% when its really around 17% when including those whose unemployment benefits ran out, part timers and those who've given up hope of looking..

We tune out the things which interfere with our need to be constantly entertained and pleased.

An excellent example of this is apathy is Michael Vick who plays in the NFL as quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles after spending 23 months in jail in 2008-09, on federal charges of racketeering tied into the dog fighting kennels which he owned and operated.  Currently he was named starting QB for the Eagles for the rest of the 2010 season and everyone from Eagles fans to local media to football enthusiasts mainly greeted the decision with cheers of joy.

This posting is not about his football skills or anything involving wins and losses on the gridiron.   Its about indifference and people's ability to block out realities that may upset them or get in the way of their need to escape from the reality of their lives.

So what exactly did Michael Vick do to cause the Feds to get involved, arrest him and eventually lead to his incarcenation?  Racketeering sounds harmless as does the term 'dog fighting'..   But let's delve into the details:

In summary, the dog fighting company that Vick put together called 'Bad Newz Kennels' was under Feds' investigation  beginning  in April 2007 with a search of property in Virginia owned by Vick where a dog fighting ring was discovered. Over seventy dogs, some said to be showing signs of injuries, were seized along with physical evidence during several searches of Vick's 15-acre property by local, state and federal authorities. Investigators also found kennels, treadmills, a "rape stand" used to restrain aggressive female dogs during breeding, and 54 pit bulls, some with scars and injuries officials said are consistent with dog fighting. In July 2007, Vick and three other men were indicted on federal offense and state felony charges... Allegations included Vick's direct involvement in dog fighting, high-stakes gambling, and brutal executions of dogs. via hanging, drowning, electrocuting and shooting.

If you are an Eagles fan or a Michael Vick supporter, in all likelihood you will rationalize, justify and legalese double-talk your arguments.  To them, ultimately what he did does not matter - he paid for his crime - it was only 'dogs'-  we all should 'move on'..

People want to be entertained and they want to forget.  Apathy is easier than principle.  So Vick continues to play football.. the fans clap and cheer.. and people are allowed to escape reality, to drift to happy little worlds.  Just like how people approach this current recession.  It is much easier to mimic an ostrich.

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