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A Fish Called Denial

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Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." The London Underground is not a Political Movement and Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Sorry John Cleese but I couldn't help myself...

The brilliant New Yorker cover with A-Rod signing autographs for juiced, pumped up young fans started this particular blog train. Where we stop on the way is of course the economy, the stimulus, né bailout, and then of course ending this weekend at the Hollyweird Station: Oscar-ville.

First stop -- the roids.

I have one thing to ask. What about football? Cycling, tennis, soccer, skiing, swimming, and every professional sport that exists? Are we all really so deluded as to think that baseball is an exclusive club? Isn't it interesting or ironic or terrifying that the real dope dealer in the movie, The Wrestler, Scott Siegel, was popped for dealing? Wonder if he'll make bail and end up on the red carpet on Sunday. He is just supplying what so many want.

My guess is that there are Scott Siegels haunting the locker rooms of every sport in every city. How can you contain this? These athletes are just trying to stay in the game and perform. Is there any way to get clean without wiping out the entire roster of teams that we all have invested in and who we are partially responsible for urging on in this terrifying game of juice on the loose?

Are we too so drugged as to think that the idea of Corporate greed and avarice and the lies and misdeeds are a new thing? Madoff's Ponzi worked (longer than most) but it worked because people didn't ask questions, they just really liked the returns. Is this new? Did the banks and the mortgage lenders and Feds really just figure out that there was a problem. We are all to blame. We are addicted to the dope of credit and each plastic card purchase sets off the phenomenon of craving for more. Then advertisers and marketers (lobbyists in better suits) and the media tell us we need it and the banks and the credit companies tell us we can have it and boom -- we are all in over our heads.

My fellow Americans, wake up and smell the new Starbuck's instant coffee.

We all have a part in this.

The climate crisis, the water crisis (in California) and the ongoing real estate and credit crises. We here in California live life to a fault or at least on one and yet how many are really prepared and have put plans in place? Is that really any different than a drought or even a financial crisis. Shouldn't we always prepare for a potential fall, be it financial, liquid or groundbreaking?

And now as the whistle blows we pull into Oscar-ville. There was a real headline today that seemed pulled from the pages of The Onion:

"Slumdog Kids Come to LA to Attend Oscars"

I have attended the Oscars and let me tell you, the Oscars are no place for children!

I am so happy to celebrate great works of art and this year there are plenty of examples, multi-layered, heartfelt, shattering, tragic, transformative and transcendent but the machine behind it all, the sickening amount of money spent to create this delusion, in this very real time of difficulty seems so misguided. My hometown newspaper now has a section called The Envelope, telling us months in advance who is "in the club" and by their omission, who "isn't." Actors have been turned into models, flaunting their borrowed clothes, jewels and faces; some are even paid large sums of money simple to wear a dress or diamond. This isn't glamour. This is advertising. Glamour is internal. The rest is window dressing. The obsession and addiction of celebrity window dressing has reached a fever pace. How many versions of the Rihanna and Chris Brown incident have you heard? People should be very concerned about her's and every battered women's face and this very young and public example of violence against women. However sickening it is to see, and it is (and how horrible it is that it as leaked by the very institution that aims to protect and defend), her beautiful face, ethereal and with eyes closed and without the TMZ stamp may yet be the most powerful image to shatter the ether of denial and bring real attention to this very real, chronic problem.

I am also concerned about the disfigurement from plastic surgery that I see. The former is inexcusable and mostly unpreventable but the latter is elective and fully preventable. I'm sorry that Michael Jackson, a great artist, has to carry the burden as being the first but there are so many people, young and old, men and women, who have followed and yet, like the roids and the sub-prime loans and the drought and the violence, people talk about it in private and yet nothing happens. It is an epidemic of dysmorphic proportions and I am saddened by it.

This polyester red carpet that draws everyone to it is as ubiquitous as the word change.

Change: To cause to become different; implies a radical transmutation of character.

A radical transmutation of character!

Can we radically transmute? Can we change? Do we really want to change? Are we going to change or are we going to just get back on the train and let it take us wherever it goes?
We need to build new tracks, cleaner trains and return to a time of sacrifice and fortitude and grace and beauty. All aboard...?