Each of us, in our daily lives, pretends. Conceals the truth. Fakes emotions. We live in a counterfeit society, so we become counterfeit, too. It’s gone well beyond the pretenses of the past. “You look great in that dress!” “No, you haven’t gained any weight!” “You’re not losing your hair!”
In those times, the pretending was largely confined to what I used to tell my children were “good lies.” People were generally more polite, and didn’t want to hurt others’ feelings. Now, however, the pretending has nothing to do with empathy. In fact, our counterfeit society is practically bereft of empathy. This is a far more extensive, and significant sort of pretending. It goes well beyond the Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy conspiracies. Again, those are “good lies” that parents tell children in order to make their childhoods magical. No, we’re talking about collective pretending.
We pretend that “Climate Change” is our greatest problem. We pretend that Greta Thunberg is an “expert” we should respect. We pretend that “Climate Change” has to do with clean air and clean water, not carbon taxes and lowering the standard of living for the average American. We pretend that we must “reduce our carbon footprint” because multi-millionaire celebrities with their own private jets and astronomical energy bills tell us to.
We pretend that modern “art” isn’t disorganized brush strokes, or incomprehensible sculptures, that any child could create. We pretend that bodies covered in tattoos make the person look cool and sexy. We pretend that Jews- who comprise a miniscule 2% of the population- don’t have an incredibly disproportionate influence, especially in media and politics. We pretend that “Separation of Church and State” is something mentioned in the Constitution, and that those who cite it apply it to any other religion than Christianity.
We pretend that “genius” is a term that applies to prizefighters, and entertainers. We pretend that there are still great novelists and poets being published by the big houses. We pretend that we’d actually do something when we reflexively tell those in trouble or need to “let me know if you need anything.” We pretend that “tough love” is part of the gold standard method of parenting. We pretend that throwing our parents and grandparents into abysmal nursing homes demonstrates how much we care.
We are all pretending, at this point, that anyone in power pays the slightest attention to the Bill of Rights. We pretend that Orwellian terms like “Hate Speech,” “Misinformation,” and “Disinformation” don’t utterly shatter any concept of free speech. We pretend that “cancel culture” can somehow be part of a free society. We pretend to feel remorse over expressing views which offend a “protected class” of people. We pretend that “marginalized” is a quantifiable term. We apologize on cue, and pretend to understand when we are cancelled anyway.
White people are compelled to do the most pretending of all. Pretending that the music blaring far louder than it needs to be from a vehicle driven by a Black person doesn’t bother them. The pretending is melded with a shameful pandering, that often results in Whites complimenting every random Black child they see as being “cute,” or raving over their corn rows. Sometimes it’s combined with fear, as reflected in the clutching the purse stereotype that has been accurately pointed out by Black personalities. We pretend that some incorrect English is perfectly acceptable, and christen it as Ebonics, and further pretend that it’s a viable alternative language.
We all now have to pretend that “big” is “beautiful.” They have normalized obesity, especially in women, and ironically shame those who remark upon it for “body shaming.” One can argue the relative cultural merits of a Victoria’s Secret, but there is certainly less aesthetic merit in “plus sized” Victoria’s Secret models. Excess fat makes anyone look less physically attractive. But we have to pretend it doesn’t. And now they are actually making mannikins that mimic the average American male- with the pot belly and man boobs. God knows what the new realistic female mannikins will look like. This is not to endorse or excuse belittling anyone for their looks. But that doesn’t mean we have to pretend that appeal has no physical component.
Whites, again, have to pretend that Black people represent at least half of the American population. At least when they watch television commercials, or view online and print advertising. But no, Blacks aren’t even our largest minority group any more. That would be Hispanics. When did you see the last Hispanic news anchor? How many are in commercials? Print ads? And we have to further pretend that somehow, Blacks are still underrepresented in media. White privilege and all that.
We have to pretend that there are more than two genders. Fifty seven, or whatever the current “Woke” number is. Trust the science. Doctors have to pretend that males can give birth. And they pretend they’re not violating their Hippocratic Oath by removing the penises of very young boys, or giving Frankenstein-style puberty blockers to prepubescents. We have to pretend that loving parents let their kindergartner decide what sex they want to be.
By supporting the poisonous products of Hollywood, we seemingly accept that 100 pound female waifs can knock out fully armed 250 pound males with one punch. Or that they can beat up a bunch of men by doing cartwheels and flying Matrix drop kicks. In fact, we have to pretend that any female of any age can physically beat up any male of any age. That’s what virtually every television show and movie have taught us for decades. Also, that most bodyguards are females. Hot females. And the world’s top assassins? Hot females- all of them. Suspending our disbelief is pretending.
Further absorbing Hollywood programming, we accept that every judge and police chief are Black. So is every brilliant computer guy and inventor. Most doctors in advertising now are Black. But ironically, Blacks are not to be found when casting criminals. The streets of every city according to Hollywood are ruled by White skinheads, usually with laughable Russian accents. It’s like James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson never left us. There is just no diversity in Hollywood’s criminal element.
Spilling over into real life, we have to pretend that Blacks don’t commit a wildly disproportionate rate of violent crimes. We can’t call any neighborhood “bad,” even if it’s impossible to walk through safely. I guess you could call a trailer park filled with low income Whites “bad.” And we have to pretend that illegal immigrants are “undocumented workers.” Isn’t that kind of a demeaning term, too? As if their entire worth lies in their ability to work? Well, that is why they’re here, isn’t it? To provide cheap labor, to “do the jobs Americans won’t do?” But no, we pretend otherwise.
We have to pretend that “diversity is our strength.” Except for diversity of opinion, that is. That isn’t cool at all. The tolerant simply won’t tolerate it. We have to pretend that our overcrowded country, with supposedly not enough resources for those already here, is in need of immigrants and migrants. Whose presence and desperate circumstances will just happen to lower blue-collar wages and eliminate once routine benefits. Borders matter in other countries, but not ours. But at the same time, we pretend that overpopulation should make American citizens think hard about whether or not to have children. Get a dog or a cat. Treat them like kids.
Some of us pretend to follow the precepts of a religion based on the Golden Rule. And yet virtually no one does unto others. Very few even pretend to love their neighbors. How many people in the world love their enemies, and turn the other cheek? Judge not lest ye be judged, but we pretend not to remember that one. And then there’s my favorite Biblical verse, comparing the wealthy entering heaven to a camel going through the eye of a needle. No pastor pretends to include it in a sermon, and everyone I mention it to attempts a convoluted explanation. Everyone wants to be rich, so we pretend Jesus didn’t really mean what he said.
With the explosion of Tick Tock and Instagram videos of teachers posting rants that reflect their mental instabilities, to put it kindly, we still have to respect them and pretend that they are a valuable resource for our children. Thank a teacher. Wave the LBGTQ, or whatever it is, flag. They are criminally underpaid. We have to pretend that all nurses are invariably kind, loving, and patient. And, of course, underpaid. And we have to pretend that “hamburger flippers” and the like are actually paid too much. Anyone can do their job. They have no skills, unlike Vice-Presidents in Charge of Looking Out the Window, for example.
We have to pretend that plentiful opportunities still exist in post-unconstitutional lockdown America. That hard work will mean success. We pretend that millennials handed a broken, corrupt world are “snowflakes” who really would rather be incels playing video games in their parents’ basement instead of having a good job and raising families of their own. We pretend that we didn’t have illicit sex, drink and drug too much, and incur our own parents’ wrath when we were young.
When we trudge off to the polls to elect our “representatives,” we have to pretend that our vote counts. More importantly, we have to pretend that they count our vote. It should be pretty obvious by this point that they don’t, but still we persist in our delusions. Our side will win this time! Even if they did count the votes, we’d still be pretending that we were choosing between real alternatives, and statesmen-like figures who are our best and brightest. Certainly not just the lesser of two evils. And never more than two evils- ‘Murrica is not pro-choice in that respect!
We pretend that it is absolute insanity to question the establishment narrative that we are all on a giant, spinning ball, whizzing through an endless universe, but somehow have no awareness of any motion. We have to pretend that “gravity” prevents fantastically large bodies of water from spilling off into space, but cannot hold down a bird, or a butterfly. We pretend that we evolved from the apes, and that the fact apes still exist doesn’t matter. We pretend that all the missing links starting with the gills to lungs transition from the “primordial ooze” are irrelevant. In the beginning, there was a giant ball. Then it burst. Amen. Trust the science.
I write about history. Hidden history. Those Americans who still have any interest left in history at all have to pretend that Harriet Tubman was the greatest woman who ever lived. Greater than any White woman. They have to pretend that Sally Hemings is the historical figure from the revolutionary era to research, not that dead White racist rapist Thomas Jefferson. They have to pretend that every historical event must be assessed in terms of how it impacted, and still somehow impacts, Black people. We have to pretend that it’s insignificant and understandable that nonwhite Kamala Harris became the first female vice-president, before any White woman.
We have to pretend that we live in a “White Supremacist” society, and pretend that Black celebrities aren’t treated even more leniently than White celebrities. We have to pretend that ridiculous, pretentious characters like Snoop Dog, Kanye West, Beyonce, Ice Tea, Ice Cube, and various personalities with the prefix “‘Lil” contribute something of great value to our civilization. We have to pretend that alleged college graduates aren’t routinely making basic oral and written grammatical errors. And whenever we stop pretending, we have to apologize for being “racist.”
We have to pretend that the more money you make, the harder you work. That the bosses really do more than the workers. We have to pretend that raising the salaries of the lowest paid workers will result in increased costs to the consumer, but that $40 million CEO packages and golden umbrellas won’t. We have to pretend that it’s fair to subject blue-collar workers to the “eight hours pay for eight hours work” policy, but upper management can always fit golf games and gym visits into their busy day.
We have to pretend that warranties for any product aren’t dishonest. That bumper-to- bumper really means that. We have to pretend that there is really a competitive marketplace, where consumers have lots of choices. We have to pretend that the hundreds of television networks available on cable and satellite offer hundreds of options to the viewer. We have to pretend that starting a new business in this country isn’t as difficult as it is.
On a personal level, men have to pretend not to covet their neighbor’s attractive wife. We pretend not to notice good-looking females. I don’t know about women- maybe they’re pretending, too. But we also have to pretend that there are as many as ever to covet. We have to pretend that old photos and films don’t show a much slimmer and attractive population. Super size it! And we have to pretend that girls can be boys and boys can be girls, to quote the Kinks. We have to accept that women have “the right to choose,” but simultaneously that anyone who “identifies” as a woman is a woman. Or, sometimes, that the term “woman,” like the term “man,” is “transphobic.”
We have to pretend that American technology hasn’t effectively stopped. That the planes being flown today aren’t basically the same ones from fifty years ago. That new inventions that could make all our lives easier and better haven’t been suppressed. As a child in the 1960s, my vision of the future included those flying bubble cars depicted on The Jetsons. Or at least some clean and reliable mass transit system. Nope, nothing like that here. We’re going backwards. Pot-hole specials. Close your eyes and pretend.
We have to pretend that America’s legal system is about justice. That judges, juries and prosecutors really want to punish bad guys and protect the innocent. I can’t even type those lines with a straight face. Some of us at least still pretend that the cops are there to serve and protect, even though the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that they are under no such obligation. We pretend that jury duty is a sacred function, when in reality any sign of intelligence or reason will disqualify you.
We pretend that doctors are there to heal us. That they never lie or make mistakes. We pretend that they aren’t the third leading cause of death in this country. What is the knee-jerk response of almost everyone when someone exhibits a physical symptom- “go to the doctor!” Trust the white coats. And in all the pretending we’ve had to do during the Greatest Psyop of All Time, the most important is accepting that a warp speed vaccine you have to take multiple times isn’t killing or maiming untold numbers of people, despite the voluminous evidence that it is.
We basically pretend that those doing the hardest work in this country- toilet cleaners and the like- are the least valuable and deserve to be the least paid. We pretend that those who make the most money- including CEOs who preside over financially failing companies- are doing the most work and deserve to be paid the most. We pretend that the poor are the most “entitled,” not the wealthy elitists who are gifted unfathomable freebies and favoritism, as I detailed in my book Survival of the Richest.
We pretend that this is a still a free country. We ignore the January 6 political prisoners, held for over a year behind bars without bail or charges, some subjected to beatings and solitary confinement. We pretend that every year prisoners who sometimes served decades in prison aren’t exonerated by DNA evidence. As Maxwell Smart used to say, “Sorry about that!” We pretend our system doesn’t do the things the Nazis, or the Soviets, or the Chinese, allegedly did or still do. We pretend we “defend democracy,” both in our “Woke” authoritarian homeland, and in far flung lands where penis-piano playing dictators ban all opposition parties. Long live Ukraine!
The fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes describes present day America all too well. The entire population pretending that what’s happening isn’t happening. As a teenager, I loved the song Let’s Pretend by the Raspberries. I can’t think of a more fitting song for the soundtrack of this dishonest, demoralized, and decaying country.