All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.—George Orwell
Just to be very clear, we’re not talking this morning about Primal Scream the movie, nor Primal Scream the Scottish band. I will reference the album of the same name by the late trumpeter and bandleader Maynard Ferguson, but central to my premise this cold, wet, weary Friday morning is the psychotherapy method developed by Dr. Arthur Janov. Dr. Janov’s theory is that, from the very moment we are born, we begin repressing traumatic events in our lives, sealing them away from memory. Who remembers the actual birth experience, for example? None of us, of course. Neither do we experience the trauma of thinking that our parents have left us when actually they’ve only gone into the other room. Janov’s practice is to help us deal with those traumas, which he is sure is responsible for all our depression and anxiety, by bringing back those painful memories and then quite literally screaming at them.
I’m guessing Dr. Janov has trouble keeping neighbors.
While I’m not going to vouch for the efficacy of Dr. Janov’s methods, I do think it is valuable for us to occasionally list the things that are upsetting us, write them down perhaps, and then give them, collectively, a giant middle finger. With social media having become so prevalent in most our lives, we are now inundated with more information than ever, and a lot of that information is something less than positive. Our response tends to fall in the direction of two extremes: we either bitch and gripe about everything, constantly, trolling comments and insulting people we don’t know; or attempting to ignore everything in the hopes it will all go away. Neither of those approaches are exactly healthy.
So, what we’re going to do this morning is list the five things from this week that have pissed me off the most and then turn on the title track from Maynard Ferguson’s 1976 album and scream at them, letting the music provide a counter-weight to our bellowing. One big primal scream. Once we are done, we set those issues aside and try to not mess with them again. Feel free to join me. Create your own list. Let’s move into the weekend emotionally free of the frustrations that beset us. Ready? Here we go:
- Gun reform. I fail to understand why anyone with a sound mind objects to background checks for deadly weapons and I certainly don’t see where anyone gets off claiming that such precautions somehow interfere with their right to keep and bear arms. Remember, the Constitution only gives that right in order to maintain “a well-regulated militia,” and part of being well-regulated almost certainly means taking steps to ensure that the wrong people aren’t getting their hands on guns. What’s even more infuriating is the degree to which the GOP has completely acquiesced to the National Rifle Association on the topic, despite the fact that the United States continues to have more handgun related deaths, by far, than any other industrialized nation in the world. The argument is ridiculous to the point of insanity and really makes me want to scream.
- Protests in Burns, Oregon. A week ago, a group of gun-toting cry babies led by the seriously delirious Ammon Bundy took over a federal wildlife refuge to protest something that didn’t deserve to be protested in the first place. This has to be one of the worst-planned sieges ever. While the group claims they are planning to occupy the little building just outside Burns for several years, they failed to bring enough food. By Monday, they were asking for people to send them snacks. That they’ve not been set upon by angry birders or scalped by native Paiute, who actually have a legitimate claim to their ancestral land, is actually disappointing. Were these idiots not a bunch of white guys, they would have been on the receiving end of a massive military operation already. The government has cut off power and water to the facility and is waiting them out. Meanwhile, the world laughs.
- The global economy. Uhm, hello? Haven’t we been here before? The fact that stock trading in China had to be halted twice this week and is, once again today, taking another roller coaster ride sets off similar sell-offs in both the European and US markets that should have everyone worried. In fact, if you’re not at least a little bit scared you’re crazy. Super-investor George Soros says the situation resembles the 2008 crisis, and this time around we don’t have a Congress that’s willing to do anything about the situation. This could end up very, very bad for the entire world, and it could happen before Spring gets here.
- Worsening immigration situation. There hasn’t been a worse time to be an immigrant since World War II. The influx of refugees across Europe continues to grow and as more arrive in the United States, where they should be welcome and where we have plenty of resources to help, our response continues to be about as wrong as possible. Compounding matters, there is yet another article in this morning’s New York Times regarding the plight of families fleeing escalating violence in Central America. I wonder if an uprising of native tribes would be sufficient to remind Americans that this entire country is founded upon immigration, taking in those who were not wanted nor welcome elsewhere. We need to get over our selfishness and put an end to this problem.
- Earthquakes in Oklahoma. 70. That is how many earthquakes have hit the state of Oklahoma in the past week. Fortunately, none of them have been terribly large. The largest this week registered 4.8 on the Richter scale, which typically is enough to rattle windows and upset cattle in the area, but seldom causes any substantial damage. The problem is that these earthquakes appear to be the result of fracking across the state and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, who is in line to be one of the worst governors in the country and certainly Oklahoma’s worst since David Hall in the 1970s, refuses to do anything to reign in the controversial activity pending further study. The unanswerable question is at what point these quakes stop being a nuisance and turn into something critical. We’ve seen the strength of the quakes grow from the 2.6 to 3.8 range to frequently over 4.0 in the past year. This week’s 4.8 quake comes frightening close to the point at which significant property damage begins to occur. Gov. Fallin needs to halt all fracking activity in the state immediately, but she’s far too stubborn and closed-minded to bother.
There’s my list. How’s yours? Once we get these out of our system, the deal is that we don’t keep revisiting them over and over. We let them go in one long, loud, guttural primal scream that comes up from out gut and frightens all animals into hiding. To prevent alarming the neighbors, I strongly suggest clicking the link below and turning up the volume on your computer or mobile device as loud as possible before you begin your primal scream. That way, people will just think you’re trying to sing along to a song that has no words and leave you alone the rest of the day.
Now, go and enjoy your weekend.
Primal Scream, a song by Maynard Ferguson on Spotify