Doc’s Crazy Conspiracy Corner: Christmas (aka the Holidays) and the Degradation of the Social Contract

The opinions, conspiracy theories, regular theories, and pseudo-facts in this article are not necessarily shared or believed by the rest of the Grind Syndicate.  They are the sole creation of the overly connective neurons of Doctor Jeff and his slightly twisted mind  (hell, even he sometimes doesn’t even believe it, he’s just writing it to stir shit up).  The Doc does not confirm or deny that anything in here is actually fact, because even if he were to site a well respected or not so well respected source – they also could be lying and/or wrong, .  However, the contents herein will hopefully make you look at the world in a different way, give you something to think about, entertain the enlightened, and most definitely anger the brooding masses.

ho, Ho, HOE!!!

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(In theory this should have come out before Christmas, but external sociological reflection can be a powerful tool).

Let us start with the part of the title that you may be unsure about but possibly have a good idea what it means.  The social contract is the figurative contract that citizens of a society have with each other and society as a whole that allows that society to exist.  It’s kind of like laws and rules, except it covers a lot more and is older.  For instance, everyday most of us engage in the social contract that we won’t kill each other, otherwise, it’d be tough to have a society.  However, where the laws about murder are a little more passive and only serve a purpose in court, the social contract is much more active. You are consistently and constantly upholding the Social contract to not kill your other societal members (unless you’re Dexter, his social contract about killing is more complex).  The social contract also extends to agreements that aren’t really bound by law. A lot of these agreements are nice but not seemingly essential as individual acts, however, when they are accumulated by everyone and the entire society, they become necessary as a social lubricant.  Like say reciprocity: If two people have a friendship and Person X does something nice for Person Q, there is an unstated social contract that Person Q in turn does something nice  for Person X.  In this instance, there is no law that protects against this (except in the most capitalistic terms in which money is involved and actual legal contracts are involved but society would completely breakdown if friendships and reciprocity all of a sudden didn’t exist.

So, what does Christmas have to do with the social contract? (To clarify, I’m going to use the term Christmas, although it’s more PC to say the holidays.  However, a couple of the points are specific to Christmas itself{although most apply to all winter holidays} and this is really a Christmas country.  We have Santas and Christmas trees in the malls, Christmas decorations, and whole trove of Christmas related media {tv shows, movies, music} that no other holiday can compete with. )  Let’s start with Santa, the fat bastard, and his bullshit elves and reindeer.  One of the most important and very first social contracts that a human ever involves themselves in is to trust their parents: eating food, potty training, learning to walk and talk…  Think about it:  How far could anyone have possibly gone if they didn’t trust their parents at an early age?  And what do your parents do with this trust?  They destroy it with an insidious and unnecessary lie about a man sneaking into every house and giving presents to good kids.  “But kids love Santa,” yes, that is a valid point. However, “kids are fucking morons,” is also a valid point. They’ll get in a car with a creepy child molester if he offers them candy.  If they were allowed, they’d eat chocolate for every damn meal and get the diabeetus.  No, just because a child likes something doesn’t mean it is good for them.  And it’s probably not a good idea to make them temporarily happy by fracturing the most primal social contract.  No wonder you can’t trust anyone these days – especially little kids.

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Next on the social contract list is one that is explicitly part of Christmas (just never carried out) and also a part of a larger society wide contract.  Good boys and girls get presents and bad boys and bad girls get coal.  Which would seem like a child version of work hard and do your best and you’ll succeed and be rewarded.  The problem is that next to zero parents actually put this into practice.  I don’t know a single child that got coal for Christmas.  But I’ve known a whole gaggle of spoiled little brats that don’t deserve the ugly clothes, or Ninjago figures that their parents buy them when it isn’t even Christmas. This is somewhat of a dicey proposition.  Getting a kid coal for Christmas is kinda fucked up and someone would probably call child services on the parents if they did initiate this tough love into practice.  At the same time, maybe that little asshole (or bitch) shouldn’t pitch a shit when you try to get them to eat vegetables.  The problem is that we’re telling children that they’ll be rewarded if they’re good, then we just reward them regardless of how terrible they are (and they’re getting more terrible by the year).  The number and value of the presents that we give is proportional to the income of the parents (probably a semi-log, and not a linear correlation) and not much more.  This pattern also destabilizes the society-wide social contract that we as Americans have shared: this is the land of opportunity.  However, a long time ago, we started to fall into the bottom third of citizens jumping economic classes in industrialized nations.  America is still the land of opportunity compared to Mexico, but not Canada – we just have better marketing.  I don’t know if there is a correlation, but let’s just say there is.  So basically, we’re no longer the land of opportunity (one of our most cherished and boasted identities) because parents are peer pressured into buying toys for bad kids, and the peer pressure is based on a lie to begin with.  Great job, ‘Murica!

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But now you’re all grown up and have found out the horrible truth that your parents are liars and have permanently screwed up your understanding of work/reward.  Damage is done, but are you old enough that things can’t screw you over anymore? Nope.  Although trust in your parents is the most important early social contract in child development, gift giving may have been the very first social contract.  Gift giving probably has as much to do with the creation of civilization and society as anything this side of the first chimps eating magic mushrooms (little known fact: the concept of Santa started when Shaman’s would bring bags of psychedelic mushrooms to people in the winter).  In theory, Christmas is a time to express this most important of all social contracts.  The problem is that it’s become so corroded and toxic that it no longer has the ability to bind society in the same way.  It actually kind of makes us hate each other.  Gift giving has the ability to be a pure simple act that can illicit amazing feelings of love, caring, and understanding.  It has turned into money in an envelope, gift cards (the amount of unused money on gift cards since 2005 could buy the Dodgers, Lakers,  and Angels….8 times over again), crappy gifts that no one really wanted– otherwise they’d buy it themselves, or unoriginal gifts that everyone already kinda has (hello Ipad, Iphone, Ipod, and Iwishtocapitalizethefirstletterofawordnotthesecond).  Actually, studies show that over the life of a product, it’ll actually end up making you unhappy.  At first you’re happy to have it (unless it sucks, then it’ll really make you unhappy) but then it gets scratched, obsolete, or someone gets a better one and you end up resenting your gift.  So basically, everyone is giving each other shit that they don’t need, which in turn, makes them unhappy.  Plus, they’re not doing it because they want to; they’re doing it because social pressures force them to do it.  At a time when we should be reinforcing the greatest social contract, we’re instead destroying everything that has made it catch on in the first place.  Gift giving would never have become so popular if all the gifts were bullshit.

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Finally, there’s the most important social contract that we have with our own specific society- the U.S. of ‘Murica.  Because this is a capitalistic society and you are a citizen of this country, you are expected to spend.  You’re actually not doing your part as a citizen if you aren’t spending since as we’ve been told time and time again – spending will help the economy and helping the economy is of most importance in a capitalistic country.  The problem is that this is patently bullshit, especially in our modern world of crap merchandise.  At its core, yes, spending is important to an economy – you can’t have one without it.  However, in our economy it’s a bit of a problem.  Inflation has worked for the price of houses, the salary of CEO’s, and the price of stuff/bullshit.  But it’s been lagging on middle income family wages.  The middle class is encouraged to spend even though they don’t make the money to cover the tab (in a way, not totally they’re fault) which causes debt, which creates a wonderful side effect – crippling loan payments that keep people at shit jobs that don’t really pay the bills anyway.  It’s a new form of modern corporate slavery; people gratefully sign up for it because they fell for the bells, whistles, and numbers they can’t quite understand.  $50,000 or even $100,000 sounds like a big number, but when houses cost a million, those annual incomes become glorified chicken feed.  The other problem with the spend, spend, spend model is that the shit we buy isn’t even worth that much.  Depreciation is a cold bitch.  The loss in value of electronics makes some sense since everything is just getting faster and smaller – but Mac’s planned obsolescence is a dick move regardless.  If you buy something and a year later it’s worth a tenth of what you originally paid (without any serious wear and tear) then that wasn’t a very valuable or efficient expenditure.  Now take that and multiply by a billion and that’s our economy.   We consistently spend money on products that aren’t worth what we buy them for, which over the long haul actually makes our economy worse – and we owe interest on it.  We’re paying interest products that aren’t worth anything which ends up costing us more than the inflated original cost.  The problem is that every economist and political leader is too stupid to realize it.  About par for the course. (This may explain why people hate Christmas and the holidays so much.  If it was just some people (like, just the goth kids), that’d be one thing.  But a lot of people really hate the holidays, that should tell you something – or not.)

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The bitch of this whole confounding mess is the inherent Christmas social contract.  If you don’t participate in Christmas you’re labeled as a Grinch, Scrooge, or a Jew(not that there’s anything wrong with that)-  even if you are being a ‘good boy.’  That’s just how our society works.  If you don’t support Capitalism then you’re labeled a communist (and not one of those good communists, but one of those Cold War era Russian commies.  Now, to have a proper conspiracy theory, you can’t just blame the people who cause their own problems.  If we say it’s the parent’s faults, that just won’t do.  It’s not interesting enough.  Someone must be forcing their hand.  The easiest way to find the perpetrator of a conspiracy is to look at who benefits the most.  Let’s go with credit card companies, Jewish people (wow this article got a little anti-semetic real quick.  Actually, the whole Christmas culture is so suffocatingly anti-semetic, this is just a drop in the bucket) and of course the Illuminati (those rascally brainwashers).  Credit card companies get to pick up mad coin off this Christmas schtick (Over-Doe!).  The Jews would like nothing more than for Christians to fall off their bullshit perch – call it payback for that whole Holocaust thing.  And then of course the Illuminati is behind everything scandalous.  It’s possible that the Illuminati is run by Jewish people who control the credit cards, but that’s just silly…..right?  The facts are, for the most part –  Christmas songs suck and the decorations are tacky.  I liked ‘Bad Santa’, ‘Die Hard’, and ‘Harold and Kumar’s 3d Christmas movie’ but I think we could have those without the Christmas (or without practicing Christmas) and some creative script writing.  There’s a very real chance we could get rid of Christmas altogether (like Jehovah’s Witnesses) and it would probably be great for society and our social contracts……..or not.

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Doctor Jeff, when he’s not busy being that crazy white guy on the street corner, wearing nothing but a sign bearing the coming of the apocalypse, is a moviemaker. For more into his crazy mind, check out Revolutionary Productions, and make sure to stay posted for his weekly edition, Doc’s Crazy Conspiracy Corner!

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