My Lawn, My Rules

Imagine you are a protester outside the Laundrie house. Imagine you are standing on the Laundrie yard.

The other day, two protesters from across the street where Brian and Gabby lived tacked up a sign for Gabby on the Laundrie yard.

The sign said: “Remember me? I lived with you.” There was a picture of Gabby.

There are other protesters as well. People are walking up and down the street with bullhorns screaming at the Laundries to come out of their house and break their silence.

One particular individual yelled: “Answer America’s questions!”

Overhead, a plane carried a sign in support of Gabby. It read: “End the Silence. Justice for Gabby.“

This is the state of affairs in the United States of America.

This is the circus that exists.

Now, let’s get back to you. Let’s imagine that you are a protester from Seattle who has driven to the Laundrie House to protest.

Why are you there?

I’m going to pretend that I am in the Laundrie house, and that I’ve come out of the house to reason with you.

I’m sorry, but it’ll just be me talking. I’ll answer your questions after you listen to me.

Well, sir, where did you come from now? You came from Seattle? How far is that? 2545 miles?

And you came here all this way to do what?

To protest?

Do you know why you’re here?

Since you came such a long distance, I don’t want to disappoint you. I’m going to tell you why you’re here.

It has to do with that little cell phone that you are carrying in your hand.

Prior to 1980, before cell phones, before computers, life was a little tougher. It was a different world.

It was better in that it was more tolerant, but it was worse in that it was more cumbersome.

We did a lot of things on foot, hand and paper.

In order to learn, we might have to walk to the library. When we got to the library, we would have to look up the books we wanted in a card catalogue and then physically go get it. Many times we had no idea what we were looking for, so we had to track down the librarian who could help us find it. She was our search engine.

It was all organized according to a scheme called the Dewey decimal system which seems to have gone out the window. Now we just type in the book that we want on a search engine, and it pops up.

We don’t even have to hold a heavy book anymore. Every book weighs the same on your iPad.

Things weren’t instantly at our fingertips either. Nor was there the volume of information that we have today. But that wasn’t so bad. Generally, the people who wrote books or who wrote articles were professionals who knew what they were doing. So you didn’t have to wade through a lot of garbage.

If we wanted to take a picture, we had to lug out the camera, go to the store to buy some film, take the pictures, then take the film back to a photo store where it would be developed. We then stored the pictures in a large book which we would call a photo album. We’d have to find a place in the house to keep it. There weren’t a lot of pictures by today’s standards because shooting and developing pictures cost money. Nowadays, we might snap twenty-five pictures in a few seconds.

If we wanted to write a book, we had to go buy a yellow pad and a pen, write it all down, then store those papers in a folder in the house so that we could return to it. If we typed it out and made a mistake, we had to go get some correcting tape and type over the letter that got messed up. We might even have to start all over again with a fresh page in the typewriter. Sometimes the ribbon in the typewriter had lousy ink, and so we had to go buy a new ribbon. All these inconveniences forced us to think before we wrote or typed.

To find out what was going on, we waited for either the morning or evening newspaper. Where I lived in Philadelphia, there were two papers. The morning paper was the Inquirer; the afternoon paper was the Bulletin. The news on TV generally came on at 6 and 11 on the East Coast. There was no 24 hour news cycle. There was no cable TV. A lot of stuff was learned by word-of-mouth. I found out about the Kennedy assassination from a boy in my sisters class. He told me as soon as I got out of school on that Friday afternoon. I was nine years old.

Generally speaking, life was a pain in the ass.

In 1980 all of that changed. This was when the personal computer came into the main stream.

Our world was going to be fundamentally transformed for the better and the worse.

The computer was sold, and still is sold, as a life transforming device. Our productivity was going to increase; we were all going to become more powerful.

That’s what Microsoft told us.

We were deluded into believing that we could all become best selling authors. We could now self-publish with our new word processors. The typewriter was thrown out the window. We wouldn’t be making any mistakes anymore. Why, in short order we were going to be the new Ernest Hemingways. Plus writing was much easier. We didn’t have to think too much before writing because we could just erase it and start all over without any penalty.

Not only were we going to be best-selling authors, we were also going to be the next Ansel Adams. Our computers were going to be able to manipulate the images in order to produce award-winning pictures. Hell, why stop at Ansel Adams? We were going to be the next Stanley Kubrick as well. Our video-editing programs were empowering us.

It certainly seemed possible, but why would we believe this?

Why would we believe that we could write with the talent of Scott Fitzgerald? Why would we believe that we could take professional photographs that would hang in galleries? Why would we believe that we could make videos and movies that could rival Scorsese and Coppola?

We believed we could because the technology of the computer beguiled us. With its reliable precision and it’s crisp graphics, at our fingertips, under our control, we were bewitched into thinking that we were the ones who were in control of the computer.

But we were not. The computer had reached out to control us.

In short order, we fooled ourselves into a false state of omnipotence. We became more cocksure of ourselves. We were certain now that we had answers that other people did not. Tolerance and respect for others was lost.

It became common for people to call into talk shows where you could hear comments very similar to this: “Not too many people know this, but … the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.”

The call-in radio shows were the forerunners of the public chat rooms and forums. These in turn were the forerunners of social media.

With social media, you can broadcast your message to the world. And with YouTube, if it goes viral, the whole world sees and hears your magnificent thoughts.

Going viral is an intoxicating idea.

It’s like gasoline.

Who doesn’t enjoy watching gasoline explode, especially if you are the center of attention?

This is why you are here, Mr. Protester. This is why you are outside my house. You have all the answers, and you have been cruelly led to believe this.

I’m sorry to disappoint you.

You are not the next Hemingway. You are not the next Ansel Adams. You are not even Sherlock Holmes.

You’re not any of these people because you don’t do the thinking and the hard work that goes in to achieving greatness. Hemingway was a great writer because he dedicated himself over decades. Ansel Adams was a great photographer because he thought about what he was doing. He didn’t shoot from the hip. He asked questions, something you manifestly refuse to do.

The cell phone that you carry has bewitched you. It has given you a false sense of power and greatness about yourself. This in turn has led to arrogance, and this arrogance has in turn engendered boldness, imprudence, and ignorance within you. You don’t know all the facts. You only think you know all the facts.

The main stream media has egged you on by creating a circus atmosphere of intolerance.

Rage is the order of the day.

Far from making our lives better, the personal computer has made it worse in many ways.

Social media on our cell phones along with instant messaging now brings rage and streetside justice within our grasp.

And there is plenty to be angry about because the computer revolution has engendered a polarization of wealth in society that grows by leaps and bounds.

Computer technology has worked against the average American economically. Wall street hucksters using high-frequency trading and fast networks can now fleece you of your money (while you sleep) more easily than a card shark at a Vegas gaming table.

Large corporations using computer technology can now shift your mind into buying more things that you neither need nor can pay for. They can nickel and dime you without you even knowing. And the payments you make never need to be sent in. They can be directly fleeced from your bank account monthly in such minuscule amounts that you will hardly notice.

Consequently, finances are tight for you. You feel a little rage, but your rage is not directed at the leaders who have failed to control Wall Street and large corporations.

Oh, no.

Your rage is directed elsewhere. It is directed elsewhere because the same people who control the large corporations and Wall Street, have used computer technology to shift your rage.

Thus the Gabby Petito story.

The Gabby Petito story is front page news because the elites want it to be front page news.

They don’t want you angry about COVID-19, masks, Middle East wars and government corruption. And they sure as sugar don’t want you protesting in a mob on the national mall.

They want you here focused on me.

That’s why you are here on my front lawn.

In summary, your leadership has created a New World Order that doesn’t work for you. Our leaders have hurt you economically. They cheat you out of your money on a daily basis. To prevent you from directing your rage at them, they, using their computer algorithms that display the stories on Google News, redirect your anger toward me, or the next circus of the week. And, of course, they have given you the false sense of omnipotence about yourself in order to prosecute that rage.

My advice to you would be to take back your life. If it’s possible, get rid of all the apps on your cell phone. Use a phone for what it’s meant for. Quit watching main stream television as much as you possibly can. Reserve a time of the day when you will look at the news. Return to reading books. Begin asking more questions in your life. Develop a sense of tolerance toward others. Act more humbly.

Finally, get the hell off my lawn.

Sincerely,

Archer Crosley

Copyright 2021 Archer Crosley All Rights Reserved

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