Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Bread and Circus

Study History. That is one subject that I feel strongly about because of the trite saying, "History repeats itself". History may not repeat itself in the contemporary in the same manner as it occurred in the past, but there will be certain recognizable themes: the classics.

The Bread and Circus refers to my least favorite celebrity: Lindsay Lohan. Sadly, Lindsay Lohan has become a classic. Let us forget about poverty, health care, unemployment, war and every other international and domestic issue in order to focus our attention on Lindsay Lohan and the Prince's wedding.

Ancient Romans were mesmerized by the welfare system that provided them with food and entertainment in order to divert their attention from the circumstances that would eventually topple their empire. Entertainment has sold many things--including death.

As a child, I used to watch cigarette advertisements on t.v. granted, this was before the counterarguments about cigarettes were introduced, but there were fewer anti-smoking campaigns than pro-smoking ones. Cigarettes looked like fun. I wanted candy cigarettes until I could get the real thing. There is a lawsuit against the mass killer: Phillip Morris and the corporation of death is deciding to defend themselves.

Cigarettes should be classified as an accessory to murder. I smoked for half of my life. I started overseas at a very young age. My hatred of cigarettes crossed over that thin line to a love of them. I was under the impression that it would be fun and relieve stress. It only created stress. I lost a friend of mine in her 20s due to a smoking-related illness and that made me realize that I was willingly killing myself for cigarettes.

Smokers often speak about the psychological aspects of smoking: associated with good times, certain people, memories and so forth. President Obama has quit smoking and has publicized it because he mentioned his struggle to quit for good while he was still bumming cigarettes. To think that cancer is not a strong enough reason for some to quit shows the power of the addiction. However, because there is not a formal intervention or rehabilitation center for smoking and it remains legal and despite the risk of death and the social stigma, people continue to smoke. I told a friend that she was choosing her addiction over me when she went outside to smoke a cigarette because I treat cigarette and alcohol addiction as serious as an opiate or prescription drug addiction.

Death is also sold in the form of synthetic medicines aka prescription drugs. I grew up overseas and for the majority of my life, I had only 3 channels and no commercials. The commercials were replaced with information about the military, history and other related topics: "Practice good OPSEC" how to conduct oneself in a foreign country and as a representative of the U.S. country and military. I was shocked when I saw one genre of commercials: Drug commercials; once illegal, are now ubiquitous.

The drug trend is sleeping pills. I have friends in the U.S. military who have been to war zones. They have developed severe PTSD--post traumatic stress disorder, alcohol issues and other forms of anxiety. The cure-all is sleeping pills--it used to be motrin. I grew up under the "care" of military hospitals. I believe the military does not care at all about dependents--I even heard that the pentagon does not keep numbers of dependents--but I was fortunate enough to have health care, which is a luxury today. Anything that ailed me, was supposedly curable with Motrin. I was cured so well that I continue to have stomach problems because I was administered Motrin for everything. Years later, sleeping pills is the trend.

Sleep away everything. Sleep away PTSD because you may be teased if you express that you have it. Mental health is ignored and numbed with sleeping pills. There are too many young people that I have seen return from a war with the war zone thousands of miles away but still at war in their mind. In military culture, stoicism is regarded as strength. PTSD is supposedly for weaklings because it is in the title, "The Departement of War," that your job--your mission-- is to be the war hero. Sad, but as a perpetual optimist, I think that the government will add more jobs that will help military members and families that suffer from such mental anguish. I think there will be more anonymity, so that the sufferer does not become a social pariah or teased by their superiors and co-workers. I think that there will be more scholarships and grants given to those who would dedicate themselves to helping rehabilitate these indispensable members of society.

As explained by Michel Thomas in one of his Spanish language cds: in Spanish, an apology is given as, "lo siento," from the verb, 'sentir, to feel'. We must begin to feel instead of simply offering an apology.  

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