Every time I visit my elderly parents, I reinforce the same belief. We are a rip-off nation, and we are so used to rip-offs everywhere that we no longer notice them.
As indicated here before, people in my 80s are one of the increasingly rare breed of Americans who manage to survive without the internet or TV cable. So instead of a constant barrage of spam texts and emails that most people routinely dismiss with mild annoyance and passively ignore, they receive emails from various organizations that are not what they claim to be. I have been the target of multiple spam calls and snail mails. My family is restricted to landlines, so with nuisance calls such as fake “police interest” groups, their phone rings at least 10 times a day. Almost always male, these callers claim to represent the interests of police officers, and their pitches usually consist of fears about crime and poor, resource-hungry police officers. Most of these harassing groups are just right-wing political organizations that have nothing to do with the police.
The same goes for unwanted and intrusive intrusions into everyday life, such as several “injured veterans” scams, “Medicare Advantage” rip-offs, “expired warranty” scams, and worthless life insurance sales pitches. My parents are elderly, which makes them prime targets for these hucksters. All of these hucksters are well aware of the age of the person they’re calling through internet-enabled demographic records. So they’re calling over and over again, taking advantage of the fact that my family, like millions of others, don’t fully understand the options to block them ( I tried to wean them off the landline, but without success, I don’t understand the idea of using only mobile phones or “screening” calls) it seems trivial It may sound silly, but in reality, TV and phone calls can be quite debilitating mentally and physically over time and repetition.
4 out of 5 snail emails they receive are from one of these types of groups, or similar groups, which isn’t too bad, especially if you’re not susceptible to such garbage. My mother (who suffers from early-stage dementia) lined up at her dining room table, ready to reply and exposed to an exponentially large number of emails that I disposed of. I don’t know how many “award winning” emails. -on. “No, you didn’t win a million dollars, mom, no, you don’t have to adopt a heifer, mom, no, your car’s warranty hasn’t expired.”
These particular mean people generally don’t bother me just because my age group demographic indicates that I’m less susceptible to their running shortcomings. This week was a long message from “Sundance Vacations”. I let you know that I had won a contest I had never entered at a local boat show two years ago. ). What immediately interested me was their assurance that I had won big, but it was never explained that I had “won”. It turns out that the place is a timeshare push scam and there have been many complaints to the Better Business Bureau. But I wondered how my internet-hating parents would have reacted to the same pitch, and indeed no wonder he has participated in such a “promotion” at least once.
Although it is tempting to dismiss the ubiquity of this constant fraudulent business as mere background noise (and I am also referring to the “grandparent” scam and its ilk, the heinous products of true criminals). not), but I have come to understand it reflects a broader fraud ethic that now enjoys full legitimacy at all levels of society. It’s not far from the myriad of advertisements for , where captive viewers are urged to ‘ask the doctor’. Just ads trying to buy fancy software, pickup trucks, or fast food burgers. But what I really dislike about our insatiable consumer culture is that in a country that is voluntarily declining to fascism for all intents and purposes, everything is right, everything is peachy, and sharp. , is the underlying reassurance that it is fun. One of its parties is entirely dedicated to dividing the people for its own good.
Just this week, the ideologically corrupt conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (via three Trump-appointed puppets) declared the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “unconstitutional.” Its funding by a congressional allotment. Of course, this is hoaxed nonsense, and predatory payday lenders like the ones suing in this case are hoaxed because they are huge donors to the political right. And I think such predator regulation is… unsightly for a country of rip-offs.
The Internet has had at least one beneficial effect. Americans got a glimpse of how cynical the economic hierarchy is in this country.As Tim Crider wrote in July New York Times:
A new generation grew up into adulthood unaware of capitalism as a functioning economic system. first knew that Our nation’s oligarchs have forgotten to maintain the all-important Horatio-His-Alger fiction that anyone can move forward if they work hard. Thinking I had no other choice, I dropped it. Through the Internet, we were able to take an enviable peek at our civilized neighbors. They take a month off, don’t have to spend decades paying for a college degree, and aren’t afraid to go bankrupt when they get sick. America seems less like a country than an inevitable web of fraudand “hard work” is less like a virtue than a propaganda slogan, more silly as “just say no.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the self-perpetuating hamster wheel mentality our American capitalist system is premised on. Crider continues:
The pandemic has been a bomb cyclone of our discontent. Not only did it give all of us non-essential workers an experience of forced laziness, but for many it turned out to be completely uncomfortable. , it turns out that you didn’t have to waste days sitting in traffic or doing pantomime “work” eight hours a day under management supervision. We learned that nurses, cashiers, truck drivers, and delivery guys (who are always too busy to brag) really run the world, and most of the rest are useless overworkers. For the first time in recent memory, the brutal hierarchy of work shifted in favor of labor, and the exasperated whining of the former social Darwinists was a joy to savor.
TV ads during the pandemic stopped saying ‘We’re all in this together, we’re there for you, we care’ and ‘The past is gone, now open your mind’ It’s time to go out, spend, spend, spend, it’s time to get back on the hamster wheel, and by the way, you have to charge double because of “inflation”.
Oh yeah, I feel bad for my parents. But the sad reality is that they won’t last very long. It’s the younger generation that I really sympathize with, their impossible rents and the amount of water poured on the sand. As such, the prospect of owning your own home in this country is fading.
The future that their elders prepare to leave them reflects the most desperate hopes of those with the same ignorant prejudices that many of them fled from their homes. American conservatism, knowing it’s coming to an end, is acting like a dying billionaire, adding sadistic codicil to his will.
More and more young people are choosing not to have children not only because they can’t afford them, but also because they believe they have only a charred or waterlogged wasteland to grow on.
Believe it or not, I am optimistic in this darkness. The young people of this country just sit back and never turn their lives into a fungible commodity. Their hopes and aspirations are suffocated by the shortsightedness and greed of their parents and grandparents, and the corrupt, outdated, dysfunctional system they have brought with them. pressed on them. The crack is too big to ignore. I suspect that sooner or later the calculations will be made in this country of rip-offs. Gil Scott-Heron famously said, “The revolution will not be televised.” i think he was right. Half a century too early.