Feather Dusting His Porsche

Seriously, he was feather dusting his Porsche...

Hi,

I realized today I haven’t written in a while. I look forward to getting back to a more regular cadence.

I think part of it was that when the virus hit, I felt overwhelmed with thoughts and ideas. For the past month I’ve felt more pensive, thinking a lot about how the “new normal” everyone talks about is really looking like the “old normal” in many ways.

It seems like the thought cycle went from “Wow, we have to embrace the ‘new normal’.” to “Let’s try as hard as possible to make the ‘new normal’ look just like the ‘old normal’”.

I’m feeling pensive and sad that this is the case. It’s big changes like the virus that could cause us to effect real change in society. These changes could cause us to pause and reconsider whether chasing The Dream is the only way to go.

Instead, it feels like most of society’s trying their damndest to pursue The Dream at all costs. They want The Dream to dominate the “new normal” like it has the “old normal”.

Maybe “want” isn’t the right word. Maybe “need” is.

Consider the title of this issue.

To put things in perspective, the building where my family and I live in Brooklyn was purchased a few years ago by the current US President’s son-in-law. The new owner converted our building to “luxury” condos.

(As an aside, we’re rent-stabilized tenants. You can see how they tried to constructively evict us and other rent-stabilized tenants in this Netflix episode of Dirty Money.)

The building’s now full of Dream chasers who “made it”. This explains the guy I saw feather dusting his Porsche in the garage the other day.

Really.

He was…feather…dusting…his…Porsche. He was using a feather duster he kept in the trunk of his Porsche, under the hood, to feather dust it before pulling out of the garage.

I saw this while getting into my family’s 2009, slightly beaten-up Honda CRV. My wife and I were on the way to pick up some second-hand children’s furniture for our child’s bedroom, since he outgrew his crib.

FWIW, our back seat’s strewn with our son’s puffed rice snack. Had I been quicker, I would’ve asked the feather duster if he wouldn’t mind doing our car next or if I could use his feather duster to dust out the puffed rice 😂

But I digress…

The point is, I’m guessing people like him NEED the “new normal” to look like the “old normal”. He NEEDS to be validated by the normal that makes achieving Dream status worth the suffering he’s inflicted upon himself and likely others, in order to feather dust his Porsche.

And unfortunately, it’s people with time to feather dust their Porsches that have the time to keep pushing the “new normal” in the direction of the “old normal”. Those that would truly care about making a new “new normal” don’t have that luxury.

They’re either working multiple minimum wage jobs and/or trying to achieve The Dream that’s constantly pushed on them by the feather dusters. Then they’re too exhausted to push for and manifest the real change a “new normal” would mean 😢

Chris


Current Reading List

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Current Playlist

Here’s the music that’s been keeping me rolling with it…

…check out my Soundcloud profile for more music.

Dispatch from Dreamland #3

I spent some time in a planned suburban “community” last week. By the end of the trip, these thoughts came to mind as I was riding my bike through it…

Paper and plastic houses in sterilized, pasteurized and homogenized "neighborhoods"...

Just how they like it, just how they NEED it...

Perfect.

This continues the Dispatches from Dreamland series. You can find the first two posts in the series here.

Reply →

The Dream Pushers are Winning

A recent Atlantic article about the end of minimalism caught my eye. It wasn’t quite what I expected from the tagline, as the article argued that clutter was OK. I see clutter as person choice and don’t have an interest in the concept as presented in the article.

Yet a couple quotes did resonate with me -

The shift from accumulation to consumption took place between the 1880s and the 1920s, a period Strasser says caused “a seismic shift in people’s relationship to the material world.”

And…

But for American retail as we know it to thrive, people cannot simply stop shopping when they have what they need. 

Enter The Dream Pushers. It’s their job to keep us consuming.

The article also linked to another article talking about how Americans are amassing “mountains of things”.

This got me thinking that The Dream Pushers are winning.

Am I right, are they winning? If they are winning, is there anything we can do to turn the tide 🌊?

Let’s discuss 👇

Reply →

Does the Covid-19 economy make us choose between having a job and kids?

I’d been thinking about this choice for a while. Then I came across this New York Times article by Deb Perlman.

Here’s its tagline -

Our struggle is not an emotional concern. We are not burned out. We are being crushed by an economy that has bafflingly declared working parents inessential.

The author’s writing from a perspective of “significant privilege”. Nevertheless, I feel the struggle is real.

It’s even more extreme for those who don’t enjoy the author’s degree of privilege.

I’d go a step farther though. I’d agree the Covid-19 crisis is forcing parents to make this choice now more than every.

Yet to me, the virus is exposing an existing weakness in our capitalistic society, rather than introducing a new weakness.

The article also sparked me to write Chasing the Dream with a Family.

What do you think?

How is this decision affecting you and your family?

Reply →

Chasing The Dream with a Family

The two are incompatible.

Is chasing The Dream incompatible with having a family?

The COVID-19 impact on society and particularly families leads me to an easy “yes”.

Last week, NYC schools announced a partial, at best, fall school opening. Other US states are leaning in the same direction.

Yet at the same time, parents have to work, in order to make money to survive in The Dream chasing economy.

For most of society, the two are incompatible. (I’m excluding those that hold enough privilege to not have to worry about this.)

It’s not possible to raise healthy children full-time while both parents hold down full-time jobs.

The incompatibility ranges from inconvenience to near impossibility. Where a family falls on that spectrum depends on the level of privilege a family holds in society.

Some parents are Dream Chasing and need to keep two parents working to maintain the chase and the standards it demands be upheld.

Others are simply trying to put food on the table.

Either way, it’s impossible to raise healthy children without help during working hours, while both parents are working.

At least in the US, yet another severe shortcoming of The Dream chasing capitalistic structure is laid bare when we’re asked to do both.

On top of it all, the current political administration preys on the fear this conflict causes, using it to continue sowing deeper disconnections throughout society.

For now, I leave you to consider how impossible it is to nurture a healthy family full-time while both parents work. Even so, it’s the only option our Dream chasing society is able to provide, as the virus continues to spiral out of control in the United States, The Dream capital of the world.

Catch you soon,

Chris


Photo of the Week

See all my photography on VSCO.

Current Reading List

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

My Seditious Heart by Arundhati Roy

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers, by Peter Golenbock

Current Playlist

Check out my Soundcloud profile for more music.

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