Dick Head lives in a doublewide trailer and watches super-satellite digital cable television on triple picture-in-picture plasma surround sound panorama-vision. He hates gay men and fantasizes about gay women. He thinks a threesome would complete his existence. He’s transfixed by engines. He follows all sports and his favorite teams are whoever’s closest. He’s also very patriotic. He even prefers domestic beer. He spends more money on beer than food. He spends more money on lottery tickets than beer. He thinks sex is a topic containing infinite humor for the same reason he hates gay men. He tucks his wife beaters into his briefs. His tattoo says transcendence in Chinese.
Everyday he sits slack-jawed, slouched in a recliner, beer-buzzed and sugar-high while Hollywood’s never ending boner penetrates his eye sockets and skull-fucks his brains out. As a result he rarely thinks a deep thought and masturbates like it’s routine maintenance. This mind-fuck sucks his love for physical beauty and all things sexual drives him to marry the most beautiful thing that will have sex with him. Then he masturbates on his wife’s face like it’s routine maintenance. After spending his life savings on life insurance and that big fucking television he becomes so poor he can’t even pay attention, so he carries distraction devices for more riff-raff, collects little doo-dads to knick-knack, go-goes to girly shows to get his paddy-whacked in lap dances then comes rolling home to give the bitch her bone.
One day in a stroke of luck, Dick gets promoted to the board of directors for a major corporation involved in developing useless products and providing meaningless employment for boring people. Among other technical wonders, his company patents the first Pillow Chiller (a small cooling device that insures the other side’s always nice and cold) as well as the Fecal Freshener brand of stool aromatics.
They sell their products through a complex system of fantasy and deceit called Advertising. Through careful psychological and demographic research, they find by targeting specific social classes and age groups, marginalizing the individual, and capitalizing on humanities short-comings, mass marketing allows them to inundate people (or consumers as they’re jokingly referred to) with imaginary product-fulfilled needs. They manipulate the minds of children so subtly it subconsciously shapes their thoughts toward consumption. They create commercial farces so blasphemous consumers can’t excise their minds from the product placement.
Next, to cut costs they make a free-trade agreement with themselves then build factories in third-world countries offering slightly higher wages than locals can get elsewhere. This encourages hundreds of people to leave their jobs and line-up for slave labor in cramped, unsafe conditions without worker’s compensation or health benefits. Eventually too many people die or the workers unionize, so Dick’s company closes down shop and sets-up in another poor country leaving behind hundreds unemployed and a destroyed local economy.
People slowly stop calling him Dick and start calling him Rich. Soon Rich and his rich partners have so much money they turn to politics. By funding political candidate campaigns they establish connections and make agreements regarding both party’s principles and interests. Rich’s sponsored candidate is elected into office and lifts laws prohibiting monopolies, raises lower and middle class taxes, then readjusts the brackets allowing Rich the financial freedom to buy out several locations. The masses tighten their belts then come a-flocking with pillow-chiller jingles ringing in their ears and Rich does laugh with dollar signs in his eyes.
Next Rich and his government buddies buy and beef up some private oil companies, upsize and corporatize until they’ve got more Texas Tea than China - oil that is. Then every time an oil field burns, or a tanker spills, or some workers strike, or they bomb a middle-eastern country, or there’s a natural disaster, they raise the oil prices and profit off the pockets of the population that supposedly put them in power.
Meanwhile the discontented masses, independent artists and media providers struggle up the non-corporate ladder, voices silenced to a defiant whisper. Every time a non-corporate voice rings out in the courtroom, it’s squashed like the little bug voice it is; because Dick and his corporate cohorts are like Captain Planet or some Power Rangers whose forces magically combine to become one ultraperson under the law with superhuman influence, subhuman ethics, and inhuman irresponsibility. Using their mighty morphin’ abilities, Dick and his decepticons transform a constitutional amendment into an unconstitutional addendum then when trouble arises they divide back into a board of businessmen doing their jobs.
They continue like this for years until one day like a light switch, political consciousness rises from the oppressed classes and everyone takes action. One Monday millions organize and close their bank accounts, default on their loans, claim bankruptcy, sell all stocks, shares, funds and bonds to the government. No one pays taxes. No one buys Rich’s shitty shit. Thousands of corporation store managers leave their doors and cash registers open for the public. And in one day Rich returns to being drunk Dick Head from the trailer park. We join him and his wife walking home from breakfast on a typical morning.
“Slow down and live in the moment for once. It’s a beautiful day, Rick.” Heather Head stops to smell some roses.
“You think I don’t appreciate the simple things in life because I walk faster than you.”
“No, you can’t appreciate them because you’re always pursuing some complex, unattainable moment.”
“Maybe I appreciate my moments in accordance with their complexity.”
“If that were true you couldn’t watch those stupid sitcoms or sports. I’m just saying it’s better to enjoy the simple things in life because the complex ones don’t accrue very often.”
“And I’m saying I do enjoy the passage of time that is my commute, but I prefer destination over transportation, so try to keep up.”
They arrive home and Richard assumes his reclined position affront the television. He grabs a beer from his mini-fridge and reaches for the remote. Heather stands in the doorway with a confused expression. “What are you wearing, anyway?”
“They're three-quarter length shorts.”
“Those aren’t shorts; they’re not pants either. They’re shants, Dick. You know what shan’t means? It means shouldn’t, as in you shouldn’t ever wear those shants again. You look like an idiot.”
“What’s your problem today?”
“You use your inny as an ashtray! We use post-it notes as coasters for Christ’s sake, and you’re buying black fashion!”
“You’re being ‘diculous again, yo.”
“I am not! And apparently you forgot Our anniversary yesterday, thanks for that.”
“I told you, not remembering at an opportune time and forgetting are two totally different things.”
“Well it would be opportune for you to remember your wife occasionally. God, what’s wrong with you?”
“A fire truck ran over my dog on its way to get a cat out of a tree. I’ve been bitter about it ever since.”
“I’m serious. What is it? Do you think I’m getting fat?”
“Not that again! I think you know better than me, babe. So if you think you’re skinny, stop deriving pleasure from my declaration of the obvious, and if you think you’re fat, stop making me lie to you.”
“You’d lie to me if you thought I was fat?”
“No, I lie to you anyway, and I think you’re fat. I’m trying to make the point that you give other’s opinions too much weight - pun intended.”
“So I’ve gained a little weight over the years - that’s natural. You still find me attractive, don’t you?”
“That’s not natural, and I find you much less attractive than I did twenty years ago.”
“Asshole. Whatever, I don’t need beauty opinions from someone whose aesthetic faculty begins and ends in their pants.”
“You do nothing but criticize the fact that I find the female figure to be the most beautiful form in nature.”
“Oh please. For you a wet hole in the ground presents more beauty than the Louvre. You have no conception of beauty beyond big-breasted, slim-waisted bimbos in bikinis and even that conception of beauty is just some transmutation of instinctual eroticism into your fantasy aesthetic realm. I mean the kind of beauty little Dick can’t interfere with. Like living alongside your wife as she matures, appreciating her beautiful journey through the natural aging process.”
“Gaining a pound a year needn’t be part of your beautiful journey. And my dick’s not little. I can braid it with my legs, baby.”
“Stop changing the subject.”
“Who’s changing the subject?”
“I swear to God that fucking television has sucked out of you whatever it is I loved. You change your mind like you change the channel and spend more time face to face with that box than me. You even say yourself I’ve got five hundred stations and nothing’s on. Why don’t you ever turn it off?
“I drink beers watching Cheers. You eat oranges reading O’Hara.”
“You’ll always be the sardine to my oranges.”
“Baby, the television tells me everything I need to live a complete existence. With all the high-budget Hollywood hit movies you hate about consumerism and sex. And there’s home shopping so I can purchase the essentials from my armchair. The music awards tell me the best music to listen to. The movie awards tell me the best movies to watch. The news tells me everything happening around the world. Hours of commercials slip into my subconscious and decide what to buy for me. It’s so easy. I just sit back, watch seasons of sitcoms and laugh my ass off. What the hell’s wrong with that?”
"Everything! You laugh along with the laugh-track on your favorite shows whether they're funny or not. Your daily emotions fluctuate based on sports statistics. You don't even like most of the programs you watch, so instead you sit there, moan, groan, complain and criticize, then call me into the room to prove how much smarter you are than the T.V. You've become so used to watching life's bright lights and excitement from your armchair that everything else feels like work for you. You've become a lazy, selfish, by-product of the polluted airwaves, and I'm sick of watching you contaminate yourself. Can't you see you're asleep having the American dream?"
He sips his beer and smiles. "I like it."
“Let's drop it.” She turns to leave the room.
“Well, that fell flatter than a shat asshole.”
The door bell buzzes and Heather answers. It's Asbestos, Ricky's old buddy from the orphanage, dropping by to invite him to a gathering of friends this Friday. They extend a few pleasantries and Asbestos ends up expounding on the nature of mass media information.
“He's stupid and helpless, Asbestos,” says Heather, “he could walk around with a hundred dollars worth of pennies in his pockets and still not have the cents to exchange them."
Ricky snickers. "If I'm stupid, what do you call Mrs. Puntastic here?"
“You’re not stupid," Asbestos answers. "You’ve just been disadvantageously conditioned. The powers that be have essentially changed your brain’s neural network into a dunce cap that funnels their impulses like a megaphone. You simply need to focus your funnel on more advantageous information. T.V. is Now Our most advanced medium for communication, education, information, and art, but We waste it with test ratings, product placement, and commercialization. It’s gotten so idiotic, people call it the idiot box instead of the information tube, or the art cube, or the education machine.
I guarantee if you renounce television and read the right books, you’ll undergo the most inspiring transition that is essentially an existential paradigm shift from passive observer to active participant. You’ll never again care or be aware of pop culture, pop music, or celebrity pop stars. You’ll never have the poppity-cock popcorn song pop up at odd times. You’ll only watch art films from festivals with actors you’ve never heard of. You’ll only listen to passionate music by talented musicians. You’ll forget the very possibility of plastering valuable attention on bias broadcast bullshit from big companies and the government.
Extensive subjugation to this propagation contorts your perception of reality into an awkward position. Watching beautiful people in interesting situations solving extraordinary problems with lies and violence while wearing this season’s sponsored fashion all fits together into a tight system of suggestions sent incessantly to society’s impressionable masses. And no viewer leaves unscathed and innocent. Most are guilty on several charges from self-admitted laziness in doing something else, to revolving their lives around a regular program, to buying into marketed merchandising.
Then there are the confusing mixtures of messages. First there’s government advertising about how weed impairs basic survival skills. Then there’s a beer commercial. Then there’s a public service announcement from mad mothers against drunk driving. Then an after-school special about addiction and how some addicts get put in prison while others sit at home glued to their favorite addiction, eating sugar, drinking coffee, and smoking cigarettes. Then a commercial for extra super duper trooper strength brand name barbiturates for businessmen and soccer moms.
We still stare on knowing they manipulate Our minds and undermine the very way We think. We still work for them knowing they monopolize markets then partition Us employment at minimum wage. We still buy their products knowing the profits are pooled into a pyramid of celebrities, sports stars, crooked businessmen and lying politicians at the peak. I, for one, refuse to be part of the cycle. I don't watch television. I don't work for corporations. I don't buy big business merchandize. I read books, listen to indie music, watch independent films, read independent papers and magazines . . ."
"What do you mean independent papers and magazines? News is news, except the tabloids."
"No news is news. But there's a huge market built on the idea of news - the idea that a daily paper or program can conveniently encapsulate all important happenings around the world for you to enjoy at your leisure, and the idea that that information is true, complete, relevant, and unbiased. It’s the daily drama you can’t find anywhere else in your life because it doesn’t exist. If the news was actually pertinent to your life it wouldn’t be news; you’d know it already. That whole charade you have no say in is just an intellectual soap opera that renews itself daily. Don’t get me wrong, there is news that should be known, but if your day feels incomplete without a dose of natural disasters, violent crime and political intrigue from outside your actual life, your intentionality splits. You think, complain, become opinionated about, or afraid of all these issues that have no outlet in your real life. If you truly cared, you wouldn’t discuss the state of the nation over coffee, you’d be involved in some vehicle of change uninterested in the daily gossip We’re given."
Their conversation continues late into the evening in front of the T.V. As Richard drifts into sleep the eleven o’clock news plays into his dreams with special guest anchor Asbestos…
…Headlines: In sports today, a bunch of overpaid idiots banded together and committed their lives to playing games and lowering your standard of entertainment. In finance news, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. We also bombed another small country to help with their peace efforts and Our oil interests. All casualties were civilian but this should send a strong message to the leader of their military dictatorship, namely, We can kill your people too. In election coverage, two guys you’ve never heard of are neck and neck in a race We created to divert your attention from the lack of participation you have in your government. Lastly in local news, something terrible happened to someone near you - stay tuned for thirty more minutes of death and crime to scare you into submission and keep you consuming. We’ll be back with Our best guess at the weather, and the worst thing you never knew you’ve always done, after this commercial break…