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  • prequel

    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Saturday, December 25, 2004  
    It is ironic and paradoxical that while the Establishment create the conventions, values, prejudices etc that bind the masses, they have no greater disseminators and enforcers of these than those very subjugated masses who adopt them hook, line and sinker as part of their false consciousness.
    Example, the term “unemployed” is essentially a term created by the Establishment* to identify and mark and shame and coerce people who aren’t slaving for them but it has since been adopted, with gusto, by the masses who use it to label and shame their peers, thus achieving a sort of “self-rule” and “autonomy” of oppression and relieving the Establishment of this burden.
    And make no mistake about it; the masses are the greatest snobs on the face of the Earth – although not usually associated with snobbery, the masses ape their masters and look down at each other and this snobbery is the worst of all as it is the most petty, delusional and illusory.
    For example, a factory will look down on his “unemployed” neighbour because he doesn’t work in a factory!
    There’s nothing wrong with working in a factory but what kind of world is it where a factory job is all that stands between you and opprobrium!?!
    A sad symptom of modern egalitarianism is that a factory worker can look down on a gentleman because he has a ‘’job’’.
    This role reversal is reverse discrimination.
    Democracy gone feral.
    One of the advantages of living in an allegedly unegalitarian society like Lebanon is that people still know their place (although this is changing) and, if they don’t know their place, they’re too polite to get too carried away.
    Just because the capitalist has transubstantiated your pushing buttons and pulling levers at a plant for him into a modern religion so as to give his exploitation legitimacy and to sanctify it (the Protestant work ethic is a perfect example of this), it doesn’t mean that you should believe him and get carried away and ape the oppressor.
    I believe that to criticise someone you need to be at least equal to them – you have to have at least one thing going for you, be it education, status, pedigree, success, even wealth, etc.
    And that’s just to qualify – even then you can’t just criticize someone willy-nilly.
    I would even extend that to voting because voting, after all, is a form of judging.
    Judging is a privilege that has to be earned.Once again, I must stress that there is nothing wrong with working in a factory but there is something wrong with simpletons judging people because they don’t do the same work that they do or even don’t ‘’work’’ according to their narrow perception
    Of course, the upper classes also exhibit snobbery but that is towards other, lower classes but amongst themselves they share a sort of class camaraderie, a sort of fascist Internationale, whereas amongst the lower classes, there is intra-class snobbery.
    Example, here in Lebanon it is quite common amongst the lower classes to initially reject outright a daughter’s suitor, indeed it seems to be a sort of “mating ritual” whereby, say for example, the butcher will reject the baker’s son who courts his daughter and decry it as a mésaliance, the daughter will often elope with the young man and then a couple of months, years, whatever later her family will come around and “accept” him and the marriage (in truth, they’d accepted it all along but were just putting on a show).
    It’s quite a shame because what they’re in fact doing is oppressing themselves – snobbery has been outsourced by the upper classes to the lower classes.
    There’s also a strong element of unrealistic expectations in all of this – in a society where almost everybody is on the make and traditional values have been tipped on their head, people’s expectations and self perceptions have gone haywire.
    Example, traditionally a girl working at a supermarket would marry a boy working at a supermarket but now she expects to marry the owner of the supermarket chain.
    But of course the supermarket owner (who probably was a peasant a generation ago albeit a kulak) isn’t going to marry one of his checkout chicks because he’s also set his sights above his station.

    *"With words we govern men" quoth Benjamin Disreali.

    As a teenager on his first trip to Beirut, to sit the government-conducted Year 8 school exams, my father and his schoolmates witnessed a fight in the street between two prostitutes.
    Amidst all the hullabaloo, one prostitute called the other prostitute a “prostitute!”(Another perfect example of intra-class snobbery).
    The “prostitute!” rejoined with “yes, but I’ve always been primo*!” (Even more intra-class snobbery).

    *Initially an Italian word, it was used around here to indicate grade A, premium etc.

    Even in Western countries people subconsciously collaborate with their oppressors.For example, poor and working class people in Australia are often the most fervent supporters of conservative parties like the Liberal party which they’ve helped keep in power for nearly a decade now
    The greatest enemies of revolution are those who need it the most.

    Nobody hates the lower classes more than they hate themselves and each other.
    The upper classes don’t hate the lower classes they are just indifferent to and disdainful of them
    The lower classes hate their peers for a myriad of reasons, among those being that they see their meanness and the meanness of their lives reflected back at them in each other.
    Poor people hate each other just for being poor: “don’t remind me!”
    They’re like an unwanted mirror to each other.
    Except for parvenus who hate the lower classes because they’ve just come from there and it’s still fresh in their minds and also because this is a good way for these class traitors to separate distinguish and demarcate themselves from what they were and, if it weren’t for the grace of God, still would be and fear returning to.
    Never quite confident, comfortable or secure where they are and insecure about their place in the upper echelons and fearful of exposure, these class squatters see “you don’t belong here” (real or imagined) in the faces of their newfound peers and see “you belong here, who are you fooling?” (real or imagined) in the eyes of their erstwhile peers.

    Disclaimer: A man whose main contact with the masses is with service drivers is bound to have a pessimistic view of the world.

    Merry Christmas by the way and excuse the dogma on Christmas but the revolution will not pause for public holidays!
    In fact, the revolution will probably be on a public holiday or else nobody will attend!
    In fact, I’d like to schedule the revolution for the 26th December at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where tens of thousands of people usually attend the traditional Boxing Day (cricket) Test match that starts on that day.
    I think that doing a quick switcheroo at this late stage and swapping an Australia versus whoever cricket match for worldwide revolution, without people knowing about this late change, will ensure good attendance for the revolution.
    I know that it all sounds a bit underhanded but you have to initially trick the masses until they will eventually reach the stage where they will themselves want to swap cricket for revolution and Kerry packer will heed public demand and even stage one-day limited-overs revolutions.
    Capitalism and consumerism keep you too busy to think.
    They contrive all sorts of tasks for you to do to keep you from thinking because thought is the enemy of ideology and dogma.

    1:00 am

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