Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Last night I'm half-watching the news. The feeding frenzy over Herman Cain's past infidelities continues unabated. Some college assistant coach abused kids (oh, if only college assistant coaches could marry!). Now the Italian economy is teetering on the brink. The US economy trails along, heedless of any and all warnings to tighten its belt. We're fascinated with some no-talent ditz named Kardashian who is divorcing her true love seventy-some-odd days after swearing before God her undying fealty to him.

I vividly remember my PKD - that's Philip K. Dick - phase seven years ago this time of year. I read three or four paperbacks of his, a biography, a collection of short stories. There was also an essay of his I read online, whose basic idea was that we are living in the year 70 AD, and the Roman Empire still exists.

Why did this PKD flashback hit me last night?

Everything mentioned in the first paragraph above is meaningless. Yeah, each item will affect us to varying amounts for varying amounts of time, mostly short-term, I'd think. Each item we are also, when it really comes down to it, powerless to affect. Yes, we can vote, but really my vote and yours is meaningless, because in 21st century America, if an election comes down to anything close to a couple thousand vote difference, the election is settled by the courts. We are essentially powerless to affect our candidates, the economy, pop culture. Even the morality of the culture.

Or are we?

This is where PKD comes in.

Assume his essay thesis is true. For the record, obviously, I don't, at least not in the somewhat arbitrary historical form Dick believed. But if the essay's true, then we are being deceived. On what level is up for debate. But we are being decieved in some way shape form.

Decieved, in this post, means that the True Reality is masked to us.

This also implies that there is a True Reality. Part of the postmodern modus operandi is to deny any Objective Truth. For those of us belonging to the Catholic Church, at least, we believe in True, Objective Reality, that being God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the morality and eschatology that flows through and from Biblical revelation.

But that's not what you see and hear when you turn on the tube, is it? Do you even hear a variation of that? No. So I think PKD's facts can be twisted a bit to fit the "reality" that I was exposed to last night lazily watching teevee. Reality is what is presented to us by the makers of reality, the ones who control the media. The media controllers, and those they answer to, are the "Roman Empire" PKD writes about.

So where does our power lie?

How do you fight the Roman Empire?

Me, I turn off the teevee. Shut out the propaganda. I try to adhere to the Objective Truth that's been revealed to me. For now, that will suffice. But there will come a time, I am more and more convinced, when the Empire will not be denied. There will come loyalty oaths and persecutions. It's happened before and it will happen again and, yes, it can happen here. There are signs already in the culture: see "hate speech" legislation; see taxpayer money going to Planned Parenthood; see nurses pressured into participating in abortion procedures; see pharmacists pressured to dispense birth control. The Empire will not be denied. Watch your teevee or else.

There may be other ways to fight back against the Empire. I think humor is a great weapon; look how the late night teevee hosts savage the Republican candidates and thus subtly mold public opinion. But the Empire has a notoriously fickle sense of humor. Mockery not state-sanctioned and approved will quickly be made illegal through legislative fiat.

This message brought to you from the Frog in the Pot.

(and only partially tongue-in-cheek!)

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